Growing up in the land of Dracula

17 Oct

As my biography states I was born and raised in Romania, or Dracula’s birthplace. Since many of you love vampires I thought my blog should be about vampires and how I grew up with them. Literally.

I’m not going to tell you the story how I found out from my cousin what vampires are (“They come at night and suck your blood,” he’d say), where they live (“I see them all the time. Didn’t you see them near grandpa’s house, in the cemetery?” he’d add), or how can you fight them (“Just carry this garlic clove in your pocket, and this stick—you should be fine. If you see a vampire, try to aim at his head with the clove and if that doesn’t work make a cross on the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue and duel him with this stick. Now, you’re ready to go to the outhouse.”). Oh, wait… I said I’m not going to tell you the story.

Needless to say every summer since (I was probably about 6years old) I dreaded, I hated visiting my grandpa, afraid at any time one of the vampires living in the cemetery will know (among their superpowers they can read minds, in case you wondered) I’m there and come to suck my blood. As soon as the night descended on the lone village I’d run inside the house, refusing to go potty since the outhouse was quite a distance away from the house. Can’t tell you how many nights I spent under the covers, holding my breath at every sound—a tree limb hitting the window, a cat scratching the door—making the cross on the roof of my mouth until my tongue hurt. Leaving grandpa’s house and the vampires was the highlight of my summer vacations.

Eventually my grandpa died, the house was sold and I never went to that village ever again. And eventually I grew up and realized my cousin was one mean lair I had the pleasure to hurt one day, kicking his shin for all the mental abuse he had caused me. And his afterward limping?—oh, so worth it!

Going back to Dracula. Never knew what prompted Bram Stoker to chose Transylvania as home for Count Dracula. But he sure directed a lot of attention toward Romania, which among other things is known for Nadia Comaneci (the first gymnast to ever receive a 10 at Olympics), Nicolae Ceausescu (the tyrant president killed during the 1989 Revolution) or its happy cemeteries. Trust me, we do have happy cemeteries.

Naturally, tourists from all over the world visit yearlong Dracula’s Castles (Poenari Castle and Bran Castle).

Poenari Castle

                                                                                                 Bran Castle

I took the liberty to add here a few photos, hope you enjoy them. But I also need to make a clarification. Dracula—our Dracula that lived for real in both castles and Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula don’t have much in common, in fact they are two distinctive creatures—one human, the other pure fiction.

I’m not going to bore you with Count Dracula’s story—we all know it from novels to movies, to historic accounts, etc. But I bet not many of you know the real Dracula.

We (Romanians) refer to Dracula as Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, Romanian Prince of Wallachia who lived around 1450s. As monarch Vlad had cleaned the country of all criminals—from simple liars to killers, even some political enemies by impaling them (ouch, it hurts only thinking of such a horrific way to die). Because of this “special treatment” Vlad was often associated with the Devil, which in Romanian is translated Dracul. He was feared not only by his own people, but by all countries around us, especially by Turks with which he had numerous clashes, trying to keep them on the other side of the Danube and so to protect our land. Eventually he was betrayed by his own allies and decapitated by Turks.

I wish I could tell you I’ve seen a vampire. Maybe if once, only once I would peak above the covers while in grandpa’s house I would’ve seen the vampires my stupid cousin had the “privilege” to see. Maybe if I’d stop crossing the roof of my mouth or not carrying the garlic clove in my pocket I would’ve seen them then. I’ll never know, but I bet the closest I’ll ever be to one—Twilight movie.

One Response to “Growing up in the land of Dracula”

  1. bloodywhitby October 19, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    Hi Camelia,

    My blog is a story which tries to tie the original Bram Stoker novel to the modern day, Americanised version of vampires by taking the genre back to Whitby, the port town where the Demeter was shipwrecked on its journey from Romania.

    It is generally accepted that Vlad the Impaler was Stokers inspiration for his character Count Dracula, which is why people associate Tepes with the story. Before Bram Stoker, Romanian folklore was full of stories of cruel aristocratic types and creatures of the night, which evolved into modern day vampires.

    However, the crux of my story relies on the reader to suspend their belief of this, and that Stoker fell into the service of the runaway Count and actually wrote two books – the commercially viable novel and a text called the ‘The Mastery of the Dark’, a guide to the training of vampires in the Dark Arts, which led to the creation of The Scholomance in Whitby, a covert school for vampires.

    I hope you get chance to drop by and take in dome of my story.

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