I’m not feeling too well today. Isn’t it dumb to be ailed and glum while travelling? Yesterday was an amazing day. From the magical city of Brasov, Gerard and I were driven through the Carpathians on what was advertised as a ‘Dracula tour’. Basically, sites Vlad the Impaler inhabited (or just passed through). Vlad may or may not have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula character. Whatever, we’re in Transylvania and a great ‘mood’ has been generated by the book and subsequent horror films. I haven’t seen any vampires yet, but I’m certainly pockmarked by holes from those other bloodsuckers, mosquitoes.
Transylvania is much more than myth, mountains and castles. On our drive we passed through several large and small Romanian villages. We passed horses, donkeys and carts carrying bundles of hay. Many villagers still wear traditional peasant dress. Some sit by the side of the road hawking hard-looking rounds of cheese, lines of sausages and other meats, berries, and puppies. There are sad-looking dogs everywhere in Romania. In Bucharest they barked all night, and the first thing the guesthouse owner told us there was how to deal with them if they try to attack you. Out of the main city, the dogs seem calmer, even friendly. But you’re not supposed to feed them or treat them like pets. I find it heartbreaking, but it’s just the way it is here.
Romania is a truly fascinating place, and the people are friendly and forgiving of us (we cannot speak any Romanian). There’s also a ton of art deco architecture around. I wish we were here longer, but that happens a lot when you’re travelling, especially when you’re somewhere for the first time. We’ll be staying in Prague for a week because last time I was there for just a few days and wanted to stay longer.
There have been many highlights in this big adventure, and I plan to spend more time writing about some of them when I get home. I’ve been keeping a journal, as my memory is not the best, and it’s kept me writing regularly. I’ve also read a lot and found fresh inspiration for the novel ms. I’ve begun the third draft. Gerard and I were also thinking we could write a little zine on castles as we’ve visited so many! Yesterday, the final castle on the Dracula tour, Poenari, was 1480 steps up the face of a mountain. At the top:
I get back to Melbourne just before Mebourne Writers Festival. I’ll look tanned and very well-fed and I’ll slowly get back into the swing of blogging, writing and reviewing as I digest the things I’ve seen, heard, smelt, touched, tasted and learnt. I hope you’re all enjoying whatever journeys, large and small, you’re undertaking.