Tue 18/08/09 12:56
On the hunt for Dracula
Day two in Brasov was fun. The night earlier I was hanging out with a guy that was living in Romania for a few weeks during an internship in a nearby town. I guess that he was so bored that he decided to do a little sightseeing over the weekend. We ended up going and having dinner and a couple of beers. My stomach was still a little queasy from whatever I ate in Budapest so I didn’t, or couldn’t, really do any “real” drinking, plus I was still very tired from Vlad and the other people in the train keeping me awake the night before.
There was one thing that I felt that I had to do while I was in Romania… for that matter the main reason that I went to Romania was for the whole Dracula thing. Of course I want to see Bucharest and other parts, but Vlad the Impaler is, and was the main reason. I got what I wanted too, the train ride, the fact that I could see the Carpathian Mountains, and of course, just seeing signs like, Transylvania Bank made for a good time. The one thing that I still needed to see though was Dracula’s Castle. Yeah, I know that Dracula is a fictional character that was very loosely based on a real person known as Vlad the Impaler and that Vlad’s castle doesn’t actually exist anymore, but just like when I watch a “Vampire” movie I let myself believe, that what I’ve been doing while I’ve been here in Romania. It just seems to make things more fun.
So the guy I had dinner with, Michael, an American programmer on Sabbatical, Jeff, and a student in both med school and law school at Chapel Hill went on a tour of three castles. The first castle was very nice. It seemed like a real castle that you would expect to see portrayed in nearly every movie with a fortress style castle. I don’t know what else to say about it except that it was a great experience.
The second castle was Bran’s Castle…this is the castle that’s being marketed as Dracula’s. The castle was for the most part a disappointment. I don’t want to sound too negative, but you have to be there to understand. First there was a traffic jam about 10 km away that started at the castle, second at the base of the castle there are vendors selling souvenirs, not the kind that would make sense if you were visiting Dracula’s castle, they were selling, Monopoly boards, chess sets, Halloween costumes, and a lot of things that didn’t make any sense at all. I guess that’s where people go to get a good price on board games. There were some vampire things but only a few, and every shop had them so no variety. Lastly, the castle was the type of castle that a king would live in. It was pretty, no dungeon, and no visible link to Vlad. So that was pretty negative I know, so let me say that it was pretty, and it was a castle, and in one room they did have plaques that gave the history of vampires and werewolves, and I would’ve rather seen this castle than none at all.
Finally, the last place we went was not really a castle, but more of a palace constructed about one hundred years ago. That’s about all I can really say about it, it was like going to the Hearst Castle in California in its opulence, but not the kind of thing that I was hoping for.