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Romania Part 2

Sinaia, Brasov, and Bran

Greetings! During our stay in Bucharest, we decided to take a one day tour to Sinaia to see Peles Castle, Castle Bran in Bran, and the city of Brasov.

Peles Castle is located in the Carpathian Mountains near the city of Sinaia. The castle was commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883. It was the first European castle to have electricity, hot and cold running water, central heat and central vacuum system. The stain glass roof of the foyer opens mechanically and there was a small elevator installed for the royal family. The rooms in the castle are said to have inspiration from various parts of the world. For instance, there is a Turkish inspired room, a Moorish inspired room, and French inspired room, among the various rooms in the castle. King Carol enjoyed collecting weapons and he displayed them throughout the castle. There are also a few secret doors around the castle.
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The city of Brasov is about 40 miles from Peles Castle. It is a city in the Transylvania region of Romania, ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. It's known for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions, and the towering Gothic-style Black Church. We were able to go inside of the Black Church but photos were not allowed and externally, the church was surrounded by buildings. We had lunch in Brasov in the square and had Papanasi, which is a traditional Romanian desert of donuts with cream and jam. They were delicious and disappeared before I could snap a picture, ha!
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Castle Bran was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Although Stoker never visited Bran Castle, it apparently matches the description of the castle Stoker writes about. In my opinion, it has less of a castle feel and more of a fortress feel. It was definitely cool to see though, especially the views!
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Fall colors at Bran:
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We really enjoyed our tour in northern Romania. Peles Castle was very interesting and in a beautiful area. It was one my most favorite castles we have had the opportunity to visit. We are glad we made the trip to Romania and we certainly learned a lot.

Onto the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 01:33 Archived in Romania Tagged mountains castle romania sinaia brasov dracula peles bran carpathian Comments (1)

Dublin - Day 2

Dublin Castle and Trinity College

On our second day in Dublin, we took guided tours of Dublin Castle and Trinity College.

Dublin Castle was not very far from Christ Church Cathedral. We had purchased tickets ahead of time for a guided tour. Our tour guide was again FANTASTIC, extremely knowledgeable and really patient with questions. The castle dates back to 1204 and has served as the headquarters of the English and later British administration in Ireland. Today, the castle serves as a government complex and cultural site and it is where the Irish President is inaugurated.

I could not get a picture of the entire castle, but I did find these plans for the city of Dublin and how the castle served as part of the defensive network of the city.

Castle layout:
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Castle Courtyard:
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Only surviving tower of the original castle:
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Our tour started in the Viking and Medieval Excavation area, the oldest parts of the castle.
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The Chapel. Fun fact, the chapel looks like it is made of stone, but actually it is wood and plaster with a stone facade.
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After the Chapel we moved into the State Apartments.
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George IV Portrait. Apparently, during the unveiling of this portrait, George's friends starting laughing. I guess they figured it didn't accurately depict his "likeness" which did not portray all 440lbs of George and his over 50 inch waistline. Remember the nursery rhyme, "Georgie Porgie," that was for George IV (also previously mentioned in an older post, Grimsthorpe).
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George IV throne
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The Portrait Gallery. Fun fact, serving pineapples was a sign of wealth, according to the tour guide. If you couldn't afford to serve it, some would just buy it and display it, real or fake.
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St. Patrick's Hall. This room is where the Irish President is inaugurated. Our tour guide had mentioned Nancy Pelosi was recently in Dublin a few weeks prior to our trip and she had dinner in the Hall instead of The Portrait Gallery.
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Castle Gardens
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The Chester Beatty Library is located next door to the castle and admission to the library was free. Alfred Chester Beatty, who signed his name A. Chester Beatty, was an American mining magnate, philanthropist and one of the most successful businessmen of his generation. He collected African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern manuscripts, rare printed books, prints and objects d'art. Chester Beatty became a naturalised British citizen in 1933, knighted in 1954, and made an honorary citizen of Ireland in 1957. In 1950, he established the Chester Beatty Library. The Library was amazing and the works were just spectacular. It was quite amazing to the collections. I would most definitely recommend a visit to this library.

After Dublin Castle, we took a stroll over to the University of Dublin where Trinity College is located. We purchased tickets for the student-led tour. The ticket included admission to the Old Library which contains the Book of Kells. Photography was not permitted in the area where the Book was located and the area was extremely crowded.

Trinity College:
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Inside of the Old Library:
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More information on the Book of Kells: https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/

After the Trinity College tour, we decided to walk around the city. We went to BoBo's, a gourmet Irish Burger joint, in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, for dinner.

Onto Day 3...

Posted by LCP 23:29 Archived in Ireland Tagged chester of book dublin castle college george trinity kells dracula iv beatty Comments (1)

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