Europe | Romania | Sighisoara – ‘Toilet monsters playing hose pipes’

Europe | Romania | Sighisoara – ‘Toilet monsters playing hose pipes’

I had so much to write, how Sexton and I love Sighisoara, how thunder clapped when we saw Dracula’s house, and how we are surrounded by the most incredible gothic architecture and Sexton’s favourite thing so far is a metal hose pipe that reminds him of the pipes in his painting called ‘Toilet monsters playing hose pipes.’ How he moved from side to side in his seat and said ‘it was a bit like this’ when I asked him how he liked his first overnight train ride. And the hassle of the train itself! I know we are hardly off the beaten track but there was a LOT that we were not prepared for last night (Thanks, Lynne, for the cash dollars that got us out of a potential nightmare.) I wanted to write about our last night in Budapest, and the mafia guys, and the guy trying to sell Ukrainian women ‘for friend, not sex’ (‘Hungary is like Switzerland to us’ – conversation overheard outside a bar), and the local bar where they recognised us and remembered every word of our conversation the night before and wouldn’t let us pay for drinks. It was weird, I kind of wanted to get to know the locals a bit, but they only talked a little to us. It seems hardest to meet people when you are travelling as a couple.
Sexton and I got into a routine by the end of our days in Budapest; we had a local cafe, Turkish cafeteria and tiny bar we went to each day – English people are such creatures of habit! we did try to find another bar, really we did, but that was when we couldn’t get served cos some guys were having a meeting – it wasn’t their mobile phones that gave it away but the KIND of phones they had – most Hungarians have mobiles that a trendy young Brit wouldn’t be caught dead with. And these guys had those Star Treky flip ones…

So I AM writing about it…but I think if I’m going to keep this up I have to stop checking email. Too much stuff from home today. Too much I don’t want to think about right now. It’s dark and sweaty in this cafe and there are flies and annoying music and I’m not sure how long I can take it (but mainly it’s the email and my arse, and that’s more than you need to know..). Sexton is resting at the hostel. So, friends who are reading, keep checking back here, but if you really must contact me send a text message not email.

We love Elvis Villa hostel, too. I was going to say that Transylvania is the only part of the trip that has nothing to do with my great grandfather. Jules probably never went here. It’s just a place I wanted to go. But it IS still part of my research; life here is like in the 19th century. People drive around in horses and carts and there are Van Gogh haystacks instead of those modern round ones. Our bed is at least 100 years old, a huge wooden thing, with matching dressing table. I’m so glad we booked in advance, too, as everything seems to be full right now, including that bloody train…

OK, here goes – train ride to hell BUT in the end it prolly worked out for the best. Whoever said that riding on overnight trains is a way to save money has never taken the Dacia express from Budapest to Romania. At least not in August. I have no idea how the dozens of other backpackers did it – prolly sat up in seats all night. But people mine and Sexton’s age get things like hemerroids (that lead to very grumpy jaunts around every chemist in Budapest, most of which sell only beauty products and cat food) and can not possibly sit up all night for a 9 hour train journey.

Already the tickets cost way more than we had been told they would be. A very helpful, older American guy in the international ticket office gave us advice and we got a return even though it only covers part of our return from Varna to Vienna (sorry this is getting boring). Anyway, YOU MUST BOOK OVERNIGHT SLEEPERS IN ADVANCE of more than one day. Which we did not know. The ticket lady said to ‘pay’ the guard for a sleeper when the train came, $25 each, which is already double any room we’ve had. Insane. We could have stayed in a posh hotel for what we ended up ‘paying’ – and still it took at least 4 times of being told there were no spaces on the sleeper carriages before the conductor decided we were desperate enough and had cash.

And then we were separated. Which turned into a blessing in disguise as both Sexton and I shared compartments with Romanians who knew how to bolt the door from the inside with a big, solid wooden coat hanger. The night train is notorious for thieving. My cabin mate was very nice and spoke English so we talked a bit.

I barely slept before it was 2 am and border guards woke us up. I told my cabin mate I’d have to go see if my husband was ok and she laughed. Then I explained that he’d never been on an overnight train in his life. (I did not add that Sexton’s worst nightmare is being alone in an unknown place). He turned out to be fine, and as we walked around Sighisoara the next day, he claimed he was an experienced world traveller and knew all about it. Between that, the beautiful town and the dub version of ‘Upside down’ we heard while drinking coffee, things are going quite alright. I’m glad we decided to spend 2 nights here; Sexton and I like smaller towns, where we can walk from our sleeping quarters to town centre. And the rambling streets and crooked alleyways are oh so romantic, of course…

Category : Europe | Romania | Sighisoara , Uncategorized