Transfixed by TransylvaniaSaturday, September 24, 2011 -Part 1
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We'd love to hear from you! Next on the itinerary: Mozartfest in Bath, England
Transylvania, the Saxon (Germanic) region of Romania, charms us from first sight, with its rolling green hills and picturesque villages. We've stepped back in time, seeing more horse-drawn carts than anywhere we've ever traveled, neighborhood wells still in use, dirt roads,
Hansel- and- Gretel cottages, and babushkas galore.
We take a bathroom break at a gas station, and are jerked back into the 20th century by a roadside missile.
The story of Dracula, Bram Stokers creation, began here, with Vlad the Impaler, son of Vlad the Devil. Born in the 1400's, Vlad the Impaler and his brothers were sent to school in the Ottoman empire, where they learned Turkish military techniques, including impaling. Vlad was born in the golden house beside the stunning 14th century clock tower in the main square.
We attempt to access the main square via the usual paths, passing squares lined with brightly colored homes,
but are blocked at one entrance after the other - movie filming is in progress.
The third way is a charm, and we weave our way through extras for the film and cars crawling up the cobbled lanes for a wedding or two,
Dressed in forties style for the WW II film, extras wait to be called onto the set.
In the boutique where we stop for a tasting of fruit brandies, there's a poster of Vlad the Impaler - a scary looking guy! He ruled from 1456-1462 and is revered for unifying sections of the country - no one dared stand against him!
We stop in a couple of boutique hotels with charming courtyards and rooms tucked into the original Saxon houses, here since medieval times. This room, with frescoed vaulted ceilings, is occupied by an actor in the movie - clothes for the next scene laid out on the bed.
A wedding party poses for photos at the bottom of the ancient 175- step Schoolway Staircase - we've never seen a covered stairway from one level of town to another. Would be fun to climb if we had time.
As we're standing by the old Deer Inn, with frescoed deer on either side of the antlers poking out of a corner,
the scrim protecting the film site falls down, and we can see the actors and the Nazi flag at the base of the town tower. We've been told that Gerard Depardieu is in the movie - could that be him over in the corner?
Just one more village where we'd love to spend more time... but it's time for lunch - at a surprising location!
to be continued....