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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Romania, the vampires' country



Cruising along the blue Danube that was brownish green.
Apparently you can see it blue only when you are in love.
We flew to Bucharest three weeks ago to start a cruise along the Danube River. Our ship looked more like a renovated barge than an ocean cruise liner.


King Carol I of Romania who liberated the country from the Ottoman Empire in 1878
Bucharest, capital of Romania—the vampires' country— was first mentioned in documents as early as 1459. Since then it has gone through a variety of changes, becoming the state capital of Romania in 1862 and steadily consolidating its position as the centre of the Romanian mass media, culture and arts. 
This statue represents the collapse of the communist regime.
Bucharest's eclectic architecture is a mix of historical, Communist-era and modern.


A Russian Orthodox church from 1500
In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of Little Paris.

Although many buildings and districts in the historic centre were damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceaușescu's program of systematization, many survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom.

The Parliament built by Ceaușescu and finished after his death has never been used.
According to July 1, 2010 official estimates, Bucharest has a population of 2.15 million people.

Some say that Transylvania sits on one of Earth's strongest magnetic fields and its people have extra-sensory perception. Vampires are believed to hang around crossroads on St. George's Day, April 23, and the eve of St. Andrew, November 29. The area is also home to Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it's easy to get caught up in the tale while driving along winding roads through dense, dark, ancient forests and over mountain passes.



The newly published Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies: Compendium Monstrum allows readers to get acquainted with the attractions of the Romanian region of Transylvania from a 19th-century perspective.

I highly recommend THE WOLF'S TORMENT by Stephanie Burkhart. This paranormal fantasy is set in Romania and Bulgaria. I read it while visiting these two countries and highly enjoyed the plot and fabulous characters.

27 comments:

Barbara Monajem said...

I would love to go to Romania one day and let my imagination loose! Sounds like you had fun, Mona.

When I was in Germany a few weeks ago, I went for a walk in a mountain forest, and I expected to see a gingerbread house around every turn, LOL.

Calisa Rhose said...

Thanks for the photo tour Mona!What a lovely city so full of history and mystery. And now I have a new book to add to my tbr. I'll check Stephanie's book out and maybe the Vamp, were & zombie one, though I cringe at the 'z' word.

Beth Trissel said...

Wonderful post, info, and pics Mona. Fascinating.

Celia Yeary said...

This is the first mail I have opened this morning. Thanks for the visusl mini-trip to Romania.Loved the photos--Celia

P.L. Parker said...

The pictures are beautiful! thanks for sharing

Mona Risk said...

Hi Barbara,

I don't know why I expected third world countries but Romania and most of the countries along the Danube were a nice surprise for us. Very European with a touch of Russian. In Bucharest, they they use Latin alphabeth.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Calisa, I don't usually like vampires. They scare me and give me nightmares, but I couldn't put down Steph's book. She did a great job on the characters and suspense.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Beth, glad you like the pictures. I had to choose through so many, the ones that really reflect the spirit of Romania, modern but with a special history.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Celia-- tomorrow we'll go to Bulgaria to visit the Black Sea and Varna where Steph Burkhart's story is set.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Mona,

How lovely to see Romania through your eyes. The architecture you showed is inspiring and evocative of more opulent times. I'm getting to be such an armchair traveler!

Glad you had a smashing trip and equally glad to have you safe and sound at home again.

Maggie

Mona Risk said...

Hi Patsy, BTW before reading The Wolf's Torment, I finished Aimee's Locket. Loved it and fell in love with the hero, Jake. Aimee is so full of life, very endearing heroine. Thank you for making my vacations a happy one with your book.

Kat Henry Doran Author said...

Lovely pictures and I liked the comments you made beneath them which only added to the mystique. I've long had an attraction for Romania; seeing the sites through you has enhanced the attraction.
Thanks
Kat Henry Doran

Toni V.S. said...

Great pix. Wish I could visit there, too. Bucharest is also the site of the battle where Vlad Tepes (aka Dracula) was killed.

Nightingale said...

Beautiful photos Mona. Thanks for sharing another of your great adventures.

Keena Kincaid said...

Oh, Mona, I love the photos. Bucharest looks positively charming.

I loved The Wolf's Torment, too. It's a fabulous story.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Maggie, traveling is a lesson in geography and history. You should see how the guides were proud to tell us about their beautiful countries. Often times they couldn't smother their hatred for the Turkish conquerants who occupied their countries for two centuries, and yet couldn't destroy their spirit or annihilate their language and religion.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Kat, I didn't know anything about Romania, just that it was a country under communist regime. So it was a real joy to discover it.

Mona Risk said...

You're absolutely right Toni. Vlad Dracul as they called him lived in Transylvania and died in Bucharest. The father gave his son to the Turks to save his country. That's where the son learned to impale his victims. Later he was released or escaped from the Turks and turned against them, imapling all those who lived in Bucharest. A horrific massacre. Later the Turks managed to kill him. The actual Dracula castle is falling apart and too dangerous to visit. We didn't go there.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Linda, every time I go on one of those far-away places, I promise myself it would be the last time as I return sick and exhausted. But my husband and his brother can't stay in place long. Both have decided it's the best way to visit each other, so they drag the wives or threaten to leave them home.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Keena, so glad you enjoyed this armchair trip to a little known country.

Mary Ricksen said...

How was the cruise??? Love the vampire stuff, what a great history Romania has!!!

StephB said...

Mona, I'm so glad I was able to pop into your blog today! I've never been to Romania, closest was Hungary, but I've seen a ton of pictures and I just thought it was a romantic land. Your pictures captured the ambience I feel for the country in my heart. I can thank you enough for reading The Wolf's Torment and recommending it.

I absolutely love your pictures and the blurbs. I can't believe they built that Parliament building but have never used it. Amazing how Ceneasu was good and bad for the country.

The sequel to The Wolf's Torment, Twilight Over Moldavia, will be out 1 JAN 2012.

Smiles
Steph

Lilly Gayle said...

Great post and pics. My son-in-law is stationed in Germany but did a 4 month deployment to Romanian last summer. Some of the pictures he posted were gorgeous. (Including that huge parliament building.) Others were sad images of rusting Russian tanks from the cold war, starving dogs, and dilapidated houses.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Mary, Romania's history is a continuous struggle to get rid or invaders or dictators. They are a proud yet charming people.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Steph, from what the different guides told us, Romanians now regret the execution of Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife on Christmas morning. They recognize he did a lot of good to the country although he got greedy at the end.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Lilly, if you have another chance to visit your daughter and SIL in Germany, take a side trip to Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. You will love these places. I saw the rusty tanks and canons, and the starved cats, and the decrepit houses. But we have them all over the world. I prefer to capture the unique edifices that reflect the dreams of a nation.

Mary Marvella said...

Wonderful photos and the history lesson.