Now that we are halfway through the week, reminiscing about the weekend feels appropriate.
A few other Fulbrighters and I travelled to Bran, to the castle that might have inspired Bram Stoker’s depiction of Dracula’s castle, and has used that rumor to fuel spooky Halloween fun. It made for excellent bonding (I’m proud to be a member of the Fulbright Fun Family) and good stories.
I arrived in Bran after a full Friday. I taught my morning presentation skills class, missed a bus to Brasov, made friends with a German who also hadn’t been as aggressive as he needed to be to get on the bus, found another bus, realized I hadn’t eaten all day, took a rather expensive taxi to Bran, and finally met up with a group at the Transylvania Inn for a dinner of local meats and cheeses with polenta.
I was glad to meet up with other Fulbrighters. Being the only one in Targu-Mures, it’s hard not to feel a little isolated when dealing with the frustrations of getting settled in a new country. Swapping stories by the fire with a glass of wine was wonderfully comforting.
The next day, I visited Brasov with a few others. We wandered around some shops, peeked inside of the Black Church, and had a yummy lunch at a brasserie looking out on the main square. We found Halloween masks and drove back to Bran in time to wander the markets there and change for the party that night.
The night started with a long wait in line, made easier to tolerate with beer, warm street food, and good company. We finally made it to the castle for a tour including secret passageways, costumed actors, and, finally, blood-red wine.
The castle was festively lit, and we could hear the music from the party throughout. A few of us headed there to dance and have themed cocktails and dance some more.
The next day, on little sleep, I headed back to Brasov with another Fulbright friend. We explored some more, went to the brasserie for a late lunch, and drank coffee to try to fight the tiredness from the day before, but gave up in the late afternoon. We attempted to improve our Romanian by watching TV instead.
All around, a fun and successful weekend! I made it to Bran an Brasov, and back to Targu-Mures, which would have made the weekend a success in itself, but I also made friends, had some delicious Romanian food, and got festive for Halloween. What more could I ask for?