DevaJune 22, 2017 in Romania
Escaping the rate infested hotel the morning after my international train hopping hobo adventure, it was a relief to see that the town was actually not too bad, fairly small, but dominated by a towering mountain topped by some impressive looking fortress that begged to be explored and Corvin's castle, which I had been admiring on the cover of the Romanian Lonely Planet, was a 20 minute bus ride out of town, plenty to keep me occupied for the day and to convince myself that this unexpected detour wasn't going to be a complete bust.
Corvin's Castle is one of Transylvania's more impressive Gothic castles, rivalling even the more famous Bran's Castle further east, and was like something out of a fairytale, but with an added layer of surrealness, due to it's location on the edge of one of Romania's more Communist towns and surrounded by a huge number of decaying soviet steel mills. This actually added to the atmosphere, creating some sort of post apocalyptic vampire vibe, fitting seeing as this is the Castle where, reputedly, Vlad the Impaler was held prisoner for 7 years and was sent over the edge of insanity, before being released back into the world to inflict his reign of terror. Built on a bend in the river, it was originally constructed in the 14th century by Turkish prisoners captured during the Crusades as both a luxurious residence and also a fortress to survive attack. A stone in the castles 25 meter deep well, still bears the inscription 'You have water, but you have no soul', left by the prisoners who spent 10 years digging it.
The fortress above Deva couldn't have been more different. Built on the top of a volcanic hill just outside of town it dominates the sky line and dates back to 1250 and had a reputation as being one of Transylvania's most impregnable fortifications until 1849 when it was accidentally blown up by Austrian soldiers when they accidentally set alight their huge gunpowder supply while under siege by Hungarian revolutionaries during an uprising. Now its a ruined husk, partly restored and connected to the town by a funicular and provides incredible views over the surrounding countryside.
I managed to find a nice little guest house in town when I got back to town, connected to a cool shaded beer garden, where I relaxed and had a great local meal, joined by the guest houses owner who plied me with what he called Romanian 'scotch', but I suspect was not, an incredibly potent spirit. At any other time, this would have been welcomed, but having had no sleep for two nights, all I wanted to do was sleep, but he was having none of it so it wasn't until I literally couldn't converse any further that he let me finally go to bed.Read more