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Dracula and Romania

I was a little over 100 miles outside of Bucharest trying to drive route 7C over the Transylvanian Alps in search of scenery, rural life and the legend of Dracula when all of a sudden this Romanian trucker coming down the pass, waves violently at me to stop. We both stopped and I went over to his truck where he mumbled some words at me - "avalanche" being the only one that I understood. 

He showed me on the map that I'd have to go all the way back to Curtea de Arges, take the road west, and then take the next parallel road over the mountains. Something that I did not want to have to do. I thanked him for his help, and as he went down the mountain, I continued up!

I didn't want to believe him, so I continued up a bit higher, taking a couple of photos, admiring the view. Then I saw a car coming down and he came by slowly waving his finger.

 

We both stopped and I went to talk to him. He as much confirmed what the trucker had said - the road was impassable higher up. I didn't want to think about the time it was going to take me to drive back to Curtea de Arges, head west and take the next parallel road over just to be in the same position I was in now, only a few miles to the west. But I turned around and headed back down the mountain trying to enjoy the peace, quiet and the view.      


Earlier in the day, at the beginning of the mountain road 15 miles north of Curtea de Arges, I visited the real Dracula's castle - the 13th century Poienari Citadel. This is mentioned in only one of three guidebooks I consulted, so I wasn't expecting much. But the ruins were just where they said they'd be; perched high above the surrounding area like an eagle's nest.

There were no signs of any tourists, or any signs for that matter. I found the steps leading to the summit after a brief search, and there weren't just a few, but 1300 up and 1300 down! (I had all I could do to keep my breath on the way up, but counting gave me something to do on the way down).

Once I was at the top, a man approached me from a little shack. He was apparently the caretaker and immediately pointed his hand towards the ruins and said "Dracul." I knew I was in the right place.
He offered to show me around, but I found that there wasn't that much to see; the foundation, some walls - but then the view! You could see why Vlad Tepes 'Dracula' would have liked the position of this citadel - virtually nothing along the road or valley was out of sight.

The man couldn't speak English but I understood as he used sign language to show me where the prison used to be, the sleeping quarters, the kitchen and the defensive positions. I thanked him for showing me around and then proceeded down those steps!

 

 

 

 

 

The Transylvanian Alps

 
   

  

The ruins of Poienari Citadel

  

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