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Spooky Sighisoara

Adventure travel tales in Eastern Europe:
Vilnius, Lithuania
Prague, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Brasov, Romania
St Petersburg, Russia
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Budapest, Hungary
Other European Tales:
Oktoberfest, Munich
Peloponnese, Greece
Venice, City of Water
Ruins of Pompeii, Italy
Cappadocia, Turkey

Old woman on the streets of Sighisoara

Sighisoara in Transylvania is the birth place of Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler. This friendly man led the opposition against the Turks of the Otoman empire, who occupied Romania in the 15th century. His cruel manners stood model for the spooky stories of Count Dracula. We search for his footsteps in this nice but spooky medieval town.

From the moment we pass the border, it is clear we entered a different country. In Hungary, the communist past was still present, but in Romania it is everywhere. People are poor here, and transport is by very old cars or by horse and carriage. The people look poor as well, but are very friendly. In the train we meet 2 girls who offer to lead us to a hostel in Sighisoara, meanwhile telling the story of their lives. Abandoned by their mothers, they make a living of selling newspapers on the train. They don’t beg, but we don’t know what to think.

Around 5.45 PM we arrive in Sighisoara. Dusk is setting in and it rains a bit. The girls lead us to the hostel, but we like to explore other options as well. So Sabine follows a guy in a long dark coat. Through the dusk and rain the walk over a badly lit street. Suddenly, the guy goes through the bushes to a stone stairway up a hill. Tower on the city wall of SighisoaraSabine follows and arrives at the old city wall, where they enter via a gate. A little further are a few houses, and the guy urges Sabine to go into one of them. What happens inside can not be described, but it’s a good thing Sabine brought her garlic and wooden pin. We decide to choose the hostel…

The people in the hostel are very friendly, and refer us to a good pizzeria, where we find some rest. We have a good meal, meet some fellow Dutchmen, and join the other backpackers back in the hostel. But at night the spooky feeling returns, the cold dorm is very loud, and we hear slamming doors all night. So the next morning we decide to move after all, to the cheap hotel Chic near the train station. Not as cozy, but better for our night’s rest.

Walled city

Vlad Tepes house in SighisoaraThe sun is shining and there’s no trace of the spooky feeling of the night before. We climb the stone stairway and enter the city wall via a nice gate. Nice, medieval streets, and after a short while we notice the beautiful clock tower. Close by is the house of Dracula, nowadays a restaurant and only a sign outside refers to its famous former resident.

In the street next to Draculas house we see a sign of a walking route through the city. We decide to follow it and it leads us along the towers of the city wall and many old buildings, each with its own history. We also climb the covered old stairway to the old school and church which rise above the city. Behind the church we visit the graveyard, but it’s probably too bright for the zombies to come out. Many of the graves have German text, since Transylvania belonged to the Hungarian/Austrian Empire.

Clock Tower of SighisoaraBack at the clock tower we search for more signs of Dracula. But besides a statue and some souvenir booths, without success. The museum in the tower is about medieval history, with a lot of tools of the different guilds. We can also watch the clock mechanism from up close, with the seven figures for each day of the week. And, of course, there is a great view over the city.

When we descend from the walled city on the hill, we notice that around the hill the city is quite nice as well. We pass a deserted campsite, where the owner shows his photo album with pictures of a full campsite in the summer and a Dracula party. We agree to come back in summertime.

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