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J155 - Saturday, March 20: Mihaesti - Bran

73.35km – 9H53’
Altitude : 955m

Yesterday, the day was so busy that I forgot to talk about 2 things :
We received 6 packages of food for Serge: freeze dried meals and soups, rice pudding, chocolate, vanilla and praline puddings.  These are things which we don’t necessarily find outside of France.  I would like to thank René’s wife, Michelle and their daughter, Nathalie, and Anthony their grandson, who took care of the our order, packed it and delivered it to Piroux Industrie France.  The packages arrived by truck thanks to Michel Piroux and yesterday we unpacked and managed to find room for everything in the van.

2.    And yesterday afternoon the rear bumper of the camper was repaired (I had damaged it in Bordeaux and it was beginning to break) as was the retaining bar of the van’s door which the wind in Spain broke.  Our thanks go to Adrian, who took matters in hand at Piroux Industrie and repaired the damage.

The mountains are so beautiful!
We never weary of the sunshine and hope to carry it with us for the coming stages.  But what if we were to stop tomorrow for a “day off” and take the time to visit the castle? In spite of appearances, it didn’t belong to Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia in the 15th century, who was called Dracula by his father and who inspired the 19th century writer, Bram Stocker, to write his novel.  Dracula became a legend.  Bran is not Dracula’s castle and the historical character, Vlad, never lived there.  I’m very disappointed!  So, we will take to the road tomorrow and maybe we will meet some vampires along the way.
At km 25 Serge passes the town of Campulung.  From here on it’s a “yoyo”, ascent, descent, ascent, descent but the yoyo never stops!  There is still snow at the roadside, the towns are magnificent and the scenery glorious.  We are in the Carpathian Mountains which run from Serbia to the Ukraine.  We leave the plain and the region south of Wallachia to enter Transylvania.  This region came within Romanian borders in 1918, following a turbulent history: Hungarian in the 9th century, then Turkish, then Austrian in the 17th century, then Hungarian again before returning to Romania in 1918.  But during WWII Hungary annexed a part of this region before being chased out by the communists.  If the world moves, so do borders and this region is populated by ethnic Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons (originally Germans) and Szeklers (of obscure origin).  I give you all this information just to show that like Bulgaria, Romania and its borders come from a history of invasions and wars which have resulted in a great mix of populations.  These people must sometimes find it hard to place themselves.  This region, which are discovering at midday is gorgeous and today everyone seems to be at peace and enjoying the sunshine, while out for a stroll.  Even Serge is strolling.   
The Piroux family is back, accompanied by Lydie, Cleo, Olivier and Adrian.  They have promised to share the adventure, to accompany and take care of us between Bucharest and Bran and we are delighted to spend these beautiful days in their company.  Michel is not too stiff after his jogging of yesterday and puts on his jogging shoes toward the end of the stage.
Serge is still tired and still happy.  The whole team is fine and sends greetings.

Town : Bran

GPS : N 45.29204° E 025.19049°