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Uncategorized

Why Visit Danube Delta?

The Best Preserved Natural Reserve in Europe?

[adsense]This whole site was built as an attempt to answer to this ample question, but I’ll try to do a summary on this page, leaving you to discover the rest.

Let’s start with what Danube Delta is not and does not have:

    1. Overcrowded – You’re in the middle of the nature. The permanent population is not very numerous and tourism, although is starting to become more and more important, is still not that widespread to disturb your peaceful holiday.
    2. Crime – Wherever you are in the Danube Delta, you’re safe. People here are hardworking and mind their own business.

That doesn’t mean you should push it. You’re just as safe here as anywhere else in Europe.

It’s funny, there is a well documented case here about an entire ship mysteriously vanishing one night about 15 years ago from the Sulina harbor, and eventually entering the local tradition as the “Ghost Ship”. But, unless you planning to visit the Delta with a personal cargo ship, there’s no need to worry.

    1. McDonald’s and other food chains – Nope, nothing even close to that. You’ll be serving only local traditional dish here. This place has its genuine cooking customs that you won’t find anywhere else.
Traditional Fish Soup (Bors de peste)
Traditional Fish Soup (Bors de peste)

Oh, did I mention that the food is delicious? It really is!

    1. Shopping – Well, maybe the only drawback is that in the vast spread of swamps, lakes and canals you won’t find many really nice shops.

You will find a few boutiques though where you can purchase various artisan items in Tulcea, Sulina and other small villages.

    1. Car Traffic – Besides the local customs Jeeps, there are very little chances you’ll see any automobile for days. In Sulina, the second biggest town in the Danube Delta, with a population of 5000, there are only about 10 cars.

That’s because people here use boats as the main means of transport.

Categories
Bird Watching

Beautiful Shots of Pelicans in Danube Delta and Greece

Earlier today I rand into a couple of beautiful photos by Hungarian photographer  Bence Mate, a couple of which were taken in the Danube Delta.  They depict several rare scenes that you don’t get the chance to see every day, so I had to share them with you. They will definitely bright up your day.

[adsense]All of these photos were taken across Europe in a water rich environments.

The first photograph that captured my attention was that of a pack of Dalmatian pelicans being mobbed by a flock of gulls. You wouldn’t expect  a couple of tinny little birds like that to go head-on against the giant pelicans, but obviously somebody’s overstepped his territory and now has to pay!  Who’s the though guy now?

Dalmatian Pelicans Mobbed by Gulls

Another interesting picture is the one taken with two pelicans, were the younger one begs for some food from his parents. That’s so touching.

Pelican Chick Begging For Food

There are a number of shots taken elsewhere. Take a look at these five pelicans yawning at Lake Kerkini in Greece. Looks like somebody’s full and ready for a good afternoon nap:)

Pelicans Yawning

To see the rest of the pictures, go take a look at the Daily Mail article. You’ll love the scenes depicted there.

You can also read this article in Romanian: Poze Rare cu Pelicani în Delta Dunării și Grecia

Categories
Useful

Danube Delta Cruises

Sure, planning your vacation to the last detail is something that you might like very much. It’s great to know that whatever it is, you have it covered.

[adsense]But sometimes, you simply want to relax and enjoy your time. You get a few days free from work or school and all you want is to sit back and relish in the beautiful scenery that parades in front of you.

If your idea of a relaxing holiday involves a quiet adventure through Europe’s largest wetlands, then booking a Danube Delta cruise might be your best choice. The many tour operators here offer complete services, leaving you free to completely immerse yourself in this fabulous ambiance.

Danube Delta Cruise

What about kids?

Booking a cruise for your family, you’ll probably need to forget all about that ‘quiet’ and ‘peaceful’ stuff I was talking about above. Having your kids running around, while you’re catching fish or bird watching is definitely not going to be a low-pitched experience 🙂

It will be unforgettable on the other hand. Your kids don’t get to play in a place like this every day.

So, where can you sign up for a Danube Delta cruise?

There are quite a few operators who would be happy to take you and your friends or family for a  ride. Below you’ll find some of them, in no particular order. Note that I’m not affiliated with them in any way and  the content of their websites is their responsibility.

Here they are:

Isrom Delta

Phone: +40  723 194264
Mobile Phone: +40 720 047337
Website: www.isromdelta.ro
Email: [email protected]

Sincron SRL Tulcea
Phone: +40 722 281125, Phone/Fax: +40 240 517173
Website: www.sincrondelta.ro
Email: [email protected]

Absolute Carpathian Brasov
Website: www.absolute-nature.ro
Phone: +40 368 413524; mobile: +40 788 578796; Fax: +40 368 413524
Email: [email protected]
Contact person: Simona Munteanu

Calypso SRL
Mobile: +40 (0)374 003.520
Phone: +40 (0)240 506.180
Phone: +40 (0)240 506.181
Phone: +40 (0)240 506.182
Fax: +40 (0)240 506.183
Website: www.calypsosrl.ro
Email: [email protected]

Dasler SRL
Phone: +40 745 776776
Website: www.daslerdanubedelta.ro
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

Europolis SA Tulcea
Phone: +40 240 512443, Fax: +40 240 516649
Website: www.europolis.ro
Email: [email protected]

Ibis SRL. Tulcea
Phone: +40 240 512787
Mobile: +40 722 381 398
Website: www.ibis-tours.ro
Email: You can use their contact page

[adsense]Liscom SRL
Phone: +40 745 832995, +40 742 137885, +40 240 536726
Website: www.indanubedelta.ro
Email: [email protected]

Macsim Delta SNC Tulcea
Phone: +40 744 200314
Website: www.pelicantours.ro
Email: [email protected]

ACR Tulcea
phone: +40 240 515151
Website: www.acr.ro
Email: [email protected]

AMATOUR SRL Tulcea
phone: +40/240/518894, Fax: +40/240/518953
Website: www.amatour.ro
Email: [email protected]
Facebook page
Contact persons:
Anamaria Cristea (+40.726.218.170)
Ioan Cristea (+40.744.320.394)

Dunărea Sălbatică SA
Phone: +40/722.680402
Website: www.wilddanube.ro
Email: [email protected]

Finesse SRL București
phone: +40 213 167428, Fax +40 21 316.74.18
Mobile Phone: +40 745 051171
Website: www.finesse.ro
e-mail: [email protected]

Gggociman
Phone/Fax:+40 0240 532010
Website: www.hotelgggociman.ro
Email: [email protected]
Contact person: Andreea David (+40 0729 882491)

Serano
Phone: 0241 624 141; Fax: 0241 624040
Mobile Phone: +40 0720 300314, +40 0751 088088
Website: www.hotelplutitorserano.ro
Email: [email protected]
Facebook Page

Egreta 1
Phone:  0731 260 722
Website: www.hotelplutitor-deltadunarii.ro
Email: [email protected]

Delta Explorer
Contact Person: Eugen Dinu ([email protected], + 40 730 017 037)
Contact Person: Sorin Mirica ([email protected], + 40 721 082 805)
Website: www.deltaexplorer.ro

 

As you can see, there are quite a few options that you can choose from to set up a realy nice cruise in the Danube Delta. You need to check each of these websites and find the offer that best suits your needs.

Some of these are full cruise organizers, while some of them are simply floating hotels.

Go ahead and take a pick! And sure enough, drop me a comment below with the company that you chose.

To your awesome holiday!

Categories
Events

Water Resources and Wetlands 2012

If you’re somewhat of a scientist and you’re particularly interested in the behind-the-scenes data that involves the Danube Delta, then you might want to join the “Water resources and wetlands” international conference that the Romanian Limnogeographical Association (this is the first time I hear about this word) is organizing this September in Tulcea.

[adsense]The basic idea is to have an open discussion among researchers and others intimately interested in this field in order to come up with sustainable solutions to humanity’s ever more intense use of water resources.

As mentioned, the conference is an international one, where participants can share ideas from all over the world. Hotel Delta will host it. This event will take place between 14th and 16th of September in Tulcea, the gateway to the Danube Delta, one of Europe’s largest wetlands.

Water Resources and Wetlands ConferenceThe agenda includes not only indoor activities, but also a series of outdoor workshops where participants will have the chance to visit the Danube Delta in order to witness and assess the impact of various pollutants on the deltaic environment and coastal waters.

Ok, I might have come a little late with this, as the deadline for registration and abstract submission was on April 30th, but it’s still worth digging into it if that’s the sort of thing that you’re interested in.

To find out more about the conference, visit its official page on Romanian Limnogeographical Association’s website (I already hate that word 🙂 )

Categories
Places to Visit

The Roșca-Buhaiova Reserve

Danube Delta is a huge biological laboratory, with twenty strictly protected areas where the lack of human intervention has allowed nature to develop in a way that you’ll never find anywhere else in the world.

[adsense]Probably the most important of these protected areas is the Roșca-Buhaiova reserve, located somewhere in the north of the delta, between the Chilia and the Sulina channels, just a few kilometers from the Chilia Veche village. What this place is known for is the mind-blowing number of pelicans that settle here every spring.

There are over 2500 pairs of Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) living in the Danube Delta and about 100 pairs of Dalmatian Pelicans (Pelecanus Crispus). Of these, you’ll find that their highest concentration is in the Roșca-Buhaiova reserve, a 9.625 ha area that’s been protected from human intervention since the 1940s.

Roșca-Buhaiova is located just north of the Matița-Merhei basin and is consists of a number of lakes, canals and other swamps. The precise area of the reserve is separated from the rest of the delta by the Cernovca canal to the north, the Sulimanca canal to the east, the Roșca canal and the Merhei and Merheiul Mic complexes to the south, and the Rădăcinoasele canal to the west.

Pelican Colony in Roșca-BuhaiovaAt the center of the area lie the Roșca and Buhaiova lakes which appear as an endless sea of reed and water lillies. All the ways into the reserve, such as the Lopatna canal which I used the last time I was there, are completely covered with beautiful water lillies.

Every year, a swarm o pelicans, cormorants and many many other species call this place their home.

Pelicans in Roșca-BuhaiovaFrom listening the stories of people who are actively studying the birds, it looks like the pelicans here have a rather interesting strategy when catching fish. Unlike their North American cousins who prefer to hunt individually, the pelicans in the delta totally love hunting in packs.

[adsense]What they do is to make so much noise that they scare the fish into swimming close to the shore of the lake where, in the big congestion created, all that the pelicans have to do is dip their heads in the water and get a mouthful of fish.

Opportunistic, the cormorants hunt the fish that lay somewhat deeper, just a bit out of the reach of the pelicans. This way the two species avoid any clashes and live together in harmony.

A pelican’s nest and younglings

For a bird this beautiful, you’d expect it to have some really spectacular skills at building its nest. A majestic bird, the symbol of the delta, definitely has something interesting to show, right?

Not really… You’ll be surprised to find out the a pelican’s nest in nothing more than a small pile of dirt that offers just enough shelter for the egg so that it doesn’t roll over accidentally. But when the egg hatches, that little bird looks like a reptile or a little dinosaur. It’s beautiful!

Great White Pelican ChickWhen they grow a little, all the chicks pack together in ‘nurseries’, waiting for their parents to return from fishing. This way they are much easier to supervise by the adults that stayed home for the day.

It’s cool watching the younglings of the two pelican species because they are so different. The chicks of the Dalmatian pelican have some sort of a grey-white color and they look pretty much like their parents. The chicks of the Great White pelican, on the other hand, are unbelievable. They are so black that you’d think somebody actually spray painted them. Incredible!

Young Great White Pelicans in Roșca-Buhaiova

Other species

I only spoke about the pelicans in the Roșca-Buhaiova reserve because that is what this place is known for. But there are a bunch of other interesting species that you’ll find here.

[adsense]Some of these are the otter (Lutra lutra), the mink (Mustela lutreola), the ermine (Mustela Erminia), the muskrat (Ondathra zibethica), the raccoon dog, the fox, or the wild boar.

The same diversity is present in the vegetable world. Besides the white and yellow water lillies, you’ll find crows feet, Hydrocharis morsus wound Limnanthemum, Trapa natans, Stratiotes aloides. The low nitrate waters in offer a great place to live for a series of carnivorous plants.

Hope you loved finding out about the Roșca-Buhaiova reserve and that you’ll consider visiting it in your next Danube Delta trip.

P.S. If you like this article and you’d like to discover more interesting information about the Danube Delta, sign up for my newsletter using the form below. I’ll send you a short email every time I add a new article to this site.

Categories
Places to Visit

Fântâna Mare (Bașpunar)

In August, when I was visiting the Uspenia Monastery with my family, I didn’t really feel like attending the mass. I’ve been there many times and it holds no more misteries for me.

[adsense]Since I have this passion of just roaming around the countryside to visit places, I decided to head to the woods following an old dirtroad. I did have an idea of the geography of the area , but I didn’t know exactly where that particular road was leading.

So I kept on going deeper and deeper. The road was vaguely following the small river which you could barely hear flowing downstream. Somewhere along the way, I run into some villagers in a carriage and asked them where exactly the road was leading. They told me that it was going to Fântâna Mare and that there were only 2-3 kilometers left.

I wanted to go there since I was a kid, but I never got the chance. This was my lucky day! I kept going, only that the two kilometers turned out to be more like ten. But it was interesting. I even had dogs follow me. What was interesting was that some of the sights were reminding me of  Tuscany.

I finally reached the village, which wasn’t big by any standards. A couple hundred of souls at most.

The Main Street in Fântâna Mare (Bașpunar)It’s old name is Bașpunar, which in Turkish means “The fountain at the top of the hill”. People in Slava Rusă and Slava Cercheză (where my grandparent from my mother’s side come from) still refer to Fântâna Mare using its old name.

Coming out of the woods, when you first spot the village, you notice the white church which is by far the tallest structure of the place. When I got there, people were just leaving the church after the Sunday morning mass.

The Church in Fântâna Mare (Bașpunar)The Church in Fântâna Mare (Bașpunar)When I got closer, It struck me! The church looks strikingly similar to the Sfântu Nicolae Cathedral in Tulcea. I thought that maybe the same architect designed them. Funny enough, after this, I started paying more attention to churches and realized that there are actually quite a few throughout the country that share the same basic architecture.

[adsense]Inside the yard, you’ll find the tombs of a number of soldiers that fought in the Second World War.

Truth be told, there isn’t much else to see in Fântâna Mare. The location is great however. Located in between the hills, it is a really nice place to relax and have a barbecue.

When I was growing up, I envisioned this place somewhat differently. Not that I’m dissapointed, but I though I’d find something different.

How can you get to Fântâna Mare?

You could try my route, through the woods from Uspenia monastery, but that would shake you a little.

The easiest way it to follow the DN22A till Ciucurova, then turn to DN22D for a couple of kilometers then going deep in the woods following the DJ223A.

Categories
Places to Visit

Saon Monastery

A great place you should visit in northern Dobruja is the Saon Monastery.

[adsense]A group of monks that left the Celic-Dere monastery after it became specialized in nuns founded the Saon chapel in 1846. They first built the Cilicul de Jos hermitage not far from the Cilic valley, before finally settling on this beautiful site on the banks of the Saon lake.

They chose this place because it was close to Celic and also because it was just 11 kilometers from the village of Niculițel, one of the most important places in the history of Christianity in Dobrogea. In the village, you’ll find the oldest basilica in Romania while just outside, in the woods, you’ll find another monastery, Cocoș.

The Site of the Saon MonasteryIn its early years, Saon functioned as a chapel under the control of priest at Celic. After Dobruja was reunited with Romania in 1978, all the remaining monks at Celicul de Jos were moved to Saon which became independent.

The Old and the New Churches

[adsense]That very same year, the monks built the first church on the site. Although they used simple materials like mud and wood, it still stands today, known as “The Old Church” or “Biserica Veche”. They use it mostly to hold the service in the winter.

At the start of the twentieth century, a big fire destroyed most of the site. The church survived unharmed, but the following years were difficult financially and Saon was put under the administration of the Cocoș monastery. It regained its independence in 1916, and in 1930, it became a monastery for nuns.

In 1909, under the rule of bishop Nifon, they started building a new and much bigger church, with three towers.

The Front of the Saon MonasteryThe First World War slowed the pace of the building, however, especially that the Danube became a front line. Later, the church sustained gread damage during the earthquake of 1940, when the towers collapsed. They were finally rebuilt between 1956-59 and they started service here.

The Main Church at the Saon MonasteryUnfortunately, that year this holly site was dissolved and all its posessions were taken by the Lower Danube Episcopate.

Saon reopened its gates in 1972 and it finally became a monastery in 1990.

The Windmill, the Peacocks and the Ostriches

What I like about Saon is that they still preserve one of the many windmills that once covered the whole of Dobruja. The structure of the one here resembles that of the mill in Celic Dere monastery, only that instead of six paddles, this one only has four.

The Windmill at the Saon MonasteryOne other thing that I particularly enjoyed was the ostriches that the nuns raised here. It was the first time when I saw ostriches in real life and I was surprised how big they were. I fed them some grass I tried to see if they would bite me. Turns out that it doesn’t hurt as bad as you’d think 🙂

Feeding Ostriches at the Saon MonasteryThey also have quite a few peacocks. Unfortunately, it’s quite obvious that the climate here is not really appropriate for them and they don’t really display those huge colorful feathers.

How to get here?

Fairly simple. If you’re in Tulcea, head west on DN22 for about 23 kilometers. About here, you’ll find a road on the right DJ229D. Follow it for another two kilometers and turn left on the DJ229E and in just a little over a kilometer you’re there.

On the other hand, if you’re coming from Galați or Brăila, all you have to do is to follow the DN22E or DN22 respectively and after you pass Isaccea and Niculițel, turn left when you see the sign to Saon and Parcheș.

If you’re coming from Bucharest following the DN22A, you can take a shortcut by turning left on the DJ229A in the village of Cataloi.