Is It Christmas Or Halloween?

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October 30th 2017
Published: August 25th 2018
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After a late night of dancing, we were thankful to have a free morning to sleep in as we weren't scheduled to leave Sighisoara until 1:00pm. We had a delicious buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room before venturing back up to the Old Town to explore in the morning daylight. Shea and I bundled up as the morning was blisteringly cold and made our way to do some morning exploring. We basically retraced the same steps we took last night during our walking tour but this time with the advantage of daylight. During last night's tour, we missed just how colorful the Old Town is. Along every street that we walked on, the structures were painted various shades of blue, green, yellow, and orange. We passed small outdoor cafes with inviting terraces which would have been great to enjoy a beer or coffee had the weather been warmer. The Old Town isn't very big and eventually we had gone full circle. Even with stopping into a few shops to pick up some souvenir trinkets, it had only taken us about an hour. Too bad we weren't visiting in the summer with warmer weather as the charm of the Old Town was one of my highlights during my time in Romania. The remainder of the morning we hung out back in our hotel room before departing to the town of Bran. Before leaving, I noticed that a few snow flurries began falling. Checking one of my weather apps, I learned that Bran was expecting to get a good amount of snow tonight. I was excited for the forecasted snowfall but nervous at the same time as I don't think I brought enough warm clothes!

On our way to Bran, we made a brief stop at the Rupea Fortress. While on the bus to Rupea, I started to get a little anxiety. Not sure why this happened but maybe because I kept thinking about how cold it was going to be and that wardrobe wise, I was unprepared. My Zanex pills that I carry with me for situations like this were underneath the bus and I seriously contemplated asking the bus driver to pull over so I can retrieve them. Instead I sat there and suffered and even paced up and down the main aisle on the bus. Once at the fortress, I was the first one out the door when the bus door opened. The Rupea Fortress is a very imposing looking castle located at the top of a small hill. Although it doesn't have any association with Dracula, it is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Romania. The wind here at the fortress was howling and combined with the cold temperatues, I had a largely miserable time here at the fortress. There wasn't really much to see here as most of the fortress layed in ruins. We were able to walk around and despite being miserable from the cold, Shea and I still managed to hike up to the highest point of the fortress which provided commanding views over the town of Rupea and the surrounding countryside. When the snow flurries started to fall, we decided it was time to hike back down and wait on the bus. Being out in the open air, must have been all I needed to rid myself of the anxious feelings I was having earlier as I didn't need to retrieve those Zanex pills from under the bus.

I fell asleep during the drive from Rupea Fortress to Bran and when I woke up, there was snow everywhere. It was as if I had slept for the last 2 months and had awoken to a winter wonderland in December. We arrived at our home for the next 2 nights, the Villa Bran and if I didn't know any better, I would have guessed we were at some ski chalet in the Swiss Alps. The snow and ice on the ground, the snow covered pine trees, and the wonderfully cold and crisp air all made for such a beautiful winter scene. Some of the Aussies who had never experienced snow before were giddy as they threw snowballs at each other. We settled into our rooms and Shea and I did a little exploring of the hotel grounds before meeting up with the entire group in the hotel restaurant. It was difficult to walk around as our shoes were ill equipped to tackle icy steps and roads. Shea and I both even fell onto our butts a few times but laughed it off as we were in such a good mood. With all the snow, it was a strange sight to see all the Halloween decor as snow is something definitely not associated with the Halloween season. We met up with the group in the hotel restaurant and Gabo explained to us the plan for the next 2 nights. We were all so excited for tomorrow's party at Dracula's Castle. After all, this is the reason why we all came here to Romania. We were given an introductory drink called Tuica before Gabo lead us on an evening orientation walk into the town of Bran where we were shown where the few restaurants were, grocery stores, ATM's, as well as a tacky haunted castle funhouse. Most of us hit up the grocery store to stock up on toiletries and snacks for the next few days. Afterwards, 8 of us had dinner at a small pizza joint. Shea and I sat with Dave and Paul and had a wonderful dinner getting to know them better. By now, the small flurries that started falling when we walked to town had now become a heavy snow fall. I had been in snow before, but this was the first time I had experienced falling snow. Needless to say, I was very excited. The 8 of us retraced the path back to the hotel through the dark and snowy streets of Bran and agreed to meet up at the bonfire that the hotel was hosting tonight. As we made our way back to our rooms trying to navigagte the icy pathways of the hotel, Shea slipped on a patch of ice and fell hard to the ground. She appeared to be in a good amount of pain as she was cyring. We helped her back up and brought her back to the room. After resting a while and downing a few Advils, Shea seemed to be back to herself and ready to head out. The rest of the gang headed down to our room to check on Shea. Ultimately, there was just 4 of us who went down to the bonfire. We warmed up by the fire and had some apple ciders before making our way inside to cap the night off listening to some of the groups doing karaoke.

Additional photos below
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Exploring The Old Town in SighisoaraExploring The Old Town in Sighisoara
Exploring The Old Town in Sighisoara

View of the surrounding city

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