It is official you must visit Romania in the fall, take the train through the mountains and visit Sibiu. What started out as a stopping point between two other Romanian cities quickly turned into one of our favorite parts of the trip. Sibiu was the first city in Transylvania that we would visit and it would leave a lasting impression that we are still talking about four months later.
Upon arrival we made our way to The Old Town Hostel , parked our bags, and handed over some laundry which the front desk staff kindly offered to do for us (for only 15 leu). Our location at The Old Town Hostel was better than ideal, we could see the Podul Minciunilor (Liar’s Bridge), and Catedrala Evanghelică C.A. Sfânta Maria Church spire right from our dorm room window; which also overlooked Piaţa Mică – one of three main squares in the city.
The sun was setting when we arrived so the search for something to eat started in earnest the moment we left the hostel. Thankfully, the old town area was not lacking in options. With so many options before us we decided to make a brief stop at the Habitus bookstore for a coffee and some free wifi so that we could do some restaurant research. Habitus, has a cozy feeling despite being quite spacious and is located underneath the Biserica Romano-Catolică Sfânta Treime Church (on the Piaţa Mică side of the building). An attached conference room hosts multiple events and they had a movie night set up when we arrived. If you have time and are not in a rush to find food, I would recommend setting aside some time to enjoy the ambience of this place on your next stay, browse the books, grab a treat from the coffee shop, and of course grab a cup of coffee or tea.
Upon discovering some great reviews for a place right across the square (thank you Trip Advisor) we made our way to Schoko for dinner, hoping that a reservation would not be necessary. Thankfully, the friendly staff was able to squeeze us into a corner table for our meal. The restaraunt was toasty warm, and they had soft music playing in the background. While the inside does not look very big their portions were generous and well prepared and we left satisfied and ready to wander.
At this point you can imagine it was getting quite late and while it was now dark outside it did not stop us from exploring the neighboring square and scoping out our “must see” places for the next morning. Our dilemma was how to fit our ever growing list into the short two hours we had in the morning before we had to catch our next train. We narrowed it down to the two tourist points closest to our hostel, which were also two of the ones I personally was most interested in visiting.
After a quick breakfast the following morning we made our way out to the Catedrala Evanghelică C.A. Sfânta Maria Church in hopes of beating the tourist crowd and getting some great views from the top of the church’s bell tower. That’s right for a small fee you can walk all the way up to the very top of the bell tower, for a view that quite simply cannot be beat. This is not for the faint of heart, there are alot of stairs and it is quite high. There are a few other towers that you can climb in Sibiu, and while we did not have time to explore them, I am positive the view could not have been any better. I have included some pictures below to help you determine for yourself. In the meantime, while I was trying to capture the best pictures from this beautiful viewpoint of the city I literally jumped in surprise as the bells located just a floor below us started to ring. If you think the bells sound loud on the ground it is nothing to standing above them or next to them as they ring. An experience we will not soon forget.
After our exploration of the church’s tower we made our way over to Podul Minciunilor also known as the Liar’s Bridge. It is just a short walk from the Church and conveniently on the way back to our hostel so we could grab out bags and checkout. Why a bridge you may ask, well this bridge other than being the oldest wrought iron bridge in Romania, is rumored to be able to tell when you are lying. Some say that if you tell a lie on the bridge it will crumble beneath your feet and you will fall to your death onto the stone walkway some 10-15 feet below. Other’s say that if you only tell a small lie the foundation will crack but the bridge will remain intact and in fact only a very large lie would result in your untimely death. Knowing the rumors of the bridge many lovers will declare their love to each other here to prove that their love is in fact true, and it is said that even the Mayor will sometimes speak standing in the middle of the bridge – possibly as a way of saying he is the exception to the belief that all politicians lie. While we did not make any undying vows of love to each other on the bridge I could not resist snapping a few photos and admiring its beauty.
With so many things left undone in Sibiu I would happily take the opportunity to go back, so if you get the chance learn from our mistake and give yourself more than 24 hours to spend in this beautiful Romanian city.
Food & Beverage
For more pictures of Sibiu click here