Woke up the next morning to the 3 young English guys walking around in their black boxer/briefs. Maybe mixed hostel rooms aren’t such a bad thing after all… 😉 (See, Cheri?? Told ya!!) While waiting on breakfast, I had a nice conversation with the guys (now fully clothed 😑) about what we were all doing in Romania. Breakfast was AMAZING!!!!!!! Holy crap!! 2 eggs fried hard (thank god, because runny yolks make me want to hurl), tomatoes, cucumbers, and 2 types of sausage. The little sausage links were OH MY GOD TO DIE FOR! Literally, best sausage I’ve ever had in my life! Right after breakfast, I packed up and headed back down the Transfasagaran. The views were just as breath taking as yesterday.
A gorgeous drive brought me to my first stop of the day- Sibiu. I didn’t have this city on my “to do” spreadsheet, but Emanuel had mentioned it was really nice, so I decided to stop and wander around. There was a bunch of pay to park places, but I saw free parking right in front of a big produce market for 2 hours. That should be plenty! Parked, and headed up the cobblestone streets, not really knowing what to look for or expect. I made my way to a HUGE plaza! Like MASSIVE! From there, I just kind of wandered around taking pictures.
There was a little shop on the side of the street with a line. I could see that they were opening (it was 10) and there were a bunch of bread things in the window. Ok, I’ll give it a go! Got in line, looked at them, had zero idea what they were. Well, they were all called covrigi, so I knew that much! The lady in front of me picked the variety called “visine”. Fine, that must be good. Bought one (it was like 75 cents). Bit into it- cherry! So now I have a new word. Visine is cherry. 😊 Chicken, enter, and cherry. I’m on a roll (no pun intended!). Kind of a perverted one from the sounds of it, but I’m learning the language!
I strolled through a beautiful shaded park, where men were around tables playing cards. Wandered through the city and found the Liar’s Bridge- apparently if you tell a lie on it, it will shake and make weird noises. My exclamation of “I am fluent in Romanian.” didn’t produce those results, so I’m #skeptical.
Now one thing odd that I didn’t notice until I downloaded my pictures, were the roofs of these houses. Notice anything kind of weird (and eerie!) about them?
THE HOUSES HAVE EYES!!!!!!! <insert horror scream 😱> I found it to be so weird, that I actually googled it to see if it was a “thing” or if I just had a vivid imagination (2 sips of Palinka will do that to you….). Sure enough, it’s a “thing”! The Eyes of Sibiu! They’re attic windows, to cool the houses. But the effect is quite striking! I wish I would have noticed it while I was there…I would have been on the look out!
Found my way back to the car, and decided to take a stroll through the market. It was MASSIVE!! Along one side were storefronts selling all kinds of meat and cheese and such. Under the tents, more produce and flowers that you could even imagine! I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but a little old lady with a bunch of blackberries caught my eye. I felt guilty, but I had to take a picture of her. I continued wandering around the market, and finally decided I just had to buy some berries from that woman! Went to her stand, and some guy was there, tasting the berries. He looked at me and said something in Romanian that I easily figured out just from his look and tone was, “These berries are crap.” I tasted one and overly gestured about how good it was. Screw you, dude. He walked off. I pointed to one container and handed the lady 5 lei ($1.25). When I had walked through the market, there were about 3 other berry vendors. Every one of them had bigger berries (almost twice the size), shinier berries, and fresher looking berries. But none of those vendors were as beautiful as this woman. That’s what sold me on her. Oh, the stories I know she could tell….Unfortunately, they probably included words other than chicken, enter, and cherry, so there’s that. OH! And I learned the word for apple!! Mere. 4 words down umpteen thousand to go!! 🙂
Out of the city, back on the road. I was heading toward the Dacian (ancient people of Romania) ruins- Sargizegetusa Regia. I put into google that I wanted my route to be “no highways”. I was happy to see the sunflower fields made another appearance so I could actually get a picture of them!
I drove on roads where I didn’t have another car in front or behind me for miles, and would rarely meet an oncoming car. It was FABULOUS! Well, there were the typical Romanian traffic jams… 😉
And after being in the car for a few days, I finally knew all of the words to Strongest. What in the hell am I talking about? WHAT?! You don’t know Strongest?! It’s only THE most popular pop song in Romania!! Good lord, people, get some culture!! 😜 I know this because it plays a least a dozen times a day on the radio (it doesn’t matter what station). And it’s super catchy. And I may or may not have been singing and car dancing on more than one occasion to it…
Honestly, it was a pretty long drive for me. I was over 3.5 hours in of just driving since I left this morning. So I was really happy to see that I was approaching the ruin site! 1 mile, .5 mile, 150 feet- I was there! But…there was nothing. Except a paper sign in Romanian on the side of the road in the weeds that said something about archaeology and no access. WHAT THE HELL???? I pulled over and did some googling. Well, apparently this was the WRONG site. The main site I was looking for was 1.5 hours in the opposite direction!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! I swear I could hear evil laughter coming from the Google Maps app… Ok, fine, whatever. I had two things planned in this area over the next two days, with an Airbnb in Hateg, and no idea where I was going to stay the next night. I had booked the Hateg bnb at the last minute a day or so ago. That one, and tomorrow night, were the only ones I didn’t book in advance for some reason… Anyway, I was right in the city of Hateg, it was about 2pm, and I didn’t feel like driving another 3 hours roundtrip to the ruins. So I decided to go to my other stop in this areas- Corvin Castle.
Drove toward Hunedoara. As I got into town, there was this MASSIVE house (mansion??) in the weirdest style I’ve ever seen in Romania- kind of Asian inspired or something. I thought it was super strange, and that it must be an Asian business owner showing off or something. I also thought that the people of Hunedoara must think he’s pretty damn obnoxious. But then I saw another house in the same style. And another. And then a whole little neighborhood of them!! Research says that they were built by some Romani people (an ethnic minority). People know them by the highly derogatory term “gypsy”- and people should understand that this is NOT a term they should use. With that social lesson out of the way (you’re welcome), from the research I found, the houses were built illegally (without permits and such), and their extravagant appearances are thought to have been funded by money from crimes committed in the UK and there is talk about tearing them down. Whatever the deal is, they really do look out of place!
Made it to Corvin castle. Parked on the street for free (with all the other locals!) instead of in the lot, and walked to the castle. From the outside, this looked way more like a Dracula castle than Bran did!! I was afraid it would be packed since it was so late in the afternoon, but nope. Paid lei ($ ) to get in. No sooner did I step into the courtyard, that I had an acute attack of #castlefatigue. I have been in so. many. freaking. castles. in the past several weeks. Enough already. (Don’t you feel sorry for me? 🙄 Castle Fatigue- a disorder of privileged people.) Well, I had paid my fee and was in, so might as well have a look around. I’ll admit, I didn’t pay close attention to the signage (even though most of it was in English), because again, I was kinda over castles at this point. It was built in the 1400s. It’s one of the largest castles in Europe (seriously, it’s pretty big- there are a lot of rooms and staircases and walkways and such).
There was a room where there were lots of pieces from the original castle (pieces of columns and crests and such), and some copies of things that were there but are now in museums. As I was sifting through…what to my wondering eyes should appear?? A fleur de lis??? With a CROWN on it?! Oh hell yes! I sensed the presence of my kings- all the way in ROMANIA of all places!! I really perked up and started paying attention! True fact: The cure for castle fatigue in Romania is the sight of anything related to my French kings!! Upon further inspection, I found another piece with 3 fluer de lis on it- and this one had a sign…in Romanian. 😑 But all I needed was one word…VALOIS!!!! That was one of the major dynasties of French monarchs!! EEEEEEEK!!! The French Religious Wars!! Salic Law!! Ok, I’ll stop. I promise no French History lessons in Romania. Sigh.
Probably the funniest thing that happened to me the whole time I was in Romania was as I was leaving the castle. There was a torture exhibit, but the name was in Romanian. I was taking some pics of the castle, and an Australian guy told his wife, “That says Extort the Tourists”. I chuckled at him. Good one, sir. Good one!
Drove back on a different road (because I HATE to take the same way twice!) to Hateg to my Airbnb. It was a really nice little place- private room in a house, but very clean with a large private bathroom and only $20 a night! Oh, Romania…I am enjoying the hell out of you!!