08.12.2009 - 12.12.2009
hey say that nobody spends more than one night in Bucharest if they visit at all, and I was no different but atleast I was going to spend one night there to check out the place. As I arrived nice and early in Bucharest (at about 7am) I got to my hostel comfortably and received a warm welcome. Not only would they let me check in straight away but I could help myself to some breakfast first, you really couldn’t ask for much more.
A couple of quick hours to catch up on some sleep and then it was off to explore the place known as Little Paris of the East which unlike most eastern block cities does not really have an old town to see. This is because all of old town and other significant buildings were demolished to build one of the most extravagant parliamentary palaces in the world, in fact it said to be second only in size to the Pentagon. It is indeed a massive building and walking around it was an effort let alone having to keep the 1000+ room place clean. Also around the city and consist with the Parisian theme is an Arcul de Triumf and a shopping street modeled on the Champs Elysees. All in all not the ugly city that I was told to expect but more just a tired city that is a long way from being pretty.
The next day it was off to Brasov a curious little village albeit very nicely set amongst the mountains. I say curious but perhaps I should say confused as it not only sports a black and white tower (of which both are indeed white) but also a giant Brasov sign that is modeled on the slightly more famous Hollywood sign.
see the birthplace of the myth of Dracula, in Brasov. Dracula is loosely based on Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler for his choice of execution style and warnings that he sent to the advancing Turks. The castle here is based in Bran close to Brasov here and is rumoured to be the castle that Bram Stoker used as the setting for his book. The name Dracula for the character was at least inspired by Vlad as he would quite often sign official documents with Dracula (son of the dragon) which symbolized his father’s membership to the order of the Dragon. The castle itself is not super impressive and relies largely on the myth for its visitors, it is curious therefore that the castle then has room after room that dissociates itself from the myth/story.
We also visited another castle, the castle of Peles which was the first castle in the world to have electricity and even has an primitive inbuilt reverse cycle air conditioning system. The castle is most impressive however with its eclectic design style meaning that a walk into a different room provides a portal to a different time and place.
As a final thank you for visiting I woke up this morning to see the first snow of the season in Brasov. This wasn’t really inches thick walking in the street snow more just a gentle sprinkling of snow on the roof tops and the churches enough however to make it very pretty. This also cancelled the planned walk to the Brasov sign as its now a very muddy track and the Brasov sign is covered in so much fog that it is barely visible.