Gothic horror road show
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