An Afternoon in Sibiu
Apoldu de Sus, Romania
Though lagging behind in tourism draw from (regionally) neighboring Cluj, Sighişoara and Braşov, Sibiu has always been one of the most important cultural and religious centers in Romania. Founded in 1190 by German settlers, the city quickly became the commerce centerpiece and hub for Transylvanian Saxons. Recently, it's been enjoying a hefty amount of foreign investment in the form manufacturing plants on the outskirts of town, and sports quite a pretty little airport with a regional low-cost carrier.
About a 40-minute car or train ride from Apoldu de Sus, Sibiu's proximity to our host's home made my efforts to arrange a visit with him all that more rewarding.
We were fortunate enough to get a lift into Sibiu this afternoon from Stephan, who was quickly visiting the town to finish up the last details of some dental work he was having done—a good thing too, as the only morning train passing through our town does so at daybreak, and returns again mid-evening.
With a handful of hours to explore the city before we caught the train back home, we casually sauntered around the heavily fortified historic city center. (Multiple rings were built around the city, most of them out of clay bricks. The first is an exterior earth mound, the second is a 33-foot-tall red brick wall, and the third line comprises towers linked by yet another 33-foot-tall wall. All structures are connected via a labyrinth of tunnels and passageways, designed to ensure transport between the city and lines of defense.)
You really need only three hours or so to get a satisfying glimpse of the center of town (especially at this time of year, when the tourists are so few in number). We were left with little to do after sundown but feed Aidric in the train station and wait for our transport home.
I don't think I'll ever forget those creepy buildings that looked like they had eyes in their roofs…