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Published: February 20th 2020
5th Jan: The train journey to Sibiu took about about five hours. I had gone for first class since my credit card didn't seem to like it when I tried to book second class. The carriage was big and comfy, I would need to take a second class journey to see if it was worth the extra money (I did later in my trip, and second class was more than adequate). I had bought some snacks from the bakery to eat and I scoffed them pretty quite as they were delicious. The pretzel/bagel type thing, Covrigi, was particularly delicious and reminded me of those I'd had in Poland. I watched the scenery go by as the train made its way to its destination. Soon after leaving Bucharest, we entered places covered with snow. We stopped at what I presume were a few ski resorts, where a lot of people got off. I was quite jealous of those getting off in Brasov as it was snowing there. Most people had cleared out of the train by the time we had left Brasov, not too many people were going further. I really enjoyed watching the scenery go back and passing through the small
country stations. Sibiu train station was pretty small, not the smallest I would encounter on my trip though. It was a little snowy and I had to take care when walking to the town centre as the ground was a little slippery. Sibiu felt a million miles away from Bucharest, it was just so different. It reminded me of Poland and Germany. The place I was staying was in an excellent location in the centre of old town area. After getting sorted, I headed out for a little exploration.
It was early evening, so pretty dark by this point. It was also a lot colder than Bucharest had been. I headed to Piața Mare, the Large Square, that I had passed earlier. I feel like I arrived a bit too late as there was a Ferris wheel and ice skating rink, but it looked like things were packing up as Christmas was over. If only i could have been here in the run up to Christmas. The square was gorgeous though and I loved all the grand old buildings and not so grand but still cute ones ringing the square. It is just so pretty. I walked through to
Piața Mică, the Small Square. I didn't go to the main part of this square, but the other side, which was really cute, too. It was lined with bars and restaurants but most looked pretty quiet. I continued to wander the streets. It was rather cold, but I liked how quiet it was. I also passed a few churches that were lit up and I was looking forward to seeing everything in the day time.
It was time for dinner, I had seen online that there was a burger place under my hostel, Burger Bar 2.0. so headed there. I hadn't had a burger in a while, so I was looking forward to it, but what to choose, there were so many delicious looking things on the menu. I ordered a wild boar burger set which came with fries and a drink. I was surprised when the burger came as it was an absolute beast. It took me a good while to eat it, and I hadn't been given any cutlery, so I ended up with sticky fingers. I really enjoyed the burger and I was glad that I had tried something different. It was a bit overpriced though.
After dinner, I headed to the supermarket to pick up some supplies before retreating to the warmth of my hostel.
6th Jan: Sometimes things don't work out too well on a trip, planning wise, and this happened for my time in Sibiu, as all museums are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I would be unable to visit them, and didn't really want to add an extra day to my time in Sibiu, just for them. Instead, today would be spent predominantly walking around outside. I would have to find other respites from the cold. I took a walk around some of the back streets that led towards the station. I loved all the brightly coloured residences. I also noticed the 'Houses with Eyes', I remember reading a little bit about them when doing research on Sibiu. These 'eyes' are windows in the roofs of the houses that are shaped like eyes. Some people find them a bit freaky, but I really like them. These windows were built between the 15th and 19th centuries. These windows were installed as cooling devices for attics. I headed back to the Large Square and the Small Square. The Small Square looked much
better in the day time. I took a walk around it, there were a lot more bars on restaurants on the side I hadn't explored the previous evening. It would be a really nice place to hang out with friends. The Bridge of Lies is located at one end of the Small Square, so I took a walk over to that. The original Bridge of Lies was made of wood and in 1859 the bridge was rebuilt in cast iron. The bridge connects the upper and lower parts of the town. While, I didn't think the bridge was amazing, I did enjoy the view from it. I really liked the mix of architecture as I could see the traditional architecture and the more modern sovietesque buildings.
I walked on to Piața Albert Huet, which was very pretty and mostly devoid of people. In the centre, there is the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary, which is quite an imposing church. I wandered the streets some more. I enjoyed walking down Turnul Scărilor (The Stairs Tower), although I had to be careful because of the ice on the steps. I retraced my steps from the previous evening. I wanted to head
to another church that I had seen to see what it looked like in the daylight. I was shocked that the streets were so busy, and then I remembered, today was Orthodox Christmas. Everyone was heading to and from services at the church. The Holy Trinity Cathedral was rammed with people coming and going. I also saw some of the Orthodox Priests walking along the street. I was surprised to see that there were quite a few police officers around. I didn't know if they were there to keep the crowds under control or for something more sinister. I ended up walking to another church, which had museum, which I wasn't sure if it was open or closed and I wasn't really bothered about visiting any way. The clouds had broken and the sky was gorgeous shade of blue now. I ended up walking through a small park, Astra Park, which was really cute. If the weather had been a bit warmer, it would have been a place that I would have liked to linger with my book. The park finished at the start of Strada Nicolae Bălcescu, which is one of the main pedestrian/shopping streets. I was staying on
this street, but at the other end. I hadn't had a walk along it the previous night, so I enjoyed walking along the street. I was surprised at how busy it was. The buildings were all really beautiful, too. I was in need of a stop to warm up by this point, so I headed into a cafe for a coffee. I think the place was called Ted's Coffee. It was a nice place and I got a spot by the window so that I could people watch on the busy street.
After warming up, I made my way to the Old City Walls. They were only a short walk away. I like that Sibiu is quite compact. There isn't much left of the city walls, only one small section and you can't access it, I would have like to have taken a walk along the small section. There were also about three towers and I liked looking at those, they really reminded me of Tallinn. There was a little park next to the Old City Walls so I took a walk through that. It was cute and peaceful, and seemed to be a popular place for parents and
their children. By this time, I was ready for a late lunch. I headed back to the hostel to make use of the internet to google the place I wanted to go. Crama Sibiul Vechi was just along the side street near my hostel and it had good reviews so I was eager to try it. I made my way down to the basement, where the restaurant is located and was surprised to see how busy it was given that it was three in the afternoon. There were lots of people having a late lunch. I really liked the atmosphere in the restaurant. The menu was quite extensive and I was eager to try some more Romanian food. I had to make sure that I didn't order too much like in Bucharest as I needed to make sure I had room for dessert. I ordered Sarmale, which is stuffed cabbage rolls. I really, really enjoyed my food. The stuffed cabbage leaves were delicious and there was also a nice little hunk of pork on the side that I thoroughly enjoyed. Even the polenta side dish was too bad, just bland. I still had room for dessert so I ordered Papanasi,
which are fried cheese doughnuts covered in sour cream and blueberry jam. I had to wait quite a while for dessert to turn up, but it was well worth the wait. I am not normally a huge fan of doughnuts, but these ones were amazing. I loved that there was lots and lots of sour cream and jam as it stopped the doughnuts from being too dry. The meal was the perfect end to my time in Sibiu.
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