Sighişoara, Romania

While I was in Budapest, I was thinking of heading to Vienna next.  Lucy and Anthony (Aussies from my hostel in Budapest) kept talking about Romania and how much they enjoyed it.  I wanted to keep pushing the Central/Eastern Europe thing I had going on.  It felt less touristy and more challenging, but also very rewarding.  I also wanted to explore areas outside of major cities, and my friends kept talking about all these great small towns in Romania, so I decided to keep heading east, and bought a train ticket to Sighişoara, Romania.IMG_2312I arrived late, probably around 10 PM.  I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, and it was raining, but luckily the hostel was almost right next to the train station.  The only problem was that the building wasn’t marked.  It was one of those travel moments where I think to myself of the crazy instances I find myself… dark rainy night in Transylvania, and lost outside.  I finally figured it out, but it took me about twenty minutes to find the hostel.  Enter Romania.IMG_2279Sighişoara (sig-ee-SHWAR-a) is in the Transylvania region and credited as one of the most preserved small medieval cities in Europe.  The city center is an old citadel with a large clock tower dating back to the 14th century.  It also features old churches, and some historic homes.  It’s a really small town, with only around 25,000 residents.  During the summer, there’s a huge medieval festival in which the town doubles in size.  However, for my visit, it was pretty quiet.  I spent two full days in town which was probably one day too many.  There’s not much to do once you’ve walked around and checked out the main sights.  Still, it’s worth a day trip just to walk around and imagine life there several hundred years ago.

Cars look so out of place.  The streets are so narrow and I can’t imagine trying to drive around there.  The city is so small and walkable too.I thought it was cool people actually live here and it’s not just something preserved as a museum.
IMG_2320IMG_2274IMG_2324Sighisoura has the distinction of being the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, who is part of the basis for the Dracula legend.  Here’s was the house he was born…

One more closer shot of the clock tower.  It still kept time, and reminded me that Romania was one hour ahead of Hungary.  Not bad for an 800 year old clock.IMG_2295I had lunch at a cafe one day and got my first look at how cheap Romania can be.  I had a large bowl of soup, cabbage rolls and two beers for about $6.  The only downside being that smoking is permitted in restaurants, and everyone seems to smoke in Romania.  IMG_2329After a couple days in Sighişoura, I was ready to go.  It was a really cool place to see, but it’s a small town and can be done in a day.  I bet it’s amazing to visit during the medieval festival held in the summer.  I didn’t meet anyone to go exploring with as the hostel I stayed in was empty except for one night where a group of Romanian high school kids filled up the place.  The hostel staff actually had to clear out an office and setup a bed for me in there so I had a place to sleep which I was incredibly grateful for.  It was only my introduction to Romania.  Things would get more interesting in the coming two weeks.

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