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Published: August 9th 2013
We woke to find Woolly ready for the day with garlic round his neck and a sirloin under his crossed paws, not quite sure that he understands bless him.
Woolly says – Ian gave me a sirloin steak last night but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to drive it through a vampire’s heart? Anyway, I was prepared for anything and after numerous cups of tea and coffee I finally got Jo and Ian moving. The sun was out and it was already pretty hot so grabbing bottles of water – not sure if they were holy or not – we headed towards Bran Castle. Started in 1212 the castle has had a chequered history with residents including Vlad the Impaler and Her Royal Highness Queen Marie of Romania. It is most famous though through Bram Stoker’s book Dracula, although Stoker never visited the castle, he knew of it and based his work of fiction in this area of Romania and so the legends grew. Having puffed our way up the hill we queued to pay our 25 LEI each (approximately £5.00 GBP), I was very nervous and there were thousands of people heading in the same direction,
which ones were vampires?
With Woolly aiming his garlic in all directions in case of bites we took the steep slope up to the castle itself. It has a most imposing dominance on the sky line but is defiantly not dark and foreboding as you might expect. We followed the herds of people inside…..
Woolly says – it was mad inside with people milling everywhere and no idea which way to go, we went to the left and found ourselves inside one of the ante rooms with a lovely fireplace and door. Following the crowd we found ourselves in a small living room with a secret staircase, well it wasn’t very secret as everyone was going up it. I clung onto Jo as we climbed the steep steps and found ourselves in a much larger sitting room with a cross match of very old furniture and brand new, strange mix. With so many people pushing around us it was difficult to take pics let alone see the rooms, I kept hiding under Ian’s T Shirt as he complained that the smell of garlic was getting more and more pungent.
jostled and pushed round more rooms and up tiny staircases, getting hotter and hotter it was hard to keep patient and wait to try and catch a glimpse of anything at all. A family in front of us seemed to think they should have priority over videoing and snapping and tutted at everyone getting in their way.
Woolly says – through studies and games rooms and onto bedrooms we went, past shields and armour and lots of information in English that was impossible to read. Suddenly we were outside on the walkway round the courtyard and paused to catch our breath. I sat reading more about Vampires only to find out that they don’t come out during daylight, all that garlic for nothing! On we went following the procession of nationalities through more rooms; I would love to come again preferably when no one else is there to soak up the atmosphere.
We both agreed with Woolly as we found ourselves exiting the beautiful building that we had only partially seen, way too busy to appreciate or enjoy very much and impossible to read any information to gain further knowledge about Vlad and his
ways and the Kingdom of Romania, a shame. Needing sustenance we wended our way through the market stalls collecting postcards and pressies on the way. Finding a café we gratefully sank onto the seats and watched the bustling town of Bran, with ladies selling soft fruits from their baskets and the stall holders trying to gain interest in their wares it was lovely to watch but not to be in.
Woolly says – I discarded my vampire tool kit and helped Ian and Jo choose our snacks. Ian choose a nice apple, peach and orange drink to go with his melon and ice cream while Jo opted for a pineapple, lemon and orange concoction to go with her mushroom bruschetta. Everything was lovely and I had to laugh when Jo offered me some of her food as it was covered in GARLIC!!! A filling snack break for 53 LEI (approximately £10.20 GBP). Once restored we wandered round a few other stalls before making the 800 metre walk back to the site. The tent was baking so with no shade handy we did the only sensible thing and headed for the cool shady bar.
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