Romania Trip Log, Day 1, June 10 - Flight from Munich, Germany to Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Romania on Tarom Airline, aboard a two turboprop machine
probably of Russian design. A beautiful sunny day, a smooth flight, and a free glass of Romanian red wine along with a snack-lunch. Coming into Sibiu
the mountains to the south (Cindrel Mountains, southern Carpathians) were beautifully green, many of the valleys running up into the heights were
without roadways but had small streams coming down into the valleys. The area I was to be visiting (Sibiu, Brasov, Miercurea Ciuc) is located in
the southeast section of the county Transylvania which makes up the large central section of Romania.
A smooth landing at Sibiu International Airport,
a bus ride from the plane to the small terminal, passport check and customs check went smoothly. But my 2 hiking poles and my slippers weren’t with
my bags; they did appear shortly thereafter and I had everything I had started with. The small terminal was hot and stuffy so I waited outside
in front for Peter to arrive, knowing that he was coming from a caving outing and would not be there when I arrived. People were gathered in clusters
outside the terminal, waiting for arriving guests; and cars and busses were driving up to the terminal entry to either unload or pick up passengers.
Then I spotted the red Subaru Forester entering the area and Peter drove right up to where I was standing. Peter is tall (I guess 6’1” or 6’2”),
very slender, and quite recognizable from the hiking photo he had emailed me before.
We greeted each other like old friends, and loaded my small case,
backpack and poles in the Subaru; then it was off to the center of the city, Sibiu, a couple kilometers eastward from the airport. We parked in
an open lot, and walked northward into the old, walled city. The main east-west street is a pedestrian walkway, cobblestone, and bustling with people;
some of the shops were open as were many outdoor cafes. We walked the length of the street and returned; on the public square (Piata Mare)
paid a visit to the hugh Catholic church; viewed the art museum housed in the Brukenthal Palace (quite warm inside, no apparent temperature
or humidity control); found an open pharmacy (but no dental floss there); and returned to the car.
Adjacent to the parking lot was a small
grocery store where we bought a few items (Ed had to have his Fanta soda) for our travels. We drove back towards the airport, found a gas station
with a car wash, filled the tank with gas, and ran the car thru the wash. At the wash entry was an attendant who by hand power-sprayed the tires,
wheelwells, etc., then moved the car into the wash area (large rotating brushes, one on each side, one overhead)
where it was thoroughly washed and dried before being moved outside where we were waiting.
Then we were off on our adventure. We drove north
on an unnumbered hiway to the salt-water pits (Ocna Sibiului spa). This area consists of several rather deep pits with salt water at the bottom;
wooded stairs down provide access to the salty water below. People bathe in these waters for health benefits. Some of the pits were mud pits and
people covered various parts of their bodies, usually their joints (elbows, knees, ankles, etc.) with mud from this pit. The grassy field
which surrounded the pits were full of groups of people, laying on blankets. At the main area of the spa were concessions stands selling food and drink.
Peter had me try a local Romanian specialty, mici. It looked like a long hotdog with the ends cut off but the meat was much redder inside;
served on a paper plate with mustard and a piece of bread. Quite tasty!
We walked around the entire complex of buildings and lakes, taking pictures,
before returning to the car. Days are long in Romania, sunlight lasting until 9-9:30 at night and still some light at 11pm. We continued northward,
merging into Hiway 14, passing thru the city of Medias and on to the village of Danes, where we spent the night in the delightful pension, B&B called
the Dracula Inn. Off the hiway, entry into a small courtyard, a restaurant patio, very quiet and beautiful. A nice double room with full shower
so Peter could wash up from his caving event earlier that day; then down to dinner. A nice restaurant, many guests, white table cloths, etc.
A nice broiled trout and tomato salad for dinner. A proper end to the first day’s travel.
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