BRAN CASTLE and BRASOV – SEPT. 16
As far as drives go, today’s was definitely the most scenic; beautiful mountains and cute little homes. Because Romania is still new to the European Union (and it was only 1989 that they ended communism in the country) there is still a lot of infrastructure work that needs to happen. As a result there a very few motorways, so while some of the places we have traveled to aren’t that far away, the only way to get there is by going on small windy roads and in crazy tiny villages. Personally I loved this because when not sleeping the views were incredible.
Our first stop of the day was the infamous Bran Castle. While it is known for being the Castle behind Bram Stocker’s Dracula, the actual man who inspired the myth Vladimir Tepes may have never even stayed at this castle. It is believed that he may have spent a few days here, but it was definitely not his main haunt (heehee, see what I did there?!)
I don’t really know what I was expecting of Bran Castle, but it was not what I was thinking it would be. It was by no means a gothic castle, I actually found it to be really cute. While it was not the gothic dark place I was thinking it would be, I really loved this castle. Lots of small little rooms and a sweat looking courtyard in the center. 100% not the kind of place you would imagine the man or the myth.
The final destination for the day was the adorable town, Brasov. It is pretty much my favorite kind of place with old world charm and modern conveniences. We did a mini sort of walking tour getting to see an old church, this one being one of the largest in Romania. Apparently back in days of yore soldiers would visit the church in order to try and get G-d’s blessing before going off to fight. As they left the church they would sharpen their swords against the exterior walls of the church believing that this would bring them some of the holiness of the church.
Sadly we arrived in Brasov too late to do both the walking tour and take the cable car up the mountain since the cable car closed at five. Three people in our group chose to do this instead of the walking tour, but the rest of us ended up climbing the steep steps to the White Tower which I think still gave us a damn good view of the old town.
Before dinner some of us just enjoyed walking around the main square. There was a little outdoor craft market and there was also some kind of festival going on. We got there only for the end of it, but there was traditional folk music and dancing. Dinner that night was at our hotel and it was delicious. The restaurant was styled in the 1920s so it was very Art Deco. After dinner I went on a short walk with the group just to see everything lit up, and then it was time for bed!
So far, I think Brasov and Bucharest are my favorite parts of Romania. I loved Bucharest for the history and the experiences whereas Brasov was visually my favorite place.