I was working in the lab …. – or so begins the Monster Mash song. And that was the tune ringing in our ears as we rode into The Alps of Transylvania, en route to the famous castle of Vlad situated at Dram, deep in the heart of this territory nowadays part of Romania, but in the past part of Hungary, Austria and even independent. The real Count Vlad, on whom the movie character Dracula is based, certainly had peculiar habits – carefully driving stakes through the bodies of his victims – in a way that ensured he didn’t sever the spine and the hapless one took several pain excruciating days before they finally expired.
The area has been home of various tribes over the ages including the Huns at one stage and of course the Goths. As we get ever closer to Dram, the fields are full of witches hat haystacks, the locals riding around in their horse-drawn gypsy-style carts, and every second one seems to be wielding an exaggeratingly curved pitchfork. Naturally as we pass we give each a wide berth, being so vulnerable to heart piercing as we are on bikes.
Then there it is – the castle of Dram. Every bit as Goth as the movies and Dracula comics represent it – sitting as it does between two peaks. A home fit for Dracula indeed. The Transylvanian Alps (aka Carpathian mountains) are a wonderful motorcycle ride – in fact we talked about them being better than the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee with 70 kms of corners and (s)witchbacks and a climb of 1500 metres, roads that are pretty rough and mad Romanian drivers all making them one of our top ten motorcycle rides in the world.