Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Will the real Dracula please stand up?

Day 531
I was up early but still had to rush to get my act together. I shouldn't have bothered though, the tour left late.

The first leg of the journey brought us to Rasnov Castle. Unfortunately due to a dispute of ownership the museum and a few other exhibits were closed. There was, however, the remains of what was once an exceedingly deep well. Legend has it that it was dug by 2 Turkish prisoners over 17 years. By the remains of the church several skeletons were found. For unknown reasons they put one of them on display in the dungeon. That seems sort of mean to me.

After some lunch we stopped at Bran Castle. This is where everyone thinks Dracula lived. It's not. Bran is in Transylvania, Vlad ruled Walacia. His castle is much more difficult to get to and in ruins. Bran is in great shape. The castle was occupied the Romanian rulers until they were forced out of the country by the communists. The castle is decorated in the style that they had left it in.

Our last stop was Peles Palace, finished just in time for WWI and the dissolution of the ruling family. It was totally over the top. The place had neon Murano glass chandeliers for heavens sake! Every room had ornate carvings. It was still impressive, but somehow cheap looking. I think that the attempt to copy older palaces made it that way. It was like a Disney castle. Plus, the tour guide spoke very quietly and with a funny accent. He mispronounced words in really odd ways like knob-els for nobles and terkquaz for turquoise. The tour was worth it but the outside was definitely the most interesting part.

I spent the ride back chatting with a really nice Swiss girl. Later on I went with her and her boyfriend and a very odd Belgium guy out for dinner. The Belgian guy spent most of dinner talking about when he worked as a nude model in Japan. Not dinner conversation. Then at the end of the meal none of us had change. Just because of where he was standing the Belgian guy ended up with all the tip money that he then used to pay for his own meal! How annoying!

When we got back to the hostel I was pretty wiped out so I went quickly to sleep.

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