Last weekend....wait, last weekend!? It's already been a week!? I'm still tired! Or am I just lazy? lazy or tired, I can't decide. Probably both. Ok, back on track - last weekend I did my favourite thing in the world: woke up ridiculously early to get on a bus with a bunch of people and be on a schedule made by someone else...wait....no, that's not my favourite thing in the world. That's my least favourite thing in the world. I hate travelling, especially with groups of people I barely know or don't know at all. But I like visiting place so it's a necessary evil, I suppose. Anyway, I went on a field trip thing. Got to visit a few cool places in SW Transylvania, took some pics, heard some inept remarks and ate questionable food.
Note: I won't present these in the visit order but rather in a historical order, so it makes more sense.
The Dacian Fortress of Costesti-Cetatuie
These are the remains of an old Dacian royal residence atop of a hill. Still visible are the bases of two residence-towers, the three outer walls and, a bit lower in the forest, the foundation of temple pillars. It has, of course, been destroyed and abandoned for almost two millenia and it's not very impressive visually. But it's of course very interesting from a historical perspective and the view from up there is quite amazing.
The site was close to where we stayed and we went up kinda late. By the time we were back it was already completely dark outside.
Now that the nerd stuff is out of the way let me tell you why I hate groups:
Exhibit A: "Why did they choose this hill?" reply "To make US climb!" - yes, Your Majesty. It was just a jest.
Exhibit B: *pulls out phone* "Gonna film you how you fall." *nobody falls - puts phone back - gets bright idea - starts running downhill - ankles give in - looks like a stumbling model on high heels on the cat walk for 30 seconds - falls like an idiot - opens a second butt hole in his knee - needs taken to the hospital to be patched up*.
Here is where I should mention our hotel. The conditions were great except for the prices....and the waitress that forgot about our order for an hour and then brought us cold and under cooked chicken breast (employee of the year award goes to that chick!). Other than that the rooms were comfy and the omlette was good. The place was guarded by a nice Dacian Draco and a bunch of funny dogs. But the highlight of our stay there was the old people group. Let me tell you about these people. There were about 20 something of them, they drank all afternoon, in the evening they were still goin' strong, they pulled out a trumpet and an accordion and played possibly the bawdiest songs I've heard in a while, they were still at it when we went to bed and the next morning they started to booze again. Ladies and gentlemen, I tip my hat to you!
Oh the capital of the Dacians, with it's temples, terraces, workshops and paranoid security guards that guard it against nut cases who come to seek spiritual enlightenment by chanting at stones and trying to yoga on them - I touched the Andesite Sun, I don't have superpowers yet.
As I mentioned, the city is built on terraces, has the remains of a temple complex and was the capital city of the Dacian people before the Romans came to end all that fun. But visiting it is really worth it...maybe not in a large group of idiots though.
I don't have any juicy highlights here, except for the security guy yelling at one kid not to go into the monuments.
Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa
After the Romans got rid of old Sarmizegetusa Regia and conquered the Dacians they decided that the new province now needs a capital...so they build one, at about 40km distance from the old capital. They named it....wait for it....Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa - say that with a full mouth. The place chosen had great strategic importance and soon flourished.
The tour here had two parts: first we visited the museum where they had a few artefacts on display and some cool reconstructions.....which we were not allowed to photograph without paying a fee (F*$% you, mate - the pictures at the right never happened); after that we entered the archaeological complex where we saw the ruins of the amphitheatre, the forum, a bunch of temples, the praetorium procuratoris and all the (excavated) bases of the buildings that made up this once bustling city.
To our annoyance we somehow managed to be there at the same time as a buss full of middle-aged religious people who were not so sure what they were visiting and were acting dumber that the younger students that we were with. At one point these people realised that all they are seeing is a bunch of demolished building, random stones with Latin on them and hearing the guide say boring stuff so they left in the middle of the tour.
After the Romans left the city of Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa declined and eventually became deserted aaaand THEN.....it became a quarry. Yes, a quarry. People started to use stones from the Roman buildings to build new stuff. The most notable of the new buildings is a 13th century stone church in the village of Densus. The church was build over an even older structure which is said to maybe be a pagan temple but I can't vouch for that since my source for that info is Wikipedia. Of course additional building has been done on the church later in the 15th century and so on. The church its self is small, and has a really irregular shape.
We weren't allowed to take pictures inside and while I tried to sneak a few, a combination of my potato phone and the tight space filled with ditzy students made all my pics to be some blurry unrecognisable mass of colours.
The highlight of the tour was this beautiful giant. The place is amazing and I don't even know where to start with this one. It has a rich history in which I will not go into here. In short: building started in 1446, over an old keep. The style is Gothic with some liberties taken in a restoration campaign after a devastating fire. Our guide was amazing and took us through all the chambers and halls, the more notable of them being the Chapel, the Knight's Hall, the Diet Hall and the Capistrano Tower. We got to hear their stories and some legends. In one of the chambers there was a minstrel playing medieval music. I need another few visits to get enough of this place and I can't recommend it enough.
The castle was our last visit after which we remained in the city of Hunedoara for a couple day where a friends mum fed us royally. Should have taken a picture of the food and dedicate a blog just to it cause it was amazing. And on that note I take my goodbyes for now. See you in the next post!
No vampires were harmed in the making of this blog.