Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Don't tell everyone, but Romania's great.

As I think Tracy's Dad is about the only person who reads this - Ian, don't worry your daughter is having a good time. Romania has chocolate!

Transfagarasan Highway. Possibly the best paved road in the whole world - or something like that. It was wonderful and we had reasonably good weather at the top ( torrential rain coming down the other side for a while but then the sun came out and we dried off). 

The one and truly legitimate 'Vlad the Impaler/ Dracula castles sits atop a mountain at the southern end of the Transfag. We walked the 1480 steps up to the top - this took us 25 minutes!!! So you'do better appreciate the photos.

 Tracy counted the steps and made it 1390. But it certainly felt like 1480. 

 Nice greeting at the top.

Apparently the villagers killed Vlad's father and brother (?) so he had them build this lookout/castle and impaled the towns elders on spikes. Like crucifixion, it often took hours, if not days, for people to die this way. Really rather gruesome.

We then based ourselves in Bran for three nights. Bran is famous for its Dracula Castle and although it is a nice enough place it has nothing at all to do with Vlad. Of all the Dracula castles this is the one with the least ( i.e NOTHING) to do with Vlad and yet it's the famous Dracula castle.

There was also a beer festival going on in town, so we made up for last year's alcohol free tour of Scandinavia. 

Another day, another Romanian castle. This one ( Peles castle) was built just over 100 years ago for the King of Romania to live in. 

Romania is home to 60% of the European brown bear population. Something to do with the fact that during Communism no one was allowed to hunt bears ( except the President). But with the collapse of Communism and the onset of unfettered capitalism bears we take and use to 'entertain' tourists. Around 80 of these bears now live in the wonderful LiBEARty bear sanctaury near Bran. A very worthwhile visit.

 Not a selfie I would have wanted to see in Canada! 

Other highlights of the last week...

Walking in the Translyvanian woods

Colourful Saxon villages and their religious art....

Dom with Vlad Tepes in his hometown of Sighisoara ( where I'm posting this from)

 Tracy posing on the medieval covered walkway, built in Sighisoara so the citizens can walk up to the church and the school children can walk up to the school. Very considerate.

As I was typing this up three BMW 1200s turned up at out hotel ( We're staying right in the middle of the historic centre of Sighisoara in a 4* hotel and it' sonny £40 a night!) so I quickly took this picture of the rear end of Heidi and three Italian bikes.

And finally a HUGE thanks to Gavin. Gavin is a UK citizen living in Romania. We met up with him this week and he have us a few tips on what to do and where to go. Thanks Gavin.

 And to finish. In Bran castle there were some scales to weigh witches. I'll let you decide what happened to Tracy! 

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