I awoke to another cold wet day in Romania. Generally I don’t have an issue with this except that my clothes I’ve dropped off for laundering were not dry so i’m wearing the same clothes again today. Also the only remotely warm clothing I bought was a jacket and long pants. I’m heading towards the coast of the meditteranean over the weekend, so things should startt to warm up again. Still the weather is only a minor concern, I had another castle to visit.
Bran castle, is often referred as Draculas castle. I can certainly see why this might be the case. Dracula is based on a Romanian guy called Vlad Tepes. His nickname was Vlad the impaler, because he didn’t mind impaling people as a way of killing them for whatever reason he had. The dracula part comes from the fact his father was known as Dracul which is romanian for the devil or a demon. I’m not sure if he drank human blood or not or whether that was a Bram Stoker idea.
Back to the castle, the castle was built in the 14th century which meant it certainly was around when Vlad was impaling his victims. However it is known that he only visited this castle and didn’t live here. Still, the locals don’t mind selling dracula souvenirs, even though the romanians really don’t have the hang of it yet. Imagine souvenir stalls lining the walkway to the castle and not once being asked to buy something. They are just too polite to ask. Its a far cry from somewhere like Vietnam where if i bought from one person the other person assumed I’d buy from them too.
the castle is much more fun to visit than Peles, which is something you should not talk to historians about. To them Peles is a palace, while Bran is definately a castle. There is no need for a guided tour and the entry fee includes photography. They have set the castle up quite well so that passageways are roped off guiding you through the castle, only to find you are on the other side of the roped off passageway. This meant I actually saw all of the castle that was open which would be no mean feat if everything was open slather. Up and down stairs into different parts of the castle. There was even a fully functioning secret passageway that came out behind a bookshelf.
It was kind of like a giant playground for adults to explore. Most of the rooms had furniture from when it was last inhabited a century or so ago. Also some suits of armous seemed to grab everyones attention.
Today i also witnessed two old Romanian ladies have a fight at the bus station. they threw things at each other and according to the locals swore with language that even the younger generation would rarely use.
Then there is also the RAT stings on the bus system. The bus system is called the RAT (acronym for something) and tickets cost about 50 cents. When you get on the bus you put your ticket into the machine and it stamps the bus number, date and time on the ticket. simple and effective system, but I’ve seen two stings with undercover agents already. The first was unsuccessful and I’m glad I knew what to do with the ticket. The second today involved the 4 undercover agents boarding the bus, next to the ticket validation machines and then flash their badges. One woman had “accidentally” neglected to get her ticket validated which if she got away with it could be used for another ride. She lunged to try and get the ticket stamped, but its rather hard to put the ticket in normally, let alone with secret agent bus inspectors in the way. I believe the fine is something like $17-18, which seems small, but compared to the ticket cost and what the wages are like here, its alot.
Tomorrow will be my last day in Brasov and i head to Sibiu for 2 nights and then Timisoara on the way through to Belgrade in Serbia. I may only spend 1 day or a night in belgrade though as I’m heading to the more exciting Bay of Kotor in Montenegro.