One of the most annoying things as we travel occurs when we wake up on a rest day without a firm plan about how we will spend it, which is exactly what we did today. Would we go into town and meander the sites? Ride our bikes out to the cultural museum, 7 kilometers away? We debated, all the while the cool morning slipped away and the heat started settling in.
Finally, the rave reviews about the cultural museum lured us back onto our unloaded bikes, Ben attempting to encourage me by telling me that “without a load, they practically pedal themselves!”
Under no circumstances has my bicycle ever pedaled itself, but none the less, we made decent time out to the museum. It hadn’t gotten unbearably hot and I really do love to be on top of my bike, even if it does feel a little wobbly without the load.
The museum here is more of a park: a huge collection of actual peasant homes, windmills, shops, churches, and buildings carefully collected, moved, and reconstructed around a lake just outside of Sibiu. The museum had working gardens, hay fields, and fishing ponds – all still in use.
Unfortunately, aside from the labels on each building, the signage was a bit inadequate, leaving us guessing about what we were looking at. In spite of our ignorance, the buildings themselves were fascinating with ornate trim, thatched roofs, woven tapestries, and handmade furniture inside. We lamented that our own neighborhood lacks this kind of thoughtful character.
We slowly strolled through the exhibits, leapfrogging from shady place to shady place. In the middle, we stopped for a live Sunday service taking place at the church, well attended by lots of people who were clearly not tourists. We still aren’t clear if it is common practice for people to attend church inside the museum or if the occasion was special for Pentacost which is apparently celebrated today.
Toward the end of our visit, whispy clouds started to slither across the sky, relieving the pressure of the heat just in time to keep us cool as we meandered back to the hotel. We rolled past towers and old walls, through cobblestone alleyways and past grand churches before landing in the square and taking a hike clear up to the top of the stifling hot tower, affording us a panoramic view of the town.
I can’t remember the last time a town has charmed us so thoroughly. These streets are completely adorable and blissfully quiet; a huge contrast to some of the major tourist hot spots in France or Italy.