On our second day in Romania, we visited the castle in Bran. Often credited as Dracula’s castle from the Bram Stoker novel, it is in fact, probably the inspiration for the castle in the story. However, Vlad the Impaler never lived there, who is thought to be the character inspiration. The novelist is likely to have borrowed influences from several people and locations. The castle was small and quaint, and was actually used primarily as an administrative border post and as a summer home for the now-defunct Romanian monarchy.
Romania was clearly much more rural than the other countries we’ve visited, with horse drawn carts on the roads, active farms, and more pollution and poverty. Our lovely twenty year old tour guide at Bran Castle was an architecture student currently studying in England.
Exterior of Bran Castle, which looks eerily like the castle in every Dracula movie I’ve ever seen. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I don’t know the significance of this cross outside the castle. Maybe keeping the vampires away?
Stairs leading up to the castle entrance
The dining room in the Queen’s apartment
The only intrigue in the castle was this hidden staircase used as an emergency escape route between the second and fourth floors. No crypt - but also no mirrors!
The interior courtyard of the castle, including a wishing well
Our gorgeous tour guide. From this angle, you can’t see her sharp pointy teeth. jk! :)
On arriving in Brasov, Romania, I felt for the first time that we had truly arrived in Eastern Europe. Brasov is a quaint and cute town, and as you’ll see from my pictures, “probably the best city in the world.” We got a lot of chuckles out of that slogan, so carefully worded and hedged in English. We were told that it is the most popular destination in Romania, which wasn’t surprising to us. It is charming and small, and a mix of ancient buildings and a lovely square with wide open cafes. Also, there is a Hollywood sign on the nearby hillside! Of course, it says “Brasov,” and it even lights up at night - but this was only one of many Americanisms with a unique Romanian spin.
Brasov goes to Hollywood!
Brasov: probably the best city in the world
Some kitties scoping out the Brasov early morning scene
Your friendly neighborhood Australians
Some cute Romanian ladies in front of a municipal building
The narrowest street in Europe (probably!)
A beautiful Orthodox church near the town square
I love the interiors of the Orthodox churches we’ve visited; less ornate but brilliant colors and somehow more intimate and personal.