|Sighisoara's claim to fame is that Dracula was born here, well Vlad the Impaler was at least. That was reason enough for me to tell Luke that we HAD to come to this dreamy medieval citadel town - with half a millennium old townhouses of bright colours overlooking hilly cobbled streets and church bells that clang in the early hours - seeing where Dracula made his first steps was definitely enough to justify a quick drop-by.
Most of the sights are in the compact old town, the delightful medieval citadel perched on a hillock, and are literally a stone's thrown from each other. Entering the citadel I passed under the massive Clock Tower which dates from 1280 and paid my entry fee to enter. The tower is also the history museum and has small little rooms telling Sigh's tale that are off the narrow and precarious steps that wind ever upward to the 7th floor look out above the clock for superb panoramic views.
Exiting the Clock Tower I excitedly raced to the Torture Museum (which was secretly my main reason for wanting to go to Sigh, its so fascinating!) I had been so looking forward to this place so as I paid my fee and entered the Museum it was all I could to to stop myself rolling on the floor with laughter (or crying with disappointment!). The Museum, such as it was, was one small, dark room comparable to a medium walk-wardrobe that contained a few photos of the town, one fake noose and gallows and a ladder. So so disappointed :( At least it only cost $1.
From there I went to Dracula's (Vlad's) first home which has now been converted in to a restaurant and wiled away a wet afternoon drowning my disappointment in red wine. The restaurant was really lovely, if a little pricey, but the hideously costumed and painted Dracula they had making the rounds of diners was truly horrific and enough to give ME nightmares.
That night at 9.30pm I caught the train from Sigh, with the intention of arriving in Serbia the following morning after a couple of train changes at Arad and Timisoara before crossing the Serbian border and heading to Belgrade. The first problem was that the train info lady had given me completely wrong times for the train changes so I was relying on the two lovely guys in my seated cabin to help me out. Fortunately they not only spoke impeccable English but were getting off at Arad as well.
Unfortunately one by one we all dropped off to sleep and it was with a jolt that I woke up at 2.30am and said 'I think we're here'. The others in the cabin woke up and the Romanian guys confirmed that indeed we were at Arad - just as the train pulled out of the station where it had been stopped for the last 20 minutes. We all stood there in a stunned and sombre silence as we realised that the next stop was Budapest, HUNGARY!!! There was silent controlled panic from the Romanians, who of course did not even have a passport on them, and a sort of tired bewilderment from me (who was not opposed to Hungary, but it was supposed to come later in the trip).
The Romanians managed to convince the train conductor to make an unscheduled stop at the Hungarian border and the 3 of us sat in the freezing cold waiting for a taxi to take us back to Arad. These guys were so fantastic, they insisted on paying for the taxi and came with me to the train station, changed my ticket for the next train to Timisoara and then headed home at 4am refusing any money for their assistance.
I caught the train to Timisoara and then another to Belgrade (getting immigration in bed again!!!) and due to some problem that caused the train to go about 10km an hour, arrived 4 hours behind schedule, completely exhausted.
Serbia isn't a country I really plan on looking around, so Belgrade will be just a stop to recharge my batteries then on to Bosnia in a couple of days. Please no more night trains!