Monday, September 22, 2008

Bradt Transylvania press release

St Catherine's Gate, Braşov, Romania

Press release from


PR prose by Nick Redmayne
Too fast the year has turned a corner, aquaplaning on puddles of a British summer’s liquid sunshine – Halloween is almost upon us. In Chalfont St Peter the crepuscular rays of dwindling daylight search deep into the Bradt offices. A nearby murder of crows is disturbed, breaking the evening’s tranquillity in raucous flight. In the furthest recesses of a basement storeroom something ancient is awakened - Transylvania lives...

Transylvania has paid an economically expedient homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula for many years. Rocky Horror’s Dr Frank N Furter, the ‘sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania’ added a later twist, though not one known to have had local origins. Tourists by the busload, lured by macabre gothic tales, have fallen on the stories of Vlad III Ţepeş ‘The Impaler,’ ensuring the legend’s immortality. However, Bradt’s Transylvania sheds a withering light on vampiric myth – Vlad’s penchant for puncturing was it seems indulged elsewhere. Much more shockingly, the book discovers a far darker secret – the disturbing phenomena of those twin Transylvanian songstresses, The Cheeky Girls…
The reality of Transylvania is a vast area, almost 58,000 square kilometres, occupying the heart of post Ceauşescu Romania. Here, vast swathes of countryside unafflicted by the brutal homogeneity of agribusiness, where horse-drawn carts are very often the only transport, preserve traditional lifestyles and indigenous wildlife lost to more intensively cultivated regions. As author Lucy Mallows reports, ‘Transylvania is the perfect escape from the hectic, stressed-out Western world. It’s impossible to rush. The region is very affordable and getting easier to navigate. Local cuisine is delicious, hearty peasant fare, fruit and vegetables often organic and locally produced.’ Mallows expands to cover eco-tourism, bear, wolf and lynx tracking together with birdwatching, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Elsewhere, she describes a landscape strewn with medieval cities, hidden Saxon villages, romantic palaces, rocky ruins and imposing fortresses. Transylvania offers a window onto a Europe that’s long been exorcised out of existence further west, and your name doesn’t have to be Professor Van Helsing or Buffy the Vampire Slayer to brave a visit.

Lucy Mallows is an expert on central European culture, architecture, politics and history. Her links with Transylvania date from the late 1980s when she worked as a volunteer with Operation Romanian Villages, a campaign to save settlements from demolition during the Ceauşescu regime. She is also author of Bradt’s Slovakia and Bratislava.

For review copies contact Travel Media – 01830 540 440 or
Title: Transylvania Author: Lucy Mallows
Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides Publication: September 2008
Price: £14.99 ISBN: 978 1 84162 230 9

Bradt Travel Guides
01753 893 444

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Because I wish I were there right now

Mercado dos lavradores, Funchal, Madeira


Oh I love Funchal, and especially its vegetable and fruit market with the Cica Bar out front and the ladies selling flowers.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

By the Danube

The Old Man and the Delta

I was only 24 hours from Tulcea

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Bees - just two today

Nový most (New Bridge) on the sunny side

Bratislava -- Nový most (New Bridge) on the sunny side

Tapis de fleurs et Hotel de Ville, Bruxelles

Bruxelles - Tapis de Fleurs (Flower Carpet) and Hotel de Ville (Town Hall)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Village life in Transylvania

Coming home, Richis, Transilvania


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Monday, March 03, 2008

Belgian coast

©A FourBees digigraffitipic ☂☀☁

The Belgian coastline is -sadly - pretty bland. Especially if you're used to the rugged coastline of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.
Anyway, sometimes in desperation for a spirit-lifting glimpse of the waves, I find myself at the seaside Belge-style.
Knokke-Heist is a bizarre place - a blend of dunes and designer shops.
The dunes are pleasant and the sea air refreshing, however the old trouts botoxed up to the eyeballs with skin the consistency of a leather handbag, schlepping in and out of Louis Vuitton are like something from my worst nightmare.
Two coffees and a tiny piece of apple pie cost 13 euros which really takes the biscuit...or not, probably couldn't afford it.
Knokke-Heist is all about money and nothing about nature.
Nevertheless, there were some brave young lads doing kite-surfing in the freezing March waves....brrrrr!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Banksy in Brussels

©A FourBees digigraffitipic ☂☀☁

I know it's not a real Banksy - what on earth would the legendary graffiti artist be doing in this out of the way part of southeastern Brussels.
Unless he was collecting a parcel....the TaxiPost depot for all Brussels is just around the corner and when those nasty postmen leave a note to say 'you were out when I called to deliver this parcel, now you have to travel half way around the Earth to collect it yourself at a time that is totally inconvenient for anybody with a job or a life', you will find yourself here in Veeweide If you can find the depot, that is.
When I go for my early morning constitutional along the Anderlecht canal-side, people are always coming up to me and wailing pathetically 'Ou est le TaxiPost?'.
I'm lucky, I suppose, I live just around the corner from the beloved TaxiPost, however I only ever went inside once, to collect my STEELY DAN tickets, when the greatest band in the world played at Forest Nationale.
Back to Banksy - it's not a real one, but it's quite a clever stencil, and in an unusual location on a patch of grass by the canal....

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