- Dracula is a fictional character created by an Irish novelist, who based his castle on a Scottish fortress, and never set foot in Romania.
- Vlad the Impaler was a Transylvanian hero-king who defended the country against invading medieval Turks. That he enjoyed spiking his prisoners on a sharpened pole - entering the anus and missing all vital organs causing miserable death over two days - was not an unusual form of punishment at the time.
- Vampires do not exist, although there is a blood disorder that causes a tiny percent of a percent of the population to have receding canines, pale skin, and a thirst for iron, commonly found in blood. Local folklore did once blame the undead for bad weather or unsolved murders, but vampires appear in Hindu and Buddhist culture too. Stoker invented the bits about garlic, mirrors, inviting them into your home, bats, wolves, and two bites on the neck. He did not however invent Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Dracula's Castle is a tourist attraction designed to separate people in tourists from buses and dollars from wallets. Dracula never lived here, because Dracula never existed. Vlad the Impaler did stay here once, but he stayed in many places, wherever the view of Turks writhing in agony was exceptional.
- There are no sweet transvestites, from Transsexual, Transyl-vani-ya...a-ya.
At sunset, the village band and dancers gather inside the village hall, bringing a large crate of beer. Local musicians live and breathe their music, performing for days on end at celebrations and festivals, and always at the beck and call of the villagers. They strike up a folk song, the accordion bouncing a rhythm off the violins, a tall double bass building a deep foundation. My pal form the hay buggy is here with an enamel sparkle in his eye, dancing, slapping his boots, shaking his hips, and gyrating with an energy that belies his age. The ladies applaud with approval. This old dog is teaching me new tricks.
Astute readers will recognize that as a Hungarian toast. The villagers of Ture are ethnic Hungarians, the largest minority in Romania, most of who live in Transylvania. Fertile with forests, farmland and mountains, Transylvania has been used as a pawn on a geo-political chessboard for millennia, being annexed here, gaining independence there, attacked and conquered everywhere. Today it is part of Romania, although relations between Romanians and Hungarians can be a little turbulent. Transylvania nowadays is full of small villages that continue to exist as they have for centuries, but thousands of students descend on Cluj Napoca, the third largest city in the country, for its academic and nightlife offerings.
Back in Cluj, I accost some girls on the street that lead me a reggae bar, the walls lacquered with old newspaper clippings, the bass heavy, and the beer cheap. Everyone speaks good English, and you can get papercuts running fingers along those Transylvanian cheekbones. “You know, the world thinks Transylvania is home to vampires and werewolves and not much else,” I tell a group of new friends, their hair styled like Brooklyn hipsters. After a good laugh, they imagine the world to be as old fashioned as the farmers I met in Ture. In modern Transylvania, both farmers and city folk reckon its time someone drove a stake through the heart of Bram Stoker.