Lost in the shadows... The ultimate journey into the land time forgot

Paruseruru mafubu

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I got an update regarding my itinerary in Oct., a very important trip for me regarding my future.

Upon arrival on the fourth I will be visiting the old princely court in Bucurest called Curtea Vecha, a residence of Vlad Tepes in the 15th century and important place in his campaign in the sourthern front along the Danube against the Muslum Turks.

Most importantly, possible meetings with important scholars Prof. Ispas and Prof. Balaceanu and in the afternoon, visit the ruins of Comana and Targsor which were founded by Vlad.

On the 3rd day I wll depart for Curtea de Arges and the ruins of Vlad's ruined citadel at Poienari (Castle Dracula) and the village of Arefu. Possible return visit to the Royal Church.

On the foruth day departure to Rm. Valcea - Govora
* visit the town, related to Vlad the Monk, half-brother of Vlad Tepes.

Will visit Sibiu on the fifth day and the Castle of Hunyadi.

On the seventh day visit more around Sarmizegetusa, the first capital of Dacia (cca 100 A.D.) - ruins
* continue to Sighisoara, through Alba Iulia
* accommodation in Sighisoara and revisit the place of my investiture into Knighthood last year in Vlad's birthplace.

Will have photos and commentary once I return.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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Just a quick update, the details are now being finalized and I will be departing on October 4th for Romania.

Something interesting I've been told and thought I'd share it with everyone here since Japan is so close to many of our hearts. Apparently Romania and Japan are traditionally enjoying cordial relations.

In 2009 Japan and Romania celebrated the 50 years anniversary of diplomatic relations.

Japanese culture is widely being accepted with much interest in Romania, and thus it is often the case that Japanese cultural events always receive much appreciation and reputation. At Sibiu which was designated as European Cultural Capital 2007, a series of events representing Japanese culture was organized. Japanese language is also getting more and more popular, and currently over 2,000 pupils and students are studying the Japanese language. These two languages are important for me to learn so this may present an oppurtunity for me if I am given the chance to go to Romania as I am working towards doing.

Amazing I think that the two countries other than my own that are so important to me are taking an interest in one another, the oppurtunities in Romania may open the door to other prospects for me not only there but in Japan perhaps as well. Incredible how things are connected.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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I just returned from holiday in Romania and it was one of the most informative outings of my research. It was off the beaten path so to speak, far from the normal tourist trail with visits to some very special important places in the life of Vlad III.

Comana Monastery
According to Romanian custom, the church enshrined the remains of its founder Vlad Ţepeş. Vlad Ţepeş was killed at the end of 1476 by partisan boyars of his rival Basarab III Laiotă cel Bătrân, following a battle he waged against the Turks in the neighborhood, on the road from Giurgiu to București. Vlad Ţepeş – Drăculea, brave champion for the freedom of his country from Ottoman invaders.

Recent research leads us to believe that Vlad Ţepeş must have been buried here at this church he founded, closer to the site of the battle, not at Snagov monastery as long believed.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/FILE0177.jpg

Sir Mathew Burr, Knight of the Transylvanian Order and Romanian TSD member standing before the beautiful Hunyad Castle main entrance on Sunday, October 9, 2011.

The castle is a relic of the Hunyadi dynasty. In 1409, the castle was given to John Hunyadi's (Romanian: Iancu (Ioan) de Hunedoara) father, Voyk, by Sigismund, king of Hungary, as severance. The castle was restored between 1446 and 1453 by his son John Hunyadi.

It was the place where Vlad III of Walachia was held prisoner for many years after he was deposed in 1462.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/PICT0541.jpg

The Evangelical Church of St. Bartholomew (Biserica Sf. Bartolomeu) is the oldest church in the walled Saxon city of Brașov (fourteenth-century). It was burned and looted by Vlad III Ţepeş during his campaign to punish the city's inhabitants.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/FILE0168.jpg

Very early in its history, the Gavora monastery had had a lot of hard times. During the reign of Vlad III Drăculea (1448; 1456-62; 1476), a deceiving boyar, whose name was Albul cel Mare has devastated the monastery. In time, however, it will be revitalized.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/FILE0112.jpg

Other highlights include the old princely court in Bucuresti (Curtea Vecha), a residence of Vlad III, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Alba Iulia where Iancu Hunedoara is buried, Cozia Monastery where Mircea I, grandfather of Vlad III is buried and return visits to Sighisoara where I was knighted and Poienari including the village nearby.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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I have just received my itinerary for 2012 and is extremely unique.

I will be arriving in Budapest, Hungary in June and will arrive at Solomon's Tower at Visegrad where Vlad Dracula was imprisoned by the King of Hungary Matthias Corvinus after he was deposed in 1462 from the Wallachian throne by the Ottoman Empire. This is one of the last places on earth related to Vlad III where I haven't been so I am very excited.

I will be traveling over the mountains of Moldavia to the Putna Monastery where Vlad's cousin St. Stephen the Great (Stefan III cel Mare) of Moldavia is buried, the greatest ruler in the history of his country. From there back to Sighisoara where I was knighted before spending my 28th birthday in the village of Aref where my induction into the TSD took place near the ruins of Vlad's fortress of Poienari.

I will have pics up soon.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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Major News for Summer 2013: Turkey

I have jsut learned I will be able to travel to Turkey in the summer of 2013 to conclude my travels abroad in researching Vlad Tepes.

I will arrive in Istanbul which was once Constantinople, the Christian capital of the Byzantine Empire before Sultan Mehmed II "The Conqueror" destroyed it in 1453. I will make my way to Adrianople, Edime where castle Kilitbahir (Gallipoli Castle) is located. In 1442 Sultan Murad II had the father of Vlad Tepes, Vlad II Dracul arrested, and fearing the Christian princes may take up arms against him forced the father to leave his two young sons as hostages of his loyalties, which brings us to the other destination.

Located in the principality of Karaman in western Anatolia, between Izmir and Brusa, occupying the southeastern slope of Mount Kociadag and surrounded by forests of pine, oak and beech trees are the ruins of Egrigoz Castle which no longer stands. The young Vlad was held here for years, a court of Murad II. Located today in the village of Kutahya, the castle does not have access and cannot be visited but I will get as close as I can.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/EgrigozCastle.png
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/tepesfortress.png

I am very excited about this development, a very rare oppurtunity to see an often unknown chapter of Vlad's life in Turkey as a young boy of about the age of eleven being held hostage in a foreign land before assuming his father's throne at the age of seventeen in 1448 and later in 1456 as a vassal of Hungary, becoming one of the greatest and most notorious ruler in his country's history. I will have more as it develops and will post the pics from this year's upcoming adventure in June.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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I have just received my itinerary for next year's trip which is also likely my last to Turkey in my continued research on the real Dracula.

Obviously my reason for this trip is of course the ruins of Egrigoz Castle where Vlad Tepes was imprisoned as a boy but what they put together for me as a whole is incredible and I thought I'd share it.

Day 01 Istanbul
Pick up from Ataturk Airport and transfer to hotel located in Old City Sultanahmet
Meals:-
Overnight: Blue House Hotel in Istanbul (or similar)

Day 02 Istanbul – Full day walking tour
Program: Meet with your tour guide at hotel lobby for a full day sightseeing tour of Old City.
Visit: Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Blue House Hotel in Istanbul

Day 03 Istanbul – Full day Ottoman Heritage and Bosphorus tour
Program: Meet with your tour guide in the hotel lobby for a full day tour.
Visit: Topkapi Palace with Harem section, Spice Market and a Bosphorus cruise on one of the general public boats.
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Blue House Hotel in Istanbul

Day 04 Istanbul – At Leisure
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Blue House Hotel in Istanbul

Day 05 Istanbul – Canakkale via Gallipoli ( aprox 4.5 hours driving – can be more or less due to road conditions)
Program: Meet with your private tour guide at the hotel lobby and depart for Canakkale.
Visit: Kilitbahir Castle in Gallipoli peninsula, a panoramic city tour and then transfer to your hotel in Canakkale.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Kolin Hotel in Canakkale (or similar)
Note: Castle is not open to visits.

Day 06 Canakkale – Emet ( aprox. 6 hours driving– can be more or less due to road conditions)
Program: Depart from your hotel and transfer to Emet where you will be able to see the Egrigoz Castle.
Visit: Egrigoz Castle
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Emet Termal Spa Hotel in Emet (or similar)
Note: Castle is not open to visits.

Day 07 Emet – Istanbul ( aprox. 6 hours driving – can be more or less due to road conditions)
Program: Depart from your hotel and have some time to visit Egrigoz Castle and town, then transfer to Istanbul.
Visit: Egrigoz Castle and a panoramic tour of the town
Meals:Breakfast
Overnight: Blue House Hotel in Istanbul (or similar)
Note: Castle is not open to visits.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/vlad22.png
In the picture, the young Vlad III is imprisoned in E?rigöz Castle (no longer standing), which was in Anatolia, between Brusa and Izmir. Illustration by Radu Oltean.

Day 08 Istanbul – At Leisure
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Blue House Hotel in Istanbul

Day 09 Istanbul – Transfer to Ataturk Airport
Program: Pick up from your hotel and transfer to Ataturk Airport for your departure flight.
Meals: Breakfast

But that is next year, I leave in a few weeks for Hungary, Moldavia and Romania to finish up in that part of the world, visiting Visegrad and Solomon's Tower near Buda before returning to Dracula's land in Romania.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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I have just returned from a very long and exhausting vacation that began in Visegrád in Pest County, Hungary where Vlad III Dracula is said to have spent many years after he was removed from the Walachian throne in 1462 by Ottoman forces.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/Alsvr-Salamon-toronyVisegrd.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/FILE0003-1.jpg

Traveling throughout Moldavia, I visited important monasteries connected to Stephen the Great and his family including Moldovita, Sucevita and Putna where he is buried.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/FILE0051.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/FILE0052.jpg

Continuing into Transylvania, I was in Cluj before making my way back to Sighisoara where Vlad was born before finally arriving in Aref near Poienari, Vlad's citadel where I celebrated my birthday. Continuing to Targoviste, the capital of Walachia at that time, I finally arrived in Bucharest before making my connection back to Budapest and returning home.

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/PICT0882.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u240/Parukeruru-san/PICT0881.jpg
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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The preperations for Turkey are currently under way, in the meantime here is the complete listing of my albums and photos recording my research as a Romanian TSD member and Order of the Transylvanian Knights over the past few years in Romania, Hungary and Moldavia. I will post again when more information becomes available as we get closer to 2013.

Mysterious Journeys
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.227278017302635.63039.100000613146261&type=1&l=1c475988f0

Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great), cousin of Vlad Dracula.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.436095259754242.100353.100000613146261&type=1&l=e9332b8240

Targoviste, Dracula's 15th century Capital
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.435657216464713.100290.100000613146261&type=1&l=6b8b42873d

Visegrad Castle in Hungary where Dracula spent many years as a political prisoner of the King of Hungary Matthias Corvinus.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.435679413129160.100292.100000613146261&type=1&l=245c3d1c2d
 

sworzeh

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You make me wish that I had money to travel... Though I suppose I would if I didn't spend it all on digimon stuff.

Beautiful pictures though!
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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Thank you. I wish everyone had the oppurtunity to see some of what I have been able to witness at least once in their life, the expereinces and weight of one's travels changes you forever. Thankfully, it hasn't impeded my Digimon collecting, although at this point much of what I collected was new many years back during the height of the franchise's popularity during the Fox Kids days.

If not for the friends and contacts I've made, it would not be possible. The people now in my life, some of which I mentioned and have in my photos have gone above and beyond for me personally, not the same curtosy has been extended for others I've come to understand. Being a Romanian Knight and TSD member is one of the greatest honors I have received and am proud to be apart of a country with such a rich tapestry of history. They have worked with me on pricing and even accepted less much to my disapproval when funds were difficult to acquire for the total itinerary costs. I owe them a debt of gratitude I may never be able to repay, not that they would ever ask.
 

Paruseruru mafubu

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It's been a while but I am proud to announce I am now officially a published author, my first book has just arrived from the publisher Grapetree Books. It turned out great, beautifully illustrated and in full color.

I have been informed that it will be added to the library of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest and has been picked up by a second publisher through a publishing house in Sighisoara (birthplace of Vlad the Impaler) and will be translated in Romanian in the coming year. It chronicles my travels throughout Romania, Moldavia and Hungary, my appointment into the TSD-Romania near Dracula's ruined fortress at Poienari and my investiture into the Order of the Transylvanian Knights in Sighisoara in the house of his alleged birth.

After years of research and much expense, I am excited to present it here as well:

Cover: http://s169.photobucket.com/user/Parukeruru-san/media/BookCover_zps5e8caec6.png.html?o=6

Back: http://s169.photobucket.com/user/Parukeruru-san/media/BookBack_zps1a7705c3.png.html?o=8

Inserts: http://s169.photobucket.com/user/Parukeruru-san/media/BookPages_zpsaf01face.png.html?o=7

The cover features a rare Romanian font, entitled 'In the Footsteps of the Voivode' and the art I did was done painstakingly by hand. If anyone is interested, contact me as it is now available.
 
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