2007 European Cultural Capital City

Trip Start May 31, 2007
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Trip End May 20, 2008


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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Took a couple more trains to Sibiu yesterday...the first one brand spankin new, gleaming metal and then next one...standard issue Romania...a bit stinky, dirty and I'm not going to even mention the toilets....

We arrived in the pouring rain and the locals observed the usual taxi cue rules...survival of the fittest or most aggressive!  We finally got our four taxis and headed off to our hotel.  I was hoping for something near the center but unfortunately we ended up in a residential neighborhood outside of the main town.  It was really disappointing but we settled in and took some new taxis to the town center and had a short guided walk and then had a lovely lunch/dinner which brightened most of our spirits enormously.  Turns out our hotel is actually quite new and nice and the lady running it is very friendly.

While we were panhandled on the train by a persistent young boy and by a woman walking through the aisles it seems that there is a feeling of excitement about being named the capital of culture here and also perhaps about the opportunity of joining the EU.  On the other side, I have heard from a few locals concerned about bribery and corruption with the influx of EU money and also some frustration about the cost of living going up but the salaries staying level.  My initial impression was that the history of oppressive communism might account for the tendency to 'skirt the rules' but one of the locals informed me that it is also a bit of Romanian culture outside of the influence of Communism.  Whatever the case may be, I hope that the locals get to benefit from these new opportunities...not just saavy outsiders.

Sibiu is quite an interesting city and has been named on of the European Capital of Culture for 2007...you can read more about the place here:   http://www.sibiu.ro/index_en.php

Wandered around and saw some cathedrals, historic buildings, found the Internet and then back to the hotel for some cards and drinks with my tour mates before heading to bed....
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