My first few days in Romania were really quite impromptu, yet my experience could not have been more perfect. I saw some of the top historic sites in the rural countryside, and had an incredibly epic Halloween in Transylvania. 🎃 👻 🕸
After an issue with my overnight bus to northern Romania, I decided to forgo my first stop, and travel two days early, into the heart of Transylvania.
I took a 10-hour train ride to Sibiu, through the foothills of Carpathian mountains, watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula on my laptop, in order to set a spooky mood. Halfway through my journey, I began chatting with a group of Romanian rockers. As the train slowly chugged into Sibiu station, we were jamming out to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” Too perfect! 🤘
Cost: 21 USD
My hostel in Sibiu was half pub, half apartment. The pub was ghoulishly Gothic, with dark Victorian furniture, fitted with deep red upholstery, walls covered in vintage wallpaper and golden antique artwork. Plus, the whole place was decked out for Halloween, with spooky masks and fake cobwebs hanging from the chandeliers.
Cost: 11 USD per night
Sibiu was first settled by wealthy Germans, known as Transylvanian Saxons, and this city’s prosperous and well-preserved historic center has made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Architecturally speaking, the highlights of Sibiu are the following: the historic city center, the stairs passage, the defense towers, and the liars bridge.
The historic city center is bustling with restaurants and cafes, and my personal favorite building in Huet Square- the stunning Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary.
The stairs passage is an entrance-way, which separates the upper from the lower district. The upper town is the location of many historic sites, and the lower town is mainly residential, filled with colorful houses, lining ancient cobblestone streets.Surrounding the city are several defense towers, which made Sibiu one of the most well-defended regions in Europe. Originally there were 49 towers, connected by an underground labyrinth of passageways. Currently Carpenter’s Tower is one of the remaining, and most well-preserved towers in town. The liars bridge is the most famous site, backed by a creepy legend, that anyone who dare tell a lie on that bridge, may drive the bridge to collapse beneath their feet. 😮By far the most spooky sight in Sibiu, were the eerie windows, scattered across the tiled roofs. They looked like eyes staring back at you. It reminded me of the book in Hocus Pocus. 😮Sibiu is also home to numerous museums, and during my visit, I went to the ASTRA National Museum. The museum is more of an open-air ethnographic complex, where visitors can view old-world Romanian architecture, built to resemble a traditional folk village.The complex is divided into sections, with space for old workshops, houses, windmills and churches.
It was interesting to see their creative use of natural materials, especially when constructing roofing.
Visitors can even walk inside some of the homes, which are filled with traditional Romanian furniture. It’s also considered a living museum, since the site hosts numerous folk festivals and performances throughout the year. The complex far exceeded my expectations, spread out over 200 acres of wooded land, including a picturesque pond. Visitors get to learn about Romanian history, and the added bonus of a serene hike in the rural forest. ❤
Cost: 3 USD entry
Getting there: The museum is accessible by public transit; however, I chose to wander there on a 45-minute walk through the lovely suburbs of Sibiu. Walking gave me a real sense of the cultural differences in Romania, compared to the other countries I had visited in Europe. Everyone on the streets seemed very eager to talk with me, and the men even had a bit of machismo. For real though, I have never been hit-on so many times wearing a parka before! Hah! How can they even tell I’m a girl when I’m bundled up like that child from A Christmas Story? 😂😂😂
Anyway, from Sibiu I traveled to Brasov, to celebrate an epic Halloween in Transylvania. 🎃 👻 🕸
Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until then. 🙂