Wednesday in Transylvania - The Land of Vlad

by R J Poole July. 07, 2017 1984 views

On Wednesday (day), I journey with Wednesday (person) by train to Brasov.

Our trip wound through the Carpathian Mountains, passing the sort of decorative wooden houses and sheer rock faces you might expect to see in a Dracula movie and arriving finally in Brasov – an industrial estate with a Medieval town at its centre.

After Wednesday attempted amputating her leg in the train door, we hired a car and drove badly to Bran Castle – managing not to collide with the local Gypsies along the way.

Bran is perched on a rocky knoll overlooking the gorge that once served as a trade route into the region and was established by the Teutonic Knights over seven hundred years ago.

Although modest in size, the castle boast a commanding view of the surrounding land, but has since been conquered by a steady stream of tourists, who assail its walls on a daily basis and make off of with millions of photographs and souvenirs.

Wednesday and I reconnoitre the place for a photo shoot and decide we can work between the invading horde of travellers.

While today we view such places as quaint attractions, Bran Castle retains a character that only serious military installations posses; designed as it was to dominate the winding dirt road that passes by its feet.

I got a sense that travellers of old (minus cameras) must have approached with trepidation, knowing that sharp pieces of metal could be rained down upon them at will.

Castles were designed out of fear, to keep things out.

Perhaps we still build castles today. We erect barriers to protect ourselves against the threat of emotional invasion, imagining all the while that a wall can keep risks at bay.

Yet ultimately we end up living in a bubble, watching out at the surrounding landscape from the limited space of our private bastion.

Castles are cold and lonely places that serve to remind us of such folly.

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