Day 23/24, Aug 4-5 - Dracula, Batman and Juha

Trip Start Jul 13, 2012
Trip End Aug 16, 2012

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday August 4th:
This was to be my last full day with Cat and the girls before they flew back to Canada. Originally my plan was to drive to Poenari Castle - one of Vlad Tepes III (aka Dracula) actual main castles. Then drive over to Brasov for some kick ass medieval throwback experience and then on to either Sibiu or Sighisoara (Dracula's birthplace) and maybe even to Bran Castle, the fake touristy one for a laugh. A Transylvania kind of day.

We did not get going until the afternoon. Strike Bran Castle and Sighisoara off that list. The main thing was to see the ruins of Poenari Castle. The girls have to drive because I have never really driven a standard and Juha has no license even though it is his car - that's our Juha!

The girls got to experience the roads I cycle on in the safety of a car and I don't think anyone felt completely safe. Whether it was the road condition, the roaming dogs, the horse/donkey driven carts, the crazy Romanian drivers who think when they pass on a 2 lane highway the car traveling in the right direction needs to get out of the way or just an errant cow strolling in the road, I think the girls got a taste of my new  daily life :o)

Because of the issues mentioned above it took a lot longer to get to our destination than I thought and we did not arrive until approximately 5:00pm. Now  all  we had to do was climb the 1,480 steps up to the ruins!  Scratch Brasov and Sibiu off the list. Lets enjoy one of the destinations I have dreamt about visiting since I was about 7 years old.  

It was kind of nice that we arrived so late because the temperature has fallen slightly (only about 32 degrees now). After the long march up the mountain one of t he first things I see at the castle are 2 dogs just hanging out. What the hell even at the top of a remote, isolated mountain there are dogs. At least I was not on bike so they were nice. I guess they could have been with the only guy working at the site even though he was a few meters back downhill.

The views were amazing and the castle must have killed the people who built it - oh wait it did! At the bottom of the hill is a camp grounds and it must be a crazy place to camp.

All in  all in was a  great experience and the girls got to see  the countryside in Romania which is definitely something from the olden days. I want to point out that my intention was to see Transylvania on this trip  and I did, but only see it from the top of the castle as technically Poenari Castle is not in  Transylvania but surrounded by it. It is in  Wallachia. 

By the time we got back to the hostel it was late and time for bed.

Sunday August 5th: 
It is time for the Cat and the girls to go back home. After sadly saying goodbye I watch the Olympics until Juha gets back from the airport.

As Juha knows I am both tired and not good in the heat so off we go to the cinema.  The air conditioned cinema. Being the great host Juha is we don't just go to the mall where the cinema is but do a quick site seeing tour on the way. One of t he places we stop at is The People's Palace (Really Nicolae Ceausescu's big  ass parliament to show off). The place is immense and the city planning that spreads from the area itself is unbelievable.

Off to the mall. This mall looks like Place D'Orleans in Ottawa at first. Wait there is a skating rink inside - WTF! I did not expect that especially when it is 37 degrees outside. Juha actually plays hockey here sometimes. That would have been a site to see. Then we watched "Dark Knight Rises", which was awesome.

The rest of the night we watched the Olympics and Usain Bolt take the 100 meters. We also got pizza. I laughed at Juha because he bought one  of t hose bags of lettuce that is supposed to be pre made salad. I laughed because he put it on his pizza.  Silly Finnish people. Then I had to shut up because when I looked  at the pizza I ordered it pretty much had a salad already on top. Oh well I can eat anything.

I say goodbye to my good friend Juha and hope he will be able to visit Canada soon. My overall impression of Bucharest is mixed. It feels disorganized and partially run down and there are too many roaming dogs for a city that large. It does have some really nice areas. My opinion on its chaos planning may be due to the fact t hat I had a guide instead of figuring out the place myself like I normally do.     
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