Day 27 - Off to Dracula Land

Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Its time to leave the Transfăgărășan Highway but we can't resist just one more run.

So early in the morning, long before the day trippers have time to get here, we blast the 18 klicks from the Vila Flora up to the summit at Lake Balea for a coffee, then straight back down onto the road to Faragas, as you do.


Coffee stop by Lake Balea

It's been a great experience riding the two roads. When the Transalpina is finally finished it will rival it's more famous neighbour. And if they were located in a wealthier and more accessible place then both would be more popular among petrol heads than Stelvio or Grossglockner.

On the downside however, both would be full of hotels, guest houses and tat stores and those accursed Dutch camper vans.

But I would say to all bikers with an inclination to tour, get here and just do it, if you can.

Domed haystacks on the road to Bran
We ride east along the DN1 through the town of Fagaras then turn south down a back road before the regional capital of Brasov. It's small and bumpy compared to the perfect main road but rewards us with a splendid climb into the foothills along a tumbling brook flanked by newly mown meadows.

There are more of the traditional domed haystacks that you see everywhere here. They are constructed on wooden wigwam frames and often capped with decorated covers.

We arrive in Bran mid afternoon and get our first glimpse of the castle. Bran Stoker's Dracula fiction has been artfully woven into the town by an enterprising tourist industry. Dracula (son of the devil) brings a lot of much needed cash to this tiny Transylvanian town.

We check in at the Casa Din Bran hotel right in the centre of town. It's quite new and tastefully decorated with lots of old photographs of the Romanian royal family from  the 19th and early 20th century. They lived in the castle in the summer months.

We stroll around. The myriad stalls selling all manner of tacky souvenirs are crammed into every nook at the castle foot. It's getting late so they are closing up and a steady stream of day trippers is meandering back to their cars and coaches. We have pizza and beer in a tidy cafe and head back to the hotel for an early night. 
Plenty of dracula tat on sale


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