(All Attractions or Itineraries Subject to Change)
DD: Dracula Departure Day & The First Fright Night: Today, life in America ends as we know it. We depart our normal, mundane existences for a paranormal, horroriffic experience on foreign soil. As we board the plane as a group for the journey of a lifetime. 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)! Keep reassuring yourself: "this is only a vacation..., only a vacation..., only a vacation..."
and in Romania. Welcome to Eastern Europe, and an adventure 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 over 500 years later, and we find ourselves in the same unholy land. We are ghoulishly greeted by our local guide, Radu, 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/Transylvania. Meet your fellow travelers in our group orientation welcome event.
pend your first night at the spooky "Lebada" hotel**** on its own isolated haunted island in Bucharest. It is a beautiful remote castle that had also been used as a prison, then a convent, once again as a prison and more recently converted into a luxury resort hotel. It sits in the middle of a lake and has beautiful quiet grounds. It's a perfect spot to recuperate from jet lag and get that much-needed bath. One warning - stay out of the sub-basement. It is haunted! This facility was used in the insane-asylum film "Madhouse." Get a good night sleep (if you can), because the excitement and adventures are about to kick in...
wake to the howling of wolves and depart by luxury coach to the mysterious, secluded isle that 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 found 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 an open-air gypsy bazaar where you will find the best selection of Dracula dolls, plates & memorabilia in Transylvania. In the past, we could buy hand-woven woolen sweaters here, worth $150, for under $20. Now there are souvenir t-shirts everywhere. Look for the Vampire Vineyards wine in the local shop. Transfer to "Aro Palace" hotel**** in Brasov for one night's accommodations.
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 historic "Black Church" before departing to Sighisoara, the best-preserved medieval
town in all of Europe, and actual 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 full-blown Witch's Trial with Romanian actors (or are they acting?). Photo opportunities include the Vlad statue, outdoor gravesites and historic Clock Tower. Continue on to the ancient cemetery through the haunted fully covered wooden stairway (don't pause inside!). After this 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) it's a night of fun and activities in the parlour. Spend the night in the hotel on the grounds of Jonathan Harker's restaurant, the "Golden Crown" Hotel (in the town of Bistrita).
fter breakfast, 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 Piatra Fantanele. Explore the castle and it's surrounding: check out the souvenirs in the lobby shop, visit the outdoor marketplace and local cemetery, and ride the ski lift. Or just spend your day leisurely preparing your costume and make-up for the party at night. In the evening you will partake in the one and only world-famous (or infamous) unholy Halloween-style night gala costume ball. Meet in the den for official group photo session and venture outside the castle walls for drinks, appetizers (steak on the stake) and live gypsy musicians at the beautiful bonfire. Then, if there's a bride and groom-to-be still willing to wed, witness a very
real "vampire" wedding ceremony as conducted by a local monk and sometimes his chanting nuns. You are then ready to fully experience the ultimate Haunted Attraction Monster Mash 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, and seen on television worldwide. The partying continues until the wee hours for those in the right spirit! Don't dare leave early! 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. Between the scary & sexy & imaginative costumes, and the unusual characters, there will be more head turning than in an Exorcist movie. Overnight accommodations at "Dracula Castle" hotel. Don't forget to hang the garlic in your window.
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, and learn the true legend of the Pied Piper. Look for the evil cat's eyes in the buildings surrounding the square. Finish the trip at
the massive Evangelical Church, first built
in 1300 and added to many times since then. This church, with its five-pointed tower, hosts the largest organ in all of Romania, comprising over 6,000 pipes. We're 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 is precious and amazingly 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 who 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. There are local internet cafes for those who need to go online, and at the end of the avenue is the "bat" park with thousands of bats dwelling in the trees. No, you may not bring home a pet bat. We stay the night at the "Imparatul Romanilor" hotel*** in Sibiu.
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 seemingly endless 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 breathtaking country from atop the hill of the fortress.
heck into hotel and freshen up for our annual gala farewell (optional dress-up) full-course dinner at the gothic "Club Dracula" theme restaurant (with a possible surprise visit by "the Count" himself). Your final night accommodations are at the extremely gothic haunted "Bulevard" or "Capitol" hotel*** in Bucharest. If you're sensitive, pay attention: the hotel is definitely haunted, and some of the rooms are filled with spirits!
he Final Day of the Dead: Pack 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. 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.
lthough you are leaving Transylvania, Transylvania will never leave you. The people, the experiences, the fun and the frights will live with you through eternity. And we mean eternity!
(All Attractions or Itineraries Subject to Change)
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