Goodbye Sibiu, On the Road Again

Dear All,

Don and I climbed up the church tower to get an overall view of Sibiu. The inside of the tower looked like something from a movie set; it would never be allowed in the States - wonderfully risky. You can see some of the stairs ascending in the bottom left corner.

At the very top was the old bell ringer's quarters, which is now used for an office. The young man in the photo pointed out some of Sibiu's towers (again, built by the different Saxon guilds).

I just realized that this guy looks a little like Mr. Bean.

Bird's Eye Views of Sibiu

On the road to see the painted monasteries of Bucovina. It's a day's drive, and then 2 days more driving to Buchurest, where we fly back to Italy, and we almost decided not to do it, but how often do we get to Romania?

Sheep, shepherd and his dog on the road. And a word about these sheepherding dogs. They are the most competent, self-confident, smart and I would even say proud dogs that we have ever seen. They know they have a job and responsibilities and they take their job very seriously. They are busy, bright and bushy-tailed. None of that goofiness that you see in some American dogs. As you can see, we had pretty wet weather for a lot of our time in Romania. It was supposed to have been hot before we came.

Driving in Romania is quite the challenge. The "freeways" are basically 2 lane roads, some with better surfaces than others. Romanians drive them as if they are on the Autobahn (120 kph = 75 mph), only slowing down for potholes. There are deep trenches along the sides and sometimes more than occasional potholes, train crossings, horse carts, venders and other pedestrians. We went through villages where babushka'ed women came out into the road with trays of food. Would have liked to stop and try, but we would be risking our lives as well as theirs.

This is one of the worst roads we had to navigate in Romania. There was a sign erroneously claiming it was the way to a major city, and there were many trucks on it, but it only circumnavigated a high school soccer field. It took forever to make the circuit. Them potholes are deep.

It was probably inevitable, but we had a flat tire. Don managed to change to our bicycle tire spare on the narrow little road, and we drove to a Vulcanizare, which is Romanian for a tire shop. Not surprising, there are many of these in Romania. The guys at the shop, pounded out the rim - the tire wasn't punctured, but the rim was way dented - changed the tire and got us back moving in less than 10 minutes. Charge, about $3.50. Unbelievable.

Then there is the amazing scenery. It is sooo green and lush. And the people who have gone out of their way, way out of their way to be helpful, kind and giving whenever they possibly could.

Much love,

Era and Don