Some things in life are difficult whilst some things in life are sent to test us and trying to get across the border between Serbia into Romania is both of these things with some added stinger nettles attached. If you wish to encode a message and send it to a spy in a foreign land, then I can strongly recommend you just type it on to any of the pages that tell you about bus or train routes across the border, because every other word on there is so completely detracted from reality that no one will believe anything you put.
After considering 30,000 different and conflicting ideas on how to get to our destination, we headed for Vrsac in Serbia where we were ‘assured’ we could get a bus over the border to Timisoara, followed by a train to Brazov and then a coach to Bran (home of Count Draculas Castle….apparently).
Coach to Vrsac= yep ok that worked and we passed through some very flat countryside as you hit the very east of Serbia.
Coach over border to Timisoara?…’Not a chance me old mate’
Train to Timisoara?…..’will you stop asking stoopid questions’
Hitch hike to Timisoara?….’get out’
Taxi…a taxi across the border was the only option…so taxi it was. Not terribly expensive but two neighbouring countries and they cant get you from one capital to another, or even give any suggestions…’C’mon Serbia & Romania, sort it owt’
So Finally in Romania and Timisoara…really lovely town centre which puts most in the UK to shame; had a lovely afternoon / evening there. Why were we there so long? It was a 14 train journey to get to our next location, Brazov, so we took the overnight sleeper train which we both enjoyed as neither of us had really done a sleeper train before. Woke as we entered Bucharest, had quick brekkie then final train to Brazov. A lot of tourists on this train all heading to the castle.
LOTS of tourists go to the castle, so obviously when you reach Brazov its easy to do the 30 minute drive out to Bran……is it shite. Nothing advertised, and no one trying to mop up all of the lost tourists who all want to go to the same location??? Missing a trick or what?
So we got on a bus, which we then had to get off to get another bus, which delivered us to a bus stop. Got talking to an Italian guy (beautiful flowing air….say that in an Italian accent), and ended up in a enterprising locals car who eventually drove us to Bran.
Local spoke Romanian and some French
Italian spoke Italian and some German
Andrea spoke English and French
I speak English and Geordie
It was a 30 minute trip with some very protracted and longwinded conversations, during which I’m sure a lot was lost in translation but I’m pretty confident that my contribution of ‘Why aye pet’, was universally understood.
Spent the night camping in Bran and avoided setting the tent on any ant hills. Woke the next day to explore Bran and the famed Transylvanian home of Dracula.
Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker wrote Dracula. He based it loosely on Vladimir ‘Vlad’ The Impaler (he used to kill his prisoners by shoving a large pointed wooden stake up their jaksie and out through their mouth (impaling them). Bram stoker never came to Bran and Vlad the impaler may.. MAY! Have stopped off here once, whilst on route to a timber merchants. So the link is as tenuous as it is possible to be. Of course when advertising the castle the owners make you fully aware of this??? Not a chance, its Dracula everywhere (check the internet, see for yourself). HOWEVER when your eventually inside its walls, its all…”what?...we never said Dracula……Noooo your mistaken, we wouldn’t blatantly lie like that!. Still I suppose it’s the same as anything Harry Potter related (Have I ever mentioned I worked on the last Harry Potter Film?...No…well I did you know).
It is still a nice castle to look around. Very TARDIS like, in that its bigger inside, but if you have got bus loads of tourists going through it at the same time, things can get a little cramped shall we say!
Why was it actually built??
Well it was built by the local mafia (Royalty), who used it to get tax’s (i.e to rob), those merchants using the trade routes through the valley. The same Royal family (Mafia), are now using the castle to rob (entertain), gullible tourists.
We moved from Bran back to Brazov and had our last night together. Brazov also has a great ‘Old Town’ that’s chic and vibrant. Andrea had her nosed pierced and I had cheesecake.
Today we went our separate ways with Andrea heading into Bucharest to catch a flight home and me heading to the Hills to go and visit the Romanian Sphinx.