Transylvania – Romania
My journey to Transylvania was pretty painless apart from getting ripped off by a taxi driver in Bucharest, they are such dishonest people! The trains in this part of the world are so much cheaper than back in the UK and in better condition too. It cost around £8 for a 2 hour journey.
Usually I book a hostel online and know exactly where I’m going to be that night but on this occasion I didn’t.
I travelled up with Jane whom I met at the Antique hostel. She was organised and booked somewhere so I just showed up at the same hostel. I was lucky and got the very last bed.
The Promenade hostel wasn’t that great, only 2 showers for 30 something people and the narrowest stairs I’ve ever seen.
I’d describe it as passable and it would just about suffice for a couple of nights.
I walked into town and was surprised to find it much smaller than I imagined. It was expecting a large old town with lots of streets, lined with cafes. Don’t get me wrong it was very nice but just not much of it.
There’s an oddly placed sign in the hills above the town, it reads ‘Brasov’ but it’s in the style of the hollywood sign. Seemed quite out of place but at least it can be used for navigation.
The pace was much different to Bucharest, as to be expected. Things were much calmer and relaxed there, not so many old ladies pushing into the queue in the supermarket.
I couldn’t visit Transylvania without going to Bran Castle, the place where Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned. Along with the castle, Vlad became the inspiration for Bram Stokers Dracula. It was a 2 hour journey from Brasov on very knackered old bus, although it was cheap so I can’t complain really.
Bran is a small village, a main street and a few side roads. It’s a pretty busy place because of the nearby castle and attracts tourists from all over the world. The castle itself is just s short walk, once you’ve actually found the entrance. It was hidden on the other side of an outdoor market with no signposts. Presumably the idea is to get people to walk through this market and buy assorted crap from the local sellers.
The castle was pretty cheap to get into and cost the equivalent of around £6. if it was in the UK the national trust would be fleecing people for 4 times that! I paid an extra couple of pounds to visit to torture exhibition too.
It was interesting to visit the castle, I didn’t really know much about how Dracula came to be and why Bram Stoker based it here but now I do. So I learned something!
The torture exhibition was behind a curtain and required an extra entrance fee, presumably to keep kids out. There were a variety of devices to stretch, cut, maim and do other horrible things to humans.
Some of them were horrible and some were just vile and sickening. Those times were pretty barbaric! I took loads of photos of the torture equipment but here are just a few.
After visiting the inside of the castle and taking many photos I wanted to get a shot of the outside. Unfortunately there are too many trees obscuring the view so this is the best I could get. It’s another selfie!
After spending a few hours in Bran it was time to head back there was one more stop to make.
I learned about this town from the hostel staff and since it was on the way back, I decided to stop off and visit the Citadel. It was perched on the hill overlooking the small town.
There’s a funicular railway for the lazy buggers but I decided to use the steps. A 20 minute climb later, and I reached the top! These old structures are very impressive and this one had the old village inside still mostly intact.
The view was great, you could see for miles. Mountains, fields, rivers and Brasov’s skiing area off in the distance. I can understand why it was built on this hill.
So that was it for my visit to Transylvania. I went back to Brasov for the night and then caught the train back to Bucharest. From there it was onwards to Moldova!