North to Tulcea and the Danube Delta

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June 12th 2013
Published: June 15th 2013
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It is farewell to the Black Sea today although at Tulcea we won't be that far away from it.In fact it is farewell to the seaside for some time as our planned journey will now start to take us through countries that only have a coast on their western side if at all and our plans are to stay east at least while we are travelling north.

The plan was to take the E87,the main road north from Mamaia and we figured a couple of hours and we would be in Tulcea.

The fog had basically lifted and as there were people down on the beach we headed down for one last look and some photos and video with people enjoying the sun again.

For reasons known only to Victoria she decided to take us on a secondary road that followed closer to the Black Sea coast than the main road and although the first part going past an oil refinery was a bit bumpy the road became easy to drive and with very little opposing traffic we were able to potter along and enjoy the wheat and sunflower fields and small rural villages we passed through.

We haven't seen many trains in motion on the BBA V2 but there was one heading to the refinery being pulled by an aged looking diesel locomotive.We could see that somewhere ahead the train would have to be on the other side of us to get to the refinery and we didn't want to get held up, so we out ran it which wasn't all that hard and any way the rail line passed underneath a bridge we travelled over.

Harvesters were at work in the wheat fields showing just how quickly the summer season is progressing.The harvested fields added another colour to the scenery of short golden storks left after the harvester had been through with a tinge of green,presumably weeds that had grown in the wheat,adding to the yellow of the wheat and the green of mostly sunflowers.

Then Vicky decided to take us to the main road and in doing so we came across a succession of men, first on bikes and then those that were walking all heading for their homes in a small village.We learnt a little further down the road where they had come from as we passed a rather awful looking abattoir that would never pass health inspection back home.We were now wondering whether we should have been eating the chicken and pork if it was coming from abattoirs that looked like that one.

Out on the main road and with the surface even better than the secondary road we had been on we made very good progress north and were soon in the sleepy town of Babadag,the largest we had passed through since leaving Mamaia.Here we saw a striking contrast in rural life in Romania.On one side of the road was a brand new Holland wheat harvester mechanically working away up and down the field while on the other side of the road an old man in baggy clothes and a soft beret made wide swishing moves with his hand held scythe cutting material for his animal feed and loading it by hand onto his fragile wooden cart with his horse harnessed to it.Such is like in modern day rural Romania.

As we rose over a hill we suddenly saw Tulcea ahead of us laid out on a wide bend of one of the tributaries of the Danube River.For days we have been watching TV reports of flooding on the mighty Danube River and most recently in Budapest.But here in Tulcea the flood hasn't as yet arrived and it is doubtful they will notice much change in the water level once the flood makes its way to the outlet into the Black Sea as the Danube Delta is so vast at over 5000 square kilometres that there are many channels for the water to go into as it starts to spread out inland from Tulcea.

Out hotel is a cute place on a small man made island in a lake that looked like it had been left over when the Danube had changed course some time in the past.The lake has a concrete edge and looks to be used for various water activities by the locals.The hotel is connected by a small bridge and we left Cindy on the other side while we checked in.

With the temperature in the low 30's we headed off to find the tourist office and arrange a trip on the Delta for tomorrow.they weren't much help and simply gave us a brochure with the various operators who took trips and told us to ring whoever we wanted to go with to book.There was no detail of what each operator planned to show their passengers and the prices varied and didn't seem too reliable as they were all over the place.

So we thought the easiest thing to do next was to walk along the wharf area and check out the operators,see what and who we liked the look of and make an arrangement for tomorrow.

To our disappointment there was only one or two operators who had any signs out but eventually we did find a man who said that as long as he had 6 passengers to take he would give us a 6 hour trip with lunch for RON150 or €34 each which was about as much as we wanted to pay.So partly satisfied we headed back to the hotel to think of another way of making contact with some of the operators from the tourist office brochure.We weren't sure how many would understand English if we rang them so we decided to email those who had a contact address and see what response we got.A further frustration was that some of the websites mentioned in the brochure no longer operated or were down.

We had read that it was best to get a group of people together to arrange a trip.While this was OK for those staying in groups or from a large hotel where reception might help out getting a group together.Our reception person had limited English and the hotel didn't have anything on display offering to help out with trips on the Delta.

With that done we headed out to find a supermarket and something to cook for dinner.We saw a sign for Kaufland but it was too far away to walk in the heat so we decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant which looked OK with tables over the water on a pontoon or next to the water under cover.

When we got back from dinner there was an email from one of the firms we had asked for a price from saying that he would be at the hotel at 8.30am in the morning to pick us up.No explanation about where he would take us,a price or the length of the trip.we weren't too sure about this and so emailed him back for the info we needed to make a decision to go with him or the guy we had talked to on the wharf.

We went to bed resolved to be up early in the morning so we could make an informed decision and go with someone we thought would give us value for our buck.


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