A fortifying ride

I rented a bike from a pensiunea in town so I could explore some of the Saxon villages surrounding Sighişoara. Many of the villages have old fortified churches in their centers, built between the 12th and 16th centuries as Hungary sent Germans in to colonize. The fortified churches were an added defense against possible Ottoman invasion, and allowed the German culture to take root in the region.

Pearly Gate Music – Big Escape

My sense of editing doesn’t always extend to all things, so I decided to ride the bike to the one farthest away, Biertan, because it was the most “famous.” Two kilometers of the ride were a mountain (but that meant that one of those kilometers was downhill!). Another 25 were along a motorway, with truck drivers honking at me and cars passing each other to leave you with just enough room to ride off the road.

rulebreaker

rulebreaker

Touring churches and cathedrals while traveling is usually one of my least favorite, most-avoided activities, a fact I only remembered when, already exhausted, I climbed the hill to discover that this church was still just a church, only with a thick wall around it. I tried to be as interested in it as a group of German tourists near me were and took some pictures, but ended up falling asleep on a bench.

Biertan

Biertan

I was woken up by car horns. A line of cars was streaming through the village, with ribbons tied to their mirrors. I could see a bride in the front car, and between the incessant honking I could hear accordion music being played down the road.

I wandered around the village for a bit, trying to find the wedding. I looked up at the church behind me, and suddenly had a flash of recognition: Biertan was on the cover of my guidebook. (I had even asked someone at the hostel in Braşov if they new what “castle” it was — they didn’t, perhaps because it wasn’t a castle.)

Deer Tick – Twenty Miles

I didn’t find the wedding (like I would have known what to do when I found it, anyway), so summoned the energy for the return journey. Back at the pensiunea, I had to wait a while to return the bike, and you’re all lucky I did, because the time afforded me the opportunity to meet this Most Hilarious of Dogs:

It's blurry because I was laughing.

It's blurry because I was laughing.

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1 comment
  1. That looks like the radest dog ever! I bet he tells great stories.

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