This trip was planned months ago by my very good friend, Alex, who started off as my aupair to help me with David about 4 years ago. Alex has since built up his own internet marketing business and will be leaving our family shortly. And this was our opportunity to visit his home country with him as our guide.
We arrived in Bucharest this morning to a beautiful sunny and warm day. By the time we collected our hire car, it was already past noon and we were keen to get on our journey to Tulcea which will be a 5 hour drive. Ok, I confess – our first Romanian meal was McDonalds for lunch. I blame Alex for this – he missed a turning we should have made and we drove on further down the road and saw up ahead the McD sign beckoning us to have a quick lunch! David was predictably delighted.
I did spot the Romanian speciality on the menu and ordered these to try. One was 2 Romanian sausages with mustard in a roll and the other was the famous Romanian sausage patty called “mici” in a bun. I was a bit disappointed that the real items do not look like the picture and were a bit on the small side. Taste-wise, they were fine.
I was so excited with the first view of the landscape on our drive. The area out of Bucharest heading towards Tulcea is really flat and I can see different shades of green fields to the horizon. The most beautiful thing I noticed about the roads we drove through are the trees that lined them. They are all painted white on the lower part of the trunk, I presume to make them visible in the dark.
We made a pit stop at a village where Alex’s grandmother has a home and where he had spent some of his childhood. His grandmother is away in Germany at the moment, so we could not get in to visit. Alex showed us the wooded hill just across the road where he had spent a lot of time playing and looking for stag beetles to battle with friends. This little bit of history truly brings this trip to life. A neighbour soon came out to chat with Alex, curious why strangers had stopped in the village. On finding out that Alex is a grandson, she immediately claims she can see the family resemblance in his face!
After close to 5 hours of driving, we arrived in Tulcea. As soon as we checked into our hotel, a rather dramatic thunderstorm broke. Our hotel room faces the delta and we could see the storm clouds and rain pelting down – pictures truly do not do justice to its beauty.
The storm stopped just in time for us to wander out the promenade to look for a place for dinner. Good old TripAdvisor directed us to a highly rated fish restaurant called Ivan Pescar. Its reputation was indeed well earned as the fish were very fresh and cooked very well. Our first sampling of proper Romanian cuisine was a success – we started with a typical local delicacy of fish roe pate with toast, followed by a fish soup. And for our main course, our fish was grilled, deep fried and stewed. This restaurant also promotes sustainable fishing – good food and eco friendly too! 😊
After dinner on our walk back to the hotel, we were treated to the most dramatic cloud formation I have ever seen. The sight is truly awe inspiring! It is an impressive end to our first day in Romania.