This morning we took the time to sleep in and enjoy the luxuries of the Vlahia Inn outside of Braun. After a glorious buffet brunch which included Romanian pancakes, eggs, and espresso, we took off to march up to the Braun castle the overlooks the mountain pass between Wallachia and Transylvania. We would soon learn the loose correlation of the Braun castle and the Bram Stoker's Dracula. Dracula was supposedly inspired by the legend of Vlad the the Tepes or the Impaler who was infamously known for his methods of torture. While it was never recorded that he was a true vampire, he was indeed bloodthirsty in the traditional sense of Medieval ruler trying to establish order in a hostile territory. Supposedly Vlad spent a night or two at the castle and which has since inspired the ensuing Dracula stories.
We then migrated over to the Peles castle the summer home of King Carol I, one of the first monarchs of Romania after Romania declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian empire in the 19th century. We also learned that it was used for entertaining during the communist regime. Our whole group was in awe of the ornate decorations of gold leaf, weapons, Venetian glass, hand woven silk rugs and Turkish tapestries... to name a few! We all appreciated our extended tour and learning about the intricacies of the secret passageways throughout the castle. Our last stop on our journey back to Pro Vita was Carrefour, which is equivalent to Walmart. Students enjoy browsing a and buying anything from gellato to prosciutto, chips and chocolate.
Once back at Pro Vita, we reunites with Eureka, our house mom, unpacked and relaxed before dinner. Journals and the next day's schedule were tended to and now we are once again relaxing, reflecting on travels and getting ready for bed.