Monday, October 3, 2011

Way Too Long Since My Last Post.....

Over a month since my last post!  Way too long.  I'll try and catch up in bits and pieces.

I survived my Dream Ten Years in the Making Trip.  I spent a few hours on a bus getting to Tirgoviste and eventually found Vlad the Impaler's palace.  I walked all the way around the outside before I found the entrance, which was through a gap in a gate.  Much longer and I would've scaled the walls.  There was a photo tax and entrance fee, but you're free to walk around all of the ruins. 

Not everything is labeled, but there are some signs that tell you, in English and in Romanian, what was going on in certain sections of the palace and the time period.  I wandered around all of the grounds, saving Chindiei for last.  Chindiei was a watch tower that the Impaler commissioned.  You can go up inside.  The stairs are questionable right inside the door, and going down was even more fun.  From the top you can see the entire palace complex and get a great view of the city.  Watch your head if you're tall.  The door is shorter than I am, and I'm 5'3"!  Gorgeous place.  I'd live there if I could.

I spent two nights in Tirgoviste, and after spending most of the day in the palace complex, I returned to my hotel and prepared for my next adventure--Castle Dracula.  Yes, there is a real Castle Dracula.  It is NOT Castle Bran, near the small village called Bran.  That is the Hollywood Castle Dracula.  The real one is near the village of Arefu.  I spent most of the day travelling, but I met some great people. 

I hitchhiked for part of the way.  It is safe, but you've got to use common sense.  Bad things could happen to you.  I didn't have my knife with me, so I was extremely paranoid, but I had my keys with me.  They never left my hand.  I went to one of the four bus stations in Tirgoviste, trying to find a way to get to Curtea de Arges, which is where I would take a mini bus to Castle Dracula.  The only bus I found was leaving at 3 pm and going to Pitesti.  It was 9 am.  Ok no.  I went to the road that led out of town going in the direction of Campulung (on the way to Curtea de Arges), and a man walked up to me.  I don't speak Romanian, and he soon figured that out.  He spoke Spanish, and so do I.  How crazy is that?!  My Spidey-senses weren't tingling, so I pointed to Curtea de Arges on my list of locations.  He nodded, we agreed on a price (120 lei, approx. $40) and I got in his car.  We spoke in Spanish for about 2 hours. 

When we arrived in a small town, we picked up Vlad.  Yes, his name was Vlad.  He was about my age, early 20's, and he translated from Romanian to English for the remainder of the trip, about an hour or so.  Vlad and I parted with our driver in Campulung, and we walked across town to the next bus station, where we just made the next mini bus to the city of Pitesti.  Vlad said that Pitesti would have a mini bus that would get me to Castle Dracula.  At the bus station there, we tried to find the bus in question, but we were at the wrong one.  A man approached us and offered to take me wherever I needed to go.  Every nerve in my body screamed NO!  He was a creeper.  A sketchy, shifty creeper.  Vlad said something to him and pulled me away quickly.  Apparently, Vlad said, the man thought I was rich and manipulative.  Ok...?

Anyway...that's the teaser.  I'll update more later. 


  1. You had a lot of courage to do hitchhiking.Is not safe at all! And yes, really "bad things could happen to you". This time you're lucky. Please promise me that you'll never do it again, at least not in Romania.
    Vlad the Impaler is one thing, Dracula is another story.Dracula's castle is at Bran ;) (please,don't ruin our tourism). The other castles ( that you've mentioned earlier) belong to Vlad the Impaler. You know the difference between the two guys, so do not induce readers in confusion.

  2. No, it’s not the safest thing I’ve ever done. I should add that you should never hitch hike alone, and always use common sense. I’ve wanted to see Castle Dracula for ten years, and I was going to get there using whatever mode of transport was available. That’s the kind of person I am.
    I’ve studied the Impaler for ten years, so of course I know the difference. His family name was “Dracula,” and Bram Stoker used that name for his count. Vlad the Impaler sank into a superstition. Hollywood stole Castle Bran and made it Castle Dracula, and people seem to believe that that is Castle Dracula. It’s not. The Impaler may or may not have even been there. Dracula’s Castle is NOT at Bran. “Castle Dracula” was near the Borgo Pass, close to Bistriţa, nowhere near Poenari or Bran, and there’s actually no castle there. Hollywood took the next best thing: another castle that looked like it belonged in a Gothic horror film. That’s Hollywood’s unfortunate influence on Romania. It’s sad. Romania has a gorgeous culture and history that dies in the eyes of Hollywood and Western influence. People need to open their eyes to history and see things for what they are, rather than one someone else said they were. If Castle Bran is extracted from ‘Dracula’ you’re left with the real history of the castle, which has seen so much in terms of culture and war. The real Castle Dracula, the one that Vlad the Impaler built, is at Poenari.

  3. Everythink you wrote is correct. But...In a whole year, in my shop came hundreds of tourist, but only 2 asked me about Vlad the Impaler ( I think that you know one of them :P ), the rest asked me about The Famous Count and his terrifying castle (located in Bran). So, in my soul,is an inner struggle between telling the true history (and ruin the tourism, because,unfortunately, Romania= Dracula's Country), or to join this trend,but in that case my patriotic/historyan side will die in terrible pain.
    We, Romanians, must to find and promote another symbol(s), and let Vlad the Impaler rest in peace (in Snagov Monastery ?).
    In the end, I want to thank you from my heart for promoting the true history of Romania.