Tuesday 28 January
Ooooh scary! I don’t mean seeing my sister; I mean doing a long-awaited tour of the famous Carpathian mountains. For years my sibling and I have desired to visit this mystical land full of castles, gypsy villages and vampires. Bram Stoker aficionados since our teens, we’ve been obsessed with all things Dracul. My first Halloween costume was based on Bela Lugosi’s famous rendition, while Lindsay desperately wanted to sing Annie Lennox’s Love song for a Vampire from the 1992 movie (for which Gary Oldman should have won the Oscar). Finally persuaded to meet me on my travels with Transylvania the sweetener, the twins are back together again to cause mischief and hunt Nosferatu.
Romania, covered in a blanket of thick snow, is stunningly beautiful. Driving though ramshackle towns and old-world villages is a real joy, and transports us back to a dark corner of Europe. Although he never visited, you can appreciate why Stoker was drawn to pen his classic set in this unknown land. Orthodox crosses appear at every intersection, while we remissness at how “the dead travel fast”. Every chance we get we’re quoting book and movie, while drinking in the actual history of Romania’s favourtie son; Vlad the Impaler. Bran’s castle is a delight, as is, for different reasons; the Ice Hotel.
It was to be a holiday of experiences. A holiday from my travel, and a holiday for Lindsay to leave the rat race of London for a brief time. I think we both really pushed the boat out, especially when she was drunk in freezing cold temperatures running around the Ice Hotel in the buff. Not really a sight I had wished to see, but she surprised me in letting herself go. Of course the pictures of me swinging a chain saw around in the snow with not a stitch on might have had something to do with it. I guess I’m something of a bad influence. Nonetheless, I think she managed to escape her bubble and actually have a little fun.
Of course all good things must come to an end, but back in Bucharest we did our best to give her a good send off. She lit up the hostel, conversing with all and sundry, and came out of a shell that she didn’t really have – I just thought she did. With a bit of luck, it won’t be too long before she is on the road herself, and maybe the terrible two-some can re-unite for more shenanigans in another far-away land. Regardless, I am still immensely proud of her. She is my sister.