We woke early after a night of imagining a vampire coming through the huge curtains that went across the balcony. After a tasty and useful breakfast (They had bottled water so we took a few for our car journey) we tapped in the address for Castle Corvin and set off.
It only took us 15 minutes or so to get out of the city limits and start climbing up into the hills. Leaving behind a gorgeous view of the city.
Entering the Romanian countryside, it’s all rolling hills and golden fields. Lots of sunflowers but not in full bloom, I bet it looks spectacular when they are.
We passed loads of small villages based around big spectacular churches of different shapes, sizes, and I’m sure, denominations. It’s about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Cluj to Hunedoara where the castle is located. Contrary to info I had read before arriving the roads were in good shape and there were signs all along the roads that it was down to EU funding. I personally think this is great and just wish we were still part of it all.
Politics aside, the views were stunning, helped by the weather, yet again boiling hot. We stopped off for a refreshing drink and ice cream before arriving at Corvin Castle. We parked and walked up and enjoyed the view as the castle dominated the skyline. The rumour is that Vlad Tepes (Dracula) stayed a few nights here.
(Outside Corvin Castle)
It’s 25Lei admission (About a fiver) and really worth it as you climb towers and spiral staircases.
(View from a window in the castle)
The main square inside had a myriad of paths and steps to explore the castle and stories mapping out the history of the place.
(Old walls looking out over Hunedoara)
(Obligatory castle selfie)
There was even a hangman’s stand, hopefully not still in use! There were bear pits where prisoners were flung down to be devoured by the wild beasts. Stately bedrooms and a huge throne room.
Once we had walked round the castle in it’s entirety it was time for the long drive to Sighisoara. Peter was exceptionally excited for this as it is reportedly Dracula’s birthplace and where Bram Stoker got some of his ideas from.
It was a 1 hour and 45 minute drive there along a highway, you soon learn in Romania that everyone is in a rush to get where they’re going. To the extent that they’ll overtake anything and everything. At one point we were overtaking a horse and cart when a car behind us overtook us too!
We drove past Sibiu which is recommended in various guides but we didn’t have the time to stop so carried on past. Entering a forgotten Saxon world of coloured houses, fortified churches and shepherds tending to their flocks. It’s all very pretty and I can’t comment on the views from the trains, but it feels worth the cost of a car just to experience it all.
(Horse and cart, one of many)
Arriving in Sighisoara we parked up at the bottom of a hill where the old town and all the sights reside upon. It’s a quaint Saxon influenced town with winding cobbled streets, coloured houses and the mandatory churches. Walking up the hill we entered the town through medieval gates and found that our hotel was an extension of these.
It’s called Pension Am Schneiderturm and is super cute. All yellow with big double wooden gates to enter the courtyard. We were greeted by the hotel man who swiftly checked us in once he had guven us free mugs and more importantly a shot of sour cherry liqour! The room was small and rustic but very quirky with beautiful furniture and furnishings. Two small windows overlooked the street with a tiled roof leading up to us. Ready for any vampires to climb up with ease.
(Hotel to the left)
A quick change and a glass of complimentary homemade elderflower soda and off we went to explore the town.
(Typical street in Sighisoara)
It was a gorgeous little place with a small square and a few old churches. You can walk around it at a leisurely pace in around 20 minutes. There were some great panoramic views over the rest of the City.
(Views out over the City)
As we wandered Peter spotted a statue, it was none other than Vlad! As we conitinued onwards we found the house that he was meant to be born in, now a restaurant called Casa Dracula.
As we had done some walking, we decided to stop for a beer on a lovely terrace with greenery and flowers everywhere. Peter even made a new cat friend.
Next up on the sightseeing list was the church on the hill. A covered walkway leads up to the buildings from the town, and with sunlight streaming through the wooden slats and the sound of two guitarists strumming out some Deep Purple we trekked up.
The top of the hill isn’t hugely interesting, there’s a church, a spooky graveyard and a couple of other buildings. However we purposefully timed it for the sunset which was amazing over the hills leaving a deep glow over the church. Now we were getting ‘House of the rising sun’ from the guitarists.
With the sun going down we descended the steps back the city and got ready at the hotel for dinner. We had to have a drink in Dracula’s birthplace so two glasses of red wine were ordered in Casa Dracula’s lovely terrace. Even though we had been told the food in the old town was poor compared to the main city, we couldn’t face walking down and ended up in a small Italian off the main square. The food was just okay but cheap and did the job and the surroundings were picturesque.
(Gatehouse at night)
Tired from the travelling we had a quick saunter around the town again, scaring each other walking down dark streets and discussing how the vampires would get us, before retiring to the hotel ready for an early rise to Brasov.
(The hotel corridor)