11.07.2017 - 15.07.2017
We had never heard of this town either. We only turned up here because it was a convenient stop at a campsite, we knew about the wine region but the town was a delightful surprise. We walked into the centre the first evening to find a bite to eat and we found a very lively pedestrian area, Jacqui spied out the market and we had a beer, so far so good. Strolling on further we found the main square with illuminated fountains outside the town hall and then a concert just about to start under the castle walls. We were treated to an orchestral performance with music they we hadn't heard and to a solo flautist who, we found out afterwards does jazz and dance as well as classical music. There was a large appreciative crowd and when we left we realised we still hadn't eaten, cue the brilliant burgers at Corner2.
Next day we revisited the town to get more of an idea of the history as well as poke about, the now open market. The castle is famous for its defense against the Ottomans, where 2000 defends held out against 40000 turks, I'm sure it was a lot but numbers can be exaggerated.
We had booked a wine tasting and a meal and turned up at 6 to be taken down into the cave carved out of the rhyolith, a soft rock a bit like Pumice which regulates the temperature to about 10 °C all year. The famous wine from here abouts is Bull's Blood and is a blend of up to 5 grapes. We tried the two types of white and then I tried some red, they were top quality and let patron was a character. The meal was a little disappointing, pork stew with micro pasta but the paprika paste it was served with was so good we had to buy some next day.
A bit of a lazy day followed all that wine but we did manage a walk in the Valley of the Beautiful Woman, where there are about 40 wine caves. We got dragged into one by an old crone who was a great advert for what happens if you drink this stuff for too long, even the whites are about 13.5%! We did try another cave and bought 2 litres of a blended red and 2 of a merlot, in plastic bottles the chap charged us 30p each for, the wine was only €2 per litre.
All in all a really good stumble upon and for some reason it has a Beatles museum, we didn't go.
We were leaving the next morning but had been told about a salt hill that was worth seeing so drove back the way we came into the town to take a look, it was about 8 feet high, we did expect a bit too much I suppose!
Note from Romania, Jacqui noticed that the ordinary villages were dotted with mansions, mostly unfinished, with decorative gates and fences, they really were over the top. Keeping up with the Jonescues I expect with a bit of Disney added