Sibiu, one of Transylvania’s three most famous medieval towns, left both Peder and I with almost identically positive impressions: a pleasantly relaxed feel, surprisingly pretty, and extraordinarily interesting. Dominated by a sprawling town square with two clocktowers and countless old, colorful buildings, Sibiu was full of young locals scampering about, even on a Tuesday evening. Add to that the same level of helpfulness and hospitality as I’ve observed throughout East Europe, and you’ve got yourself a place well worth visiting.
Because it was still low season, finding a suitable place to stay was a simple matter of strolling into the first pension listed in Lonely Planet. To our surprise, the woman there even spoke perfect English – which made the task of finding our way around and planning our onward travel remarkably painless.
Though we’d barely slept a wink after the previous night’s transport tribulations, if we wanted to make it to Odesa in time for the weekend, we’d have to keep the pace – so we headed out immediately.
…Or, almost immediately. First we stopped by a rental agency to examine the feasibility of using a small car to tour some of Transylvania’s more backwater villages – but ultimately decided time was just too tight. Instead, we plotted a bus-and-train-based route via Moldova, and set out exploring the city.
First was a trip up the church tower…
…for a panorama of town square,
…followed by a ascent of nearby Turnul Sfatului – Council Tower – for a slightly different angle.
Then after a bit of time roaming around the city’s countless cobbled roads,
We caught a short bus a few kilometers out of town to an LP-recommended open air museum.
Though it did contain the promised huge selection of traditional Romanian homes, I personally found this to be ‘just okay’ – not nearly as pleasant as exploring the medieval town center itself.
The experience was also slightly soured by a restaurant waiter who decided to take us for a ride with the check, though after holding our ground he eventually agreed to give us the price clearly marked on the menu.
By the time we made it back into town I was starting to feel sick…again…for the third time on this trip. No doubt this round was due to two intense days of walking connected by a stressful night in transit with about an hours’ worth of sleep. So after a quick nap in the room, dinner in town square, and a couple hours of long-exposure evening photography, I insisted that I head back for some much needed shuteye.
Though Peder was anxious to go out, it was already midnight – and as we had to catch a 6:30am bus onward to Braşov, the thought of yet another sleepless night did not bode well for my increasingly sore throat.
So after a brief but restful night on a comfy Romanian mattress, we found ourselves once again on the move.
Next stop: Dracula’s Castle.