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The (unsuccessful) Hunt for Count Dracula

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View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

"Where is Dracula’s castle?" - Disappointed tourist.

Foodie moment

One of the well known dishes in Romania is Ciorba, which is a sour soup. It has vegetables and meat in it, and the broth has a souring agent such as lemon juice in it and sour cream. The taste of the broth was delicious, but the quality of the ingredients used (eg, meat) weren't often the best. Be nice to make it ourselves with good quality meat and vegetables.

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Back to our favourite local restaurant, this time we had Roast lamb, Beef Stroganoff and Peasant potatoes. The Stroganoff was a particular favourite of Mark's, but he assures me that it still doesn't compare to the one I make!

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Cultural moment

A common sight throughout Europe are the groups of men gathered in the local parks during the day playing competitive games against each other. In Spain it was Petanque, Bosnia it was chess and in Romania it is backgammon. The parks are set up with appropriate tables (and even equipment in the case of a giant chess set in Sarajevo). There is sometimes up to 15 old men standing around watching the games, sometimes putting their opinion in and being shouted down by the others. Its nice to see that the elderly have such a good facilities and opportunities to socialise and support each other.

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Wow moment

Towering over the town of Brasov is Mount Tampa. It is a great place for hiking and views. We caught the cable car up, and then hiked around the top. Its from up here you can get a view over the old town from next to the Brasov sign, as well as look in the opposite direction over the new town

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Due to time restraints we joined a tour to visit the 3 main tourist attractions around Brasov. The first was Peles Castle in Sinaia. This is an stunning palace set in large gardens. It was a summer residence build by the first king of Romania in 1883. It was an incredibly modern palace for its time with central heating, an elevator and electricity long before they were more common place.

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The next place we visited was the highly anticipated Bran's Castle, otherwise known as Dracula's castle. It was completely overrated! Unfortunately other than the market at the base of the castle selling everything vampire, the links to the myth and reality of 'Dracula' are very, very vague and tentative. Most of the castle is about the family that lived there, not the most interesting bunch, and their left over furniture. Once you get to the top of the castle there are some big slabs of writing outlining the history of Bran Stoker, the author of Dracula. There is also some information about Vlad 'The Impaler' Tepes, who was a sadistic ruler of Transylvania, whom they believe Bran may have based his character of Dracula on. Having said that, he had never been to Bran castle so another weak link to the Dracula title! The only real link was that the story of Dracula says that it is set in Transylvania, and the description of the area and castle somewhat links to that of Bran Castle (having said that, the information panels contradicted this by saying that the setting of Dracula was likely based on Whitby in Yorkshire as Bram spent some time there!). All in all. if they are going to tout the castle as 'Dracula's castle' they really should put some more effort into making that believable, at the very least have some guy with fangs wandering around!!

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Unfortunately our final stop, Rasov fortress, was being used for filming a movie so was closed to the public. We did drive past and got to see their own version of the cheesy 'Hollywood' style sign - strange!

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What we learnt today

Unfortunately Brasov doesn't have any good museums. The ones that are there received poor reviews so we didn't go to them. Its a shame though because I enjoy learning about a countries history and culture while I'm there, and for many people Brasov is the only part of Romania they visit, so there's no chance for learning.

Posted by travellinglise 06:39 Archived in Romania Tagged brasov p brans_castle

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