Busteni Mountains, Brasov and Bran Castle

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November 8th 2014
Published: June 21st 2017
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8:30 in the morning, my mobile is ringing. It's my one of my colleagues who came with me from the Netherlands. Where are you? Did you had breakfast yet? We have to leave!

Immediately I was awake. I made it just a bit late the last evening and I was not up to date about the agreed time to meet with the rest. Quickly I prepared myself and grab a sandwich from the hotel restaurant and went to the meeting point. All our colleagues were already there waiting for us. With three fully loaded cars we left and drove to the northern direction, towards the mountains. As one of the smallest persons I had to sit on the back and be squeezed with two other colleagues for the next hours, so unfortunately no sleeping during the journey…

Inhabitants of Bucharest mostly spend their weekends outside the big city. They escape to the small villages in/around the mountains. As the roads are not capable to handle the capacity of the escaping people of Bucharest you can expect traffic jam every Saturday morning and Sunday evening on these roads. However there are project to improve the infrastructure of Romania and according planning a motorway between Brasov and Bucharest would be in service around 2017.

Luckily we were not fully in the traffic jam. After approximately 2 hours we arrived to our first attraction: the Busteni mountains….

Busteni is a small touristic place where you can take the cableway up to the mountains. We arrived there and went to the 'cableway station' where we had to wait approximately 1 hour until we could enter. Slowly we went up to the mountains. After a certain moment the angle became quite big and if you have fear of heights you would definitely became dizzy.

After 20 minutes we arrived to the top where we noticed that there were some 'sculptures', which are actually rock formations carved by the wind. They are called: Babele and Sphinx. One is like some mushroom shaped rock formations and the other one looks like a sphinx. After spending some time on the top we had to decide what to do. The options were:

• Going down by foot. Which will take approximately 3 hours.

• Walking to the Heroes Monument, which is a huge cross to honor the victims of the first World War. Which would take 1 hour, (and 1 hour back) and going down by cableway.

• Spending some time on the top and going down by cableway.

In the end the group split into two groups. The biggest part went down by foot while the other ones spent some time on the top and went down by cableway. Me? I took the last option as well :-) hiking down would be nice, but not if you are sleepless and we have a huge program afterwards. ;-)

While the rest of the group walked down, we spend some time on the top to make some pictures and enjoying the view. A bit further we saw a small building which looked like a café and we walked over there to sit and drink a tea. Once we arrived there, (walking in the mountains could be tiresome if you are not used to be) we realized that it is not a café but a first aid post. Disappointed we walked back to the cableway station and went down. Down at Busteni we took a break at a restaurant to have a small lunch and waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

After an hour the first members of the group arrived while the last members of the group arrived with 1 hour delay. Some of the members are experienced hikers while others had really difficulties to walk down. Anyway the group was complete and after a small break we continued our trip. The next stop was Brasov…..

In the evening we arrived to Brasov, which is one of the largest and most cherished cities of the country. Surrounded on three sides by mountains. The old city, founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211, is one of the best preserved cities in all of Europe. It was thoroughly restored to the delight of an increasing number of tourists. It is the capital city of Brasov County, in central Romania, in Transylvania, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. Brasov also makes a fabulous base for exploring the surrounding countryside where the air is clean and the people friendly.

Unfortunately we didn't had much time to spend time at this lovely place as we had to prepare the night barbeque. We went to a nice restaurant close to the main square and went after to a supermarket to buy the ingredients for the barbeque and drove to the village Moieciu de Jos where our colleagues arranged a villa (La Perla) for spending the night and have a delicious barbeque.

After check-in and putting the stuff in our rooms we slowly started the Romanian night barbeque. While some of our group started to but the barbeque on fire, the rest prepared the meat and some others started to drink. I managed to find a bottle of Turkish Raki in Bucharest, which I brought for the barbeque. Before the meat was put on the grill, some colleagues brought some delicatessen which were eaten before the barbeque started. Once the fire was ready we put the meat and on the grill. Together with nice talk, the fresh air from the mountains and alcohol we enjoyed the nice evening. When our stomachs were full we realized that be bought and grilled too much 'Mici' (Romanian minced meet rolls) I was completely full like the rest of our group. Beside the combination of long active day and Turkish Raki made me very very sleepy. For me the night was enough and went to my room, while the rest of the group was thinking what to do with the left over 'Mici'.

The next morning I woke up I felt quite rested. It is interesting that the fresh air of the mountains are having such a positive impact that you can notice it immediately. After preparing I went to the terrace part of the restaurant to have a breakfast in open air with a fabulous view. Slowly other members of the group woke up and joined us. Enjoying the breakfast, the shiny weather and the morning chat. For the ones wondering what happened to the 'mici' which was left over yesterday, our colleagues found a nice solution. The place where we stayed had a dog with five puppies. Especially the five little puppies loved to help us out by eating them. We don't think that the owner of the place was really happy afterwards when the puppies had to defecate. Anyway after the breakfast we were ready for the next attraction, the Bran Castle aka Dracula's Castle…

Dracula's Castle - The Legend

In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote a terrifying story about Count Dracula. A century after, there are still people who believe in it. Even researchers are trying to find out the truth about Dracula. All are trying to clear the mystery: was there or wasn't there a vampire in Transylvania?

How many of these fabulous stories are legends and how many say the truth ? Here is the legend about Dracula.

Stoker's story is based on the life of Vlad Tepes/Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476), a ruler revered by Romanians for standing up to the Ottoman Empire. Known as one of the most dreadful enemies of the Turks, Vlad started organizing the state and enforcing the law by applying death penalty and impaling all those he considered enemies: robbers, cunning priests, treacherous noblemen, beggars, usurper Saxons. In fact he fought against everybody who tried to replace him either by his step brother Vlad the Monk or by his cousin Dan the Young. The historians nicknamed him Vlad Tepes while people say he was Count Dracula because he used to sign with his father's name, Dracul "The Devil". Dracula is derived from the Romanian word for devil or dragon.

This word alone carries with it magic and mystery. His castle is supposed to be Bran's Castle since its narrow corridors constitute a mysterious labyrinth of ghostly nooks and secret chambers easy to hide a "vampire". The Dracula's Castle was built on the edge of the Bran Pass and nowadays lures guests worldwide who wish to partake in the legend of the Count Dracula.

Arrived at Bran, due to the Castle a very touristic village. Lot of souvenir shops and cozy restaurants. We visit the Castle and after spending some time at the castle we finished the program with a nice dinner at a lovely restaurant with an amazing view.

After our dinner (and some palinka's) we drove back to Bucharest. Unfortunately on our way back we were less luck with the traffic. It the road which is 180km took us like 4 approximately hours…….

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