Have we wandered into Germany? (First impressions of Transylvania.)

Transylvania Travel Blog

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Sibiu is just too cute.
We are in Transylvania now, after an arduous 5-hour drive from Bucharest. We decided to depart at the height of rush hour (doh!) so it took forever to get out of the city. Construction along the way and bad timing with a realllly long train caused a couple of exasperating stop-and-wait-and-wait-some-more situations.

The area around Bucharest was nothing much to look at: flat and nearly treeless, with bad architecture and power plants. U-G-L-Y. As we got further north, it became mountainous, with lots of trees. The road followed a river, and it probably would have been picturesque if we hadn’t been so distracted by all the garbage in the water and on the side of the road. What’s up with that!? It was horrible. Plastic bags are the scourge of the planet.
It's all sunshine and happiness in Sibiu.


Finally, we arrived in Sibiu, a 12th century town in the Transylvania province of Romania. This town was voted the European Cultural Capital for 2007. I don’t really know what that means, but I had high hopes as we arrived.

We found our hotel easily, because it appears to be largest structure in town, and it was right on the road we drove into town. Convenient! After a little chill time in the room (which is very blue and has a glass-walled bathroom--!!!-- but is otherwise just fine), we went out to explore Sibiu. We turned left from the hotel to walk up Nicolae Balcescu Street. Almost immediately it became apparent… we’re not in Turkey anymore! The cute cobblestone street was lined with cafes, and people were faced out to the street, drinking enormous beers or coffee drinks, eating pizzas, and smoking cigarettes five at a time.
Sibiu roofline.
Aaah, European café culture. Except for the cigarettes, I love it, love it, love it!

The old buildings on either side of the street were in great shape, and colorfully painted…the architecture strongly reminded me of Germany. (Turns out Sibui was built up in the 12th and 13th centuries by Saxons, and it went by the German name of Hermannstadt for many centuries…so that is why it is very German in appearance.)

The town itself is quite small, and we covered the main sights in a couple of hours using a map from the Tourist Information center. Obviously, we have moved out of the Old Mosque phase of our trip and into the Old Church phase. One of Sibui’s main attractions is the huge Biserica Romani Catolica (Catholic church) that sits on the main square of town, called Piata Mare.
Stone carver making a little monster.
[There’s another thing I love about European cities: they generally center around a main plaza or square, which is usually ridiculously beautiful and surrounded by historic buildings and cafes.]

So, the town is just wonderful. Everywhere we looked there was something delightful. Stone archways. Historic architecture. The town’s signature ‘eyebrow’ dormer windows, so it seems like the buildings are watching you. Liar’s Bridge (tell a lie as you pass over and it will crumble under you!), Cobblestones. CUTE. Love it.

Steve and I soaked it up, so happy to be in Europe. Everything so far on this trip has been so foreign and exotic (good of course, but tiring too), it just feels good to be in a region that feels somehow familiar and comfortable.    

Later in the evening, we found a great Italian trattoria just off Piata Mare, where we had a half liter of delicious Italian white wine for about $3.60 (!!!), fantastic salads, and a truffle/mushroom pizza. The town was hopping and all the cafes were full by the time we walked home at 10pm. Wonderful. I love Germany… I mean, Romania!


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Sibiu is just too cute.
Sibiu is just too cute.
Its all sunshine and happiness in…
It's all sunshine and happiness i…
Sibiu roofline.
Sibiu roofline.
Stone carver making a little monst…
Stone carver making a little mons…
My Bucharest breakfast. A far cry …
My Bucharest breakfast. A far cry…
Our hotel in Sibiu.
Our hotel in Sibiu.
Our room in Sibiu. That glass wall…
Our room in Sibiu. That glass wal…
Our blue room at the Continental F…
Our blue room at the Continental …
Sibiu street scene.
Sibiu street scene.
Cafes along Nicolae Balcescu Stree…
Cafes along Nicolae Balcescu Stre…
Piata Mare in Sibiu.
Piata Mare in Sibiu.
Piata Mare fountain.
Piata Mare fountain.
Biserica Romani Catolica.
Biserica Romani Catolica.
John he Baptist glass detail in Bi…
John he Baptist glass detail in B…
In line for a heart attack.
In line for a heart attack.
Steves lunch: three deep-fried bu…
Steve's lunch: three deep-fried b…
I order the salata.. little did …
I order the "salata.." little did…
Heres lookin at you! (Sibius ey…
Here's lookin' at you! (Sibiu's e…
Biserica Romani Catolica.
Biserica Romani Catolica.
Some of what we found wandering ar…
Some of what we found wandering a…
Some power lines in Sibiu. Oh,and …
Some power lines in Sibiu. Oh,and…
Those bricks are older than time..…
Those bricks are older than time.…
Makes me want a green house. A rea…
Makes me want a green house. A re…
Wrought iron sign for a grocer.
Wrought iron sign for a grocer.
In old Sibiu, different guilds wer…
In old Sibiu, different guilds we…
Steve takes a peek.
Steve takes a peek.
Keeping old traditions alive.
Keeping old traditions alive.
Carpenters building new window fra…
Carpenters building new window fr…
Wine for dinner.
Wine for dinner.
Transylvania
photo by: Marius1981