Transylvania and the tale of two castles…
Today was the day Peter had been looking forward to. Today we were visiting Bran Castle, although it has numerous ties with Dracula and Bram Stoker, it actually has none. It is more linked with Queen Marie and defending Bran pass between Transylvania and Wallachia.
Regardless we set off from Brasov and as luck would have it another castle was en route. Rasnov fortress is a ruin overlooking it’s namesake town and is a 5 minute detour on the way to Bran.
You know you’re nearby as Rasnov, not to be outdone by Brasov, also have their own hollywood style sign.
Parking up we paid 5lei each to ride in a trailer on the back of a tractor up the hill. Passing Dino World (Which I was secretly desperate to go in) we arrived at the entrance and paid 10lei admission.
(Tractor up the hill)
It’s a stunning castle and the weather was again all blue skies and sunshine. We walked up and entered the main gate.
(Main gate to Rasnov castle)
Views were (again) stunning and it was like going back in time wandering around the streets where you could see that it was like it’s own town. Lots of small houses and little streets.
(Views views views)
It’s not huge so after an hour we had explored enough so we tractor’d back down the hill and headed onwards to Bran. It’s only another 20 minutes or so to get there and we parked up no problem with Bran Castle looming over the town. The way is obvious with lots of market stalls selling Romanian products and dodgy vampire souvenirs.
(Drive to Bran)
We got to the gate about 15 minutes before opening and queued up, after what felt like forever we were in! The admission was 35lei making it the most expensive one so far. It’s a short walk up to the castle and once you get to the top we queued again up a flight of stairs to gain entrance.
(Spooky cross outside Bran)
There’s not much scope for moving around at your own pace as the crowds were pretty big so we were herded through various royal rooms trying to catch some of the history of the place. The castle itself is in the best shape of the 5 we have visited so far, the most exciting bit was queuing for a hidden staircase.
The prettiest part was the courtyard and the walkways above it. There was also a room at the top of the castle woth a lot of vampire mythology including a story of a ruler in europe who bathed herself in the blood of her victims thinking it would keep her young.
(Sink or Float?)
As we left we both agreed it was very commercialised and the worst one so far. With no real link to Vlad the Impaler and busy with people pushing and shoving their way round. Looking back at the pictures it is a nice castle but there are more interesting ones along the way.
It’s no coincidence that the first song that came on in the car was Field Music – Disappointed. Since we were in the heart of the mountains we drove up a windy road out of Bran and found a picnic spot to have our sandwiches and crisps overlooking the valleys.
(Cute village in the valley)
Lunch sorted we took the 40 or so minute drive back to Brasov and went wandering around more of the town in the warm afternoon sun. Stopping off for a beer along the way.
(Old soviet looking building)
(Gateway to our hotel road)
Thanks to our wandering we found a great little pub with a couple of tables hidden away so we stopped off after an hour or 2 of walking round.
Feeling a little drunk we continued down the road to our hotel, noticing a nice looking italian restaurant and another pub. Once back in our room it was power nap time for an hour or so and the back out for dinner.
We stopped off at the pub we had seen previously for a pre dinner drink then hopped next door. It was a very polished place with huge lightshades.
It was also the best food we’ve had so far. Peter had lamb ribs and i had pizza (suprise surprise) for a glass of red, peroni, two mains and side salad it cost less than £30 something you don’t get often back home.
The sky was a deep blue when we left and slowly wound our way down to Deane’s irish bar un the hope the Wales v Moldova game was on, as they had a tv in the window so you can still sit outside and watch. Unfortunately it wasn’t on but there was free wifi which we used to plan our hike the next day and I followed the game online. A few beers later and it was back to the hotel.
(Deep blue Brasov sky)