April 1, 2016: Sighisoara Citadel and Our New Home

I told Dominica first thing this morning about the amazing citadel that I had discovered last night and how important that I thought that it was that we go up and explore but expressed concern as to the hard walking and uneven cobblestones.  She felt that she could handle it and really did not want to miss it.

It took us a bit to get everyone up and ready and down to breakfast.  Since breakfast was included in our room we did not want to miss it and dinner last night had been quite good.  We got downstairs and were the only ones there.  We think that we were the only people staying in the pensiune last night so this is not a big surprise.  We got two ordered of scrambled eggs and two orders of fried eggs and loads of fresh tomatoes and coffee.  It was a nice breakfast and we asked and they said that it would be no problem at all for us to have a late check out (we are their only room and their only real dinner customers last night as well so we kind of earned it.)  This is perfect as we can go see Sighisoara without needing to give up the room before doing so.

Clock Tower
Citadel of Sighisoara Rising Above the Old Town

We packed up what we could and loaded everything that we would not need into the Ford Focus that was sitting right out front and only saved enough so that I could shower and wash up before leaving the pensiune to get onto the road.

The Girls in the Citadel

We walked with the girls back the same way that I had walked to the citadel last night.  It is a gorgeous day, bright and sunny.  The air is a little cool but the sun is warm.

Vlad the Impaler
Luciana and Lies with the Bust of Vlad III the Impaler

We walked up and spent about an hour walking around the citadel complex.  It was great.  The views from last night which were neat in the dark were even better in the bright sunlight.  We really had a great view of the city and the river valley.  We did only light walking around the citadel and had relatively limited time.  We really wish that we had a day or two to spend in town without needing to be anywhere, there is a lot to see.  Getting a room actually in the citadel proper would be so cool.

The Family in the Citadel

It was a very nice morning but our time was limited and we had to go before we saw all that we wanted.  Back down the hill to the apartment where I showered, we loaded up the car with the final items and we were back onto the road at one in the afternoon to continue our journey north.

We had roughly two hours left to go to get to our new village.  The drive was not too exciting, but got better as we made our way north.  The drab villages got more and more character as we went.

We drove north to Reghin, our local city that we know we will be using for groceries and such, and turned west to find our village, one so small that there is no road sign for it, even at the turn off for it!

When we turned off of the “main road” onto the tiny little country road that led back to our village, I think that Dominica had a little bit of panic.  We have seen some pretty remote and tiny little Romanian villages so far but this is the first that we turned off of the highway.  The road that we turned on to was paved (partially) but just drove off on winding turns into farmlands, no houses or buildings in site, just a silent country road devoid of anything but surrounds of grass.  We are going to be epically remote.

It was another several kilometres down this empty road and then through a tiny village and then some empty space and then we came upon Baita, our home for the season.

It is always weird coming into a new town and looking for your house.  It’s not like finding the hotel that you booked for the weekend.  This is our new home, in a country we have never been to, where they speak a language we do not know at all… we know nothing about what life in this village is going to be like.

We had to spend some time looking around to figure out where our house was.  All we knew was that it was “across from the church”, but there is more than one church and more than one house that could be described as being across from it.  We did pretty well, though, and were able to pull right into the house.  The owner’s mother was at the house still working on getting it ready and was outside when we arrived which made things very easy.

Liesl on Swing in Baita
Liesl on the Front Swing as we move into our new home.

We got moved in and I got set up right away with my laptop and was online by three with a meeting that I needed to be ready for at four thirty.

Our host finished up with the house and poured us a round of shots of tuica, local moonshine plum brandy that everyone has here with every meal.  It is a major component of the local culture.

I had my meeting at four thirty, that lasted under an hour as people did not show up so I just ended up chatting with Abby for an hour talking about travelling.  Her husband is from Ukraine, not far away.

Actual traffic in Baita. It’s more horse and bicycle than car.

After my call Liesl really wanted to go for a walk so we did.  We walked most of the way to the north end of town.  It was a very nice walk.  Lots of people out walking, working in their gardens, driving horse carts down the street.  We stopped on the way back at the little store in town, a magazin mixt, as they are called here and what would be a pulperia in Latin America.  A very tiny store, but they had bread and bananas.  That’s what we really needed.

We also took a walk up to the orchard behind the house to see what farm lands are associated with our house.  We have a house, a large barn, a shed, a real outhouse, a garden, an orchard and, as far as I can tell, fields behind.

Dominica in the Orchard

We got back home and explained to Dominica that the store was not the one hundred metres away as we had been told but is actually just three doors down so she walked down there with us again and bought a few more supplies, but there is very little there.  The language barrier is going to be huge, no question there.  No one understands us and we cannot tell what anyone else is saying, either.

Our host had left but said that she was going to be back later to introduce us to some people.  So for a while we just hung around the house as we did not want to miss her.  She returned after seven and took us over two doors to the farm that will be supplying our milk and eggs and introduced us.  They speak no English at all so this is going to be fun as we try to work these things out in the future.  But they are super friendly and we worked out how much dairy we will need tomorrow.

At the farm next door

Then we got introduced to the priest who lives directly across the street.  He speaks a little English from his school days and can help us if there are any needs for translation in town.  He’s very friendly and has kids that are in their late teens.  He said that things are super safe here and that the air and water are very good.  He recommends life here.


She also dropped off home made crepes for us, filled with raspberry of course as that is the big fruit here (neighbouring Serbia is the world leading in raspberries producing one out of every four raspberries in the world.)  Raspberries and plums are the dominant fruits in Romania.  This is perfect for me, I love both fruits.

As soon as she left we bundled into the Focus and drove to Reghin in the hopes of finding a grocery store that is open.  Our host told us that there is a Lidl and a Kaufland there that we should look for, but that likely they would be closed.  So we were racing to get there in the hopes that something would be open because there are no restaurants in town and no grocery stores there so until we get to a grocery store that is open we will have nothing to eat!

We made good time and got to the Lidl at eight thirty, thirty minutes before they closed.  So we raced around getting what food that we could find.  We did pretty well.  The selection here is not all that different from the selection on Crete, at least at the Lidl.  Lidl is a huge German discount chain so their selection is pretty uniform wherever they are.  The cereal choices here are very different, however.

We had a bit of an issue paying when we went to check out.  American credit cards are always a problem in Europe but this is a place that possibly has never even seen one before.  So dealing with them not knowing how to even take an American credit card (they expect everything to have a chip or a near field device) and no one speaking English made for an exceptionally difficult time of it.  That was a little stressful as the only line there was backing up and people were getting frustrated.

Once that was taken care of we loaded the car up and returned home.  We looked for a restaurant that looked possible along the drive but did not find one.  Not many restaurants in this country, cooking at home is the norm.

We made frozen pizza at the house instead.  The same pizza that the girls love from Crete, so we knew that they would be happy.