Last week, I attended the International Conference Beliefs and Behaviors in Education and Culture in where I was a presenter in the workshop titled: Where’s the Place of Dracula: (De)constructing Stereotypes in the Study of the Mythical Space in Literature and the Arts.
The conference was held at the West University of Timișoara, Romania. Everything from the actual conference to the tour of the Romanian countryside was absolutely amazing! And what better place to hold a Dracula conference than in Romania, where Stoker set his famous novel.
However before I went to Romania, I first decided to spend a few days in Munich, Germany, a country I had always wanted to visit. After landing in the city, my first full day was spent exploring downtown. Sights included: Marienplatz, which is a plaza showing several beautiful examples of Gothic architecture. It was referred to by one local I spoke with as the ‘Heart of Prague’ and a glance at the magnificent structure which forms the center of he Plaza, I could easily see why it would be referred to in such a way.
We also went to the Residenz Munchen. composed of a series of elaborate buildings consisting of the households of important figures, elaborate artwork, to an opera house which was by far, my favorite of the buildings I was fortunate enough to view.
And of course, and perhaps most importantly, the Hard Rock Cafe! (I am an avid pin and shot glass collector)
We met my friend, Hans, for lunch. He is photographer, fellow writer and Dracula scholar, author of several Dracula research books including the Dracula Bram Stoker Travel Guide, a project he is working on with fellow author, Dacre Stoker.
We also went to Nymphenburg Palace, which was nothing short of breathtaking from the elaborate rooms (which reminded me a lot of the Strahov Monastery in Prague):
Outside photograph of Nymphenburg Palace
Inside photograph of Nymphenburg Palace
To the garden which featured statues of the Greek Gods. It was a special site for me, as a lover of classical Greek and Roman history and literature.
Altogether, we spent three wonderful days in Munich before heading back to the airport for a thankfully much shorter flight, to Timisoara, Romania. The conference organizers were kind of enough to arrange transportation, so all of the conference attendees had rides awaiting them to their respective hotels, which was very much appreciated.
The conference itself was filled with speakers on various subjects dealing with various issues concerning everything from the education system, to contemporary issues facing Romania and surrounding countries, to what I had been invited to speak on – Dracula. The key note speech on Stoker’s Dracula was given a Prof. of Gothic literature. The speech would begin the discussion for the workshop which took place the following day. The workshop itself was a wonderful gathering of vampire enthusiasts; from professors in the field to graduate students to a few select authors and independent researchers. Topics covered included, but were certainly not limited to: The possible location of Dracula’s Castle the impact of vampire texts upon actual locations; family dynamics in vampire film; to people who self-identify as ‘real’ vampires in one form or another. Each speaker was amazing and had something very unique to offer to the building group discussion and I was honored to be a part of it.
Speakers of the Dracula Workshop – photo credit to: http://benecke.com/
The last day of the conference was a group tour into Transylvania where the highlight of the visit was a castle which serves as a possible contender for a might have inspired Bram Stoker when he sat down to write the story of the now famous Transylvanian count. It was an impression, imagination-inspiring place, to say the least.
I absolutely loved getting to explore Corvin Castle, but to have the opportunity to do so alongside a group of people who love the vampire story as much as I, made it absolute magic!
In front of Corvin’s Castle, Romania
To see more photographs, visit my Facebook page: