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Dracula unspectacular

Greetings from Transylvania, which is disappointingly sunny! Well, that’s not fair – we’re actually rather glad of the sun, having suffered two weeks of almost constant rain wherever we’ve gone. What’s most disappointing is the very un-Dracula-like ‘Dracula’s Castle’, which is more like a large, white tudor mansion. Its only association with Vlad The Impaler (upon whom Dracula was based) was that he may have briefly attacked the castle in the 15th Century. Oh well.

Brasov is a rather nice little place and it feels great to be away from the cities for a change. The Romanian countryside is absolutely beautiful and is largely made up of huge expanses of green, but some places we passed through were a might scary to say the least. There’s some pretty extreme poverty in this part of the world and we saw a lot of it on the 12-hour train journey from Budapest. There are a load of Americans staying here who are helping out in orphanages that look after children with AIDS, and they seem to be an alright bunch (the yanks; we haven’t met the kids). Strangely, we’ve met more English-speaking people here in this far-flung corner of Europe than anywhere else we’ve travelled so far. Canadians seem to be the most friendly, and we made some new friends last night when we had to share a dorm in our new hostel. Tonight we’re moving to a private room (apparently equiped with a jacuzzi!) but we certainly have no complaints anyway, as the hostel is fantastic and run by a mad little Romainian woman called Maria who knows everything. And she’s been giving us lessons about their bizarre currency, which has an ‘old’ version and a ‘new’ version. Our first cash withdrawal at the staition was for 5 million each.

Anyway, life as a millionnaire has its demands as I’m sure you can imagine, so I’m off… ;-)