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J157 - Monday, March 22: In the mountains - Sighisoara

76.01km – 10H24’
Altitude: 357m

One day follows the next; beautiful and sunny.  By mid afternoon the temperature hovers around 20°C.  In spite of this warmth we are wary in the early morning and at the end of the day because the temperature is chilly, especially at this altitude.  Nature has not awakened from its winter sleep, and the trees are not yet in bud.  There are a few timid birds around but not much chirping.  It is only just the end of winter which, like everywhere in Europe, was severe this year.  But this doesn’t keep Bertrand and Daniel from wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
After breakfast, Serge hurries as if he is afraid he will miss his train.  It’s a rare occurrence in the morning because normally he takes his time and gets ready with the same gestures, the same calm rhythm. This brief time is a solitary moment for our runner.  Normally, we don’t exchange more than two words.  I can’t say that he is in a phase of concentration, but I think that he is looking within himself to find the motivation and fortitude to start the machine…For my part, unconsciously, I am never tranquil and serene until the day is over.  We live this race with a certain inner progression, which we express little or not at all, and where each of us must perform his daily tasks without respite.
The evening meal is an important moment for the group, which gathers around the table!  The servings in Romania are copious: Ciorba (soup); meat, mostly chicken and pork because beef is expensive; salad which is usually eaten with the meat and then dessert.  Cheese is eaten with deli meats at the beginning of the meal and not before dessert as we do at home.  The soups are excellent and very copious, with a specialty not to be missed for those who like it; tripe soup.  Desserts include “clatites,” pancakes, “papanasi,” a kind of a baba with whipped cream and jam –served in pairs – one plate is enough for two at the end of a meal unless you have a big appetite.  We were able to try cooked Cascaval (breaded cheese) and Sarmale, ground meat with rice cooked in cabbage leaves.  Romanian cooking, even if it does not seem varied, is good and comforting.  
Chantal and Michel introduced us to the « Kürtos, » a cake rolled and baked on a cylindrical spit.  It is a Hungarian specialty.  And finally, Romanian wines are not yet famous but Adrian and Michel explained that certain grapes are in the process of proving themselves.  Adrian gave us a bottle of red and one of white which we will take home for our future European wine tasting!  It’s quite a program we look forward to…..

We arrived at the famous city of Sighisoara.  The historical center, on a promontory surrounded by ramparts, is in the process of being renovated.  This medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Serge had a good day and at the first refueling he began joking with Bertrand and Daniel.  He tells me he enjoyed the scenery the second part of the stage.  Originally German, the villages has different appearance from what we have seen up to now.  The sign to Sighisoara is tri-lingual: Romanian, German and Hungarian.  Vive l’Europe!

Town : Sighisoara

GPS : N 46.13051° E 024.47410°