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On Dracula’s Footsteps II

The countryside we drove through was less sumptuous. Fields with gentle valleys as far as the eye can see, with few scattered villages and even fewer inhabitants in the opulent landscape. We arrived at Sighisoara, a lovely little 19th century city built around a plateau upon which rises the old city fortress. The Park Royal Hotel was a wonderful surprise. Comfortable, luxurious with great taste, and impeccable service. I would have loved to have taken in all it had to offer, but our cultural duties awaited us. The day was marked by a heavy, suffocating heat, the humidity had us all dripping with sweat.

We launched our assault on the old city. We passed by the Clock Tower. The Church of the Monastery to the right didn’t please me, I found the atmosphere disagreeable. On the other hand, next to it, in bright yellow paint was the house of Dracula, which belonged to his grandfather and was where our hero was born. It caught my attention. We enter the ground floor, which was a souvenir shop. There was no atmosphere, no ghost. The hero wasn’t born here, and he certainly didn’t live here.

We didn’t visit the Jeweler Tower, whose subterranean rooms served as prisons and torture chambers. The young Vlad was familiar with these rooms. He came here often, attracted, even at a young age, to the spectacle of suffering.

We took the covered 16th century staircase, 178 steps that my grandchildren helped me climb, and even more so on our way down. At the top there is a charming park with tall trees and paths, in the centers stand the Church of the Hill. I was enchanted by the simplicity of the interior, both the atmosphere and the beauty. A peace and serenity fell upon the German altarpieces, the gothic vaults, and the romantic Middle Age frescos. The four of us sat down on benches and remained for some time in silence, transported by this beneficial atmosphere.

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Then, I heard:

“I am the one whose name you do not speak. I don’t want it. When it is spoken it is done so pejoratively, done to frighten and terrify the people, I reject this name.

Clearly, I wasn’t born in that yellow house you saw today. I was born on a family property not far from here. I spent a few years of my childhood in that house. I never returned because the town was in foreign territory, enemy territory. It doesn’t interest me. I didn’t leave any memories there.”

 


by  Prince Michael of Greece

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