We'll walk the rest of the way

As you'll see if your travels take you to Brasov in Romania's Transylvania region, the old city has a lot to sell: the Dracula legend, beautiful scenery, a music festival featuring the world's leading pop stars, and some of Europe's finest examples of baroque, gothic, and renaissance architecture. Oh, and one luxury motorcoach. How's that again? You read that correctly. Brasov, you see, owns a sleek double-decker bus (for which it paid $392,000) to ferry visitors around to stops on tours of Dracula sites, such as Bran Castle, the home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for the famous novel about the vampire. The idea was to attract even more tourists, thus bringing extra revenue into the local economy. What then, the bus wasn't up to the task? Alas, that's not the issue. Like other medieval cities, Brasov was surrounded by massive protective walls with watchtowers and gates guarded by members of its craft guilds. Not much of the walls still stands, but the gates do ... and their openings are the height of a standard basketball rim: 10 feet. Double-deckers – and Brasov's is no exception – typically stand 13 feet to 15 feet high. Ergo, the bus is too tall to enter the historic city center. Said one unhappy elected official: "Unbelievably, no one thought to measure the gates and compare them to the height of the bus. It's a complete waste of money."

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.