Strada General Traian Moșoiu 24, Bran 507025, Romania
So, a Brit, a Scot and an American walk into a castle...
When you arrive in Bucharest, you will find a city comprised of two generations: those who lived under communism, and those who now enjoy newer freedoms and lifestyles. Downtown in the capital, the nightlife goes until the sun comes up. But if make your way out of the city, and head north to Brasov, you’ll discover the real country(side).
After completing a week-long tutoring program in the rural town of Busteni, my new found UK friends and I decided to rent a car and head up to Brasov. The first night there we enjoyed karaoke with the locals at bars in/around the town square. Later, we cabbed to a club with some of the American military stationed in Brasov with a few of the locals. Downtown was a blast, and there is plenty happening for you night owls.
Shaking off the hangover the next day, we made the trip south to Peles. Picturesque.
That would be the first of two castles we visited on a chilly October day. After Peles, we made our way back to Brasov. We cleaned up, listened to the local music video channel (a must) and prepared for the evening ahead. That night, we would venture to Bran Castle. A brief, but important history: Construction on this castle began in 1211 and would not be completed until 1377. Before being common day Romania, this area was known more as Transylvania. One of the rulers during the mid-1400s was known as Vlad the Impaler. Legend has it that his thirst for blood (killing people) would inspire Bram Stoker to later create the character Dracula. So, in a sense, Bran Castle is Dracula’s Castle.
Did I mention that it was October 31st?
Halloween at Dracula’s Castle. How could we not?!
They had a deal setup where you could do the tour of the castle and attend the huge dance party, so we got tickets for both. While we waited in line, we realized we hadn’t brought costumes! I managed to find a Guy Fawkes (AKA-Anonymous) mask, which sufficed. We got to the top of the hill where the castle was, and... man... dude was BRUTAL!
There was a lot more, but for the sake of time, let’s get to the main event.
IT WAS A BLAST! Colder than a welldigger’s gizzard outside, but inside the tent, the party was on FIRE. They had people on stilts with a different costume every hour. Live DJ with a freestyle saxophone musician. Breakdancing midget. Booze. Half-nakedness all around. And the people came from far & wide! I’ll never forget this night :)
If you can’t make it for Halloween, I would still recommend visiting Romania for a few days. Flights to/from Athens, Budapest and Istanbul can be quite reasonable, and the country is pretty affordable. Hostels start around $9, and you can get a gyro for $3-4. Cabs were also VERY inexpensive, just know your conversion rate, and keep an eye on the meter. If you need help from the locals, start with someone younger, as I found the older generation to be a bit cold. Not rude, just not very welcoming. Also, the younger generation is more likely to speak some English, and may be excited just to converse with you. Have fun in Romania!