I'll get to the headline story later on, but it was the most thrilling thing that happened today, for sure. There's not really a whole lot "scary" here, considering this is reputedly the birthplace of Dracula.
My trip here this morning went off without a hitch. I had another awesome breakfast at my hotel, and then I took a cab - the first one of this trip - to the train station. It cost a whole $2.50, and that included the tip! I'll be taking another one tomorrow morning, and probably another one in the afternoon when I get to my next stop. They really are cheap here, so I'm going to act like I have money, since I apparently do. I'm also going in for the "splurge" hotels in Romania, at least according to wikivoyage.org, because the high-end hotels here cost about the same as mid-range hotels in America or Western Europe.
I'm at the Hotel Sighisoara, which is in the center of Sighisoara (there's little squiggle under the 2nd 's,' which makes it sound like "sighishwara"). It was only a kilometer from the train station, so I thought it would be easy to walk. It was, until
I got to the citadel, which is where the main tourist attractions, and my hotel, are found. You have to walk up stairs for about 250 meters, and then the interior has cobblestones from hell - not the cute little ones that are mostly attached to one another; these are bulbous rocks protruding from dirt. My bag was not pleased, and neither was I for having to carry it so long. So it was a relief when I got to my hotel, which is almost a tourist attraction in itself. I've got a room on the 2nd (really the 3rd) floor, overlooking the main square of the town. It's also got the longest bathtub I've seen on this trip. The room is quiet spacious, and there's a restaurant and cafe within the hotel. When I got here, they couldn't believe I had walked/carried my bag all the way from the train station. They offered to get a taxi in the morning (no more than $1.50) and even to call and make sure my train was running on time. They're good people.
I walked around the citadel for a couple of hours, seeing all the cute shops and nice views
over the hilly countryside and the town below. It's Sunday, so not much is really open except for eateries and a couple of small museums. Honestly, everything here is small, except for the citadel itself. There are numerous towers, most of which you can't enter or ascend. So I got some good pictures of the places that piqued my interest. Vlad Tepes, the supposed Dracula, was born around the block from my hotel, so I paid a visit. They have a kitschy little restaurant there now. I was getting hungry, but I walked back to my hotel, whereupon I encountered the San Gennaro Pizzeria next door. I figured it had outside seating, and the dessert looked awesome, so I'd try it. I got the 4-cheese pizza, and honestly it was one of the worst pizzas I've ever eaten. But I ate it all, since I had paid for it. The molten chocolate cake for dessert was very good, though it was no Chili's cinnamon cake - bring that back, Chili's!!!
After lunch, I went up to the big church overlooking the citadel. There's a covered walkway that made the 176 steps not so bad. Up there, they had the
Gothic church, built in 1295, as the sign says. But you couldn't take pictures, so I figured I'd pass. Sure, the entry fee was only 75¢, but I'm getting a little tired of no being allowed to take pictures inside Romanian churches. I've gone to so many, how am I supposed to remember all this stuff if I can't look back at my pictures? Plus, there wasn't any awesome story attached to this one, no major relics inside to visit, so I walked around and took some pictures of the cemetery and the town below.
Back down in the lower citadel, I decided I would go up into the Clock Tower, since they had a history museum and a place up top where you could get some good views of the area. The museum was very cramped, and the stuff I saw wasn't all that enticing. Plus, if I wanted to take pictures, I would have to pay an extra dollar for that. No thanks. I did pay the extra money to take pictures in the Jewish Museum in Prague, but not for this. I was glad I did not. They said we could take pictures from the top
of the tower without having to pay for that. So I got up there, and there were truly the best views of the town. All the people had said that the Gothic church gave the best views, since it was higher. Yes, it was higher, but there were a lot of trees and shrubberies in the way. The view from the tower was unobstructed. Along the edge of the railing, they had little metal plates that listed the direction and distance of certain cities. I found it interesting that I'm slightly closer to Beijing right now than I am to New York (the only America city listed). I also found it fun to look at some of the other cities and think, "I've been there in the past 8 weeks" or "I'll be going there in the next 3 weeks."
The journey to the top of the tower was not an easy one. There were several floors, and all of the stairs were narrow and wooden (except the bottom level, which was brick but still narrow). I had made it back down to the next-to-last floor when my foot slipped. Or Dracula pushed me. I like the sound of
the latter excuse. There were 20 steps in this set, and I fell from the 2nd from the top all the way down to the bottom. It was almost in slow motion, and as it was happening, I didn't quite realize it was happening to me. All I saw was my camera in my right hand, and some part of me was making sure that it didn't go flying or hit the stairs either. It did neither, which was a miracle. And I didn't go head over heels, I just really seemed to skid down the stairs on my backside. I was as surprised as everyone around me, and even more surprised when I hadn't broken anything, including myself. I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow in my back, but for now, I'm fine. The curse of the Dracul.
There's really not much else to do here. There have been loads of tourists (families and big groups) wandering around the town all afternoon, but now that the sun has set, I don't see or hear anybody. Maybe they're afraid to be out in Dracula's home town after dark. I'm probably going to go wander around a little bit in a
few minutes, so if you don't get any more blogs from me, blame it on Dracula.
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