Roaming The Dobrujan Countryside: Burdocks, Bugs, Dirtroads & A Turtle
May 30 2015
My last trip to Constanta was partly made of a couple of amazing sunsets and a mini road trip on the hills of the Dobrujan countryside.
I really wanted to see Corbu and Vadu beaches for quite some time. The beach at Corbu ranked 4th in a top made by gipsy.ninja with pristine beaches worldwide so I thought that there must be something there if it outranked some paradise-looking beaches. I am not trying to be the devil's advocate but I have seen some painfully beautiful beaches so my bar is set quite high.
With my curiosity levels going overboard and my camera ready to shoot the best possible photos the internet has ever seen, my friend, Aglaia and I started our Dobrujan quest.
We left Constanta and 45 minutes later we arrived at Corbu where SURPRISE: the beach is now a protected area and you need a permit to go in. Kudos for this measure to protect the beach and wildlife, too bad for the unprepared visitors like yours truly. Since a fine for trespassing was not on the agenda we continued towards the neighboring beach, Vadu where we were faced with the same restriction.
The restrictions were introduced starting May 1st 2015 and forbid access with the car on the beach. One has to pay an entrance fee and camp only in certain areas but at that point there was no one there to be able to actually pay the entrance. So we left.
Keeping Corbu & Vadu on my urgently must-see list.
The ancient city of Histria- one of my favorite places in Dobruja was our next stop. It’s something about walking on the grounds of the oldest human settlement in the country that has been keeping me fascinated with Histria since I was a school girl.
Established in 657 B.C. by the Greeks from Milet, Histria is almost 3000 years old. Just a little bit younger than Rome. Pretty cool, right? The Greeks came here to start a trading business with the local Dacian population. Back in that era, Histria was directly on the shore of the Black Sea but in time, the sedimentary deposits brought by the Danube closed the access to the Sea and the Greeks abandoned the city. Nowadays, Histria is on the shore of Sinoe Lake, a salty-sweet lake.
When we visited, mid May, the entire ancient city was covered in burdocks. Seriously, it was like they were planning an invasion to take over the world and turn it pink and spiky.
What followed was an obsessive photo shoot with me climbing every wall of the fortress to find the best angle of possibly every burdock flower at Histria. For future reference: Oxford shoes are not the proper shoes for this activity.
We expected to be alone there since it was a Tuesday in May but surprisingly there were other visitors, mostly for bird watching. One of the visitors was carrying a cute baby turtle. I don’t have a photo of it as I was too busy laughing my brains off as the turtle pooped on Aglaia’s hand while she was trying to make friends with it. Gross, I know! This rolled into a huge debate on whether turtle poop is vegan or not. I will spare you the details but is it, though?
We continued exploring Histria which besides burdocks and turtles has a huge population of bugs. Very aggressive bugs actually that seemed to have had developed an affinity for my ankles.
After some kung-fu fighting with these bugs of HELL my hands were all covered in bug blood. Bug blood & turtle poop. I have to admit that this was the title I fancied for this blogpost but the spoilers were too big.
Histria is 65 kms far from Constanta in the village of Istria. Drive (carefully) on road E87 and immediately after Istria there’s a 7kms road to the ruins. The entrance fee is 10 lei for the museum and 10 lei for the ancient city. You can choose to see them both or only one of them.
We left with the intention of going to the Dobrujan Gorges but first we detoured through the village of Istria to see the church The Holy Triad.
This is a rather odd site. First, the church has a different architecture than all the churches I’ve seen in Romania. It looks more like a temple than a church. Second: it’s buried one meter in the ground.
During the centuries when Dobruja was part of the Ottoman Empire, Christian churches were not allowed to look like halidoms or to be built on the ground. Hence, the unique outlook of this one. At the moment, the church is undergoing restorations and it’s closed most of the week. As far as I saw it’s open only Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday mornings for service.
After this things got messy because we missed a right turn somewhere and ended up driving on a dirtroad on the hills of the Dobrujan countryside. No soul in sight. It was quite the offroad experience.
The scenery was pretty and having phone signal kept things from getting creepy. Instead we found a soundtrack for our day trip and karaoke our way to the main road. Never got to the Dobrujan Gorge, though.
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