Sibiu, Romania: Finally Getting High in Romania


I don’t have Writer’s Block because I am by no stretch of the imagination a writer, but this Sibiu post has been taking its good old time forming in my mind. I think it’s Blogger’s Block. It isn’t as serious as Writer’s Block, mainly because my livelihood doesn’t depend upon it. It’s rarely fatal, but it is frustrating. Sibiu was great. I’m just having a tough time wrapping words around it.


Dear Gentle Reader

I apologize now and will inform you that there were no travel catastrophes, the apartment was wonderful, our hosts were lovely, and I have absolutely nothing to bitch about. I really think my bitchy-blogging shines, but what’s there to write about or make fun of when everything was great?

With that said, I know you are busy, so I will not be offended if you decide to take the time you normally reserve for our blog to do something else. Vacuuming the refrigerator coils is always an overlooked chore and it will improve your appliance’s energy efficiency.


The Historic Center

Our large, comfortable, and well-equipped apartment was located within a five-minute walk to the historic center of Sibiu. The historic center is mostly pedestrian — or near-pedestrian — cobblestone streets with many cafes, restaurants, and shops. There is a large stone church with craftsmen in the yard forging steel, chiseling away at blocks of stone, and carving wood. Cute, cute, cute.

Blacksmith in the churchyard Photo: PK

The narrow streets wind this way and that. The tourists stop on the Bridge of Lies and take selfies. Legend has it that if you tell a lie on the Bridge of Lies, it groans then you get thrown off it, not sure by whom, but it’s not a high bridge. I imagine you might suffer abrasions and broken bones rather than be killed.

Don’t lie on this bridge

Little pockets of yum!

After rambling aimlessly for a bit, and not getting thrown from the bridge, you almost always wind up in Piata Mare, the huge main square. There was always something happening there; concerts, car shows, … Seriously, if you are still reading, it’s ok to go vacuum the fridge coils instead. Everything was so cute and so pleasant, I’m getting a toothache just describing it.

We discovered gogoserie, a light, crisp dough pocket stuffed with sweet or savory ingredients. We picked up a couple filled with ham and cheese to eat in the small, but very nice, park. Obviously, lunch in the park required a bottle of wine. We had stumbled upon Wine Not? in our destination-unknown perambulation earlier and asked the very nice woman in the very nice wine shop to chill a bottle of Romanian white wine from the area for us, a Fateasca Alba. We returned. The wine was chilled. The woman was happy that we were happy. We were hungry and thirsty, so off to the park, we went.


The Outdoor Museum

The open-air museum

If you get to Sibiu, the Astra National Museum Complex is a must-see. Our host, Dumitru, took us there for a few hours one evening. The live exhibits were closed, but we had the entire 96-hectare park nearly to ourselves. It was comprised of houses from different regions in Romania. Each one was painstakingly disassembled at its place of origin, carefully numbered, then brought to the museum and reassembled. The museum grows every year by a few buildings. It was fascinating.

Dumitru is an excellent guide and interesting conversationalist. We had dinner together and hatched a plan to go to the mountains for a guided hike led by none other than himself. While we took our time with dinner the park closed and Dumitru’s car got locked inside. There was no way to get back. It was dark and scary… no, it wasn’t. The parking lot was lit and the guard opened the gate for us. As I said, I got nothin’.

Seriously though, those fridge coils aren’t going to clean themselves.


Getting High with Dumitru

Bright and early the next morning Dumitru picked us up for a hike in the Carpathian Mountains. We were going to Capra Lake. Along the way, we had beautiful vistas of the mountains. A cable car ran up the valley and people camped along the river. There were flocks of sheep sticking to the sides of the steep mountains like dandruff on the back of a dark grey wool coat.

Up, up, up we went. Finally, we reached the trailhead and parked in a huge dirt lot. Our last few experiences with taking hikes in the Romanian mountains were less than stellar, but this held promise. We laced up our boots and stuffed our lunch in our packs (more of the ham and cheese stuffed gogoseries!) We climbed and chatted and met other hikers along the way. A solo woman with some health issues latched onto us, so we kept it slow and hiked at her pace. She was heading up the mountain to pay respect to her friend who was killed in an avalanche over the winter.

Lunch by Capra Lake Photo:PK

The hike was everything we wanted but had been unable to find in other parts of Romania. Dumitru was a little disappointed that we didn’t want to “bag the peak” just another 500′ in elevation. Our peak-bagging days are done, so we had a nice lunch by the lake instead. The woman seeking her friend’s memorial ate with us and we all chatted.

We lingered by the lake until the clouds started to look ominous. It had gotten chilly and rain was imminent. We put our packs on, tightened our laces, and started down the mountain. Our lunchmate took off in another direction, in search of the memorial. Down we went. When the parking lot came into view, we hardly recognized the place. The mostly empty dirt lot was full and cars. The road was lined with cars and vendors as far as the eye could see. The early start was an excellent idea!


No Hope

If you have read this far there is absolutely no hope that your fridge coils will have the fuzzy, heat-exchange-killing, mittens removed from their little fingers, is there? Ok then, I appreciate your endurance, but also question your judgment.

Sibiu was a wonderful city. After the ups and downs that we had throughout Romania, Sibiu turned out to be one of the highlights of our entire trip. The apartment, our hosts, the historic center, the hiking, the wine, the food, everything was excellent. I might have Blogger’s Block, but I have great memories of Sibiu.

Hike, Drink, Live, Laugh

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