Castles (part 1)

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Saturday, April 28, 2012

We may well be sick of castles by the end of Europe but at this stage they are still wonders.   And we chose two good ones -Bran Castle (allegedly dracula's castle) and Peles castle (the summer residence of the 'present' Romanian royal family. 

I was a bit fuzzy in the head after being sick -it takes me some time to metabolize that quantity of codeine - and it wasn't until 10 am that the fog lifted in my head. Unfortunately the fog in Brasov was still present until after midday. As we rumbled through the country side in a little minivan I looked at the mountains surrounding us. I saw the forests and streams and all the 'newness' and 'difference' of Romania. By the end of the one hour trip all enthusiasm had returned. I LOVE heading off to new places with new people. It lifts my soul.

Bran castle was clouded in drizzle -how authentic- and we walked the long dark cobblestone ramp in light rain. The village is just like the Dracula movie-except with souvenir stalls. While we waited the local cow herd was transferred from one pasture to the next through the town.  We see shepherds tending their flocks of about 20 sheep. The castle has information about queen Maria who lived there. In really the closest Dracula gets to the castle is that he may defecated there once. The castle had a strategic purpose and was manned by many different groups, including the English. 

Peles castle was totally different-a real royal residence. The pictures are a poor representation of the castle. You have to imagine it high on a hill with sweeping views down the hills. Inside (where we were not allowed to take photos- it was multi multi multi million dollar stuff - but tasteful and old. A few things that took my fancy were the large Milano glass chandeliers in the drawing room, or the Turkish silk rugs with over 1000 knots to the square centimeter, or the huge mirrors (7m x4m) made in Venice and transported the last 100 km on donkey cart filled with hay, or the over 150 beautifully detailed stained glass windows made in Germany., or.....or....or... Just jaw dropping stuff. ( incidentally I wouldn't have any them in my house, too formal). Especially since it seems I have taken to dressing like a hobo. I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the Venetian mirror and I looked like a bag lady. Still it can work in your favour. We arrived at Peles castle will not enough money. We offered visa ( no machine - this is Romania ) and euro (no real loyalty to the EU) and when we said we didn't have the money she let us in for half price - as seniors. We now had less than two dollars to get home. We had to walk to the town and then use our eurail pass to get a free train back to Brasov. The bus fare from the station was $ then we were broke.

The next day we went to Sighisoara - wonderfully preserved walled town. The photos give you some idea. We even found a plaque showing how far Sydney beat every other city hands down. I climbed the 175 covered stairs to the church on the hill so I think I'm better now. Must be time for the next town 

PS> Helen
Who the hell are these Hapsburgs...
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Ruth on

This looks beautiful!

stephen on

So glad you're better and getting stuck back in.

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