Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The Transylvania Chronicles - Days Four and Five

4th September 2007,
Bistrita, RUMANIA

Well I guess I'd better get down to brass tacks, since we've got a lot to catch up on; I left you, my dear reader, twiddling your thumbs last night, didn't I? My humble apologies for that.

So, we headed for Bistrita via Sighisoara, but not before catching up on one of the sights we missed the other day, a monastery in Medias. Then it was off to another church (by this time one of the group was thoroughly fed up of seeing churches and remained outside on the bus). Still, we got a nice calendar for next year in the office! I should also take the opportunity to thank the BBC for their brilliant weather forecast of sunny weather for the whole five days: they got it completely wrong and it chucked it down with rain for the whole morning. Nice job there, boys. Michael Fish would be proud.

Soaked to the skin almost we jumped back onto the coach for Sighisoara, where the ruins of the mediaeval old town, the watchtower and the museum of weapons lie. The place was beautiful and had some breathtaking views, but it's a bit of a hike and somewhat hazardous for pensioners, or even if you're just plain knackered. Then after lunch, which was most delicious and filling I must add, we set sail (on the coach) for Bistrita, which is where the Dracula novel opens.

The journey to our hotel in Bistrita was a long but not completely unentertaining tale, thanks to the Rumanian infrastructure. Maybe they do need those funds after all. The roads were an absolute nightmare, enough to give you the most brutal whiplash! Still, we were able to laugh it off by watching Mari try to eat her biscuit - the road wasn't having it! The crumbs went flying everywhere.

Our first destination for Day Five of these chroncicles was Hotel Dracula (it would have been lovely to stay there, but it wasn't to be), the only hotel in the world with this name. The hotel has fabulous views, and they also have the remains of Vald the Impaler preserved there ;). But then it was on to the coach for a four-hour journey to Targu Mures, at which we arrived roughly around 2.15pm for some din-dins!

So with a lovely lunch rumbling inside of us we visited an orthodox cathedral and were let loose to wander the town, which was beautiful, for unfortunately just 30 minutes. Still, it was enough time for me to but the pen with which I write these notes and which bears my name on it in Rumanian: PETRUS: "Pacific and harmonious, and representing beauty and tenderness." True or false?!

Ten-past-five and on to the bus again for a three-hour journey to the quaint little town of Odorheiu Secuiesc. Meanwhile, a surprise was being prepared for Manel's birthday, an excuse for us all to go out and get some alcohol into us! Happy birthday, seƱor!

By the way, the bar at which we had our meal was called Opium, a nice end to the day bringing back fond memories of Edinburgh and the heavy metal bar of the same name!

Time to put the pen down I'm afraid and close my eyes. I've a feeling we may have a long journey ahead tomorrow.


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