"The abbey is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits; there is a legend that a white lady is seen in one of the windows." (Stoker 1890)
|The steps to the abbey ruins|
It's a gruelling but spectacular climb up the 199 steps up towards the abbey. At the top, guides in monk's costumes invited me to walk the circular labyrinth and ponder on the mysticism of the place. Not surprisingly the abbey attracts some strange enthusiasts and I encountered a dabbler in New Age magic who was looking for "ley lines", mystical alignments of ancient monuments existing in the UK and a tall bald-headed Goth wearing a floor length leather coat and multiple tattoos.
|The creepy graveyard|
|Inside the ruins|
I discovered that though Dracula is a work of fiction, tourists still ask where The Count's grave is located and the graveyard in front of the abbey and the nearby St Mary's church is filled with enough Gothic style headstones, suitably gnarled, decaying and eaten away by the damp salt air to satisfy any horror enthusiast.
|Victorian jet mourning brooches|
|The great Bela Lugosi as Dracula|