Tag Archives: Bran Castle

Darcy and Joanna Take On Eastern Europe: Part 3

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And the saga continues…

After the extremely bumpy and hot 5 hour bus ride from Bistrita to Sighisoara, we arrived in the wonderful medieval city at last. After finding our hostel (no thanks to Google Maps) the first order of business was to nap and let the sweltering noon heat pass by.

After an hour nap and some showers we headed to the citadel. We passed the Dracul family house and saw the citadel clock ring in the new hour. We also visited every single souvenir shop that Darcy ran across and met a very interesting artist in the process. We saw a sign that read craft souvenirs and gallery and decided to go down the somewhat hidden staircase to the cellar bellow.

The gallery housed for-sale works from 5 various artists and they were all beautiful. We made friends with one of the artists that refers to himself as “The Spoon Man” and he taught us a lot not only about the significance of all the wooden spoons that can be seen in Romania but also about the works of other artists as well.

Our short day in Sighisoara was topped off by a traditional Romanian meal of tocăniță, sarmale, and mamăligă.

Tuesday started off by an early wake up at 6:30am so we could arrive to the gară on time only to find that our train was running 50 minutes behind. We survived the very hot almost 4 hour personal train ride and succeeded to not get ripped off by the Brașov taxi drivers.

As soon as we got to our hostel, we encountered our worst nightmare. An Asian family of about 8 had taken over the hostel. The reason, well several, that we did not get along with them was because they were just plain rude. They took over the entire common area and then glared at us when we sat down to fill out our paperwork. We concluded later that the child that was in our room ended up playing in all of our beds and dirtying them. One lady blocked all of our lockers and then got sassy with us when we asked her to move her shit. I saw the boy peeing in the bathroom without closing the door. And finally they flooded the whole bathroom and then switched rooms because of it.

Anyways after a short nap, yes another one, we headed out to the city for a free walking tour and another traditional Romanian meal.
The second day was another scorcher. We spent the afternoon in Bran visiting the castle and taking in the Dracula lore. When we got back to Brașov, we had a nice dinner and hung out at the hostel.

Update. We are currently waiting for our train to Constanta at the gară and it is just after midnight. As we were sitting and chatting with some random guy across the track that started talking to us, out of nowhere, a shirtless man slowly stumbled out from behind the kiosk with bloody arms and fell over in front of us. I got up to go find help but before I could leave, the man got up and stumbled down the stairs. The guy we were talking to jumped over to railing onto our side of the track to make sure we were okay and to see what happened to the man. Apparently the man that collapsed in front of us was attacked by a group of gypsies down the tracks. I don’t know how accurate that information is but in retrospect only his arms were bloody due to 2 inch wide straight cuts along them.

For some reason, I am not really startled by this incident and I don’t know if that should worry me.

12 hours from now we will hopefully be arriving in Varna to spend 3 glorious days basking in the sun on the sands of the Black Sea. Let’s hope the rest of the trip is smooth sailing.

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Back To The Grind

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After an amazing week at site, the last thing any of us wanted to do was go back to technical and language sessions. Luckily, the PC Staff was already very well aware of this and took it easy on us. We had a site visit debrief in the morning and then the self picked language/cultural sessions started after lunch. These types of sessions are so much easier to handle than regular classes because we get to choose what we get to learn and when talking about the cultural aspects, the classes are all in English so it’s a nice break from being forced to speak Romanian. Friday night was filled with the usual activities of  getting dinner and then hanging out in the center.

Saturday was one of my favorite days so far. I spent the early afternoon having a picnic in the park, eating avocado and cheese sandwiches and listening to music. The picnic was followed by a peer support session which was for the two new peer support people of our group and anyone else who wanted to join. Peer support is basically just like it sounds. These people are the ones that the groups elects as the people whom the individuals of the group feel the most comfortable contacting about any issues we may be having. The session was followed by a group dinner and then a night spent in the park. It was so nice to just sit in the park and hang out with the volunteers in my group and the many others that came into town for the weekend.

Sunday I woke up fairly early and got ready for a new adventure. Theron and Sarah’s host dad offered to take them and two of their friends up to the Bran Castle outside of Brasov. For those of you that are not aware, Bran Castle was the alleged home of none other than the famous Dracula. The 3 hour car ride was absolutely beautiful and when we got to Bran I was stunned. The castle is MUCH bigger than I expected it to be and we had a lot of fun trying to figured out the layout of it and what floor we were on at any given point in time. After getting very little sleep all weekend, I was ready to crash as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depends on how you look at it, this country has a spell on me and I can’t fall asleep until very late and I still manage to wake up very early. I decided to head to the center and meet up with a friend. We hung out a little bit and then went to one of the cafe’s where I met up with my host family. Coincidentally enough, the PCVLs were sitting at a table right next to them so it was nice to hang out with them and get to know the PCVLs a little bit better.

Hopefully I rest up this week because my host family already planned out most of the upcoming weekend for me!

Until next time, VA PUP! (ljubim vas/kisses to you all)