Tantalising Transylvania

Transylvania conjures up the thought of mythical creatures, misty mountains and creepy castles. It’s somewhere I’ve ways wanted to go, a bit like Timbuktu, it has such a nice ring to it and sounds like a place that doesn’t actually exist. But indeed they both do and now it’s time to explore the land of Dracula and werewolf’s.

Our first stop was Sighisoara. It was a compact medieval citadel town with brightly painted town houses and cobbled streets. A huge clock tower was at the entrance and dated back to 1280. It had beautiful little tiles on the roof like snake scales shimmering in the sun.

We checked out Casa Dracula, a bright yellow building that is said to be where Vlad Tepes (Count Dracula) was born and lived in until he was 4 years old. Souvenir shops sold vintage looking scripts of the Counts rules with an image of him on it. Craig said he looked more like an explorer, and didn’t even have fangs. Rather disappointing. His rules were pretty strict, we couldn’t work out if he was just pure evil, or actually hated bad people and was a friendly citizen trying to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. For example ‘a traitor should have his tongue removed, a raper his manhood removed’ etc. I don’t recall anything suggesting he would suck their blood, but the text was written in scribbled swirls and I struggled to read it.

It was a really lovely town, and not very busy, we took a couple of back streets and there wasn’t a sole around, yet the buildings were still adorned with vibrant paint and flower pots, it was picture perfect. There was such a nice assortment of colours, I wondered how they chose who painted their house in what colour, maybe they picked sweets out of a bag.

Afterwards we headed south east, the route was scenic with forested hills but the road edges were strewn with rubbish and dead dogs. I don’t really feel much when I see dead cats, but dogs, oh it’s horrible. People don’t even move the dogs here, they just leave them to become part of the road. Clearly there’s a dog problem here, I read that stray dogs in Romania are put into care and if not adopted within 14 days their killed. I’m getting broody for a pet dog, especially after our car crash the other day, I just wanted to have a dog to play with and to look at its sweet little face. Maybe we should look into adopting one…it could sit on my lap as we drive, Craig could clean up its poo. We could call it Hobo.

The dogs here remind us of Asia; mothers who have been breeding like there’s no tomorrow with their nipples hanging so low (I’m talking about dogs, not humans) it looks like their equipped with udders. How an earth do they run with them, they drag on the floor and slap from side to side.

Our next stop was to Brasov, a lot bigger than the previous town. The city had the Carpathian Mountains looming behind it with lush forested slopes and a Hollywood sign atop it. Bless ’em.

It was an incredibly relaxed city with a really nice slow pace. No big tour groups, no business men running past us in a rush. Our only problem was trying to pay for parking, we needed coins and none of the shops or banks around would give me any. Clearly, there’s a shortage of them, as the 1Lei note is about 25cents, so coins are rarely dealt with. We asked people walking by and it proved again how lovely the Romanians are, digging into their pockets for us instead of ignoring us like in the Baltic’s. A young guy only had 3 small coins and wouldn’t except money back for them, insisting we take it and that we wouldn’t get a fine anyway as they won’t bother posting it back to England. Another guy walked Craig up the road to help him ask in more shops.

Brasov wasn’t as pretty or colourful as Sighisoara, but it was still very nice. It had a big open square and it’s Black Church is said to be the largest gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul, though I wasn’t a big fan of its look.

Now it’s time to do some hiking in the mountains, and hopefully see some wild bears. When I bursted with excitement while we spoke to a lady in the info centre about the chance of seeing a bear, the smile wiped off her face and she said ‘dis is not funny to see a bear!’. Well that told me.

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