January 14, 2018

Bran Castle LEGO

I'll admit I love all things Lego.

Though for the longest time I was rather stumped as to how I could mix my love for Lego with my love for Transylvania and add it to this blog.  It's a big of a challenge, but I finally found some really great ideas.  One of them was a build by a Lego lover who would create Bran Castle out of Lego.

Not Dracula's castle, mind you, but the real thing, the one which I can go and visit in Transylvania (for a fee) and take pictures of and just imagine the people and lives lived around there.  I wanted something that would be amazing, and different at the same time....

However, before I found what I was looking for, I did enjoy finding, and it all started with monsters.

I was a bit wary of looking at this, after all, I've seen the official lego version of the Vampyre Castle on Amazon, and I'm a fan of it, for different reasons than my newest love of lego and details.  Maybe because it's the focus on Dracula, even with the Vampyre hearse, so it's a bit of a nod to Bram Stocker's Dracula, and it's cute and has enough pieces to enjoy it, and it's part of a series.

Monster Fighters, as the series is known as gives Dracula his due- in Lego, and combined at around 1,200 pieces I enjoyed the process of making Dracula, and the fighters, and the castle come to life.  I enjoyed the challenge and the time it took to make both.

I do recommend both sets, but at least the hearse is a fast one to build and really one that sort of puts two undead monsters together (Zombie and Dracula.)  I was a bit disappointed that it was Rodney Rathborne, and not some play on Abraham Van Helsing.  However, as much as this was fun to build, it wasn't quite what I had in mind.

I enjoyed the mythos they have created, but I wanted something closer to Bran Castle.  Closest thing I found often times was the 3D puzzle, and while it was fun to create a model in 3D it wasn't.... Lego.

I was able to find that someone had built Bran Castle, along with many photos, and this was amazing to me.  You can find the website here, and he has built many other lego castles in great detail as well. The thing I liked about it was that it combined both the history and the story of Bran Castle.

It gave a very good idea about Transylvania, as it showed the hills around the castle, and had parts of the inside of it done in Lego.  This was nearly 1,400 pieces and it is quite impressive.  It made my lego lover heart feel good, and it almost makes me want to do my own in greater detail.  The bonus?  On the website he does offer floor plans, so it allows one to let their imagination soar.

Ahh, yes Lego and Bran Castle, who could ask for more... except maybe, more details- the villages, and the trees and a few knights.

January 6, 2018

YouTube, Transylvania and Branching Out

Somethings never change and somethings do. A while back I began a YouTube channel and I will be adding a lot of content, I'd love for my fellow Things about Transylvania, Romania readers to get a chance to view stuff like this on YouTube. I'm excited as well about branching out to adding more YouTube videos about Romania and in particular: Transylvania.

Part of the joys of writing on a blog is being able to branch out and it's a lot more fun when people come and enjoy and subscribe to see where this will grow. It's amazing what readers can do, and it is thanks to your kind suggestions I branched out in the first place. YouTube and all its challenges are something that I can learn and grow from.

Above is a frist video, and I hope you'll enjoy watching it. It's about my first blog, Living a Life of Writing, but no fears I will be vlogging about Transylvania and how this blog came to be. I've said it before that there is a wonderful joy in learning and pushing your boundaries and making mistakes.

That's the great thing about branching out, you get make mistakes and learn and become a bit better. Transylvania and this blog need to branch out, not only on topic but also with what we can share as writers of a very impressive place.

It's a land where the life is full of history and people and of places and wars.  It has castles, and influence on many countries: Italy, Hungary, Romania, Austria are a few where the lives of people came together and would effect how people viewed the world.

It was a gateways to the heart of Eastern Europe and in time was nearly forgotten as it is a part of Romania.  It has played host to countless legends and people.  It is where the story, for me, really begins.

Enjoy and subscribe.

December 29, 2017

Transylvania and Quotes about It

What does Transylvania mean to Romania?

“We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Nay, from what you have told me of your experiences already, you know something of what strange things there may be.” Bram Stoker. (Dracula)

There is a lot in these three sentences.  That quote speaks volumes about how people viewed, and possibly still view Transylvania.  It's different from Western Europe, and in this regard, Transylvania and Romania feel different to people who have never been there.  Transylvania means a lot to Romania because of the culture, and the traditions and for may people the religion.  People love the land they live in.

Strange isn't a thing in Transylvania, it is both contemporary and yet, it keeps its Middle Ages charm.  Some of the major cities in Transylvania are equally as ancient as some Western European 

Even some members of the Romanian Royal Family would comment how much they loved their country.  Romania to them was not just a small country it was going to be a Greater Romania, with portions of lands they coveted from other countries.

My love for my country is my religion. Marie of Romania

Marie of Romania seems to be the go to person for many quotes, as she was a person who spoke her mind.  At seventeen she married, and became Crown Princess of Romania, and would go on to be one of the more famous Queens of her era. (Her first cousins, paternally, who would marry and reign as Queen Consorts were: Queen Maud of Norway, Queen Sofia of the Hellenes (Greece), Queen Victoria Eugene of Spain and Empress Alexandra of Russia)  She became a well known writer, and used her influence as a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England to help gain territory for Romania at the end of the Great War.

She was beloved by the Romanian population because she viewed Romania so highly.  As the quote goes she loved her country a lot.  As for religion it was no doubt that she cared for it, but she was born an Anglican, with a Russian Orthodox mother, and married a Catholic, and would rule a country who was predominately Romanian Orthodox. Therefore, it's not a surprise that her adopted country, Romania, would be viewed with more reverence than her religion, which is possibly an idea that most in her time wouldn't want to think of.

"What comes to your mind when you think of the word Transylvania, if you ponder it at all? What comes to my mind are mountains of savage beauty, ancient castles, werewolves, and witches - a land of magical obscurity. How, in short, am I to believe I will still be in Europe, on entering such a realm? I shall let you know if it's Europe or fairyland, when I get there. First, Snagov - I set out tomorrow.” Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian)

An excellent quote about both Transylvania and Dracula, and part of it is from the novel the historian which gives this commentary from Dracula's point of view.  It's amazing to see mentions of ancient castles and of werewolves, which many people who lived in Transylvania believed in, or knew of the myths of the werewolves.  The fact that mentions were made of it being obscure is also telling.  It's a land where either people know of it, or they don't.

The best bit to this is the Europe or fairyland, and it leaves it to the readers to choose.