Vampires, Gymnasts and stuffed cabbage leaves

Bran or Dracula Castle in Transylvania, Romania.
The Land of Dracula has brought the world many things – from Bram Stoker’s masterpiece to those delicious cabbage rolls, Sarmale. Take a sneak peak into the inspiration behind these uniquely Romanian concepts, and perhaps prepare your own Romanian culinary delight.

Famous Blood-suckers
The World’s most famous vampire is of course, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Romanian Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes, is noted as the real-life inspiration. In Romania he is viewed notsomuch as a blood-sucking vampire, but as a national hero who defended his empire from the Ottoman Turks. In Romanian folklore, finding a vampire requires a 7 year old boy and a white horse. The boy should wear white and be placed on a horse near a graveyard at midday. When the horse stops at a grave, it is said that the grave is one of a vampire. Villagers would dig up these graves and often find decomposing bodies where natural processes were interpreted as supernatural. For example, a decomposing body bloats which forces blood up into the mouth, making it look like the person has recently sucked blood. Fake news?

Perfect 10
Pint-sized, and five-time Olympic gold medallist, Nadia Camaneci, hails from Onesti, Romania. She was the first person in world-history to be awarded a perfect score of 10 at the Olympics in Montreal in 1976. Funnily enough, the score boards at the time didn’t have the ability to show a perfect 10, only 9.99.

Sarmale
Delicious morsels of ground meat, onions, rice and herbs like thyme and dill, and then wrapped in cabbage leaves. Check here.

Nothing’s far when one wants to get there – Queen Marie of Romania

Carpathian Mountain Forests
This region is one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe with over 400 unique species of mammals including the European brown bear and chamois (or goat-antelope). There are some 1350 floral species in the Carpathian Mountains including the yellow poppy and edelweiss. Wasn’t that a song from the Sound of Music?

Spring celebrations
On March 1, Romanians celebrate the beginning of Spring and men express their gratitude for female family members, friends and colleagues by presenting them with a “Martisor” or small trinket attached to a piece of red or white lace – red for love and white for truth. The tradition is said to have originated in Roman times. Awww.

TripADeal travels to Romania here.

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