Exploring your home land can be at least as exciting as traveling the world. other emotions, but similar excitement. like kids discovering another hidden passage behind a seemingly harmless door, in the household – a brandnew gate to adventure.
usually, spots in immediate proximity to home remain fairly unexplored, by the principle – “can be done tomorrow”. and “tomorrow” other things come in the way, and you end up knowing far away spots better than your own surroundings.
I found out about the Criş castle long after I had left home.
Former headquarters of a Hungarian noble family, Bethlen, it was confiscated by the Communist authorities and used as storage space for agricultural products of the local C.A.P. – state-owned “production community”.
After the Revolution in 1989 they started restoring it, but it stopped as soon as a descendant of the Bethlen family claimed the castle. And frozen it is today.
In summer there are greater chances to find a ghostly guard, who for 2-3 RON can give a quite educated tour. This time all we saw was a little smoke coming out randomly – we didn’t insist.
I knew about Biertan, German Saxons had their annual meetings there. But i didnt visit it for years – it was “way too far”, as much as anything farther than a 5 minutes walk. Unbelievable how small one’s Universe can be. I visited eventually, the imposing church-fortress,
fom the big village lost between the hills, carrying signs of fading glory, but not giving up.
Landscape is picturesque, the road serpenting through forests and pastures. It is a quality of the Transylvanian highlands – although conceptually the landscape is the same – hills – actually their shape is never the same, after every road curve there is something different waiting. That’s how one doesn’t get bored. In addition, if you’re lucky, you might spot, like we did, wildlife gems on the side of the road: fox, deer, and, above all, the very rare wild cat.
To get to Biertan, there is a side road you have to take from E60, in the middle of the village Şaroş, a.k.a. Şaroşu pe Târnave. It also has a fortified church, quite “substantial”,
which would probably be known better if it wasn’t in the shadow of Big Biertan. The landscape was like taken from a poem (Iarna pe Ulita), with kids thoroughly enjoying sledging on a hill behind the church.
– „uncle, give me 2 lei, please!”
– „we don’t have money. and we are from Romania”.
– “then take a picture of us!”
– “very well.”