“We are on a round trip through Hungary and Romania”, one of the elderly German bus tourists explains to a German father and son who came by car but can’t remember the names of the Hungarian towns they passed: “700 km, and bad roads, we were just driving all day!” the father sighs. Right now they are in Sighisoara.
A pretty mediaeval town
Sighişoara is a pretty mediaeval town in Transylvania, and most of the foreign visitors (including us) seem to be German. The town is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and is on the itinerary of every German tour group, not least because Transylvania – or Siebenbürgen as it is called in German – used to be populated by a German-speaking minority, the “Siebenbürger Sachsen”. Most of them have since emigrated, but the Upper Town still has the feeling of a traditional German settlement, cobbled streets decked out with flags of different craftsmen’s guilds. Access to the heavily walled inner city is through a gate in the clock tower. The platform on top of the tower offers the best view over the town. Because you can only access the platform from the local history museum situated in the tower, most tourists dutifully visit the history museum, distractedly gazing at elegantly carved and inlayed wooden furniture and Dacian ceramics en route to the observatory.
The next stop is for a snapshot of the “house where Dracula was born” – or rather, which must already have existed when Vlad Tepes Draculea, the historical Count Dracula, was born somewhere around here in 1431.
And then, there is nothing much to do but sit down in one of the open air cafés for a lemonade. A phone rings at the next table:
“Nein, Herr Fritsche, I can’t decide that right now, I’m on a round trip in Romania! Can’t he leave the rental device in place until Saturday? When I am back from my round trip, I can decide which device to buy, and then he can install it. You see, I’m in Romania! On a round trip!”
And so are we! And we are still puzzling what sort of device she talked about? A television set? A rotary iron?
Is Sighisoara worth a visit?
There’s nothing really breathtaking about Sighişoara, but it’s a pleasant enough town with a good tourist infrastructure. And it’s Transylvania, which sounds somehow impressive…So, yes, if you have the chance, do go on this roundtrip through Romania.