Leigh Fermor is entranced by the names of these princes, making him want to explore Romania. We also decided we want to explore Romania, but it wasn’t the mythical sounding prince that did it, it was a chance meeting with a charming young woman with whom we crossed paths in the lovely northern Italian town of Treviso. When she got home she sent us some photos of churches in her region, including frescoes on the outside walls. Meeting her, seeing the frescoes, and now, yes, adding some of these princely names, has all placed Romania firmly on our mental map of countries to visit.
I share the full quotation so you too can roll those names in your mouth and imagination.
‘As I gazed downstream, a determination to explore eastern Romania began to take root. I long to get an idea of the habitat of those mythical-sounding princes – Stephen the Great and Michael the Brave and Mircea the Old; and there was Vlad the Impaler, as we know, and the ancient line of Besarabs; Princess Chiajna, Ear-ring Peter and a score of strangely named rulers: Basil the Wolf, John the Cruel, Alexander the Good, Mihnea the Bad, Radu the Handsome.’
Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water (London: Penguin Books, 1986), p. 226