Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bran Castle Tour

I love seeing tours of old homes on blogs.  Between Naps on the Porch blog has shared some of my favorite home tours so I thought I'd do my own type of home tour.  Okay, so this home happens to be a castle, but a home none the less.  A former royal residence dating back to the late Medieval period, Bran is a rustic kind of place, what you'd expect of a castle built in that time.  Though it is not as lavishly decked out as its neighboring Peles Castle, Bran castle was a wonderful tour.  I snapped lots of pictures of Bran's furnishings because my Mom wanted details for her paintings so without further ado, 
Let's knock and go on in...
Here, a timeline of Rulers associated with Bran Castle.

I thought it was interesting to note that Vlad (III) Tepes, known as Vlad the Impaler and whom the character Dracula is said to be based upon, had not lived in the castle.  Despite this, the castle is known as Dracula's castle.  At the base of the castle, many vendors are selling souvenirs of Dracula based paraphernalia.
A view from a castle window
 
 
What castle is complete without its own armory?  The torture tools add a homey touch.
This was a relaxed, go as you please, tour and was inexpensive.  The tour cost let you take as many photos, without restrictions, as you wanted which was nice considering we'd been to another castle who made you pay additional if you wanted the liberty to take pictures.
 
I hope you enjoyed this little tour into Romanian culture.  Have a good weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Castles & Carpathian Mountains

The first time I traveled to Romania it was blanketed in snow, not bad for a South Texas girl who rarely sees snow, but it didn't paint a true picture of the lands.  This time around, we traveled during the month of June and the views and roadways were much nicer.

Travel tip** If you haven't heard, Romania's roadways are not well maintained...important to know when factoring travel time to and fro.  What may depict as four hours driving on an internet map might actually take six, etc.  That's a signification consideration if traveling with little ones or on a tight timetable. 

But back to the views.  Because weather permitted, we traveled north thru the Carpathian Mtns., Sinaia and into Brasov.  At each, the views were breathtaking.  We visited the Bran, Peles, and Pelisor castles, traveled the Transfagarasan, and ate some wonderful food.  If pictures speak a thousand words, I'll let them say their piece...

Transfagarasan

 
Upon arriving to town, the Bran Castle emerging over treetops gave a sneak peak of what we were in for,
but first things first
lunch!  A bean soup with smoked pork served in a bread bowl.  Don't let my poor photography detract from the fact that this soup was yummy! 
After we refueled, we headed over to Bran Castle.  The scenery along the cobblestone walk up to the castle was like something out of a movie.
I'll follow up this post with pictures of our tour inside Bran Castle.  There were no restrictions on taking photos inside the castle which was great.  Between touring Bran, Peles, and Pelisor, although Bran is not as elaborate, I much preferred the loose vibe of this tour which was pretty much go at your own pace.  I preferred it out of the three castles.  I'll clarify a bit more in a separate post about Peles Castle.  'Til then, have a wonderful week.
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Vacation

When the last day of school wrapped, my family and I began packing and preparing for our summer vacation.  Literally, we left the next day...wasted no time to let summer vacation begin. 

We visited my husband's parents in Romania, where everything seemed to be vibrant with fruits and flowers.
The last time we visited Romania, during a February, everything was blanketed in snow so it was nice to see everything alive and flourishing.
We traveled north through the Carpathian Mtns., visiting some of the castles in that region.  I'll follow this post with pictures taken during our tours.

 
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Quick Pickled Green Beans

I love pickled veggies.  Green Beans are probably tops on the pickled veggie list.


I found this recipe for quick pickled green beans and I gave it a try.  I'm so glad I did.  Not only was it super simple and quick to put together, the taste was exactly what I was looking for, too...great for snacking on or to serve as a garnish for a Bloody Mary.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pickling spice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

Preparation

  1. Combine dill and green beans in a medium bowl.  (I put the green beans and dill straight into a pickling jar)
  2. Combine vinegar and the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over bean mixture (I poured right over green beans in the jars you see above). Let stand 2 hours. Drain or serve with a slotted spoon.  (After my green beans cooled, I didn't drain, but stored them in the fridge.  The recipe doesn't indicate how long they'll last, so I wouldn't chance more than a week.  Ours are going quickly so will only last three days at most.)
  Recipe courtesy of Ivy Manning,
JUNE 2012 via myrecipes.com

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer is Upon Us

This video captures my feelings as a first year teacher at the start of summer.  Olaf always makes me smile.  How is your summer treating you?

Friday, March 14, 2014

San Antonio Way

We made a day trip to San Antonio the other Saturday and what a perfect day to do so.  We finally had a break between rainy and cold days; the clouds parted and the sun shone, the temperatures stayed cool and it felt like heaven. 

Lucky for us, we're close enough to spend a day in San Antonio and be back home in less than two hours.  We can visit just about anytime we please, but if you're planning to make a stay of it, all the better.  San Antonio is a wonderful city to visit and you'll be glad to have the extra time to really check things out.

For our day trip, I was on a mission to get to the market (a.k.a. El Mercado or Market Square).  The market is downtown and has leveled parking for a fee that makes it very convenient to get to. 

While many people come to visit the famed River Walk, Market Square is where the fun is really at.  The colors, the smells, and music are so festive.  It's hard not to feel happy in a place like this and who doesn't want to feel happy? Here are some pictures of our visit around the market.

Beautiful Yellow Rose metal art inside one of the markets.
Did you know the yellow rose is not the state flower of Texas?  Blue Bonnets are the official state flower, but the yellow rose has gained fame through songs, the original, of course, being, "The Yellow Rose of Texas."  You can read more about that here if you're interested.

One daughter found the shopping quite enjoyable.

One daughter was glued to her phone :)
We watched this lady create these vibrant flowers, securing them to wreaths.

We ate at Mi Tierra, a very touristy spot to dine in the market.  Though it wasn't the best food, the bakery inside was worth checking out and the margaritas & mariachis made up for what the food was lacking.
Inside Mi Tierra
we were wide-eyed and drooling as visions of sweets danced before us.

 Mariachis singing while we ate was great entertainment for our youngest traveler who'd never seen such a thing.

I found music in the street just outside the restaurant.  Blues, a favorite, lead to a little dancing in the street.
And the shopping continued...

 Does the smile tell you she finally settled on a purchase?

  To end our time at the market, we watched some young ladies dance.

We took the girls to the San Antonio Zoo after our time at the market.  It was a great way to spend time outdoors with the family.  If you're considering a family trip or just looking for an easy paced get-away, San Antonio is a great place to consider.  I hope you enjoyed looking at all of the colorful sights.  Thank you for letting me share my wonderful day with you.


 
 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Good Stuff

Eyes closed tight pose

Sweet face pose

Angry face pose

Silly face pose

Sisters sharing the goofiness