Written 3rd June
So, having been disappointed in our search for vampires and 'scary' Transylvania - although you're right, I don't really know what else I expected really - we set off instead in search of Saxons and rural Romania, and in this, we were much more successful. And the sun shone again too - hurrah!
Sighisoara (Schassburg in German and Segesvar in Hungarian) is a mediaeval citadel town dating from 13th-14th centuries by which time the whole of Transylvania was part of the Hungarian empire. It is (yet another) UNESCO listed place and also stakes claim to being the birth place of Vlad 'Tepes' Dracula.
Onwards again then, past these oddly strung up crops, in search of Saxon villages and fortified churches. The lp describes the triangle of land between Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu as "an area loaded with undulating hills and cinematic villages ... some sitting at the ends of rather nasty dirt roads ... Even just a kilometre off the main highway you'll find a world where horse carriages and walking are generally the only ways anyone gets around and where a car - any car - gets stares." nasty dirt tracks where people stare at cars? Bring it on! We'll give 'em something to stare at... ;)
In the event, the roads weren't so bad - we drove round much, much worse round the Ring of Kerry in Ireland! - and people didn't stare at us any more than usual, and those that did mostly smiled and waved. Lots of people do that here in fact, in our first couple of days we had whole bar terraces full of beer drinking lads standing up and cheering as we went past, and small children falling over in uncontrollable fits of giggling - it's all rather nice :)
This is more like it!
This is definitely more like it.
Set on a slight hill over looking the town, the church at Biertan was, for 300 years, the residence of the Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Transylvania.
It is bigger and more fortified than Malancrav, with towers
It also has the most complicated lock/bolts contraption on the vestry door - the bish must have had some fancy stuff to store!
Saxon churches: done
We had more recommendations from the tourist office lady at Sighisoara for other saxon churches worth seeing at Avente Sever, Slimnic and Carta, but we have decided that you can have too much of a good thing and are instead heading south to mountains and hopefully roads across them...
Lets see what we find...