Halloween Destinations: Searching For Vampires
Sighişoara is a city and municipality located in the historic region Transylvania, on the Târnava Mare River in Mureş County, Romania; Sighişoara is a popular tourist destination not only due to its well-preserved walled old town but also because it is considered the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, a harsh leader who ruled Wallachia from 1456 to 1462 and who inspired the creation of the fictional Dracula.
Follow the trail of Count Dracula through Transylvania’s dense forests and winding mountain drives, to the decrepit Poenari Fortress, overlooking the Arges River at the bottom of the Carpathian Mountains, which is considered the true Dracula’s castle.
Bram Stoker appealed to the local’s dark folklore when he created the infamous vampire in 1897 and while most curious Dracula-seekers go to Brasov for some Dracula tours of Transylvania around Bran Castle, the Peonari Castle, standing now in ruins and accessible by following a path with nearly 1,500 steps that lead to the top, is the real home of the real Vlad Tepes.
To best experience the wild countryside, rent a car so you can easily access the small towns or join a Dracula-themed tour with the Romanian Tourism office. There are also plenty to see in the town of Sighisoara, like the Clock Tower, a 64m high tower built in the 13th century; the Sighişoara Citadel, a 12th Century Saxon edifice, is the historic center of the city; the Church on the Hill, located on the side of the hill next to it is one of the Lutheran cemeteries in the city and built on the location of a Roman fort, containing many frescoes and a crypt; the Covered Staircase which is a very old stone staircase with a wooden roof along the whole span that leads up to the Church on the Hill and the cemetery; and the popular Vlad Dracul House in Sighisoara’s Citadel Square where Vlad the Impaler lived from 1431, when he was born, to 1435, now its first floor turned into a restaurant.
Enjoy the classic Transylvanian style and service in any of the 7 rooms at the Fronious in Sighisoara and have a traditional meal at the restaurant of Vlad Dracul House.
Sighişoara is considered to be the most beautiful and well preserved inhabited citadel in Europe and one of the few fortified towns which are still inhabited, being listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and hosting every year a Medieval Festival that takes place in the old citadel in July.
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana, being located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi River, and bounded by the parishes of St. Tammany to the north, St. Bernard to the east, Plaquemines to the south and Jefferson to the south and west. Lake Pontchartrain, part of which is included in the city limits, lies to the north and Lake Borgne lies to the east. New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, music and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras, but also for its distinct French Creole architecture, as well as its cross cultural and multilingual heritage.
New Orleans was named after Philippe d’ Orléans, Duke of Orléans, regent of France and was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land inhabited by the Chitimacha. The whispers of vampires living in New Orleans date back to the 1880s, long before author Anne Rice put this city on the map with her collection of vampire chronicles; during the early 20th century, legends about Jacques Saint Germaine, a wealthy and mysterious man who mingled with high society and hosted dinner parties where he never ate but drank wine, started to spread rapidly.
A local tale also says that he was later found to be laced with human blood, but the truth about this person remains in the shadow. The Count of St. Germain has been variously described as a courtier, adventurer, charlatan, inventor, alchemist, pianist, violinist and amateur composer, but is best known as a recurring figure in the stories of several strands of occultism – particularly those connected to Theosophy and the White Eagle Lodge, where he is also referred to as the Master Rakoczi or the Master R and as one of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, is credited with near god-like powers and longevity.
In fact, according to some local sources of information, in Louisiana, many families still practice a custom called “sitting up with the dead”, meaning that when a family member died, a relative or close family friend would stay with the body until it is placed into one of our above ground tombs or is buried.
We may never find out whether vampires exist or not, but for an experience similar to what we often see in movies, go to the Original Dungeon, a supposedly haunted club complete with a coffin and signature cocktails, tucked away in a French Quarter alley.
Forks is a city in Clallam County, Washington, United States, named after the forks in the nearby Quillayute, Bogachiel, Calawah, and Sol Duc rivers. Forks is a popular destination for sport fishers who fish for salmon and rainbow trout in nearby rivers, but also for the nearby Olympic National Park, the city’s economy being originally fueled by the local timber industry but once it declined, Forks has had to rely on the nearby Clallam Bay Correctional Center and Olympic Corrections Center as a source of jobs.
The city has gained notability for being a key setting in Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight series, Forks seeing a 600% increase in tourism since the books’ publication. A large percentage of Forks visitors are fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, which is set in the town and as a result, tours are available of locations that resemble the places described in Meyer’s books, although the movies were not actually filmed in Forks, including the Cullen house (Miller Tree Inn), the house where Bella moves in, and the hospital where Dr. Cullen is supposed to work.
Visit the Forks Tourism Office for details on iconic “Twilight” spots around town and then check out to the Forks Community hospital at 530 Bogachiel Way and First Beach in La Push, home of the Quileute Nation and the “Twilight” werewolf community; later on have a meal at the Cullen House, formerly known as the Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast but renamed by the Tourism Board.
There are a number of guided tours, but you can save some money and travel at your own pace on a self-guided tour; just ask for directions.
Also, September 13 is a day that celebrates the new attraction towards the small town, being dubbed “Twilight Day” in Forks since it is also the birthday of Bella.11