Before retiring last night I had the good fortune to engage our amazing receptionist in conversation for around an hour. It was enthralling to discuss all things Romanian from her home and family, the country & economy since the fall of Ceausescu, the education system and the opportunities or not for the young. Speaking to another young Romanian the theme was similar, the rich are rich and the poor are poor with virtually no middle class. Under Ceausescu the people had money but there was nothing to buy now they can buy everything but there is no money to buy it with. The Romanians are a wonderful people so warm, friendly and hospitable and the young exude a passion to make their country a better place…….I hope these Gen Y’s can and do make a difference as the guard changes?!
Farewell to Timisoara today for the ride to Sighisoara the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, commonly known as Dracula. Now legend usually springs from some form of fact; this guy was a monster!! Google up 10 facts of Dracula and you’ll see what I mean and where the legend of Dracula springs from…..the use of wooden stakes, the dipping of his bread in the blood of his victims and the use of fire for incineration of one’s enemies…..the list goes on, absolute charmer!
Awesome ride through the Romanian countryside today, imagine Yarra Valley rolling hills with old world charm. Villages that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years, intense agriculture with intact forests and elderly village folk sitting on bench seats as they have always done, giving a wave and a smile that says welcome. Every house in the villages has full, fresh and well cared for gardens, it all looks quite bountiful. On one stop today a local got out of his car and thanked us for visiting his country; his sincerity was quite humbling. We arrived in Sighisoara around 4.00pm to the Hotel Central Park; 9.5 on Trip Advisor and I can see why, tasteful, value for money and again loads of Romanian hospitality. We took the 5 minute walk up to the altstadt, a world heritage listed village established in 1463. Dinner in the square gave me the opportunity to consume 2 x local dishes, a tripe soup and a polenta dish with sour cream; I’ve only got the cabbage rolls to go…..!
Today was a rest day and most of us spent the day ambling through this amazing place soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying coffees, food and conversation in the many cafes around the walled village. All of us are having interviews with Robin our cameraman who is making a documentary of the trip. I did my interview today sitting in the lush seating outside the hotel with the village street scape in the background. It was a lot of fun and the reaction of the locals walking past was priceless, stopping, pointing and wondering if it was someone they should know?! Sadly not
Roomie was getting a massage tonight in an effort to reduce the discomfort of a shoulder injury he carries by a 6’2 ex Romanian wrestler……… I paid him more to hurt him! Just kidding, hence a late dinner across the road at Martini’s ; pork spare ribs grilled over charcoal with a local spice mix, house red, which hasn’t yet let us down, so good that I can’t add to it. Stands up at 0830am tomorrow as we ride off for Friday night in Bucharest and our last night in this charming country.