I have always wanted to see the River Danube as it held a special place in my heart and have no idea quite why? Maybe the desire to visit is linked to one of my favourite Classical Waltz’s “The Blue Danube” or linked to an Ethan Hawke movie “Before Sunrise” a romantic drama set in Vienna and alongside the Danube.
Anyway while on my tour of Romania I got offered the chance of a private trip to a holiday home and boat trip to Sfântu Gheorghe, a village at the Black Sea end of the Sfântu Gheorghe channel of the delta.
Brasov to Tulcea
The trip started with a very long overnight drive from Brasov, through the mountains and plains of rural Romania. Sadly was to dark to enjoy the mountain views but the sun came up to enjoy seeing the what I call the Plains of Romania. The expansive farmland travelled through reminded me of the scenery I have watched many times watching “Storm Chasers”, I had to check and found out there have been many tornados in the country since records began after the fall of communism. More about Romania’s tornados…
The drive included breakfast in this farmland, we took the opportunity to buy some local honey from a guy with a trailer full of bee hives selling jars of local honey.
On with the journey we passed through Tulcea and arrived at Tulcea Harbour to park up and launch the boat.
Tulcea Harbour on The Danube
Located on the bank of the River Danube the harbour has a fuel filling station that also sells cold drinks, a few cans of Ursus was order of the day. Ursus seems a popular Romanian lager and is very refreshing and light. Once the car was unloaded into the boat we launched into the higher than usual Danube to start our journey.
What others say about The Danube Delta?
The Danube Delta or Delta Dunarii is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania, with a small part in Ukraine. Its approximate surface area is 4,152 km², of which 3,446 km² is in Romania.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danube_Delta
The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/588
Journey To Tamarin Resort
The first leg of our 4 hour journey was to join the Sfântu Gheorghe branch of the river passing the other 2 delta branches the Chilia and Sulina branch. The river was very wide, not quite blue due to the high river and fast flow due to lots of rain and flooding upstream. However I was blown away with its size and beauty, including the variety of birds seen from the off. Following the river map we sped down stream enjoying the views and wildlife including some of the native pelicans, a first for me in the wild. Finally we reached another split in the river, a narrower channel with shade and trees either side that we turned on to the Uzlina Canal to get to Tamarin our first waypoint. `We landed the boat on a jetty and departed the boat.
Tamarin resort is located on the Uzlina Canal, Murighiol and was are destination for our first of many fish lunches. The surroundings were very pretty, had shaded shacks to sit in and the main building was comfortable. The resort had a pool and was a place I would happily stay for a relaxing break.
Their website says “Tamarin Tourist Complex offers the opportunity to spend some unforgettable days of relaxation and relaxation in the heart of the Danube Delta, combining the traditions and lifestyle of the locals with the comfort and conditions required by the standards of quality tourism.“ www.uzlina.ro
We were stopping for lunch and a drink and that we had, it was a very enjoyable river fish meal, this comprised of;
- A platter of smoked fish for starters all on the bone and very tasty.
- Fish soup, with lots of varieties of freshly caught Danube fish, the more varieties in soup supposedly enhances the taste supposedly, I wholeheartedly agree, this was delicious. The soup was served with fresh local bread and a garlic sauce with the consistency of mayonnaise.
- For main course we enjoyed a platter of river fish including pike, carp and catfish, to be eaten by hand according to our host for the day.
- Drinks included local red wine, water and quite a few shots of Țuică a Transylvanian spirit that was a perfect accompaniment to the fish meal.
Once the meal was over we had a chat with the host, including some funny stories about England, especially the host had water restrictions on a hotel visit to London, he had to not use running water while cleaning teeth. He thought that was an English thing, its funny how stereotypes start. Finally back on board the boat in the hot afternoon sun for the final stretch of the journey.
Uzlina to Sfantu Gheorghe
The final step of our epic journey to Saint George began with getting off the Uzlina canal and back on the the main Sfântu Gheorghe channel then at speed navigating the winding river. The scenery is beautiful with an ever changing back. The wetlands were fantastic to see, you can see why the Danube Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre as it is amazing and diverse in its wildlife.
The place had a familiar vibe, it reminded me of a visit to WWT Slimbridge a wetland centre in Gloucestershire but on a grand scale.
After a long and fast boat ride we reached our final destination and home for the next few days the Black Sea village of Sfantu Gheorghe. It had a pretty water front on a wide part of the river with plenty of jetty’s to land the boat and moor up.
I will write about Sfantu Gheorghe on my next post.