One summer, my sister took me with her to Sibiu. We were going to stay at a friend of hers in Râu-Sadului for a week. She was a college student here, while I had never been to any other place except for Vâlcea and Craiova. Before taking the bus to the village, she showed me the city, with all the people sitting at terraces, the Big Square and the Small Square. This was before the start of the renovation works for the year when Sibiu was European Capital of Culture.
So, as we were walking under the Stairs Passage, through the streets and she kept talking – making sure I didn’t miss the university buildings, the copy shop, the cathedral, i.e. the places she used to go to – in my mind, I was wondering how the people of Sibiu managed to make trees grow in the concrete in the city centre. Then, when I saw a group of Chinese people for the first time ever, I simply stopped still and stared.
During the same summer vacation week in Râu-Sadului, we partied with a group of French pupils, though I don’t remember why they were there. I know we went on a one-day trip to Bâlea Lake with them and I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing snow in mid-summer. And I still haven’t forgotten how cold it was: I’d never been to the mountains before, so I had dressed for summer. It was then that I understood why all the French pupils were wearing boots. They were experienced tourists, with well-established routes, while we just happened to join them. Luckily, we spoke a little French and could get along with them. We didn’t talk about Sibiu at all because I didn’t know anything about sights and tourist routes. And when I asked what they knew about Romania, they replied with some famous O-zone lyrics: “Alo, alo, sunt eu Picasso/Ți‑am dat beep, și sunt voinic/Dar să știi, nu‑ți cer nimic.”
I didn’t think that, years later, my memories of those days would connect with what I do now. Our summer edition is dedicated to holidays and tourist destinations, with an emphasis on Sibiu – a cultural and holiday destination. We have talked to city guides about the routes they’ve prepared for the visitors, captured the city of Sibiu through the lens of foreign photographers, took a look at the city’s sights, and talked to people of Sibiu about the meaning of journeys and their experiences.
If you want to share thoughts from your travels to Sibiu and not only, find us online at www.capitalcultural.ro and tell us your summer story.
foto: Alex Barbosa