Our fourth stop in Romania was Sighisoara (pronounced something like sig-ee-shwo-ara; I had to practice) another wonderfully beautiful old town settled in the 12th century by Transylvanian Saxons. The oldest part of the city was built on a hill, surrounded of course by impenetrable walls, and that area – the citadel – retains much of the feel of medieval Europe. It is so historic, in fact, that in 1999 UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in honor of the 850-year history of those Transylvanian Saxons.
The main thing to do in Sighisoara, then, is to just wander around the citadel and admire the architecture and remaining walls and towers. And you will be reminded, should you somehow forget, that Vlad the Impaler – also known as Dracula, was born here when his father, Vlad Dracul, Prince of Wallachia, was here in exile.
Meanwhile, fall is upon us, moving in fast. On the morning of October 1, it was barely above freezing when I went out for a morning run, the first time I’ve needed hat and gloves in many months. Then we needed to scrape the frost off the car (with my ATM card; the rental company didn’t provide us with a scraper) before we could drive away. When was the last time I did that?
By now we’re definitely getting a feel for Romania and I have to say, I’m loving it. Mark is a little harder to please when the food isn’t so great but I’ve loved the beautiful medieval town centers and the landscape as we drive through. The wine is little short of remarkable. Who ever knew Romanian wine would be so good and cheap?
There are some peculiarities, though. We’ve seen more hitchhikers in Romania than anywhere in the world, just lots of people – young, old, men, women, you name it – hitching a ride. And the horses and donkeys pulling carts; didn’t that end like 30 years ago? But no, they’re everywhere, just adding to the ambience of a beautiful country. Two more stops to go!