Although we were sad to leave Gabby’s guesthouse, the new place we’d moved into stunned us equally with their attentive service. Every time we walked down the stairs outside our room, our host would appear no matter how late, making sure that we didn’t need anything. Before he would go to bed each night, he would come up and ask nicely if we would unlock our bikes for him so that he could personally move them into the cellar for safe keeping on our behalf (and he wouldn’t let us help!).
This morning, he offered to serve us a traditional Romanian breakfast (which he did not provide to the other guests) and so we stuck around until 9 when he planned to serve it. We were positively stuffed by the time we hit the road and he and his wife came out to help us load our things onto our bikes. It is actually kind of an awkward and complicated process and we’ve never had anyone try to do it for us!
They took our picture multiple times as we explained where we’d been and where we were headed while they shook their heads and laughed. We departed with friendly rounds of “ciao!” as we pedaled off into the gloomy day. Though we haven’t found Romanians to be as outgoing as their Bulgarian or Greek neighbors, we have found them to be impeccably attentive and hospitable. I persistently feel like we are staying with family in our guesthouses.
The cloudy ambiance was exactly what Ben has been hoping to see from Transylvania for days now, so we were pretty cheerful to be out on the road in the cool morning. We cruised through the moody wooded hills and then down the mountains, surrendering all the altitude we’d fought so hard for only a few days prior. We leaned hard into tight hairpins and largely kept up with the cars on the road. Chills crawled across my arms as we glided down in the cool air.
When we reached the bottom, we turned back up the valley toward Bran across the valley with towering mountains on either side. Though a headwind made for slow going, we didn’t have very far to go and we stopped for lots of pictures. Such a fun ride!
Finally, we rolled into town, checked into the Vampire themed campsite full of Dutch retirees (nothing new here!) and headed in to town.
We had pretty well already decided not to do another castle tour since we just did one, and our guidebook wasn’t overly impressed with the Bran Castle tour. Though the castle is famed for being “Dracula’s castle” there is not really any conclusive evidence that he ever actually came here. Still, it looks nice and we thought we might walk around the grounds or something. Instead, we stumbled on an outdoor museum full of old peasant houses and structures that we got to tour instead. The woven tapestries and furniture were beautiful!
We eventually settled into the beautifully manicured Vampire Camping to get some work done and to enjoy chatting with all of the friendly Dutch and German campers about their travels. Unfortunately, the wind that we fought on our way into the valley had kicked up even harder as we worked through the evening and into the night. After dinner, I put in headphones and tried to get absorbed into an audiobook instead of being stressed about the way our tent was flexing hard with each gust. It only kind of worked and we headed to bed with the knowledge that we weren’t going to be getting much sleep.