Cruising the Delta
Up early to do our “Cruise on the Delta” This entailed a glorified water taxi for a couple of hours followed by a traditional lunch before heading back. Sounds good and we are looking forward to it. Picking up a Swiss family and a walk down to the river. There was a Romanian family that was also due to join us, and we hung around waiting for them. This family had two young kids. What is a touristy thing in Romania without children? They were well behaved for the entire trip though, which was an improvement to other places!
So, we are all on this boat. The seats are comfortable, and there is shade. Even a toilet! We would be travelling in style. All that was missing was the champagne. So we untied ourselves from all the other boats and set out. At first it was pretty slow. We assumed that this was due to being so close to town, but this was the top speed of the boat. If we could walk on water, we would be faster!
Following the main branch of the Danube downriver to a man made canal. This is where it got slightly interesting. The Danube Delta is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta in Russia, so personally, I don’t think the Russian one counts. Most of it is in Romania, and the northern section borders on the Ukraine. We did not get to see that bit though. The Danube Delta is a low alluvial plain, mostly covered by wetlands and water. It consists of an intricate pattern of marshes, channels, streamlets and lakes. A lot of which are man made now, or at least altered to suit us better.
So we were now cruising down one of these man made sections, almost as wide as the main branch, putting along, the Swiss pulled out their birdwatching kits and picked out what there was to see. We just sat their enjoying the view of the trees, banks, water and occasional birds. Turning off, finally, into the smaller canals, we started enjoying it a bit more. Especially seeing a few water snakes! That made our day.
Then there were the lakes filled with reeds and lilies. Water snails and small fish, with the occasional jumping fish.
After a quick lap of one or two of the lakes, we turned around and went back exactly the same way. By now we had seen a few different species of birds (the book of birds we were promised instead of an English speaking guide had not materialised) and were backtracking. The motion of the boat, the nice sunny weather and the repetitive nature of the river lulled us to sleep. Along with everyone else. Even the intrepid birdwatchers took a quick nap.
On arriving at where we would have lunch, we found out that it was a resort. This should be good. The whole group had a table, but they had forgotten a few place settings. The wine and Tuica came out. Then came the Fish Soup. This is a traditional dish from the region. Apparently you cook the fish in the soup, then take the fish out before you serve it. The fish arrives on the side. I have no idea what type of fish it was, but it had been boiled tasteless, and they switched the broth, as it was tasteless as well. The fish was cut into sections and dumped on the plate. The only thing they had done was scale it. Either that or the scales had dissolved into the soup. No filleting at all, and very bony.
Our second course was battered grilled fish. Same treatment. I do not come from a very fishy area, but I would assume that people growing up with fish can make more interesting dishes. Give me a slice of lemon, a sharp knife and fire and I think I could do a better job! At least there was wine!
So another sleep later and we arrived back in town. We should have arrived during the week when tourist info was open. Skipped Tulcea and headed straight by ferry into the delta. I can say this, as I have no idea on how that would have turned out.
Picking up our bags we went to the floating hotel for the night. Not bad at all, and it made up for a lot!