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July 16, 2002

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Mom and Dad can't bear another day carrying heavy backpacks, sweating in scorching heat, missing sleep, and eating bad fast food; they demand a tour guide. We hire a Romanian guide, Chris Floria, who expects that we will pay for his food and accommodation while he's with us. Chris takes us around Bucharest in his van, showing us places we missed and that a good tour guide is worth his weight in sarmale (a Romanian dish of cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat). Other Romania dishes are: ciorba de perishoare, spicy meatball soup; mititei, grilled meatballs; mamaliga, cornmeal. Basically, Romanian food is meatballs and cornmeal.
The old road from Transylvania, the land of Dracula.
Bran Castle, called Dracula's castle, because it guards an entrance to Transylvania, not because the real Dracula lived here.
Bram Stoker based Dracula on the real-life person, Vlad the Impaler, the ruling Prince of Romania in the 1400's, who impaled his enemies by driving a stake through their back and letting his victims wriggle and bleed a slow and painful death.