500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Travel Day - Sibiu to Alba Iulia, Romania

Our Airbnb host Andrei was off to work yesterday morning at 7:30am, but he left us a key so that we could come and go. Our planned bus to Alba Iulia wasn't leaving until 2:15pm, so we had some time to go wander around the city of Sibiu some more.

So we stayed in until 10:00am or so as it started to warm up a little outside. The entire country of Romania has been experiencing an unusual cold spell, but that is supposed to break tomorrow.

The temperature was still around freezing, but at least the wind had disappeared.

Wandering Sibiu, Romania.

The old citadel wall in Sibiu.

The oldest plaza in Sibiu.

We had read about a market down by the river, and it's certainly not a tourist market. Only saw locals here, but maybe it would have been different if it was a nice day. Too bad we weren't staying longer in Sibiu because we had no need to buy anything because we were traveling that afternoon and didn't want to have to carry the stuff.




From there, it was back to the central area where we had been at "The Liar's Bridge" (or, The Bridge of Lies) the day before with Andrei, but we forgot to get a photo. The Liar's Bridge has a legend attached to it. It is also the oldest cast iron bridge in Romania, built in 1859. The legend says that if you tell a lie while standing on the bridge, it will begin to creak and moan and shudder. 

Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu gave a speech from the bridge once, and everybody figured it would collapse...but obviously it didn't!

Ruth, on the Bridge of Lies.

The main plaza in Sibiu is getting ready for the Christmas market and festival.

Lots of people on the pedestrian plaza.

Boiled corn on the cob...3 lei each ($0.97 CAD, $0.72 USD).

We got back to the apartment and got our things packed up. We had lots of time, but better to be early. We left the keys on the desk, and had been told by Andrei just to leave the door unlocked and he would come back later to lock it up. There is another electronic lock on the front door of the apartment building. 

We walked outside with our bags and were about to cross the street to the bus stop when I noticed that I hadn't used the tiny luggage lock on my bag. I asked Ruth for the key, but it had been forgotten upstairs, with Ruth expecting me to use the key and give it back to her! 

Hmmm. 

Now, the lower door was locked, but if we could wait for someone to open it we could still get into the apartment. But, that could take an hour or more. Who knows? So I sent a text to Andrei, who fortunately works only a ten minute walk away.

Just before he arrived, a lady came by and let us in. 

Sorry about that Andrei! But at least you were there to lock things up properly. Not like us to make a travel mistake like that.

With that done, we now crossed the street and waited for the local bus which arrived in about two minutes. We took the number 2 bus to the train station only four stops away, and the long distance bus station is right beside the train station.

Inside the long distance station, we had to figure out how to get to Alba Ulia. We already knew from the bus website http://www.autogari.ro/ that there was a bus leaving at 2:15, but we didn't know how much it cost. I didn't figure that the lady (about our age) behind the wicket would speak any English, but fortunately she spoke enough to communicate. She told us that there was a bus at 2:15pm, another at 4:00pm, and another at 6:00pm. 

I told her we wanted to 2:15pm bus, and she said it would be at platform 3.

We waited in the small waiting room with a bunch of other people. Fortunately, Romania finally enacted a no smoking in public places law last March. I can just imagine what it would have been like prior to that because many Romanians smoke.

We went outside at 2:00pm and our bus was there waiting. Still quite a few empty seats. There was a guy at the front of the bus with a little portable computer printout machine selling the tickets. It cost 20 lei ($6.80 CAD, $4.85 USD) each for the 78 km (48 mile) ride.

No pictures from the bus ride because I had a nap!

I had a phone call from our couchsurfing host Gabriel while on the bus, and he was going to be at the Alba Iulia train station waiting for us. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened and we were soon in his car heading for their place. 

They live in a village a short distance outside of Alba Iulia, but still on the local bus route so we'll be able to come and go as we please.

Gaby and Kevin

Gaby's girlfriend Valentina making dinner.

Traditional mamaliga. It's like a corn porridge, but Valentina adds different cheeses to it as well. Yummy!

Traditional sausage that you boil.

Dinner is served! Valentina, Kevin, Ruth, Gaby.

Dinner!

It's going to be a good few days here with Gaby and Valentina. They are also frugal travelers, and have semi retired early, living off investments in Bucharest. In fact, Gaby has left for Bucharest early this morning to look after some business for a couple of days, so Valentina will look after us!

Our overnight stays so far.

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18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the travelogue. It is the first thing we check each morning and we are enjoying your pictures. It looks a little cool for us snowbirds. cheers

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    1. Thank you Tommy, we are having a wonderful time and happy to tell everyone all about Romania and all the beautiful places here.

      It's a little cool here for us too!

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  2. I look forward, every day, to your blog post. Thank you so much for our vicarious travel experience!

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    1. Thank you Carol, so glad that you are enjoying our blog and our posts on Romania. We are always happy to show people what life is like in other countries.

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  3. The iron bridge is magnificent! The market looks so colorful in the fall/winter weather and it is fun to see the local people. Have fun in Alba lulia...what a pretty name for a city!

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    1. Walking through the market we were really wishing that we could have bought some of the nice fruits and vegetables but we didn't want to have to carry them with us on the bus along with our bags.

      So far we are having a wonderful time in Alba Iulia.

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  4. Wow traveling in freezing weather...thought Canadians did their best to stay away from cold LOL I don't mind cold as long as the traveling is safe I.e. slipping on ice or car skidding off road, etc. I traveled to Alaska in March and fell on ice but luckily someone reached out break my fall...still landed hard but didn't hit my head or break a bone :-) Love winter scenery in Romania.

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    1. Yes, we should be further south but we are still loving our time here and the cold weather isn't going to last much longer. It is suppose to get warmer each day this week and by the weekend is should be a comfortable temperature, especially for hiking. Already the snow and ice is melting.

      I did find that I had to be careful walking through the town of Sibiu, as there was ice on the walkways in places. Glad when you fell in Alaska that someone was there to help save you from breaking any bones or hitting your head.

      The snow does however make for some pretty pictures.

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  5. PS amazing they have fresh veggies at market in winter...dinner looks good with corn porridge & sausages.

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    1. I felt sorry for the people looking after the stalls in the market, they looked a little cold.

      The corn porridge (polenta/mamaliga) was very tasty with the four different cheeses in it. Also the sausages were a little spicy sort of like a mild version of a chorizo sausage in Mexico.

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  6. It's not a common sight on your blog... SNOW! Dinner looks interesting.

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    1. No, snow isn't a common sight for sure but it has been seen quite a few times before on our blog! It seems like this winter we will see more of it than normal but that's ok because we are really enjoying ourselves.

      Dinner was very tasty, missed having a few veggies though.

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  7. The Christmas market in Sibiu looks like it will be quite fun. I saw those in Germany, they do make you truly feel the joy of the season... Looking forward to the next posting.

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    1. I wish we were around to experience it when it is open but it wasn't going to be open until Nov. 18th and by then we will be in Alba Iulia. The Sibiu Market is suppose to one of the best Christmas Markets in all of Romania and they are trying very hard to compete with some of the better known ones in Austria and Germany. I am sure that we will experience one in at least one of the other cities before we leave here in the middle of December.

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  8. I shivered for just a second, then I went outside where its 24C. I love how when you don't have a firm plan, you just do it, and it seems to work out. Love following you along.

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    1. Thanks for rubbing that in just a little! ;-)

      We always have a vague idea but we don't like to have it all set in stone just in case we really like an area and want to spend more time in it or some special opportunity pops up. Sometimes it can be a little unnerving not knowing but it seems to work well with us.

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  9. With the cold weather upon you, time to try a hot mug of gluehwein (I'm not sure I spelled that right). Anyway, it's a combination of hot wine, brandy, sugar, and spices and keeps you warm for a few hours while walking around outside while sipping it. I'm pretty sure if you asked for it at a cafe, bar or kiosk, they would know what you are taking about.

    Dee

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    1. Yes, our hosts here had mentioned this mulled wine to us. Here in Romania it is called vin fiert but it is the same as the German one, Glühwein. We will keep our eyes open for it, thank you for mentioning it.

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