62 FOCUS - NOVEMBER 2018 Famous Bran Castle where Bram Stoker’s Dracula was set. Recently I returned from a trip to Eastern Europe, where I visited Roma- nia and spent 2 weeks throughout the Carpathian Mountains in mysterious Transylvania. Romania is celebrating their 100th year of being a country and coincidentally, this was my 100th coun- try, as per the Century Traveller’s Club, which monitors such events. All my trav- els are land-based, as I have never set foot on a cruise ship. Flying to Romania is done in two legs: Toronto to Munich and then to Bu- charest, the capital. All together about 10 hours flying with a layover. I normally take a few days for the stopover, to ad- just to new time zones, etc. I downloaded Bram Stoker’s Dracula onto my IPad and took it with me, as I wanted to make sure I was prepared in the event I was confronted with a vampire. Romania has several regions, Transylvania being one of them, but the country is divided into 41 counties. The Carpathian Mountains are natural borders for Transylvania and are among the most scenic area I have ever seen. There are two main castles in the region. The most picturesque is Peles, which was built in the late 1800s, and was the summer residence for the Royal Family. Touring the inside is a must, as the décor and furnishings will astound you. The other main bastion worth a visit is Bran Castle, which is associated with Dracula. Present day Romania was formed in 1866 when it gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 1881 King Carol established a monarchy, and the Kingdom JONATHAN VAN BILSEN JONATHAN VAN BILSEN A WOODEN STAKE AND SOME GARLIC