Day 28 - Bran Castle

Wednesday 23rd July 2014

Its a very important day today, my mother Elizabeth's 89th birthday. She is an avid reader of this blog. Hi mum and a very Happy Birthday.

We are up early and head for the castle. This is a wise move as later in the day the queue for tickets is huge. But now we are among the first. It costs 25 Lei (under a fiver) for me. Mick claims old git privileges and gets in for 15.

Hobbit house in the castle grounds
 It's a steep climb up to the castle entrance, then a flight of very steep steps to get to the main door. Definitely no wheelchair access here.

There is a route to follow inside. Through narrow corridors and some very narrow staircases to view the various royal chambers all set in higgledy-piggledy fashion around the central courtyard.

We are rather smug about arriving early with few fellow tourists. This place will be a nightmare when it gets busy.

The tour takes a couple of hours. There are lots of interesting displays with description written in Romanian and English. There is one room devoted to the Dracula story and Bram Stoker but mostly it's good, informative real history. The castle dominated a major trade route in olden times and was fought over and conquered by the Ottomans, the Saxons and the Teutonic Knights.
Steep climb up to the entrance

Main courtyard
State room with turkish-style heating

Kitted out with Bran hat and T-shirt
In the afternoon we wander around the tat stalls and graze in the local cafés. We resist the Dracula teeth and rubber werewolf masks but I do get myself kitted out in tee shirt and cap. I've lost my faithful Blades cap somewhere en route. This is a good replacement.

Opposite our hotel there is a lurid mock castle called Vila Bran advertising Music Cafe Bar and Club Billiard. At night it is luridly lit up but I haven't seen a single person entering or leaving the premises.

Vila Bran all lit up
A  day is quite enough for Bran. In fact half a day is probably enough. But we've had a restful two nights here after the exertions on the Transfăgărășan and Transalpina. A day off the bikes and a chance to recharge the batteries.

Next we are heading north up the Carpathians to the border with the Ukraine. 


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