The Cutest Damn Town
Located in Transylvania along the banks of the Tarnava Marever, it’s the cutest little town in all of Romania. Of course the Romans started the whole thing, then the Saxons built the current old town over the Roman fort. Interestingly, the ‘Transylvanian Saxons’ were German craftsman who were invited to settle Romania by the King of Hungary in the 1100s to protect the edges of his kingdom. So these talented craftsman built Sighisoara, and each craft built a fortified tower strategically placed to protect the city. So cute in fact, it is considered to be the most beautiful and well preserved citadel in Europe. And so it should come as no surprise that it is an UNESCO world heritage site. Hell, what isn’t?
But if you arrive at the correct time, it is also a very sleepy, and a bit creepy, town. We arrived at the train station from Sibiu early afternoon. The place was nearly deserted as we headed for the exit in need of a taxi to take us to our Airbnb. The usual scenario is that as soon as you walk out of the front door of a train station, you are accosted by taxi hawkers looking to get you into their patron’s taxi. But what we encountered was more like something out of the twilight zone tv series. Not a taxi to be found, only a few zombie like travelers milling about.
It was hot, and Carrie sensing that I was getting cranky said: “Let’s walk down to the main road. Maybe taxis aren’t allowed to park right in front of the station. The taxis are probably down there.” I grunt, which Carrie interprets as an ok, so off we go. Sure enough, the taxi stand is on the main road down from the station. But not a single taxi is visible. After about 10 minutes, one does speed by, the driver pale and expressionless, without even glancing in our direction. “Hey, there’s a bar across the street. Let’s get a beer and figure out what to do.” Carrie suggests. I was a bit thirsty and I needed something to take the edge off so I grunt, which Carrie interprets as an ok.
We order a couple of beers and ask the waitress, also the only visible person in the area, if she would mind calling us a taxi. She gives us the once over, then seemingly passing the test she says: “Sure.” A minute later she tells us that all the taxis are ‘busy’ and it may be awhile. Busy? Really? With whom and where? Do they only come out at night? Plan B: We have our Airbnb’s phone number, but no one there speaks English. Again, our waitress volunteers to call our Airbnb for us. A minute later she returns and says: “Your Airbnb will call a taxi for you and make sure you are picked up. We order a second beer and wait. As we take the last gulp of our second beer our chariot arrives.
At least it’s not a hearse. After five minutes of climbing steep and windy roads we arrive at our destination which overlooks the ancient medieval section of the town. It’s cute. Really cute. And we have an incredible view. We can even see other people, although we’re concerned that perhaps they are the living dead. It is Transylvania after all.
Old Town: More cuteness, chimneys, and roof tops
Ready to explore, we walk down, down, down, to the entrance of the citadel, then back up into the old center. We’ve learned that they always built these fortified structures at the top of hills. Go figure. The clock tower is the major landmark of the citadel and it’s cute. Built in the 13th century, its purpose was to protect the city gates from the zombie hoard, I expect. What struck me the most, perched high above the old village, was the beauty of its chimneys and the multi-colored rooftops at every which angle. I’ve been fascinated with chimneys ever since England and now I can add rooftops to my list. Did you know that chimneys are a relatively new invention;
rare before the 12th century. Click on the chimney link above and be prepared to be fascinated. Everyone needs a hobby, right?
More wining and getting out of town
Yes, this area is a wine region, although we did little to explore it. Actually, our sole encounter was at a local wine shop where we purchased a bottle of Feteasca Neagra from the area. If you get here, give it a try. Dark, heavy, with nice tannins,
it goes great with a nice hardy bowl of goulash.
So, Sighisoara delivers a ten on the cuteness scale, delivers good wine, and is a great place to try goulash due to the heavy Hungarian influence. But don’t dally.
We spent 4 days there and that was too long. Give it two full days and you may escape without becoming a member of the living dead.
Happy Halloween! (More photos below)
Hike Drink Live Laugh (Apero Time!)
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