Gothic hor­ror road show

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

Ceaucescu soups, sal­ads and pas­tas. Ur­sus Beer is 10.50 Lei (about £2) a half litre.

Nearby is Pe­les Cas­tle built by King Charles I of Ro­ma­nia and owned to­day by King Michael King Michael I as a state-run public in­sti­tu­tion. It still con­tains orig­i­nal fur­nish­ings and dec­o­ra­tions that show the style in which the Roy­als used to live.

It is a six-hour train jour­ney to Suceava, a town in the north east near Ukraine and our base for vis­it­ing the beau­ti­ful Painted Monas­ter­ies of Moldova.

Their out­side walls are dec­o­rated with elab­o­rate 15th and 16th cen­tury fres­coes fea­tur­ing­saints,prophets and demons and re­garded as mast e r pi e c e s o f Byzan­tine art.

In just two days we vis­ited 11 of them travers­ing 200 miles through forests, nar­row coun­try roads and a coun­try­side of lush green mead­ows, pretty painted houses, sheep tended by shep­herds, storks nest­ing on chim­neys and where horse drawn carts are still used. Some­times, the guide had to phone a guardian to open up. Our fi­nal stop was Dragomirna Monastery — a for­ti­fied place in­hab­ited by 70 nuns where we stayed for the fi­nal night. Wo­ken twice by the call to prayers, it wasn’t the most com­fort­able night I’d spent but the tran­quil­lity in­side the walls and the cen­turies of his­tory sur­round­ing us made up for it.

Chill­ing past: Bran Cas­tle was the in­spi­ra­tion for Drac­ula’s lair and ( be­low) dic­ta­tor

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