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Tasmania – Transylvania – Tanzania


Last week, we introduced "The Triple T" as a fun addition to your bucket list and specifically discussed the first leg - Tasmania. Today, it's Transylvania - a mysterious land of breathtaking views and endless landscapes, yet better known in popular culture for its vampires and wolves. So stock up on garlic and holy water... and let's dive right in!


Transylvania is located in the north central area of Romania amid some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. Since Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, in 1897, Transylvania has been known as the vampire capital of the world. Although Dracula is a work of fiction, many do not realize that Stoker’s Dracula was actually based on a real person: Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century ruler of modern-day Transylvania known for his extreme appetite for cruelty. While in Transylvania, you can visit this real-life Dracula’s castle, Poenari Castle, which was built by Vlad where he enslaved inhabitants of the nearby towns to continue building higher fortress walls for his frightful kingdom. And, of course, you won’t want to miss the ever popular Bran Castle, most famously known as “Dracula’s castle” due to its eerie similarity to Bram Stoker’s description in his 20th century gothic horror novel.


Transylvania translates directly from Latin as “across the forest”, sometimes translated as “beyond the forest” in reference to the alluring land seen across the land and through the mountains. (Note: We are writing this today from Transylvania County in North Carolina, one of the townships where the solar eclipse took place in full totality. We expect North Carolina's Transylvania with its beautiful, mountainous countryside was named in the same vein).


A trip to Transylvania is like stepping back in time. Its multi-ethnic heritage is delightfully apparent in the folk costumes, architecture, cuisine, music and festivals. Colorful centuries old traditions are alive and well in small villages. People here still make a living at such time-honored occupations as shepherds, weavers, blacksmiths, and carpenters. The Apusent Mountain range is a landscape of exquisite beauty and mystery. Here you’ll find ancient legends of mountain spirits and rare species of wildlife along with 4000 caves, many of which can be explored.


A day’s journey to the east takes you to the capital city of Bucharest. The highlight is a visit to the Palace of Parliament. This is the grand marble palace built over a period of many years by conscripted labor of Romanians under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu. My taxi driver in Constanta told me that he worked for 2 years on the palace and earned the right to rent 2 additional bedrooms. Apparently the reward was one bedroom per year’s work. Worldwide, the Taj Mahal is generally believed to be the most beautiful from the outside, but many consider the Palace to be the most spectacular from the inside.


The building contains 20 floors, eight of which are underground, the last one being an anti-atomic bunker. Due to Nicolae Ceaușescu’s fear of nuclear war, the underground bunker was built of 1.5m thick concrete walls impenetrable by radiation, and the tunnels were made for quick escape as they were linked to the main state institutions by 20 km of catacombs.


The dictator and his wife Elena were tried on Christmas Day 1989 and executed by firing squad. Romania is today a sovereign state and an integral part of the EU.


While in this beautiful part of the world, you may wish to visit the music city of Prague, the historical city of Budapest, and experience a scenic river cruise on the Danube either east to Constanta on the Black Sea or west through Hungary and Austria.

Next week, we will look at the final leg of “The Triple T” vacation - Tanzania!

- Cruise Adventure Travel


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All prices are in USD, per person based on double occupancy, cruise only. Unless indicated, port fees are additional. Restrictions may apply. All pricing is subject to availability and to change. Call your Cruise Adventure Travel agent today for specific terms and conditions. Ship registry as follows: Carnival - The Bahamas; Fathom - Bermuda; Cunard - Bermuda, Panama, & Malta; Crystal - Malta; Royal Caribbean - The Bahamas; Celebrity - Malta; Princess - Bermuda; MSC - Panama, Norwegian Cruise Line - Bahamas; Oceania - Marshall Islands.



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