Friday, July 1, 2011


Triumphal Arch
The jetlag is really taking it's toll on this trip. I fall asleep when I am supposed to be awake and am awake when I am supposed to be asleep. I actually watched hours of the discovery channel about cheetahs last night but had the hardest time getting out of bed in the morning. Maddening! I'm sure I'll get adjusted to the time difference just as I'm about to come home.

Lake Snagov
Today was very exciting though because we went to Dracula's Monastery which is not the Dracula's castle from the book. This is a little known place just to the north of Bucharest on an island that supposedly you could only get to by row boat. At about noon our driver, Nadia, met us at the hotel to start our adventure. We drove through the tree lined streets passed the mix of modern and old buildings. We even passed a CBRE building (that's for you Jess). As we traveled out of the city we saw some horse drawn wagons sharing the road.  Oh what an adventure it was because as we seemed to get closer, Nadia didn't know how to get there. Every time we passed a roadside stand, she would roll down her window and ask how to get to Snagov Monastery in very polite Romanian. Even funnier though was that no one seemed to know how to get there. Finally, after asking for lots of directions, we arrived at Snagov. Unfortunately, instead of taking a boat we crossed a foot bridge which was not as exciting.

After crossing the bridge we arrived at the monastery which was surrounded by beautiful gardens. The church itself had two rooms, and we were greeted by the head monk. The rooms were painted with folk art from floor to ceiling of different saints. In the first room was a portrait and information about Vlad Tepes AKA Drakula or Vlad Drakul. Turns out that this was a very special monastery because it was funded by Drakula and it is said that his remains are buried here. In the second room which is also painted from floor to ceiling there is a rectangular area in the front of the room marked by a burning candle and a metal plate marking Vlad's resting place. But is he really there or somewhere else roaming the Carpathian Mountains?

Outside, we walked around the grounds to find some goats and chickens enjoying the sunshine. There was a huge vegetable garden and lots of flowers too, and we were even escorted around by a little canine friend. It was very peaceful, and not the type of place you would expect to find the legacy of such a violent ruler.

After leaving Snagov, we still had some time left with Nadia, so we headed over to the Romanian Peasant Village Museum. This place was full of examples of traditional Romanian houses from all over the country. It was very interesting to see the variety of living quarters set up as if they were still in use. It was a beautiful day, so we just wandered around through the houses and gardens. Then it was time to find some lunch at a nice open air cafe.

Here are a couple of pictures from the Village Museum.

Tomorrow is the big Carpathian 360 Tour. Let's hope I can sleep tonight!