oday, life in America ends as we know it. We depart our normal, mundane existences for a paranormal, horroriffic experience on foreign soil. Join fellow friends & fiends from all over the world (and beyond!?), as we board the plane as a group. Enjoy the meals (no garlic) and on-board films on our transatlantic flight, or get some sleep (because you'll be up late howling at the moon once we begin our vacation). Maybe " the devil made you do it," but there's no turning back now - your chilling adventure to a land that time forgot has officially begun! You're in for the most fun-filled, spine-tingling time of your life (even if you are part of the undead)!
and in Romania. Welcome to Eastern Europe, and a journey you will never forget! We land in legendary Bucharest, capital of Romania (first mentioned by this name in a document signed by Prince Vlad Dracula himself in the year 1459). It's 550 years later, and we find ourselves in the same unholy land. We are ghoulishly greeted by our luxury coach and we transfer to the hotel. Along the way, learn about Romania and its people, and also discover the truths, the legends, the myths and the magic of Dracula, Vlad and Transylvania. Meet your fellow travelers in our group orientation complete with full-course welcome dinner. Spend your first night at the gothic "Bulevard" hotel*** in Bucharest. If you're sensitive, pay attention: the rooms are filled with ghosts! If you get too scared you might try and change your airline tickets
for an earlier flight. That would be a terrible shame-- the frightening stuff is just beginning! Can't you handle a little ghost or two?
wake to the howling of wolves and depart by luxury
coach to the mysterious, secluded island which is the home of the Snagov Monastery. You will cross a moat by rowboat to arrive at Vlad's tomb. The richly dressed corpse, exhumed in 1931, had been decapitated. In the place of a human skeleton was the bones of an animal. The frescos and artwork surrounding the grave are a sight to behold. Photo session outside at the giant steel crucifix. After the Isle of Snagov, transfer to the town of Bran, home of Prince Vlad's Castle. On the way we pass through the Bistritza River, recognizable from Bram Stoker's novel. We'll drive through tiny villages with violent pasts, and acres of forest-covered hills, where an impaler could easily kill thousands. We continue our journey to the famous Castle of Bran. Castle Bran is a
dark, gloomy edifice towering over a bed of stone, gruesome yet beautiful as a preserved fortress. The castle, built in 1377, is an important national monument and landmark of Transylvania, due not only to the majestic beauty of the castle and the uncanny landscape, but also to the legend of Count Dracula. In the park area, there is a open-air gypsy bazaar where you will find the best selection of Dracula dolls, shirts, souvenirs & memorabilia in Transylvania. You could buy hand-woven woolen sweaters here, worth $150, for $12. Transfer to "Aro Palace" hotel**** in Brasov for 1 night's accommodations. Late night activity to be determined.
fter a hearty (pun intended) breakfast, explore Brasov, one of three major centers in Transylvania established in Vlad's time. It was in Brasov that Vlad enjoyed his meals while hundreds of villagers died on stakes at the base of Timpa Hill. Sightseeing includes the "Black Church" before departing to Sighisoara, the best preserved medieval town in all of Europe, and birthplace of Vlad. See the true birth home where Prince Vlad was born into this world. The complete walking tour of the walled city of Sighisoara includes the gory Torture room and Witch's Trial. Photo
opportunities at outdoor gravesites and historic Clock Tower. Continue on to the ancient cemetery through the haunted fully-covered wooden stairway. After the visit to Vlad's birthplace, begin the ascent up the Carpethian Mountains. Follow the path of Jonathan Harker, as described in Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula." Watch classic horror movies on the coach, and stop for gala dinner and presentation at Jonathan Harker's Golden Crown Restaurant. If you haven't tasted blood yet, today you will be able to indulge in a unique drink: blood-red liquor, an exclusive beverage of the Golden Crown Restaurant. This is just one stop as we follow in the path of Dracula, or more
accurately, the journey traveled by Jonathan Harker (in the notes of the hero's diary). We feast on a lavish full-course meal at the Romanian Coroana de Aur, perhaps even ordering the house specialty, the "Robber Steak," Jonathan Harker's ritual meal in the "Dracula" novel. We toast one another with the blood brandy. After dining and posing with the interior design (you'll see what we mean), board the coach and ascend the Borgo Pass. You will pass rivers, trees, swamps and mountains, capturing the essence of Harker's trail. You will see the Carpathian gorges which fit Stoker's description almost perfectly. Finally, you arrive at "Dracula Castle" hotel*** in
fter breakfast, explore every nook & cranny of the castle: check out the souvenirs in the lobby shop, visit the outdoor marketplace and local cemetery, and just spend your day leisurely preparing your costume and make-up for the party at night. This would be a good day to nap & catch up on some sleep if time allows. In the evening you will partake in the one and only world-famous (or infamous)
unholy Halloween night gala costume ball. Meet in the den for group photo session and venture outside the castle walls for drinks, appetizers and live gypsy musicians at the bonfire. Then, witness an actual "vampire" wedding ceremony as conducted by a local monk and his chanting nuns. You are then ready to experience the ultimate Halloween masquerade bash and late-night party. This includes music, dancing, surprise Halloween treats, and - dare we tell you - the visit to the infamous "coffin" in
the depths of the Castle's dungeon. At the stroke of midnight, it's the renowned costume contest and award presentations, as covered by Discovery's Travel Channel. The partying continues until the wee hours for those in the right spirit! You may bring your cameras & camcorders to the masquerade ball, but don't be too shocked if all of the guests do not appear in your photos after you have them developed. Halloween will never be the same after you've partied in Dracula's Castle in Transylvania. Between the scary & sexy & imaginative costumes, and the unusual characters, there will be more head-turning than in an Exorcist movie. Once again, overnight accommodations at "Dracula Castle" hotel.
uxury coach transfer to Sibiu, watch vintage vampire videos along the way, plus on-board terror trivia competition with prizes. Take the walking city tour in Sibiu including Liar's Bridge and Central Square. Finish the trip at the massive Evangelical Church, first built in 1300 and added to many times since then. This church, with its 5-pointed tower, hosts the largest organ in all of Romania, comprising over 6,000 pipes. We are not there for a concert, though. Instead, your destination lies behind the narthex of the church, for that is where the burial vaults are located. The stonework on the vault seals and on the various decorations throughout the church are amazingly and beautifully preserved. Two vaults hold special
interest. The first vault is of Prince Mihnea the Bad, one of the sons of Vlad Dracula, who was murdered just outside the church. The second vault of interest is that of Valentini Frank, a Romanian scientist and physician. The reason this vault is so unique is because Valentini Frank is considered one of Mary Shelley's inspirations in her creation of "Frankenstein." Shelley had a number of paramours, one of whom was from Sibiu, and it was this lover who informed Shelley about Frank's life and the various lurid experiments he was reputed to have conducted. Take photos in the catacomb's chair of fears and tears. Time will be then be allotted for shopping in the city, including the second-hand stores on the side streets. Transfer to "Imparatul Romanilor hotel*** in Sibiu for one night's accommodations. Late-night activity to be determined.
ead north up Argus Valley and prepare yourself for yet another highlight: your visit to what most Dracula purists consider
the true Castle of Dracula: Poenari Castle. Those in good shape climb the endless (1500) stairs up to the fortress, and surround yourself with the remains and ruins of Vlad's Castle. The Citadel was built in 1459 by Turkish prisoners and served as a fortress for Vlad Dracula and his family. It also provided the Romanians with a nearly unreachable point of defense in guarding the entrance to the Arges Valley. Be sure you have saved some film for this - don't miss taking pictures of the country from atop the hill of the fortess.
Check into hotel and freshen up for our annual gala farewell dress-up dinner at "Club Dracula" restaurant with a possible surprise visit by "the Count" himself. Your final night accommodations are once again at the "Bulevard" hotel*** in Bucharest.
ack, and check out. Transfer to airport. Say goodbye to the Creatures of the Night and the land of Dracula. Bid all your new kindred spirits and friends a fond farewell. By the way, if you were smitten and bitten by a local vampyric villager or fellow traveler, you may opt to fly back to America on your own.