We were very excited about this part our Romanian adventure: visiting the Danube Delta. The delta is the place where the Danube river meets the sea and we'd read that in June, when we would be visiting, it is teeming with life. That being said, we did find that our tour of the delta turned out to be more like Disneyland than we expected, meaning the build-up and excitement was better than the actual event.
We had pre-arranged a boat tour from a town called Tulcea, with Safce Delta Tours who were very nice and the ride was safe and enjoyable. They were very accommodating and we would thoroughly recommend using them!
The highlight of the day was getting up close and personal with thousands of pelicans and watching them awkwardly fly away. This was a remarkable moment and made the trip a worthwhile experience.
There was something missing though, and I think it was our enthusiasm. We have probably been spoiled in our lives, having done boat tours in the Amazon, on Borneo, and in the Philippines, to name a few. Maybe it shows the difference between wildlife concentration in this part of Europe compared to rain forests, because we felt somewhat underwhelmed by the number and variety of birds we saw. Or perhaps it was just one of those days where our moods were slightly off for one reason or another and we simply judged the experience too harshly.
Anyway let's not focus on the negative, it was very much a great experience and I especially enjoyed spending a day where I wasn’t responsible for the transportation. Sitting on the boat was very relaxing and we both enjoyed a chilled day of egrets, herons, cormorants, and so many more we couldn’t identify. I even had the pleasure of sitting on the front of the boat with the wind rushing through my hair and the world at my feet!
The boat had an extremely useful laminated folder of birds from the area, so we had a go at identifying what we saw and came up with this list:
Great white pelican
Red necked grebe
As well as the boat ride, the day involved a jeep ride on an island, to Letea forest and some sand dunes. The forest was teeming with mosquitoes and millions of the little bastards swarmed us as soon as we set foot in the forest, feasting upon us with glee! The forest is the most northern subtropical forest in the world, and there is a legend that says the sand dunes were once at the bottom of the sea and rose to the surface. The tour guide didn't tell us, but I have read that a washed up ship was once found under the dunes…but I'm not sure how true that story is…
What is true is that there are loads of wild horses everywhere. I wanted to try and tame one but we didn't have time.
The most interesting part of this visit to the island was the variety. It was an odd contrast, seeing a swampy forest with vines and old oak trees right next to huge sand dunes. We also saw lakes with water lilies and lots of meadows. The rural village had a church tower and it was interesting to see how these fisherpeople lived.
We have one last post about Romania, which includes old friends, new friends, a trip to the beach and our final night in Bucharest. See you soon!
|The scenery was beautiful, varied and peaceful
|Katie's birthday binoculars got a great first trip out!
|Red necked grebe
|We couldn't get enough of these great white pelicans, as you can tell by how many photos we took!
|Apparently there are 20,000 in Romania, almost all of which are in the Danube Delta, making it the biggest colony in Europe
|There may also have been some dalmation pelicans in amongst the others, but it was impossible to get a photo as they were so far away
|We stopped here for lunch during the tour. The food will be discussed in a later post but the house itself had some unusual features...
|...including this swallow's nest, complete with actual swallow!
|It's a bit hard to see but the guy on the left is holding a huge catfish that he just caught!
|The mozzy-infested swamp forest
|Katie practically ran across these planks while trying to coat herself in bug repellent.