This weekend, feeling absolutely suffocated by the heat in Bucharest, we decided to take our backpacks and start a little trip. What resulted was a round-trip of approximately 600 km (372 miles), and 4 amazing places visited. But of all the places, Sibiu was definitely the most beautiful city in Romania we’ve ever seen by now.
Curtea de Arges Monastery
Our first stop was Curtea de Arges, where we found a beautiful monastery with an interesting legend at its core. Visiting the monastery was extremely cheap (less than $1), if you take its absolute beauty into consideration. And the monastery yard was particularly welcoming, with benches, flowers and tall trees all around it. Plus, I also got to take a sip of water from the legendary fountain of Manole.
But there were many wonders ahead of us, so after an hour or so, we were heading to our next destination: Poienari Fortress. As legend has it, this was the hiding place of Vlad Tepes during one of his fights. And once you see how hard it is to reach this place, you understand why he was so well protected inside this fortress. Because to get to the fortress, you have to climb no more, no less than 1480 steps. But the view from the top is definitely worth it, because it’s absolutely spectacular.
After catching our breaths, we drove a few kilometers more to Vidraru Dam, where we just took a couple of pictures and we were on our way. We could have also climbed a few more steps to see the statue of Prometheus, or even bungee jump from the dam. But we were too exhausted and, in all fairness, not adventurous enough for the bungee jump 🙂 So, we just settled for the amazing view, and soon after we were on our way to our final destination: Sibiu.
To get there, we had to keep on following the Transfagarasan road, where we got to enjoy yet another spectacular view of the mountains. We also came across an impressive cascade along the way, and the funnies thing we saw was a huge pile of snow, just standing there, at the edge of the road. Being over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) outside, it was a wonder how it didn’t melt. What can I say: it was like a breath of fresh air, with all the warmth surrounding us.
The Wonderful Sibiu
A few hours later, we were finally in Sibiu, exhausted, but still eager to explore the city. And it was definitely something worth exploring. From the tiny and extremely quiet streets, to all the churches, towers and museums we came across, the tourist center of Sibiu looks as if time has stopped running there. If there weren’t all those stores and supermarkets, you would actually think you traveled through time. And even these modern buildings and brands are given the same vintage look as the town. There are all sorts of open spaces, restaurants and Cafes, where you can enjoy great food and beverages. And as you walk through all these monuments and open spaces, you won’t hear once the horn of a car, or even see a car.
Since we have never been to Sibiu before, we stopped at the first restaurant we liked (Sergiana Restaurant), and we were in luck. The food was absolutely great, not expensive at all, and there were all sorts of traditional dishes from that part of the country to choose from. Afterwords, we enjoyed a delicious ice-cream and watched an outdoor play, where the actors were handling some enormous puppets that were two times bigger than me.
The next day, we woke up with a couple of museums in mind, so after a quick breakfast, we were on our way. The first museum we visited was the Brukenthal Museum that was located in the touristic center of Sibiu. As a heads up, if you’re not an art lover, you should skip visiting this museum, because it’s mainly all about watching tons and tons of paintings. Plus, it’s a bit over $12 to visit the whole museum. And I must admit I wasn’t particularly impressed by the paintings, especially since the most famous ones were almost all photocopies or replicas. But I did like the sculpture section that was somewhere at the basement of the building, in a very cool, vintage room.
What I particularly liked was the next museum we visited, that was a couple of kilometers outside Sibiu. The museum had a rather long and complicated name (Astra Museum of Tradional Folk Culture), but it was mainly an extremely large and beautiful park that resembled an old countryside. The ticket was 3 times cheaper than the one for Brukhental Museum, and you could wander in there for hours, taking pictures, and enjoying a quiet walk. One thing though, be careful not to throw your ticket away until you’re done visiting the museum, because since the museum is so wide, you might be asked for your ticket along the way.
Just like that, our trip was over. And all that was left to do was to head back home, with all these beautiful places in our heads, along with the hundreds of pictures we’ve taken along the way.