Travelling through the rural roads in Romania and Bulgaria for the past 2 weeks has given me a real chance to see some of the spectacular wildlife that is found here.
I spent an afternoon by the river near to Centre Sac in Romania and I just sat there for a few hours – a rare treat for me. I saw two species of Demoiselle, a golden ringed dragonfly, and a green dragonfly that I could not identify. I watched shoals of small fish in the shallows and grey and pied wagtails flit between the banks of the river.
In a similar river, further to the east I spotted 2 toads and a blue darter and again many more demoiselles. It is great just to spend some time sitting and watching the wildlife without having a subconscious restraint of having to be somewhere. I could just sit and watch and wander up and down the river until I had had enough.
Most days whilst riding my bike I have startled Buzzards at very close range and they have taken off and flown in front of me for a while. I have spotted many jays flying between the trees across the roads. The storks are amazing, with their magnificent nests that they build at the top of electricity pylons. They can be seen in almost every small town we pass through. All of the storks that we have seen have been white except for one that we startled by the river which was black – quite unusual.
The other magnificent sight is the brightly coloured bee hives and bee trucks that adorn the sides of the roads. I am guessing that the trucks are strategically placed near to a good nectar source that can add flavour to honey. There are many stalls selling jars of delicious natural honey or Med and I ended up getting my honey in Bulgaria. The beekeeping in Bulgaria appears very similar to that of Romania. It is something I would like to research more in the future.
The other interesting industry is that of logging. Riding on logging roads and forest trails means we have been exposed to many different methods and stages of development of the industry. In both Romania and Bulgaria we have come across one or two men working with chainsaws and 1 or 2 horses that are used with a harness to pull the logs to where they want them. They then seem to cut them up into smaller chunks from that location to then be moved on again. One of the banks I saw a horse being riding up was practically vertical and the horse was also being ridden by a teenage boy. It seems in some smaller areas that traditional methods are used together with a mix of modern machinery and advanced methods.
On a much bigger scale we have come across other forestry workers with chainsaws, but they also have tractors with chains on the wheels and large trucks that transport huge loads of logs. The workers are always very friendly wave and smile as you pass by. Again, this is another industry that I would like to research further and learn more about.
The other tradiational method of farming in Romania and Bulgaria is shepherds moving their flocks. This is normally sheep but can also be goats. High in the mountains where we met shepherds and their flocks we were constantly chased by their dogs.But they were just doing their job and when we stopped for a chat or to share some food we always found them very friendly.