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Published: February 3rd 2020
10th Jan: The train from Brasov dropped me off at Sighisoara around 11 am. The journey had been uneventful. The station was small and dead. I headed straight to the ticket office to buy my ticket for the overnight train to Vienna for the following day. I had tried to buy the ticket online, but they had to post the actual ticket to you. I don't know why they can't just use e-tickets like for the domestic trains. Thank god there was no queue as the ticket proved to be a bit of a ballache to buy. The woman couldn't find a ticket for sale on the system, but seemed to think there should be tickets available and she ended up having to phone someone, but after about 10-15 minutes it was all sorted and I had a ticket for the train. My first impressions of Sighisoara on the walk from the train station to my B&B was that it was quite a sleepy town. I'm sure that it is completely different in the summer, but I quite liked the sleepy feel. I hadn't check the walking directions very well and ended up having to do a massive detour to get
across the road and then I had to head up the steps to the citadel, which were quite steep and snow covered. It took longer than expected but I made it to my B&B. People just keep getting nicer and nicer in Romania. The host of where I was staying was absolutely lovely, she greeted me with a plate of fruit and cake that was still warm from the oven.
After getting myself sorted, I headed out for a walk around. Sighisoara is famous for being the birth place of Vlad Tepes aka the inspiration for Dracula. I had expected it to be quiet, but I didn't think it would be this quiet. There were only a few people around. I loved wandering the hills of the citadel. A lot of the houses were brightly painted and I enjoyed just taking a random street to see what was down it. The citadel is just so quaint and gorgeous. As much as I don't like crowds, I would love to come back in the summer, just to see the contrast. I walked around the citadel taking in the interior views and those out over the rest of Sighisoara. I also
saw the statue of Vlad III the Impaler. I ended up walking out of the citadel through the gate of the Clock Tower. I kept walking and ended up on some residential streets of Sighisoara, but I soon made my way back to the other side of the citadel. I was in the need of a late lunch. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and ended up at the tourist trap that is Casa Vlad Dracul. it was dead when I went in and I was shown to a table in one of the dining rooms. Since most of the items on the menu were rather pricy, I went for the Ciorbă de fasole, which is a ham and bean soup served in a bread bowl. The soup came served in a bread bowl with a bowl of red onions on the top. I am not a huge fan of these types of soup, so while it was edible it didn't wow me. The bread bowl was quite nice and I was surprised that I couldn't finish it. The staff were a bit mediocre. It took them ages to take my order which was a bit annoying
as I was the only person in the restaurant. After paying for my meal, I decided to pay the entrance fee to see the room where Dracula was born. I walked up the stairs. There was a bloke dressed up in Dracula get up in the coffin. I had a look around the two rooms. It was a total tourist trap, but at least I can say that I'd seen it. One thing that really peeved me was that the bloke who was dressed up as Dracula in the coffin demanded a tip, considering he was a bit shit at his job and still getting ready when I was in the room and the fact the entrance fee wasn't exactly cheap, I thought he was rather rude. Surely, the restaurant should pay him, not me on top of my entrance fee.
I decided to head back to the guesthouse and rest up for a bit. the lure of the warm was too much. I chilled for a bit before finding a supermarket on Google Maps to pick u supplies, so I decided to head there. Once again it was a bit of a fail as the route was rather
steep and it was a little icy. I had to pick my path carefully. The supermarket was bigger than I imagined and it had a good selection of stuff. I picked up some stuff for dinner, breakfast and my overnight train trip. Back at my guesthouse, I ate dinner and relaxed. I was going to have an early night, but the lure of messing about online was too great.
11th Jan: I probably should have gotten up a bit earlier, but I was feeling lazy and the room was nice and warm. I finally got myself sorted, packed up all my stuff and left it at reception to pick up later. I had made a rough plan in my head of the places I wanted to visit that day. The town was still really quiet as I walked to the first place I wanted to visit. There were a few other tourists around, but not many. I visited the History Museum, which is located in the Clock Tower. I think the entrance fee was around 15 lei. The museum is quite small as there wasn't much floor space, but quite a few floors. The exhibits covered the history of
the city and the founder of the museum. For most of the exhibits, there were information sheets in English. I liked looking at the artefacts from the old pharmacies. There seemed to be quite a few pharmacies in Sighisoara back in the day. I made my way all the way to the top of the Clock Tower. Here, you could go outside and take it the views of the city. It was really, really nice up there. I enjoyed taking in the views from all the different angles. I also liked that they had small plaques with different cities and their distances on them.
I made my way back through the town to the Scholars' Stairs. The stairs are a covered walkway that was built in 1642 to connect the upper and lower parts of the citadel. They were built to give students easier access to the school in winter as the stairs are covered and for people coming and going to the church at the top of the hill. Originally, there were 300 steps, but now there are only 176. The steps weren't too steep and I wasn't too out of breathe when I reached the top. Although
I did stop to take some photos of a cute kitty that was playing on the stairs. I was kind of surprised to see that there was still a school at the top of the hill. Since it was the weekend, it was closed. I walked over to the church, the Evangelical Church from the Hill (Biserica Evanghelică Din Deal), since you had to pay an entrance fee to see inside the church, I didn't bother going in. I was trying to conserve my last few lei. Instead, I took a walk around the graveyard. I really enjoyed reading the people's graves to see during what time period they lived. There were quite a few others walking around the graveyard, most just stayed at the front of the graveyard nearest the church, but I went all over. Then headed back to the church and to The Ropemakers' Tower (Turnul Frânghierilor), it looked like it had been converted into a house. I wondered if it was the vicar or priest from the church that lived there.
Even though it was cold, the sun was out and shining, so I decided to sit on one of the benches and bask in
the sun and read my book for a bit. I'm sure other people walking by must have though I was mental, but it was really, really nice. A place I had seen yesterday was 'The Dracula Investigation'. I had done a little bit of research on it and it sounded good and a bit different so I headed there. The entrance fee was (I think) 15 lei. The museum takes about 20-25 minutes to go around. It was a really interesting and unique experience. You go from room to room, there were about 5 rooms, and listen to the story of Vlad Tepes. I already new some of the information from the previous tours I had been on in Romania, but it is always good to have a refresher and I learnt some new things, too. The museum was really cleverly done. It was dramatic and engaging but still managed to present the information in a balanced way. It got me thinking about the good and bad things that Vlad Tepes had done and what I would have done if I was in his situation.
It was time for an early dinner, so I headed to a restaurant that
I had seen yesterday and had good reviews online. This place was called 'Gasthaus Alte Post' and is just outside the old fortress, which would mean a walk uphill with a full belly. Before becoming a hotel and restaurant, the building was used as a post station during the reign of the Hapsburg Empire. The restaurant was down in the basement. I have become quite fond of all the basement dining I have done on my trip as these places are rather atmospheric. I didn't have to wait long to be shown to a table. While the place wasn't busy, there were more people in there than I had expected. Since this would be my last meal in Romania I had to make the most of it. I have had some great food in this country, I have fallen in love with Romanian cuisine and the vast majority of the food I have had has been great. I decided to order the same thing that I'd had in Sibiu, Sarmale, which is cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and served with a hunk of pork and polenta. I was surprised at how quick my food came. I came back from the
bathroom and it was already on the table waiting for me. While the essence of the dish was the same as the one I'd had in Sibiu, it was executed a little differently. This one came with sour cream poured over the top and a green chilli pepper. These were welcome additions in my eyes. The cabbage rolls were tasty and the polenta, well, is just polenta, so bland it is just inoffensive. The pork, here, was not as good as the one in Sibiu. There I had nice slices but here it was a chunk and it was rather difficult to cut and had some kind of gristle or something in it, meaning I couldn't eat it all. I had made sure that I had enough room for dessert as this would be the last time I could have Papanași. I have totally fallen in love with this dessert and it depresses me that I won't find them on dessert menus outside of Romania. I'm going tot have to start finding Romanian restaurants to eat at. The dessert takes a while to prepare/cook so I let my main meal digest while waiting for the Papanași to turn up. There
was a lot of dessert when it arrived. I had two doughnuts and then the two smaller balls on the top, which were covered with sour cream and berry jam. They were utterly delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
After a quick stop at the supermarket for some water and back to the B&B to get my bag, I made my way to the train station. There was nothing there, only a few benches. There wasn't even an electronic board announcing which platforms the trains arrived and departed from. However there were printed boards, so I just hoped that there would not be a change as my Romanian would not be up to interpreting that. There was a cafe/restaurant/bar, but since I wasn't hungry, I didn't see the point in going in. I ended up going for a walk down to the Holy Trinity Church (Biserica Sfânta Treime), which was about a ten minute walk away. I had seen the church from the town, so it was nice to see it up close and the river beside it. I headed back to the train station. I needn't have worried, I think because the train is an international one, there
was an announcement in English. However, the platform was so poorly lit and the train didn't have great signage, so I had no idea what carriage I go on at. Luckily, it was the right one, but I really miss how clear the station, platform and train layouts are in China. There is just so much guesswork here.
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