Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
Trip End Jul 27, 2007

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Brasov is the largest town in Transylvania with just under 300,000 people. Itīs also the main centre used for people looking to check out Dracula and Bran Castle.

I got in very early in the morning from Moldova and into the hostel around 6:30am. They had a castle tour going out at 9:30 and I figured I would do that...by about 10am when they showed up I had hit a brick wall thanks to my three hours sleep on the bus. Instead of doing the castle tour I found my bed and napped. I loves me a good nap.

When I got up a few hours later I met a couple Aussies who where also just getting up - though they had been out until about 5am the night before enjoying some legendary Brasov nightlife.

After exploring some of the city, we got together later along with an American from New Jersey for dinner at a restaurant right beside the hostel. tres fancy. 3-course meal of authentic Romanian cuisine (lots of meats), bottle of wine, couple of beers and dessert equaled about $16 each for the four of us. Very nice. Otherwise street food could be had for between 1 or 2 lei - about $0.50 or $1.

You needed four people for the hostel to do the castle tour and the next day only Jordy (the American from New Jersey) and myself had signed up. We decided to do it on our own but on the way out we ran into three more Americans who tagged along for the ride.

Bran, at least appearance wise, seems to be more affluent than most small Romanian towns I have passed so far on my trip. The affluence probably comes from the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come through to see Bran Castle.

The taxi dropped us off in front of the standard tourist trap / walkway to the entrance of the castle. Offerings included Draculaīs Blood Wine (a red of course), T-shirts, Mugs...and a shop selling Power Puff Girls merchandise. odd. very odd. I wonīt say I wasnīt tempted by the Blossom doll, īcause I was.

I think, if I had an opportunity to do it, I would choose to be a King. Have a kick-ass castle on a big hill so I could look down on my "loyal" subjects to make sure they are properly tilling my fields and tending to my crops. If I ever win the lotto 6/49 I think I will build that castle somewhere in downtown Vancouver and just pretend the citizens of the city are my subjects...that would be great.

Of course there is no actual proof that Dracula ever stayed at Bran Castle...the thinking is he may have stayed for two nights while traveling through town but no proof exists for that. The castle was just the inspiration for the Bram Stoker novel about the fictional Dracula. Either way itīs a pretty impressive building.

Halfway back to Brasov is the town of Rasnov, home of an impressive fortress, that we all wanted to see especially since it was on the way back from Bran. All of us crammed into one cab for the 20km trip. With an American on my lap and a cab driver that had just started his job we where off. Only one wrong turn and a twenty minute detour later we where on our way up the steep dirt road to the fortress. Steep hill + six people in a car + an inexperienced driver = stall outs galore. Good times.

Rasnov Fortress had nothing really to do with Dracula but was built in the 13th century to protect the city from invasions and such. A part of the fortress has been restored to show what it would have looked like in itīs glory days but a lot of the fortressī original defense walls and structures have been kept with little or no restoration.

Fusion is big. One of the biggest fusion trends I saw in Brasov that I think will soon be sweeping the western world was at a place we went to one night - Tequila Bowling. On the main floor - bowling. On floors 2,3,4 - a crazy nightclub. After Belgium with its perfect mix of Beer, Chocolate & Waffles this may be the smartest combo deal I have seen on my travels so far. Or maybe that's just the tequila talking.
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55rr~ on

read some words of yours :)
i couldn't help wondering what foreigners think about romania so i took a peak at your blog :)
i am from Brasov,born and raised,and i am impressed at how realistically you perceived my hometown :)
i am afraid that maybe that cab driver didn't get lost by mistake,but i agree with all the rest :)
and i am especially glad you got the point that Bran castle is just smoke and mirrors,i mean Dracula himself is 99% myth,but it sells so they exploit it :)
i am curious whether you visited Poiana Brasov,the well-known mountain resort here and what you thought about it
if you have time to talk more about brasov,romania or whatever,please write :) if not,it was a pleasure reading your story

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