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Romania – April 2019
As a guest with Cox & Kings, I flew with BA fly direct from Heathrow to Bucharest.
After an overnight in Bucharest we started early the next morning for a 2 hour drive to Sinaia to visit Pelisor Castle and Peles Castle. Peles is a fairytale castle, it is very modern for its time, completed in 1883 and the first castle in Europe with heating and electricity.
Continue onto Bran – home of the infamous Bran Castle
Bran is a bustling little village, full of cafes, restaurants and a small market selling the obligatory Dracula memorabilia.
Bran Castle itself was a massive tick for me, although incorrectly believed to be built by Vlad Tepes upon who Bram Stoker based his novel ‘Dracula’ it is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. Although a work of fiction there are some historical references for which there is much debate. Vlad Tepes was in fact a real person also known as Vlad Dracul. He was born in Sighisoara, Wallachia (see later) and sat on the throne for various spells and is reported to have killed between 40,000 and 100,000 people. He became known as Vlad the Impaler as his preferred method of murder was to impale his victims on spikes.
The Medieval castle is set on above the village on a mountain pass, in a strategic position between what was once Wallachia and Transylvania. Today the Castle is largely devoted as a museum to Queen Marie, granddaughter of our Queen Victoria, who was given it as a gift in 1920. You can still see the secret passages, torture weapons and ancient weapons, there are also special events are held around Halloween.
During our trip we also visited Brasov with a huge square very similar to Prague. Just a short drive away is Poiana Brasov the ski resort.
Prejmer Fortified church – just outside of Brasov, this was a fascinating place, like nothing else I have ever seen. A citadel founded by the Saxons, with the actual 12th century Church at the centre completely surrounded by a wall with small rooms that once housed people aswell as workshops. You can walk completely around the perimeter/wall walk and see the loopholes which made this remarkable place so much easier to defend.
Voronets and the painted monastries which are so well preserved despite being from the 15th Century.
Sighisoara – birth place of Vlad Tepes, a really pretty little town with a medieval citadel and 60 metre clock tower dating back to 1360. We had dinner at Casa Vlad Dracul which is a restaurant in what was once the house where Vlad was born, although a very ‘touristy’ thing to do still great fun. A great place to visit with lots of cafes, bars and restaurant with a very good atmosphere.
Bucharest – capital of Romania and home to the second largest administrative building in the word, Palace of Parliament. Built under Nicolae Ceausescu reign it is an obscene building dominating Bucharest it is now home to several museums and the seat of Romanian Parilament.
Bucharest old town attracts the usual stag groups from all around Europe and has some nice places to eat out including Caru ‘Cu Bere – traditional restaurant, beautifully decorated with a livley atomsophere.
So to recap – a very interesting experience, some stunning scenery, great value destination and perfect for those who are looking for something different.