Medieval Romania

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After that long, long night waiting for the train I headed to Sibiu in Translyvania. Yes, Translyvania is a real place! And Sibiu is a beautiful city, wearing its medieval heritage with pride.

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Sibiu

Sibiu was the first place I’ve visited where I wasn’t able to find a cs host. No problem as I was sure I could find a hostel. But the same thing happened as in Timisoara – I just couldn’t find the hostels (although now I think it was the fault of my poor map reading skills). After a few hours of walking around in the baking heat I found myself in the city centre and at an info office and finally (after another detour) at the first hostel of my stay, almost three months into my trip.And what a great place: shady and cool, friendly owners and backpackers, muesli breakfast and tea included, a great location and a very comfortable place to hide away from the heat. Oh, and totally affordable (just so you know, Romania is silly cheap, even for South Africans).

I spent two days chilling out there, taking small walks for food and new shoes (yet another pair) in the daytime and saving sightseeing for the cooler nights. Over the weekend there was a medieval festival which involved some fire performances, bands playing the kind of music we all know from Robin Hood films, traditional sweets tempting passersby (I ate some local chocolate fudge stuff that made me smile) and trinkets and toys for sale. I bought my first souvenir there: a red wooden fan. It’s been the best thing I’ve bought so far!

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Best buy: my wooden Romanian fan

Over breakfast on Saturday I was trying to decide where to go when I found out there were no beds in the hostel available for that night. Seems fate intervened and decided for me. So I packed my backpack (a little lighter after donating my Ozora blanket and some clothes), met Cal, an American guy who has been traveling for the last four years, at the door and set off for the train station bound for Sigishoara, a Unesco-listed medieval town about three hours away.

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On the train from Sibiu to Sigishoara.

The train journey was long, slow and unbearably hot, but visiting this town made it worthwhile. Sigishoara is where Dracula was supposedly born and the winding, cobbled-stoned alleyways fuel thoughts of cloaked villains sweeping down on unsuspecting victims at night; the churches and steep stairways and clock tower all presiding over an ancient time. The cemetery behind the Church on the Hill was my favourite as it is exactly what I imagined a spooky Translyvanian town to be like.

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Towering churches, spooky alleyways and a whispering graveyard.

The 40 degree heat finally broke with a rainstorm on Sunday evening, the fresh smell of rain inviting reprieve and reminding me of home.

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