Saturday, September 15th 2007

I wanted to cycle to Bran while I was in Braşov. It's about 20km away and is the site of castle, claimed on scant but tourist-attracting grounds to be Dracula's castle. But it was the weekend, and all the bike shops in Braşov were closed, so I reluctantly headed out to the autogara and got a bus. I watched sadly as the nice flat tarmac round wound through the mountains to Bran, and then managed to miss Bran completely because it was far smaller than I'd expected. Seeing a sign saying 'you are now leaving Bran', I got off the bus and walked back towards the castle. I saw it now, on top of a hill. Its location was pretty impressive, but it hardly looked mediaeval or terrifying, and when I got back into Bran itself I was confronted with a horrendous tourist nightmare of Dracula souvenirs, sold by people wearing fangs and capes, and decided to head back to Braşov as quickly as possible. The only thing I liked about the town was the view of distant snowy mountains behind it.

When I got back to Braşov the sun had just set. Earlier, I'd got a bus from the centre of town to the autogara, and the journey had seemed very short, so I thought I'd walk back. It seemed the journey had been quite long after all and two hours later I made it back to central Braşov, having walked along dimly-lit streets through endless suburbs, guided only by occasional glimpses of the cheesy hollywood sign, glowing up on the dark hillside.

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