Bran Castle, Romania

Commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle” (although it is one among several locations linked to the Dracula legend, including Poenari Castle and Hunyad Castle), it is often erroneously referred to as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker‘s Dracula.

There is, however, no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this castle, which has only tangential associations with Vlad the Impaler. …

The castle is now a museum dedicated to displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Maria. …

We didn’t enjoy this castle as much as nearby Râșnov Citadel, but it was still worth visiting.

Râșnov Citadel, Romania

Râșnov Citadel of today is considered to be built between 1211 and 1225.

We enjoyed our visit.

Swords to Plowshares. Old canons to trash cans.

The (bad) film Scorpion King 4 was filmed here. They show clips in the gift shop.

Views from the top are terrific.

We could see the local ski resort.

This tourist dog walked all the way up and all the way down the mountain with us.

I did the castle tours with Nicki, a scientist from the U.K.

This was one of her favourite photos.

Note the “Hollywood” sign up on the fortress.

Brașov, Romania

Everybody likes Brașov.

It is surrounded by the Southern Carpathians and is part of the Transylvania region. …

From 1950 to 1960, during part of the Communist period in Romania, the city was called Orașul Stalin (Stalin City) …

It’s a walled city. You can walk along most of the old wall.

The only remaining gate.

I really enjoyed the FREE City tour. (tips encouraged)

Black Church

Claimed to be the narrowest street in Europe.

Farewell Brașov.

Sighişoara, Romania

Still sick with some sort of cough, I opted to stay 2 nights in order to recovery. A very restful town.

Sighişoara has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. … 

The landmark of the city is the Clock Tower, a 64 meter high tower built in 1556. It is presently a Museum of History. …

Small figures appear in the window right of the clock each day.

The roof is the highlight for me.

There is some spooky stuff in the museum.

Scholar’s Staircase (“Scara Şcolarilor”) – an old stone staircase with a wooden roof along the whole span.

This leads up to the Church on the Hill, the cemetery and the Joseph Haltrich High School (a.k.a. “School from the Hill”).

A German friend told me this is the #1 tourist destination in Romania for Germans. And the majority of tourists here are Germans.

Is this Vlad the Impaler? 

Nope. This is him.

related – Medieval Town of Sighisoara, one of the most significant historical towns in Romania

Central Park restaurant, Sighisoara, Romania

Lonely Planet told me Central Park was the best splurge in town.

Myself and a German chap who I met on the train from the European Championships both ordered the same thing: Romanian red wine, Romanian pork & beans soup in a bread bowl and Romanian stew with polenta.

Excellent. But we couldn’t finish the meal. The bread bowl itself was bigger than my head.

I enjoyed the restaurant so much I returned the next night again ordering a traditional Romanian pork and beans dish. With pickles, onion and horse radish.


Cluj, Romania

I traveled to Cluj (pop 300,000) because I’d never been to Romania. And I’d never been to the European Gymnastics Championships. I stayed at the excellent, inexpensive Retro Hostel.

Cluj-Napoca, commonly known as Cluj, is the second most populous city in Romania …

Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the country’s largest university, Babeș-Bolyai University, with its famous botanical garden …

Romanian friends told me I’d like Cluj. And I did. Very light traffic. Easy to walk.

A University city full of funky Bars and Coffee Shops.

The green spaces are excellent. Especially along the river. Every day I walked Central Park to and from the arena. Walking the banks of the Someșul Mic River also excellent.

It was snowing when I arrived. And snowing when I left a week later.

I’d hoped to go hiking in the nearby Apuseni Mountains but it was still too early in the season.

The main graveyard was close to my hostel. Remind me to be cremated.

European architecture still impresses me. And statuary.

The prettiest Church I saw.

I was sick with some sort of lung congestion all week so did not do much aside from Gymnastics and walking the City.

With very little appetite my only local food was this massive fresh baked street bread. Walnut and sugar.