After the slowest customer service ever, we set off in our car for a road trip around Romania. We thought it would be the best way to see the country, as many of the best bits are in small villages.
This first week (until we got to Cluj) was basically driving through very, very small villages (Romania is basically a country made up of small villages, with one big city and one medium city- Cluj) and visiting the Siebenbürgen, or Seven Fortresses region, a historical area that makes up central Romania. In this area, there are seven Saxon cities, with the Saxons being an ethnic group of Germans who settled there from the 12th century. So a lot of people there speak German and a lot of the information around is in German as well as Romanian.
These areas also have fortified churches, which are churches with big, solid walls and gates around them to protect the people back in the day. So that is what we have spent most of our time visiting and we could go in and explore them (Romania doesn’t put ropes or no entry signs up on things like they would at home).
Driving in Romania in general has been quite interesting so far. In every village, there are people walking all over the road and also horses and donkeys with their carts to watch out for. Plus all of the other random animals that are tied up along the side. Horses, cows, bulls, donkeys. Everything. Then there are the random stray dogs that like to run in front of cars. Not so fun for me.
The first day was a very long drive through the mountains on the Transafagarasan Highway (and according to Top Gear, the world’s best road). And it was incredible! The surrounding mountains were stunning and from the top, the road looks crazy scary and dangerous. But it actually wasn’t too bad to drive and there were plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos. We even saw someone getting their wedding photos taken up there.
After this drive, we arrived into a small town called Sibiu.
Sibiu (1 night)
Our Couchsurfing host, George, was a dentist and was still with a patient when we got there that night. So he let us into his surgery and we got to watch him pull teeth out of this guy’s mouth. Pretty interesting experience. Afterwards, he took us to this awesome underground pub which was run by an adorable old man. While we were sitting there enjoying our drinks, a group of older Australians rocked up, which was a bit surprising in such a small city in Romania. But we are everywhere.
The next day, we spent a few hours walking around town and it was just so cute! It was extremely small, so it didn’t take long to see it all, but it was just stereotypical European and straight out of a storybook.
Sighisoara (2 nights)
From here, we did a trip out to Biertan is a small town with a UNESCO listed fortified church.
Sighisoara itself was quite big, but the best bit was the old town. Here we saw the house where Dracula was born, but stayed outside and avoided being suffocated by the hoardes of tourists going into the tiny entrance.
Cluj Napoca (2 nights)
This is the other big city apart from Bucharest. It is huge, but the old town part is quite small. The big thing we noticed here was Romanian pie everywhere. It is like bread pastry with different fillings like mushroom, cheese and meats. Really delicious. We also went out for dinner to this really awesome restaurant which served traditional food.