Roaming Romania, Take Two

Old Nov 1st, 2014, 03:13 AM
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thursdaysd - DH thought that I was mad to want to go to the furniture depository but when we got there, he loved it! I assume that all royal palaces and families have the same sort of place, ready at a moment's notice to provide anything from a baby's cradle to 500 dining chairs, but you don't often get the chance to see it. And for us it was free with our "sissi" ticket so that was an added bonus.

Still following your trip, and crossing Sibiu off my list before it had ever got on it!
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Old Nov 1st, 2014, 07:12 AM
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Just caught up with this. Sitting in Heathrow Terminal 4 with time on my hands. Re the Saxon Churches, I was thrilled with them. Managed to get a guide for one of them near Brasov and heard all about the defenses against the Turks. Built in the 1400s I think. Makes you realise how much closer Romania is to Turkey than to western Europe.
Did my Bran Castle surrealistically surrounded by Japanese tourists!
Didnt get to Sibiu and sounds like a good thing I didn't. But loved the river trip in Budapest..Best bit was coming back in the evening light past that magnificent parliament building.
And I envy you being in Vienna. Loved the Leopold Museum but didn't see the other one you mention. Looking forward to reading what you did in Graz and all points west.
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Old Nov 1st, 2014, 07:43 AM
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Safe flight, gertie!

I don't know that I would advocate totally skipping Sibiu, the outdoor museum is certainly worth seeing, but better in season. But I would suggest seeing Sibiu first, before Sighisoara and Brasov.
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Old Nov 1st, 2014, 04:52 PM
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Oh, I love tips about how to sequence things!
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Old Nov 1st, 2014, 05:47 PM
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GERTIE3751

"But loved the river trip in Budapest..Best bit was coming back in the evening light past that magnificent parliament building."

Agreed - that site in Budapest has to be among the most magnificent in Europe.
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Old Nov 1st, 2014, 07:22 PM
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zFollowing and enjoying still.!!!
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Old Nov 1st, 2014, 11:20 PM
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Hi Percy - how are you doing?

Gertie - there will be a second TR for everything after Romania, if I ever finish this one!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 07:05 AM
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Hi thursdaysd

Slowly day by day, sutures out on Tuesday.
Still some leg pain but hopfully improvement
will come a little each day.

Enjoying your trip report.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 07:32 AM
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Glad to hear that, Percy.

<b>Oct 4-5, 2014: Sighisoara - Super Cute, Super Touristy, Super Bad B&B</b>

The train ride from Brasov to Sibiu had been enlivened by some good scenery, and a young women taking beautiful orchids to a hundred year old friend who had moved to Sibiu from Bucharest. In contrast, I had a solo seat on the train to Sighisoara, which traveled a somewhat roundabout route through flatter and less interesting scenery. Very good for agriculture, of which there was plenty, not so good for sightseers.

When I emerged from the station at Sighisoara it was to see a lone taxi disappearing up the road. Happily, I found a few more a little way away, as I was staying in the old town, which occupied a much more serious hill than the one in Sibiu. I trekked up and down without a case but would not have wanted to try it with one, especially as the pavement in the old town consisted mostly of uneven cobblestones.

Sighisoara's hill was steep, and its old center was small. Too small for the many day trippers - there was really no way to escape them without going down to the more modern town, or waiting for evening or early morning. Or possibly Monday. The sights, none of which I thought worth visiting, were closed on Mondays, and the hotels largely empty Sunday night - at least out of season.

While I didn't pay to climb up the clock tower, for instance, I did have a lovely time wandering around and admiring the buildings. I even made it up the 172 steps of the covered stairway to the 17th century church on the town's highest point (subsequently discovering a less-challenging route down). If someone were designing a small medieval town for a film set, they might have produced Sighisoara. The tourist influx is entirely understandable, but I wouldn't want to visit at the height of the season. Nor would I want to visit at any time of the year if I had difficulty coping with steep and uneven pavement.

I had scheduled three nights for Sighisoara, but cut it to two. That gave me an afternoon for the town, and another for a visit, with car and driver, to some of the surrounding villages and their churches. I admired the one at Biertan, was unable to enter Richis', and was surprised by the run-down state of Copsa Mare's, with its pebbled floor. The villages seemed uniformly poor. After the fall of Communism (as the overthrow of Ceausescu was referred to by all the Romanians I talked with), the collectivized land was split among the villagers, but that didn't necessarily produce viable farms.

About that bad B&B... Sometimes a place with a top rating on TA lives up to its billing, I've stayed in several that were clearly deserving of their ratings, but occasionally I hit one I find disastrously bad, and that was the case with the Schneiderturm in Sighisoara. I can only conclude that others rated the breakfast as more important than the rooms (not that I thought the breakfast very good, but I was more interested in the muesli than the salami). Of course, it could be that my room was particularly bad, but the owner claimed it was the best in the house, and since it is the one pictured on booking.com perhaps he really meant it.

The bed was up three not very safe steps, apparently so that one could see out of the glazed (but uncurtained) arrow slits masquerading as windows - if one stood on the bed. They were too narrow to see anything and the other windows were also very small, and too low to be of use. My main complaint was that there was nowhere comfortable to sit. The two wooden and backless stools were too uncomfortable and in any case were needed to put things on. Normally I would sit on the bed, but at the head there was a big gap before the wall, mostly occupied by fragile looking lamps, so the only option was cross-wise. Since the bed was narrow (the room was set up as a double, but I hope any couple using it are on very good terms) and there was a ledge rather than wall to lean against this was also a problem.

Additionally unhappy about hitting my head when using the toilet, the unpleasant brown water issuing from the hot tap in the evening and the permanently wet shower curtain, the insect bite that woke me at 3:00 am was the last straw. Unable to go back to sleep, I revised my plans instead, and left after breakfast.

My second night, at the Casa Wagner, made up for the first. Big room, with proper windows overlooking the main square. Big, comfortable bed and two armchairs. Clean, glassed-in shower. It is true that there was no permanently fixed hair dryer in the bathroom, and apparently Romanian building codes don't allow power points in bathrooms, so I had to plug the dryer into the TV outlet, some distance from a mirror. It is also true that dinner wasn't very good, but the hotel was virtually empty and I had been too tired (lazy?) to trek down to the lower town to eat. Breakfast was fine. (And the Casa Wagner was 20 lei cheaper. Go figure.)

I would say that a well-organized, speedy traveler could easily handle Sighisoara with just a one night stay, allowing an afternoon for the town and a morning for the nearby villages. A slower traveler might want two nights.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 01:12 PM
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Since the bed was narrow (the room was set up as a double, but I hope any couple using it are on very good terms) and there was a ledge rather than wall to lean against this was also a problem. >>

lol, thursdaysds, I haven't slept in that exact room but occasionally I've slept in similar, and once or twice worse. IME they are better with a mate as there is companionship in adversity - if nothing else, you've got someone to laugh with. However, also, IME, that only works for one night. After that, I think being alone is better.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 10:36 PM
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ann - after one night, I figure if at all possible you should move!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2014, 07:46 AM
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Perc..happy things are proceeding well in your recovery time. Still don't have the address.

KW
<i>and had a lovely time at the Hundertwasser museum.</i>..surprised that so many visitors either skip the Hundertwasser complex and Kunsthaus, or have not heard of it. True funk in old Vienna. Warhol exhibit when I was last there. I just suggested it to Dukey in another thread.

When I took a group of 16 of my readers, we also booked the Wagner in Sighishoara...served our purposes just fine. Old town certainly has that poverty-stricken look.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2014, 08:27 AM
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KW...a typical old town Sighishoara byway!

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...27507800400450
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Old Nov 3rd, 2014, 08:33 AM
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KW...scroll up about five pics for a nice shot of the Wagner "all inclusive resort."
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Old Nov 3rd, 2014, 08:52 AM
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Paint has faded a bit since then...
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Old Nov 3rd, 2014, 12:34 PM
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What interesting photos, thursdaysd.

Did you have any problems with taking photos of people?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2014, 02:04 PM
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Err, mine or stu's? (tower) In general I try not to take photos of people without asking, as I hate having my own photo taken. But if there are crowds of tourists it's sometimes impossible.
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Old Nov 4th, 2014, 01:23 AM
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oops - i was looking at towers and thinking they were yours.

Sorry.
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Old Nov 4th, 2014, 06:55 AM
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Ann/KW:
I always ask. I'm a strong believer in taking pics of people. I can't remember when I was last turned down. I just point at the camera with an expression on my face that says" OK or not OK? Or in the local language using the term "May I?"

Thanks for the compliment thinking my pics were KW's. She's a pro...something I'm certainly not.

Stu
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Old Nov 4th, 2014, 07:47 AM
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Stu - thanks for the compliment, but I'm just an amateur.
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