The Dracula Hunt

It’s a bit early for ski season in Romania, but for those on a Transylvania quest, the end of October is an
excellent time of year to travel in Eastern Europe. Most tourists with an interest in Dracula are side-tracked by
Bran Castle, a fairly impressive,
Disney-style castle fortress built in 1212.

The “real” Dracula, Count Vlad Tepes Dracul (otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler), stayed only occasionally at Bran.
His home was Poenari Castle, now a ruin in the
Vallachia region of Romania. While you can get to Poenari by car or by tour bus,
David Lengyl decided to hike it:

“The trail led to hundreds of steps winding upward through the trees. I moved quickly, taking three steps at a
time, energized by the fear that one of the escorts would yell for me to stop or chase me down. But it was quiet,
save for my steps gaining rhythm, the same upward motion that had trained me for more serious ascents.

“It was an easy trek without a heavy load. I wasn’t exactly equipped for a night on a mountain. I had a loaf of
bread, two bananas, two beers and a pack of matches, all of which I would have traded later for a flashlight.”

While possibly illeagal overnight camping on a swaying Romainian mountaintop bridge might not be everyone’s idea of
a great time, it certainly sounds like a spooky way to get your kicks.