This was going to be the stuff of real adventures. Dark, impenetrable pine forests...mountains shrouded in mist...medieval villages suspiciously devoid of people...murderous looking men and their murderous looking dogs...
I'd grown up with images of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing grappling with wooden stakes, garlic and each other in the Hammer film of 1958, 'Dracula' and I was now crossing into the film set. I pulled up my collar and eased the bike into first gear...
Yes. It was all here - together with communist architecture and pollution. Over the next few days, I steered my way around horses and carts, wild dogs, pot holed roads, ancient cars and trucks belching out diesel fumes - enough to drive a man to drink. It did.
I crossed the Fagaras mountains in thick fog and after a long forested descent I rode into sight of Dracula's castle......
click here to see the full story
Dracula. Gypsy folklore or fact? Click on MORE below to to read some chilling tales.....stories that will make the blood drain from your neck - and other parts.
So, who was Dracula? Fact or Fiction? Had he existed or was he merely a figment of Bram Stoker's vivid imagination? Thumbing through my 'Rough Guide' (Highly Recommended) one dark and stormy night my attention was drawn to the section entitled ' Dracula and Vampires'. I read on...
The early 1800s. Now that was when REAL travelers were journeying to the darkest corners of Europe. Incidents of Vampirism were rife at that time and lurid accounts abounded. Apparently, the first 'respectable' piece on the theme was Goethe's 'The Bride of Corinth' (1797). Polidori wrote 'The Vampyre' while holidaying at Lake Geneva, Switzerland and on the same trip, Mary Shelley had penned 'Frankenstein'. Obviously something in the water....
Later that century, Bram Stoker, an Anglo-Irish civil servant(!), was inspired to write his classic novel 'Count Dracula'.
Perhaps influenced by stories of Vlad the Impaler (1431-76) a successful but cruel ruler who's victims once bound spreadeagled had a wooden stake hammered into their rectum before being hoisted aloft to die painfully. Brought tears to their eyes - it did mine.
The most horrific tale was in 1462 when Vlad's armies defeated a Turkish army and had over 20,000 Turkish and Bulgarian captives impaled. I suspect Tourism was down in 1463.
In 2005, I saw no examples of impaling on my travels and the people I met were genuinely friendly and helpful. Admittedly I didn't meet many as I was still on 'Stop? No, ride on' frame of mind. I will come back to this fascinating country again and explore it more slowly. Meanwhile 'on' ...to Bulgaria.
'Hey, Si. What about the last frame of the comic strip?!'
All will be revealed in the next exciting episode!
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- UK Haggs Bank: Sep 19-21
- USA California: Sep 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!