Sunday, June 24, 2007

Home of the Impalers!

I'm in Sighsoara, Romania for a couple of days until I head to Budapest to catch a flight. Sighsoara is the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, the model for Count Dracula. If the local high school hasn't named their school team the Impalers, then they're missing out on a cool name. Choosing an appropriate mascot that's not too controversial but not stupid looking might be difficult though - look what happened with the Rural Raiders (here it looks sort of cool. On the actual mascot, in the suit, nope, but can't find a photo).

It was a bit of a relief to get back to Romania because here at least I know the alphabet if I don't know the language. Then, spending only a few minutes in the Bucharest train station could kill that relief. Carrying a backpack just makes me a target for people wanting money. There was a guy there sporting a badly photocopied ID badge offering information then wanting payment. Last week when I was there, a guy dressed in imitation of a railway employee pointed out the correct train car to me and some other travellers, then grabbed the beer can of one fellow and took a swig as payment. He later came into our compartment asking for tickets and changing that to a demand for money.

The gypsy kids are also annoying. I think they pick me out as foreign just be my looks and they have followed me along the street, demanding money I presume (they speak Romanian to me, which makes little sense if they know me to be foreign). One girl approached me when I was sitting on a bench, wanting me to buy a bunch of weedy flowers and all my repeated "no's" could not dissuade her. She laid the bundle down on my bag and I gave it back to her. She set the flowers aside and started tapping me on the shoulder. I swatted her hand away each time (when people start touching me, I feel that they've really crossed a line) and she eventually gave up.

The Carpathian mountains are for the most part large rolling hills, but there are several rocky peaks of a light grey colour. The land between the mountains is a large plain, flat as can be.

The roof tiles here are red, as they have been in small towns in Portugal, Spain, southern France, northern Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Since most of these countries do not have red soil, I wonder where they get the tiles from? The houses in all these countries look quite similar despite the vast distances between say Portugal and here.

Town clock tower - the window to the right of the clock shows statues for each day of the week, generally the god for whom the weekday is named.

Main commercial street as viewed from the tower.

Just a building that is sort of representative of the town's style.

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