Just about everyone knows of, has read or watched the horror story of “Dracula” written by the Irish novelist Bram Stoker. Some even ask the question was he REAL or fictitious. Many believe he was real. We can see why people think that. Bran in Transylvania can be a spooky and scary place with mist and orthodox castles. It is the perfect setting for such beliefs.
Folklore has it that Dracula ( Vlad the Impaler ) who was a warlord was the inspiration of this story.
It was believed that Vlad had spent time locked up in the castle. It has been recorded that Vlad killed over 100,000 civilians by impaling them. (Not a nice man) Thankfully this is only a small part of Transylvania’s history in Romania. This castle is actually called “Bran Castle”.
Romania is very rich in culture, history, tales and folklore. It has the most spectacular scenery.
Fields of sunflowers with their bright golden heads held high following the sun, then at night bowing their heads down. It is a beautiful sight to see.
Some places in Romania are still very poor. Fuel is very expensive in Romania, so many people walk and do not own a car. Driving through some of the villages, we saw many horse and carts, still being used by families to get around in. They use them to transport hay, rocks and crops off their farms.
The people are very friendly and helpful even though many did not speak English. They have a simple life. During the day it was not uncommon to see them sitting outside relaxing on benches in front of the houses. Talking and watching people and traffic go by. As I waved to some of them they would happily wave back.
At Curtea de Arges one of the places we stayed were some Romanian visitors who go there every year for holiday. They were such a friendly helpful family. They recommended places for us to go. One of them was Viscri which is also known due to the work of Prince Charles foundation in restoring buildings in Viscri. It is a very old village from the 12th century with stone roads. The day we went there happend to be a day when a cyling event was being held. The village had many neighbouring people that had travelled to the event along the skinny, winding, bumpy, potholed roads to get to the event. (As did we unknowingly). As we got out of the car we saw bicycles and their riders going through a finishing line. They were covered in mud from head to toes. The village had old water troughs in the main street mean’t for the animals to drink out of. The men were in them washing themselves and their bikes. When I took this photo of this man he first of all looked up and then laughed at the sight he must be.
Many of you guys would have heard of the program “Top Gear”. Well as far as they are concerned the Transfagarasan Hwy is the best in the world. We went on it. What a thrilling, beautiful drive it was.
We travelled over 800 kms and saw so much and yet so little. We mainly concentrated on central Romania. There is so much more we would like to go back and see.
As they say in Romania when you are leaving a village - Drum Bun - which translates to “we wish you a good road” - or as we say, “seeya latar”!