Bucharest (Little Paris), Romania, Bran (Dracula's) Castle, Peles Castle, etc.

Document created by ssindc on Jun 21, 2015
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An interesting work trip to Bucharest, Romania, with some tourism squeezed in.  Compared to London, New York, Paris, Rome and the great metropolitan tourist venues, fewer Marriott Insiders have traveled to Bucharest – known as “little Paris” - or added it to their bucket list, I’d recommend it for a visit without hesitation.

 

While the photos won’t capture this aspect, Bucharest is a splendid walking city with a vibrant night life.  For example, a seemingly unlimited number of restaurants and coffee shops (most with outdoor seating) operate all night (or so I’m told – I can only confirm that the restaurant scene was still hopping well after midnight).

 

I didn’t stay at the JW Marriott (I was put up in the Intercontinental, which is a more central location), but I walked by it – original a government/ Ceaușescu building adjacent to the “people’s palace,” today it offers an impressive footprint and a commanding view from the city’s high ground.

 

The photos below only scratch the surface, offering a peak at, among other things:

 

Ceaușescu's iconic, monstrous, and ultimately captivating white elephant palace/parliament building. The construction was highly controversial, wiping out a huge swath of the old city.  Apparently, the building is second (only to the Pentagon, of course) as the world’s largest office building.

 

Bran Castle - mythical home of Vlad the Imapler, also known as Count Dracula....  The historians concede that Vlad may, indeed, have visited (and possibly stayed at) this castle/fortress, but, alas, pretty much the rest of the Dracula legend is, well, legend, myth, folklore, fiction... Well, duh....

Still - and I found this entertaining - see, generally, http://www.bran-castle.com/dracula.html - as the web site explains [quotes in italics]:

 

Because Bran Castle is the only castle in all of Transylvania that actually fits Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s Castle, it is known throughout the world as Dracula’s Castle. Chapter 2, May 5 of “Dracula” describes the Count’s castle as “. . . on the very edge of a terrific precipice . . . with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm [with] silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.”.... Bram Stoker never visited Romania. ... Stoker is widely purported to have used the illustration of Bran Castle in Charles Boner’s book, "Transylvania: Its Product and Its People", (London: Longmans, 1865) to describe his imaginary Dracula's Castle. [But that doesn't stop the locals from shamelessly marketing it....]

 

Peles Castle, where, literally, no detail went unnoticed.  Exquisite.  Gorgeously situated in the Carpathian mountains (on the medieval trade route to Transylvania), King Carol of Romania, in the late 1800's, began building a beauty that has stood the test of time.

 

Some fun tidbits: Apparently it was the first "home" in Romania to have electricity; home of the first movie screening in Romania – it contains a glitzy private movie theater - seats a few dozen; it offers a central vacuum - long before its time; the dining room appears to seat a couple of dozen; and the armory is museum worthy.  No one knows what it's currently worth, but they spent $120 million before the tenants actually moved in in 1883 (which is about $2.8 billion today) - but they kept working on it for another 20 years before it was declared "finished".  The tour guide said that approximately 400 folks - including scores of specialist craftsmen from around the world - worked on it full time.... The quaint, but quite impressive, nearby (not quite adjacent) daughter-in-law "cottage" is known as Pelesor Castle (or little Peles castle).....

 

[Apologies to anyone who read this text before for the tsunami of typos and awkward language. (How embarrassing!)  Now that I've a good night's sleep, the text should be cleaner (and, in some cases, make more sense).]

 

Note for communitymanagers: Alas - in creating this gallery, I experienced the same troubles that others have recently complained about - - I originally posted a full gallery, and - boom - only one photo appeared.   I eventually re-posted the gallery one ... photo ... at .... a .... time, .... which ....was ... extremely ... slow ... and ... painful....]

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