A Pleasant Surprise: Romania

Not either of us having ever been to Romania before we had no idea what to expect from this recent acquisition by the powers of Brussels.

Here though in the village of Remetea just over the border we encountered a wholly different way of life.  The cows all live in the gardens of the houses along the village main road.  Each morning a man cycles by and each householder leads their cow out to the road where it joins with the herd and mooches up to the pastures for the day.  Come 8 p.m. they march back and each cow peels off at it’s own gate and goes inside for milking.

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The Romanian method of preventing vehicles from plummeting into the forest.  Very architecturally pleasing but unforgiving on impact.

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This hotel was built by someone called Sydney O. House.

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And tucked away in a street behind the warehouses, the white church.

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There are plenty of these, however.

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Not a tourist attraction, not a symbol of poverty but a way of life here.  No bridge over the river but Dobbin and cart have no trouble.

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Oh, more white churches.  What a surprise.

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Cow, truck, bus, cars and a motorhome have no trouble crossing the river here.

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One of the thousands of butterflies this time of the year.

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And speaking of the time of year; fledging time for Jays. Please hurry up you look so UGLY.

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Half way up the mountain on the Transfagarasan road.  Build to carry troops across Romania in case of a Russian invasion.   It is now used by tourists enjoying the view and contrasts in climate.  Sweltering stuffy days at valley level  and snow on the ground at 2042m.

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The road was built by the military who used 6 million kg of Dynamite to blast the rock aside but unfortunately many men were killed during the construction.  We drove this final 25 or so km three times in an attempt to spot a brown bear of which there are 10,000 in Romania. 

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It seemed that everyone we chatted with along the road had seen bears,  some had photos, some even showed us videos on their phones and these people were just passing through.  We spent 3 nights up there and saw zilch in the wild so we went to the bear reserve for a quick peek and promised each other to revisit the Transfagarasan on our way back to the U.K.

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The journey was not wasted, however, as there was ample (Non Ursine) nature to see and photograph. 

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The Painted Lady on the rocks.

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No fish but a beautiful mountain stream.

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A poor dragonfly taking swimming lessons in a upland lake too acid for fish.

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Sundew growing in the Caldera of an extinct volcano that once spread ash all over what is now Russia.

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No windows and unfortunately no little smoking chimney but Fly Agaric nonetheless. 

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The people we met were such friendly souls.  This group spotted us filling up with fresh water and invited over for a barbecue. 

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They had woodfired bbq a homebuilt deep fat fryer.  A woodfire built in a modified lorry wheel with a cauldron full of oil atop. 

Recipe:

When the fire is roaring and the fat is smoking tip in 4 kg of raw chicken wings.  Stand well back as flames shoot 3m in to the air when you do this but in 5 minutes the resultant chicken is delicious.  Shared food, shared wine and shared memories make for good friends.

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Not all rivers are bridged.  Here are some of the minor ferries crossing major rivers on minor roads.

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Careful how you drive on as an overloaded ferry is an unstable ferry.  There is no engine on this thing.  The tiny boat you see tied up alongside tows the pontoon out into the channel turns about and noses it on to the far shore.  By the time you have finished bickering over the ferry fare you are there.

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Most of the storks are fully fledged by now and are eager to get on with their childbearing responsibilities.

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Here is the structure put up by the villagers to encourage storks to nest there.

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This dragonfly could see two thousand of me but couldn’t work out which one was taking the photo.

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This poor Swallowtail lost it’s swallowtail unfortunately probably a bee eater around somewhere.

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I watched these two for some time sitting on the 132kv. line.  The one with the bumblebee tossed it once too often and it fell to the floor.  The Bee eaters fly over in flocks of hundreds making the most beautiful musical trilling sound swooping back and forth hunting on the wing.

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The lefthand bird just watched the juggling antics of it’s fellow with a very disapproving look on his face but kept still for a good photo.

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These flew over the campsite but they were not so musical or useful at keeping the mozzie population down.

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Romania gave us the opportunity to experience something from our own past. 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

Took the one less travelled by,

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Big thistle.  Little thistle.

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This is the track that runs along the Saint George Channel, the final leg before the Danube hits the Black Sea.  It was teeming with fish, birds and other wildlife but unfortunately it had an overwhelming problem: litter.  Unfortunately, unlike every other country we visited the Romanians have very little regard for the beauty spots of their countryside.   We have watched the casual casting away of plastic bottles, baby wipes, food and drinks cans, food wrappers and just about every other item of domestic refuse in places that should be revered for their beauty.  The pleasure of walking along this footpath and almost every other path was marred by litter.   In one spot near the village, there were twelve 2 litre beer bottles within a metre of each other  probably thrown by the same person every day on his regular trip down the river.

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It is a busy channel carrying some of the largest ships entering and leaving the Black Sea.

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Someone has a good sense of humour or an eye for flower arranging. with their display of “Chrysanthemum Propellus”

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No excuses here for the number of bird photos in this blog.  We came here to the Danube delta for the ornithology.

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These were taken on our boat “safari” one morning.

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Plenty of Great White Pelicans here.

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Mute Swan making a run for it.

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oh and White Tailed Eagles.

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Not a headless turtle but a turtle scared of crossing the road.   I picked him up and took him across the road because there were plenty of messy patches on the tarmac where his mates hadn’t been so lucky.

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Round the last roundabout and along the road a bit is Bulgaria.  Will let you know about that later.

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