I can't say that today has been my favorite day of this trip, but it has had some good points in spite of the long train ride and the disappointing city I find myself in.
In spite of getting to sleep really as late as I wanted (since my train didn't leave until after 11), my mind got to going around 7:30. So, I got up, checked the email, did my stretches, and got my post cards in the mail. The breakfast at the Hotel Sighisoara was not the largest selection, but I did enjoy the sausage omelette particularly. I also had a cup of English breakfast tea, which ends my caffeine-free streak. I also had a coke on the train, so I blew it out of the water. The hotel was kind enough to call a cab for me, and I paid a grand total of $1.50 for the ride to the train station. Unbelievable how cheap that is here.
My train ride was uneventful. I'm continuing to make it through Watership Down
on my travel days. I've made it to Part III, and it's around chapter 32 of 50. Progress, progress. The train ride, though, was 4.5
hours, which surprised me, since I didn't think it was particularly far. But we went very slowly for several segments of the voyage, while other times the pedal was to the metal, so to speak. I had a compartment with 3 other people, who were all already there when I got on board. Two of them disembarked at Cluj, with me. I hadn't brought any lunch with me, and there was no restaurant car, or even a guy carrying a pail of snacks and liquid refreshments like the day before. So I drank my coke and ate a bag of cheese crackers I had bought in Brasov.
Since the hotel was less than a kilometer, almost in a direct line, from the train station, I decided I'd walk it. Wrong. About half way there, it became an uphill battle, though not nearly as much of an ordeal as Sighisoara. I'll for sure be taking a taxi to and from every hotel from now until I leave Romania. The lesson has been seared into my memory. Plus, my back is still a bit sore from that tumble in the Clock Tower yesterday. Thanks, Dracula.
My hotel is fantastic. No
elevator, but my room is like a suite. Separate entryway, bathroom, bedroom, and then there's a raised little semicircular nook in the bedroom with a table and 2 chairs, with windows on 3 sides. We'll see how much I like that when the sun comes up tomorrow - I sure hope the curtains do their job. The lady who runs the hotel speaks good English, and she showed me around and even asked me what time I'd like breakfast tomorrow. She gave me a map and some suggestions before I hit the town.
My hotel is about 10 minutes from the river, which is really the start of the "town" area. So I went to the hilltop hotel she told me about and found the panoramic views she suggested. I've included one of them at the top of this blog post. After that, things went downhill, literally and figuratively. There are a few interesting buildings to see here, but it really is just a mid-sized city to me. It's a bit dirty, so I'm not happy with that, and electrical wires are everywhere. You couldn't really get more different from Sighisoara and still be in Transylvania. I walked down
Mirror Street from Union Square, where the main Gothic cathedral is, to the square containing the Orthodox Church. A couple more streets, and I was done with all the "touristy" things to do in this town. So I hit up a grocery store, where I got an amandina (a chocolate little cake that is yummy) from a rude lady working behind the bakery counter. I clearly told her what I wanted, to which she responded in very fast Romanian that I couldn't understand. So I said, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand." So she shook her head and hung it in mock despair, and then said in English, "which one?" "The chocolate one," I said. Then she made a big affair, as if it killed her to get that. Whatever. Honestly, Romance-language people, you know you speak your language faster than just about anybody else speaks theirs - so when you're talking to someone who's obviously a foreigner, slow it down a little, mmkay? I mean, I've watched the news in Romanian just now, and I get about 40% of what they're saying. But when you speak to me in your dialect as if I'm also a native speaker of that
dialect, we gunna have some probz, shawty.
Anyway, the weather is supposed to be getting hotter throughout the week, hitting in the upper 80s F by Wednesday. Ugh. I came to Europe to escape that crap. The hotel lady highly recommended the salt mines nearby, so I may go do that tomorrow, if I feel up to it. At least it would be underground, so maybe cooler. And if it rains, underground wouldn't be a problem. I don't really know what else this town has to offer, but I'm sorely disappointed in wikivoyage.org for recommending 2 nights here.
Now, the good news. First, I got an email from one of my TCU professors telling me I got an A on my final paper for Mexican History, which means I made an A on every single assignment for that class this semester. I guess that means I get an A in that class.
And next, my former roommate Ashley is getting married in December! And she asked me to be a bridesman - yes, a dude standing on the same side as the bridesmaids. I'm just going to have to start watching what I eat, since I want
that dress to fit perfectly. Seriously, though, I hope I don't have to wear a dress or especially high heels. And I'm gonna wait until after I get back to America to start watching my figure, since I've still got a trip to Italy before I return.
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