28-29 August, 2011
Sighetu Marmaţiei (or Sighet to the locals) is just over the Tisa River border with the Ukraine. I got here by train, an eight and a half hour marathon from Cluj with 2 changes. A bus might have been better (certainly quicker) but I really do prefer trains. All my long-distance journeys in Romania have been by trains. I might do a day trip tomorrow by bus though. I arrived at Cobwobs Hostel (run by an English guy, Rob, and his Romanian wife, Ella) about 8pm. They had just started a barbecue and I was invited. Nice. I hadn’t eaten much since breakfast, just some fruit and nuts on the train.
Next day, for lunch, on the terrace of the Marmatia Hotel, I had sarmale, probably Romania’s most popular dish, cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat with sour cream. Most good restaurants also have a vegetarian menu (usually called “Lenten Food”). Then I crossed the pedestrian suspension bridge and walked up the hill. There were hundreds (probably thousands) of wild apple trees, the fruit sweet and delicious. You can see beyond the town over into the Ukraine and the Carpathian mountains from the hill.