Discover Romania: Day 3 – Dracula’s Castle
PL and I slept for a mere 4 hours before packing our bags to head down south to Brasov to celebrate Halloween. We hired a driver to Brasov. We heard that the public transit to Brasov was horrendous due to the holiday weekend. We met a fellow traveller who confessed that it took her 4 hours to reach Brasov, which is typically a 2.5 hr journey. PL and I were hoping to sleep most of the journey but our driver had other plans. He played trance music throughout the ride which is not very soothing. We couldn’t even enjoy the view since he had a video monitor that obstructed our front view. We tried our best to make the most of it.
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Salina Veche Salt Flats
We made a pit stop to Salina Veche Salt Flats, the largest salt flat in all of Europe with the purest air in the world. The drive there was about 1 hour and 45 minutes. PL and I enjoyed our time exploring the caves in Slovenia so we were hoping to see something similar to it. It was Saturday. The lines to Salina Veche were quite long. PL stood in line while our driver walked me to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets. It costs LEI 30 ($6.74 USD) for an adult ticket on the weekend.
The train to the facility was broken. We had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to be transported via a mini shuttle bus. I was amaze at the driver’s skill. We were squeezing our vehicle in the tightest niches. For a minute, I felt like Indiana Jones with all the rocking and shaking through the dark cave.
We arrived in the cave and ready to start our adventure. We walked in expecting it to be like Slovenia. It was far from it. We looked around and realized that the locals packed lunches, basketballs, scooters. I was puzzled. We walked around and realized that people come here for recreational activities. The salt flats is good for your health. There were basketball courts, a track, a bounce house for kids, etc. PL and I strolled for about an hour before turning back to the shuttle. The shuttles departs ever 20 mins. We got back to our starting point and decided to check out the nearby food truck area.
The area had various dessert trucks and random trinkets for sell. PL and I ordered some doughnuts with chocolate. It was delicious! After a quick bite, we called our driver and we were off to Brasov.
The drive back was nice. There was fresh powder snows on the trees. Our driver had to pulled over to collect snow to show his daughter. We also got to know our driver. Very interesting guy! Before he was a driver, he was living in Japan as a male stripper. He wound up marrying a local woman there and moved back to Romania. It was quit a fascinating drive down to Brasov. We arrived in our AirBnb in about an hour. We rested for a bit before getting ready for our journey to Bran Castle.
Halloween at Bran Castle
PL and I were hoping to buy our Halloween Party ticket at Bran Castle the day of but it was sold out. For a combo: Bran Castle Night Tour and Halloween Party, the total was 180 LEI ($40USD). Instead, we paid $146.50USD for a tour that included a night tour, entrance to the castle, and transportation. The tour was the biggest mistake. We spent majority of the tour waiting around for a large party until we were able to break free from them. If i could do it over again, I would visit the castle in the day time, and book the Halloween Party in advance.
PL and I were not able to purchase a costume for this particular event. We had to dig through our closets to put something together. When we met up with our tour, we were shocked to see how inventive and creative everyone’s costume was.
We arrived at the castle. We were expecting the party to be inside the castle but the party was in a tent downstairs from the castle. Our guide escorted us through the gates to the line to wait to go inside the castle. It was bloody cold and windy. We saw guys in spartan outfits…i feel sorry for them! Dress for warmth! We found ourselves huddling up with new friends. We waited in line for maybe an hour or so before we even entered the castle.
For halloween, the castle hired actors to play various characters to make the house feel a little more theatrical. The lights were also turned off. It was difficult to see. A few times, we had to turn our flashlight on from our phones. At the end of the tour, we were greeted with red wine to signify blood. It’s bottomless wines, but it’s cheap drunk wine so be careful. After the castle tour, we broke away from the group. We rendevous at 4am.
Dinner: Galaria Bran
PL and I were starving. There were a few restaurants at the base of the entrance. We were given wrist bands that allowed us re-entry. We walked in to the nearest restaurant. PL ordered a pizza and I ordered pasta. It was perhaps the best thing I have had in a while. I am not sure if it was the hunger speaking. Our meal cost about $20USD for our meals and a drink.
After dinner, we headed to the Halloween Party.
Bran Castle Halloween Party
Bran Castle Halloween Party is located at the bottom of the castle in a large tent. Upon arrival, PL and I headed towards the bar. The bar was jam packed. We were told that it is a cash only bar. We order our drinks and headed to the dance floor. We met a group of people who we danced the night away with. The music was filled with great sing a long songs. The room did get warm and people slowly started shedding their layers throughout the night. You could find piles of clothes against the walls. If you need to go use the restroom facilities, there are portal potties located just outside of the tent. If you prefer a different alteranative, there are bars nearby that you could walk to and re-enter using your wrist bands. Do not be surprised if the washrooms at the bar are just as filthy. Be warned that the doors do not lock. Despite of the bathroom misfortunes, the party was epic. The tent was not too crowded and everyone is friendly and ready for a good time. If you get hungry during the night, there are a couple of food trucks located outside serving hot dogs and sandwiches. The party ends at 5am but we escaped the night around 4am to make our way back to Brasov.
Where to Stay: Brasov
Brasov is a small quaint little town that is just 30 minutes away from Bran Castle. You can stay anywhere in Old City Center and be close to all of the main attractions. PL and I booked an AirB&B at the Blue Studio. We paid $80USD for the night. Our host even allowed us to check out in the late afternoon without an extra charge! Score!
It was not a shabby night and one that I will always remember.