I have a confession to make. I have a full blown cat addiction, and, I’m not even sorry. Those soft little ears, twitching tails and indifferent faces cast a spell that have us dashing around the globe and visiting enough cat cafes to have a shortlist of 10 of the best cat cafes in the world. All the while a sleepy little tabby cat snoozes at home in London…
Once we’ve booked flights and perused hotels, Google searching for a cat cafe is one of the first things I do – and I’ve been accused of carrying out those 3 tasks in a slightly different order. It’s something I can neither confirm nor deny, but we do have a rather high hit rate of booking accommodation close to cat cafes. I’ll just leave that there, shall I?
Bran Castle. AKA the home of Dracula (or is it?), the origin of every Vampire movie, novel, book and a national monument and landmark in Romania. When Mr Kiwi and I were scouring the internet for unique holiday destinations, we jokingly mentioned going to Romania to visit Dracula’s Castle – but it turns out that both of us were quite interested, and within an evening we had shaped a holiday around it.
We spent the first couple of days based in Bucharest – we stayed in the lovely and very central Bucharest Grand Hotel, we explored the city centre of the Romanian capital and on the way north to stay for 48 hours in Brasov, we stopped in the beautiful Peles Castle before we reached our intended destination – the home of Dracula.
Our first hotel in Bucharest kind of reminded me of a (metaphorical) Mills & Boon romance novel. The luxurious 5-star Bucharest Grand Continental Hotel was all sweet curlicues, wistful drapery, very French inspired faded chic and just the right level of old-fashioned grandeur.
Located just a 5-minute walk from the Old Town, our 5-star corner of the city was a perfect place to relax between exploriing wanders.
The Transylvanian city of Brasov is usually just a day trip from Bucharest. People spend maybe an hour or so to wandering around the town square, and buy a drink before hopping back on their transport back to the capital city of Romania.
But, thanks to an epic tip-off from the travel ninja Shikha at Why Waste Annual Leave and a few other Brasov devotees, instead of following the crowds, we booked a couple of leisurely nights there. At the end of our day trip, instead of returning to Bucharest and getting stuck in the Sunday evening traffic, we checked into our hotel and waved our guide off.
Unsurprising confession time: I’m slightly obsessed with castles. Peleș Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914.
I blame Hollywood, Walt Disney and a raging childhood addiction to turning pages that transported a young Kiwi girl from a humble New Zealand backyard to galloping around the world astride a noble steed, tresses streaming in the air.