Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sighisoara

Well today was another huge writhing pile of fun. I'm actually genuinely surprised to find myself sitting comfortably in my hostel, talking to a large group of Antipodeans. I decided to go to Sighisoara, but was not 100% sure exactly how to get there. First I went on a mission to find food and came away with two bananas and a pack of mini croissants which are to last me for two days. I then needed to get some more money changed but all I had was some left over Danish Krones, and £60 worth of Scottish banknotes. I brought 20 Euro with me for backup, not wanting to use it since I have Italy and France still to go to. I went into around a dozen different exchange places and banks, but no one would take the Danish Krones or the Scottish banknotes, they'll only accept English. In the end I had to change the Euros or I would have no money for anything.

Then I was unable to find the bus that goes to the train station (which has a bus station next to it) so I cheated and took a taxi. I located the elusive Maxi-Taxis, and after much poor communication with people who could only speak Romanian, I found a minibus to Sighisoara. It left the station a full two hours after I arrived there, and while I was there, met another Kiwi bloke and his English girlfriend. Chatted to them for a while and they were just as baffled as I was. The station was filled with shady characters. Two men kept coming up to me, one came up three times before I eventually just said, "stop talking to me!".

I got on the bus, paid 26 Lei, and pointed to a phrase in my Romanian phrasebook for "Can you let me know where to get off?", and two hours later, I was dropped off in Sighisoara. Fortunately, there was a young man on the bus who could speak english quite well, and was translating for the bus driver for me. They told me where I could go to flag down a bus back, and when the last one was. I thanked them and went wandering.

The sun was already fading so I decided it would be wise not to stay for too long. I scribbled a map of the path I took so that I could find my way back. I had no idea which way to go so I guessed, and evidently correctly, because I almost immediately found the places I wanted to see. Well it wasn't hard really, Sighisoara is fairly small. Unfortunately, they were doing a lot of roadworks and quite a few of the cobbled streets had been torn up and were occupied by diggers and tractors, which did a good job at spoiling the atmosphere. I found Vlad Tepes's birthplace, which is what I had wanted to see the most, I suppose. It's now a café, so I didn't go in, but was sure to take at least one stupid picture of myself standing in front of it.

I took a wee few pictures, which I will have up soon. I only spent an hour in Sighisoara after all the effort I gad gone to to get there. I was actually rather worried about not being able to get back to Brasov. So I followed my map back and found the spot where a bus might stop. I waited by the roadside for some time, and made myself a little sign reading 'Brasov'. A couple of buses went past, but going to other locations, and I kept trying to stifle the worry I felt about being stranded in this piffling, tiny Medieval township. Luckily, a bus went past with 'Brasov', amongst other locations, written on a sign in the window. I held up my sign and flagged the bus down with my other arm, and it stopped. The driver only spoke Romanian but let me on when I told him where I wanted to go. I couldn't believe it had worked and that I was going to get back, I was so happy, BUT! It was probably the scariest bus trip of all time, the driver drove like a fucking nutter, and at one point, pissed off a guy from a taxi. I had no idea what was going on but there was alot of shouting and police around when the bus pulled over. Then the guy from the taxi got onto the bus for the rest of the trip, and the shouting and arguing continued, and then another man got involved and I really wanted to tell them to shut up, but after ages they finally did. I wasn't sure if he was taking his anger out on his driving, or if he always drove like that badly. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I got back into Brasov and the driver charged me 15 lei, no idea why the trip back was so much cheaper. Got a bus back to the hostel, and by this point had a splitting headache and thought I might fall over. Hopefully tomorrow will be smoother, whatever I end up doing with it. Something easier, methinks. So now I am watching crappy movies in the hostel, still plagued by the headache caused by the stress of the day, and am very much looking forward to bed!

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