Transfăgărășan Highway(part 2) – dams and ruined castles.

Paloma has a riverside spot, ( N45.34383, E 24.63515) in the shadow of the ruined castle high above us on the hill, the sign at the entrance say “Eco Tax 5 Lei ” that’s less than £1 for the overnight stay ! 

After spending a spectacular peaceful night at the top of the Transfăgărășan Highway, high in the Fagaras mountains, it was a shock to hear an alarm ! 

Michele had set the alarm for 5:30am, god it’s not long ago this was a normal time to be up and at  the world, but once I realised that the last few weeks had not been a dream and that all she wanted was to see the sunrise, everything was ok. 

Last night the cloud descended just after 9, the last few visitors left the mountains and we were alone, bar the traders. Who by this time where safely tucked up in their caravans.

Being awake extra early, we decided to take off down the pass at just after eight, this side isn’t as jaw dropping and the road surface could do with a few repairs.

First off you enter the tunnel, which although lit,is immensely dark! 

But once though and back on the montain side it’s another stunning drive,which twists and turns you from the high peaks down into the forest below 

After the Fagaras mountains the quite spectacular lake Vidraru and dam. The dam is the second largest in Romania.

Luckily or unlucky, as we hit the dam bridge a film crew are in full production, making what looked like a Romania remake of pulp fiction.

We took the road down the lush green and twisty valley with beautiful old bridges and large rock over hangs which feel like you never make it ! 

This whole part of the road has a rather dark and damp feel about it as you pass through the maze of tunnels, but still very pretty and stunning to boot . 

Around the last bend brings us to the foot of the ruin of Dracula’s Castle at Poienari.

“Legend has it Vlad exacted revenge on some disloyal locals by descending on the village, killing all the old folks and laying their bodies in a circle about the village , before marching the rest off to carry pillaged materials up the hill to re-build this castle. He only let them go when their clothes were so worn they were falling off them”

To reach the castle you need to climb up 1480 steps, having read this I thought it must be a typo, but no the steps go on forever, 

Here at the Poenari Castle which probably has the best claim as the Drculara castle there’s no signs which refers to the place or the  Dracula name, Just a happily named “Dracula Camping” 

I started once again to try and explain the whole Dracula thing to Michele and as im now to the point of confused we checked out the oracle that is Wikipedia (so it might well be wrong)

 The name Dracula comes from the fact Vlad’s father was a member of the Order of the Dragon, a group of nobles acting to defend Christianity in a time of threat from the Ottoman Empire.

 Vlad himself appears to be well thought of here in Romania, having initially fought off and later pacififying the Ottomans through paying them. 

The name of impaler seems like it may be based on some truth as a lot of impaling happened around these parts, by sticking a small tree-sized wooden stake through the victim from backside to the shoulder. Death was very slow, It would take a couple of days to die like this.

So in reality Vlad and Dracula are linked by only the most tenuous of links ( cue radio 2 breakfast time) he didn’t even live in Transylvania, but in Wallachia  on the south side of the mountains.

Back at the campsite Fred got to splash in the river,whilst our Romania neighbors played with the must have caravaning toy – a chainsaw.

But he has built everyone a fantastic cooking fire! 


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