Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bran Castle

Following our visit in Brasov, we drove about 30 K and arrived in Bran. Our plan was to tour the Bran Castle.  We first went to Club Vila Bran and checked in. Our rooms were not ready so we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant. This restaurant had a lot of Polish items on the menu. I asked for the White Bors expecting it would be zurek. A bit later the waitress came to the table and said that would take 40 minutes. I didn't want to inconvenience my colleagues so I changed the supa to chicken soup. But I did get beets.
The white on the top is not smetana -- sour cream in the United States. It was horseradish, and I do believe the beets were cooked in water, too, that had some horseradish. But they were good!

Once lunch was done we walked to the ticket booth for Bran Castle. The admission was 25 lei. I had no small bills, only 100 lei bills, and the attendant told me she had no change. I was quite amazed, for how many times that day had she collected 25 lei from visitors? One of my colleagues noted Visa card was an option, so I paid that way.

We started up to the castle, and I truly mean up. I know it was more than 100 steps, for last summer I walked 82 steps up to a church in southeast Poland, and this was way more!
We truly were climbing up the side of a mountain. But the views were surely nice!

Once to the castle there were even more steps.

Security Guard at the bottom of the first stair case
If you have clicked on the web link for Bran Castle you will discover a palace or castle has been in this spot for nearly 600 years. The Teutonic Knights built the first as a way to guard and control the Bran pass through the Carpathian Mountains.

The present castle is decorated as it was for the inter-war years, that is the time between the First and Second World Wars.

Here are some of the rooms within the castle.

I have seen many of the ceramic stoves in old buildings, but this is the first time that I have ever seen a bench attached to the stove so one could cuddle up by the heat.

This view from a terrace illustrates how high up we had to climb to enter the castle.

And some of the views out of the windows gave views of other parts of the castle.

And a couple of the rooms were more like a museum. Also there were rooms set aside for exhibits to explain how this castle became connected to Stoker's Dracula. Without these explanatory exhibits one would never have known the castle had any connection. I was really expecting something more touristy for Dracula, so all in all this castle tour was a pleasant surprise.

I saw one more thing I have never seen elsewhere.

The above scale was designed to weight an individual. If that person weighed less than his/her body appearance seemed to indicate, the person was considered to be occupied by the Devil and so was executed.

Once the tour was done we walked down the steps and entered a market.

I didn't buy anything, but it was fun looking. Once done with shopping we found our van driver and then went back to Club Vila Bran. Our rooms were ready and the driver took us to Vila 1.

More steps. It must have been about 75 steps from the parking area to a terrace, then probably about another 25 steps from the terrace to the entrance to the building. Then much to our surprise our rooms  -- 10, 11, and 12were not on the first floor, but rather on the 3rd floor.

Here is only part of my room. There is another section that has another bed and it has an en-suite bathroom. It also has a wrap around balcony.

Above is a view of Bran Castle from my room.

I spent the late afternoon watching TV and taking a bit of nap.

At 7 PM we set our for the Club Vila restaurant. Another 5 minutes climbing steps up the side of a mountain. But once we got there we found a wonderful restaurant. We all great dinners. And the entertainment was fun.

The video below shows the animal characters that appeared as well as the restaurant decor.

A wonderful day in the Carpathians.


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