Monday, March 11, 2013

Dracula's Castle (and Jen's Birthday!!!)

Hi again!

Well, we are back on the road again.  Yesterday we traveled to Craiova, a city in the center of Romania.  We have a game today, and then we will drive back to Arad.  Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like we have been on the road a lot lately!

Last week, we had a 3 day road trip.  We left early Friday morning and drove to Brasov, another city in the center of Romania.  Because we didn’t play until Saturday, our team took the opportunity to do something fun/different while we had the time.  There is a city called Bran which is about 20 minutes from Brasov.  Bran is most famous for being home to Dracula’s Castle.  I had a rather vague understanding of the connection between Romania and Dracula before coming here, and to be honest, I can’t say that I have a great understanding even now. 

The story is pretty complicated, really.  I’m not going to get into all of it here because it would take a long time to explain and because I would probably still get some of the story wrong.  To make a long story short, though, the figure we know as Dracula is based on a real life person named Vlad Tepes III who later became known as Vlad the Impaler.  He was a rather ruthless human being who was known for killing people, impaling them on stakes, and then lining the roads with them to scare off his enemies.  The whole character of Dracula came about as a result of a novel written by Bram Stoker called Dracula.  Anyways, if you’re really interested, you can read a little more about it all here:

Going to the castle was interesting, and it was a nice change from the usual routine since life as a professional basketball player overseas can be a little repetitive sometimes. 

On Saturday, we played Brasov (we won), and then after the game, we drove about 3 hours to Bucharest to play another game on Sunday.  We had an early game Sunday, made a quick stop at McDonald’s, and then got on the road for the long 11 hour bus ride back to Arad. 

We have a few things coming up to look forward to.  First, Jen’s birthday is TODAY! (March 11th)!  She is 26…wow J  Since we have a game today and then will be on the bus the rest of the day, it’s not really the best day for celebrating a birthday.  It’s not a problem, though, because Jen and I celebrate birthday weeks together, not just days.  We’ll be sure to find some fun things to do J  Second, we are expecting some visitors this coming weekend!  A couple of our friends from Slovakia will be coming on Friday and staying until Sunday afternoon.  As usual, it will be great to see them and spend some time together.  And third, Jen and I just finished planning a trip to Rome for the following weekend (March 21-24).  We were told about a week and a half ago that we were going to have 3 consecutive days off so we immediately started looking up cheap flights.  We found a great deal to and from Rome and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  This is obviously a very exciting time in the Church right now with the upcoming papal conclave.  We are assuming that by the time we arrive, a new pope will have been elected so that is extremely exciting.  Also, there are a few (well way more than a few) things that we really wanted to see/do in Rome last time we were there that we are really looking forward to.  And finally, we will be there for Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  Obviously it would be incredible to be in Rome for all of Holy Week, but it’s pretty cool that this last minute trip coincides with at least one day of it.  Sooooo…..lots of exciting things coming up.  We’ll keep you posted!

We hope you’re all doing well.  Don’t forget to wish Jen a ‘Happy Birthday’ J

Waiting outside to buy tickets to go see the castle

Walking up the hill to the castle

Inside the castle

Super narrow staircase

View of the inside of the castle

All of the doors were super short!

Carla and Jen

The sign actually says "Attention: Stairs," but we thought it was funny that it sort of looked similar to someone saying "Attention: Scary" - it just seemed fitting for Dracula's Castle

In the courtyard in the castle

Carla and Tina

Vlad the Impaler = Dracula the Vampire (sort of)

Carla helping Jen grab the money at the bottom of the well

In front of the castle

Castle at a distance

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