8 July 2008. A picture from the Hungary/Romania trip.

On our way to our final destination of Torocko we stopped briefly in Segesvar. (AKA, Sighisora & SchaBburg–with an umlaut over the “a” and an esset where the “B” is.) One of the reasons this town is currently drawing tourists is because it is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, but we Unitarian tourists look down on that and instead went to see the mechanism of the clock in the clock tower (very cool) and to the Church on the hill which we got to by climbing the Scholars’ Stairs (scroll down to read about them.) These were covered stairs climbing straight up the hill. Eva told us that legend says if you climb up in pairs and both count the stairs, no two people will get the same number. We took off like shots, climbing and counting. Halfway up I thought, “this has a feeling of a snipe hunt” and indeed, though we did come up with different numbers, the only reason that story is told is so people will zip up the stairs without complaining. Eva said her grandmother told her the story when she was little and so she told us.

A winding and slightly nausea-inducing bus ride delivered us to Torocko, which was a village we visited overnight in 2005. Torocko has become much more tourist-y in the interim. It improved the postcard situation, which was nice, but it was strange to see all those tour buses where previously there were none. In 2005 this was the village where we walked into the sleepy town and twenty minutes later a woman appeared with ice cream to sell. Though there aren’t enough tourists for her to have a shop, yet, I think that she must be very busy now.
Toroko is beautiful, not only because of the pretty houses, but also the huge mountain that looms above it. Legend has it that this was where the Pied Piper of Hamelin brought the children after he piped them away. The evidence is that the embroidery of Torocko is very Saxon and none of the surrounding villages show the Saxon influences. I just skimmed the article on Wikipedia and indeed, one of the theories is that the children may have been stolen/recruited to settle other parts of Europe. Also that the “children” may have not been actual children, but residents of the town who moved elsewhere.

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