Castles, but no vampires.
Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
248Trip End Aug 15, 2008
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Brasov itself is pleasant enough, with a typically scenic old town (i'm sensing a pattern emerging here) and a small mountain (complete with mildly dangerous walk to the top and Hollywood style letters illuminated at night), but is very convenient as a base for a few day trips. I went to both Rasnov fortress and Bran castle on one excruciatingly long day. Not that I got back to the hostel very late, but the trip should only have taken a morning. There was a lot of confusion over exactly where we were supposed to be catching buses from; in Rasnov, we waited for almost two hours before giving up and hitching a ride to Bran, which took all of five minutes. In Bran, we were definately waiting in the right place, but one bus drove straight past and another pulled over, saw us then turned around and drove off in the direction from which it had approached
Rasnov fortress was quite interesting, though I don't think much of it is actually origianl, as there was a lot of building work going on when we visited. The slightly cheesy creapy music being piped in didn't add much to the experience, and the "your neck being bitten by Dracula!" photo op was pure crap. It would have been funny if no-one ever used it, but I'm afraid that isn't the case.
Bran castle looked amazing from the outside, but not doing any sort of reading up about it, we had turned up on the one day it was closed. Very frustrating after taking so long to get there.
I visited Sibiu yesterday on a whim (knew absolutely nothing about the place), and was pleasantly surprised. The future Europian capital of culture (2007), it was a delight to walk around, and worth the 2 hour bus journey there. Some of the old buildings did look strangely like they had eyes (picture will be up soon, I hope - don't think this PC has a USB connection).
Finally, today I have been to Sinaia, a little way south of Brasov. Quite a tourist trap, the former royal palace Peles Castle is still definately worth a visit. Again, I couldn't actually poke around inside, though this time because it's closed for cleaning rather than my lack of research. At least the journey there and back went better than before!
Update: My great luck continues - the castle at Sinaia opened the day after I went. Bloody typical.