Wed Oct 31, 2001 | day 51
Growing up in America, the word "Transylvania" is synonymous with Halloween, Count Dracula and spooky music. So it was a pleasant surprise for me when I arrived in the heart of Transylvania at 2am in the morning to discover that it *is* in fact a spooky place!
One of my many goals for my "Around Europe in 77 Days" trip was to visit Transylvania and sleep at under the walls of Vlad The Impaler's Castle ruins (Vlad was also known as Son of the Dragon, or "Dracula"). Unfortunately, I did not make it to the small town of Poienari to do this scary feat, but I have no regrets for the city I am in is equally as beautiful, romantic and spooky!
Brasov, Romania is a small village near where the Transylvanian Alps of the south converge with the Eastern Carpathian Mountains. Due to my sleepless 36 hour train ride from Paris to here, I slept most of the day today and woke up around 12:00 noon.
I explored the city and took in the sights, including the gothic Black Church and the main museum located inside the 600+ year old town hall.
Then the night came...
At 4:30p, the street lights came on as the sun sunk over the horizon. Yes, that's right: 4:30p. I can only assume that it set so early due to the distant mountains towards the west, but some could say it was the work of the supernatural.
I walked through the nearby forest and watched as the beautiful land of Autumn-colored trees turned quickly into a ghost story setting: the silouetted tree branches looked like lightning; a thin layer of smoke from a village chimney settled over the windless city; bats chased after bugs in the full moon-lit night.
And it gets spookier!
Although Romania is known for its stray dog problem, I did not encounter that many on the streets of Brasov. But from 4:00p to 4:45p, I could hear the barking of at least thirty of them from all around the city. Dogs are known to have the ability to sense things that humans cannot. Was this chorus of dogs an emanant warning?
At 4:45p, the dogs hushed almost immediately as the monotonous bell of the Dark Church started to toll.
Bong....... bong....... bong......
Now, anyone can make something spooky if they just concentrate on it. But it sure wasn't very hard for me at all to make EVERYTHING spooky in the sleepy Transylvanian town of Brasov.
With the lack of commercialism and the powerful effects of the night here in Brasov, this is the best Halloween I have ever had. And I didn't even need to wear a costume!
Have a safe Halloween everyone,