Would You Like To Sip A Glass Of Red Wine While In The Company Of Count Dracula’s Ghost?

- Advertisement -

TRAVEL: by Eric Mackenzie Lamb

A few years ago, I made a motorcycle trip across Eastern Europe and stopped for a few days in the Romanian province of Transylvania. I ended up staying in an ancient castle which had been converted to an amazing hotel called-would you believe it?-Chateau Dracula.

And that’s when I began to research the region’s fascinating history. As it turned out, the character of Count Dracula was the creation of an Irish author named Bram Stoker, and based upon local superstitions and written  in the 1890’s. It was published in May, 1897, and quickly became a classic for readers addicted to horror stories. (Interestingly, Satan is Dracula in the Romanian language).

The author mimicking Dracula. (Have no fear, those aren’t my real teeth, they’re almonds).

Vampires also had strange traits. They could not stand the smell of garlic. That’s when I noticed that the window of my hotel room had two strands of garlic, one hanging on each side. When I asked the concierge what its purpose was, he explained that some superstitious guests, particularly locals, would refuse to stay in the room if garlic wasn’t part of the furnishings.

And there’s more: vampires hate silver because their reflections in a mirror with a silver frame cannot be seen and is considered unholy. And they are frightened by the presence of a cross, which are also part of the hotel’s furnishings. Vampires, the story goes, also suffer from porphyria, which makes them sensitive to sunlight and causes receding gums which makes their teeth appear larger. (That’s one reason why vampires are only seen at night). And the only way to kill a vampire is to submerge their bodies in running water. Iron nails, according to legend, will also prevent them from escaping from their coffins.

When I finally continued my journey, I had a souvenir of my visit, one which I still have today. Recently, I called the hotel and asked if they could ship a few additional bottles to me. Not possible, they replied, their wines were out of stock due to hundreds of visiting guests who had also purchased them as souvenirs.

I remember a quote from a film I once saw about Count Dracula, starring Christopher Lee.

“I never drink red…wine”.

- Advertisement -