The one with the self-mutilating bear, Dracula’s Castle and a very long wait!

🍳 8 am – I slept like a log! I enjoyed breakfast with the gang then met everyone outside to catch the noddy bus to the bear sanctuary. Marius tells us some sad stories about the bears on the route, which include one very depressed bear who committed suicide by self-mutilation. Yep, she ate her paws as she no longer wanted to perform in the circus 🐾

🐻 9.30 am – We arrive at Libearty Bear Sanctuary which is up in the mountains and covers 173 acres of forest with pools for the bears. They only open for 2 hours a day to minimise the bear’s contact with humans. The sanctuary wants the bears to live as naturally as possible and the whole experience pulled on my heartstrings. The land was donated by the local government and the food for the bears comes from local supermarkets. When they are a bit flushed, they treat the bears to bread and honey. Wow! They eat up to 200 kilos of food each day! I’m loving this! I wasn’t expecting to feel emotional but when you see and hear the sad stories then you can’t help but feel drawn to these beautiful animals. It made me appreciate seeing them in the wild yesterday. The bear sanctuary has been the best part of the trip for me.

🐢 The sanctuary has rescued other animals, not just bears. They have a pool of turtles and they rescue birds before letting them go once they are able to fly again. Owls. Seven wolves.

Next stop… Dracula 🧛 Castle!

🏰 11.40 am – castle time! Now it’s time for a snoop around Romania’s most famous attraction. Commonly known as Dracula’s Castle, the 13th-century Bran Castle was the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, Dracula, and is cloaked in myth and legend. It’s very different from the luxurious Peles Castle that we saw yesterday. We creep through eerie rooms and corridors of the castle and admire the vampire-worthy exterior complete with blood-red turrets. I was surprised at how commercial the area was with its endless nick-nack shops and market stalls outside.

🥗 1300hrs Lunch time! We meet up with Marius at a designated lunch spot and enjoy our last Romanian meal. Most of the gang are trying something new. The food on this trip has been outstanding. While we wait for our lunch to arrive, we go around the table and each person tells the group their roses and thorns. A rose is the best thing about the trip, and a thorn is the worst thing about the trip. Little did we know that our worst thorn had not yet happened!

🕺 After lunch, it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful country and we boarded the noddy bus for the very last time. Marius surprised us all by saying “I’ve bought you all desert!”. He then dished out various flavoured tubes of bread. I think they were called Kurtosh (or something like that?). Marius then got us all singing on the bus as he played a Romanian track through the stereo system which was all about Dracula and Transylvania

🎵 The music continued and our Welsh lady, Claire, was grinning when the sounds of Tom Jones’s angelic voice filled the bus.

📸 2.25 pm – Marius stops the bus in a scenic lay-by on the way back to the airport as we haven’t yet had a proper group photo. It was good to stretch my legs and take in the snow-capped mountains one last time. We then spot a shepherd with his herd of sheep and two donkeys!

✈️ 5 pm – We arrive at the airport and say farewell to a few of the gang who are staying an extra few days. We then make our way to the airport. Sitting in the departure lounge we all receive a text from British Airways to say that the flight has been delayed and is now leaving at 11 pm. We are in for a long wait!

🏨 10.30 pm – The app then changed to say our flight was now 1300hrs. Was this tomorrow? Surely not? The board at the airport were still showing 2300hrs so it was a bit confusing. We made our way back to the check-in desk and yes, they confirmed that our flight had been cancelled and was rescheduled for tomorrow at 1 pm. 💩 It took a while to organise, but BA found a four-star hotel for us which was a 10-minute taxi journey. Good job we all packed extra underwear!

🍷 So, as I type, we are all sitting in a bar enjoying a drink, courtesy of British Airways in a very plush hotel. Life’s not too bad!

Let’s pray the flight leaves tomorrow!  Thanks for reading the blog today.

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