Romania continues with a drive from Sibiu to Pitesti along the part of the trip we were most excited about because it involved driving along the Transfagaran Highway, which Jeremy Clarkson describes as "the best road in the world”.

The road is fully drivable during the summer, but until the beginning of June the northern and highest part of the road is usually still closed. We were driving it on 1st June and couldn't get any definitive information as to whether or not this top part was open. I wanted to risk it and approach from the north, as this was the much more logical way to do it, but Katie talked me down and we decided to approach from the south. This turned out to be very wise, as the road was, in fact, blocked higher up by a rather dramatic ice wall. It was like something out of Game of Thrones (but with less incest).

Before we hit the ice wall, however, we first needed to reach the road itself. This took longer than planned, partly because of a few stop-offs along the way - this country is just too beautiful! We saw a lovely lake and some ancient Roman ruins from 138AD.

We passed some beautiful scenery on our way to the Transfagaran highway, until we hit some back roads that turned out to be more like rubble paths. We vibrated and nearly weed ourselves for an hour or two on these awful roads. We stopped once as we were surrounded by a herd of sheep, and again for a comfort break in a bush where we were intimidated by this knife carrying young man. It was like being back in London.

Then we finally arrived on the highway and were greeted by mountain views and flowing rivers that took our breath away. It was fantastic. We passed a huge dam as well, which was gorgeous. The photos don’t really do the views justice; they were absolutely phenomenal.

We climbed and climbed in the crappy VW Polo and started to see snow on the hilltops. The temperature dropped from 25 to about 5 degrees. It was stunning.

The roads themselves were a joy to drive on, as they carved a smooth path up the mountain. Until we hit the ice wall!

We turned around and headed back down the valley with full views of these gorgeous scenes. It was one of those experiences that photos and words just can't do justice to. The empty, peaceful roads coupled with the dramatic landscapes are something to remember for a long time. What a day!

The views on the way to the road were so stunning, we didn't really think it could get any better

The road leading to the "best road in the world" was pretty darn awesome too!

The aforementioned Roman ruins are on the left of this photo

What a scummy dam...

It was actually pretty impressive

Our car snacks were very much on theme!

As we drove higher, the snow eventually started to encroach on the road

And then we reached the impassable bit

So we headed back down!

Could you ever actually get bored of looking at that?

It was a bit of a shock arriving in built-up Pitesti after all of that natural wonderment

Sighișoara - Birthplace of Dracula THEN Sibiu

Romania is so darn beautiful!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if I knew what I know now, back when we planned this trip, we would have spent a full day in Sighișoara . We arrived late at night and were lucky that the B&B let us in! The owners were extremely friendly, offering us a shot of horrific vodka/palinka at 2am. A reoccurring theme in this trip (and our lives) was the kindness of locals who were always happy to help...and provide alcohol.

Sighișoara is a delightful town in Transylvania and the morning we spent there was long enough to see the highlights, albeit a little rushed. We climbed up the old church tower, which had an amazingly intricate ancient clock and a great view of the town. While we were on the top, we saw a marching band parade the streets, and spotted an incredibly long gutter…

The town is very quaint and peaceful, full of nice restaurants, old shops and cobbled streets. But it has a dark and twisted past. It was the birthplace/home of Vlad the Impaler, who Dracula is based on, and there are several themed restaurants and hotels cashing in on this fact. That being said, we were surprised by how little Dracula stuff we saw in Romania. If he had been from the UK, you know we'd have a whole theme park by now!

We visited the supposed place of Vlad's birth and were not bitten by any bats, which is a shame because I’ve always wanted to feast on the blood of virgins. Katie and I always say to leave something undone in each place so you have a reason to go back…maybe that can be mine for Romania!

By the way, Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) was a proper evil scumbag. He was vicious, boiling people alive and impaling mothers and babies together on huge spikes. Scary.

The town also has an interesting staircase that was built in 1642 to transport children quickly to their school at the top of the hill. It led to a wonderful part of town with some nice views from the hilltop and a cool cemetery. Fans of the blog know that we have a soft spot for a good cemetery (see the Chinese cemetery in Manilla) and coupled with a quaint church, it’s an unstoppable combo.

Surely that is enough excitement for a day, no? Oh no! We’re only just getting started. We left Sighișoara after lunch and drove to Sibiu, making a few stops to look at some old churches and buildings on the way. This was the theme of the holiday; constantly stopping to look at the many really ancient buildings by the road that catcalled us over for a cheeky glance.

Sibiu is a bigger town than Sighișoara, with a decent high street full of shops and city delights. It still has its fair share of old buildings though, with our highlight being this church. The bizarre paintings inside really peaked our curiosity…

In the evening, after a bit of a wander, we stopped in a lovely square by our AirBnB and drank a bottle or two of wine. We ordered Katie’s favourite wine and it had a topless woman on the label so we both enjoyed it muchly.

Delightful. UNTIL we noticed we were being watched…In Romania, the houses have eyes!

Seriously, how freaky is that?! It genuinely scared the bejeebus our of us!

And that concludes our whirlwind day! But buckle up, because there's plenty more to come. And I might be so bold as to say that the best is yet to come...!
The entrance into Sighișoara's old town
View from the Sighișoara church tower
The marching band we spotted from the tower...

...and the weirdly long gutter
The inner workings of the old clock

Dave tried to count the steps but lost track in all the excitement!
The spooky graveyard at the top of the staircase...

The famous Vlad the Impailer!

And the supposed house where he was born...which is now a themed restaurant! We didn't eat there, but I did notice the menu contained lots of garlic dishes and some blood red tomato soup!
They had set up a room so it was really dark, with a red glow, fake candles, a coffin and some spooky music playing from a CD player plugging in by the door. It was all a little naff and half-hearted to be honest.

And now for the beautiful churches we spotted on our way to Sibiu!

And then we arrived in lovely Sibiu!

The art in the cathedral was both spectacular and odd.