Archaeotek Weekend 2- Sighisoara

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June 19th 2011
Published: June 19th 2011
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Ok, here were my adventures yesterday. We caught the train at ten forty-ish in the morning. It was actually on time, which is kind of amazing around here, apparently, so that was cool. But stepping onto the train was like hitting a wall of heat and smell (not good smells). We were hoping that the heat would get better when we started moving, but even with all available windows open it was still awful. Three of us were seated with a little Romanian family, which was cute. They kept trying to talk to us but our Romanian is limited to "thank you" and "please" and they had no English, so there was a little bit of charades going on, but we all gave up pretty quickly. Actually, nobody had any energy to do anything but wilt in our chairs. I will take the cold any day over heat and humidity. Brutal. So, after four hours of that sort of loveliness, we finally got there, bailed out, and went in search of ice cream. We took taxis up to the center of the little town because we had limited time to explore and, frankly, we were hot and taxis are really really cheap here. Sighisoara is a really old fortress town still surrounded by it's defensive wall. It has Romania's tallest clock tower, which might also be Eastern Europe's tallest clock tower, but that's not really that tall. What is really cool about the clock is that it is sort of like a cuckoo clock, but really complicated. It has a different set of figures for every day, and each set does something different at every hour. How very awesome. Lemon sorbet is the world's best heat exhaustion cure, so I was feeling much more chipper when we went to visit the only original image of Vlad the Impaler, now known as Dracula. He has a bust in front of the church. How ironic is that! Many people had their picture taken with him, and some girls got onto shoulders to pose kissing him. I'm sure that in real life we'd have all run screaming, but death does funny things... From there a few of us continued up the hilltop through a long covered staircase to go to the cemetery at the top of the hill. This staircase was epic because thee were a couple of guys hanging out at the top of the staircase playing classical guitar, flamenco style, which is similar to the guitar that plays in the action scenes of western movies. I kept expecting Antonio Banderas to race down the uneven stairs, sword and cape flying, and have it out with at least ten out of shape guards before flourishing a bow and ducking out through an invisible crack in the wall. It was literally that kind of music. Very cool. The graveyard was very much a jumble of really old graves covered in moss, relatively new markers, ivy creepers that were starting to take over several areas, and lots of plastic flowers. It was pretty cool. There was one grave that had an exquisite rose planted at the head of the grave. It was really very lovely. I have also discovered another reason people in the past were so devout. In the days before air-conditioning, the churches were the only places where you could effectively escape form the heat in the summer! Brilliant, I think I should write a paper about this phenomenon. Walking into the church there was like getting submerged in really cool water, not icy, and somehow not wet. It was perfect. We lingered there a little too long, so we had to stride out on our way back to the square to meet the rest of the group for dinner. We had decided to eat at the restaurant that now occupies the house that dear little Vlad grew up in. It was very sunny and well decorated, so it seems difficult to blame his childhood environment for his later twisted self. The food there was fabulous, if a little more expensive than we have gotten used to. That is, a meal there was closer to equivalent to the cost of a meal here, instead of being something like $3.50. We've gotten so spoiled. One thing I do have to say about Romania though is that there are very few choices for the small number of vegetarians in our group. They've pretty much been confined to eating polenta and tuna salad. That has got to get a little old. We ate quickly, because service to 16 people takes a while and our train was at seven, so we were a little hurried. A note of comedy during the meal was the extremely poorly painted up Dracula that kept swooping in and out of the room we were in, trying to look extremely sinister. His face paint was flaking off all over his cape. It was hilarious. There were other dressed up people around town too, some medieval ladies in laced dresses and stuff, a guy in furs with a double bladed axe (I can't imagine how hot he was!), and some seriously back combed ladies of the night. It was pretty epic there. The train home was, hurrah, air conditioned! Yes! And we had a table in front of us to rest our sleeping heads on. That is, I switched to the table when I woke up and my face was sticking to Jacklyn's arm. She was too sweet to wake me up. At least I didn't drool! It is hard to say why traveling, particularly when it requires no actual effort from me personally, sometimes totally destroys all of my energy, but yesterday was a day like that. We stumbled home around eleven thirty and I pretty much just crawled into bed and collapsed. I intend to spend the day today waiting for the rain to come and end this oppressive heat by, I think, catching up with everyone else here and finally reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. I think I'm one of two people here who have never read it. The shame! The photos have been added to my previous photos at this link:


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