One of my favorite things to is travel to new places and explore new cultures, history and art. I love to see how people live all over the world and whenever I can find time I like to go pretty much anywhere that has a few items of interest.
My partner and I had been planning a trip to the Danube Delta and then COVID struck and we postponed it. Twice.
But we finally got there and we took a rather circuitous route, starting with Constanța to see the port and the Black Sea, which is a place my husband and his family often spent summers when he was a kid. The day was nice and warm and we walked around the city before taking in the Museum of History and Archeology which was incredible. There really is a lot of Roman history to be found in Romania, in addition to the Austrian and German influences found throughout their history. It was a wonderful day of sun and history and exploration.
So we started with Constanta and if you don’t know it is the birth place of tennis player Simona Halep and actor Sebastian Stan! Just a little bit of fun trivia for ya.
Most of the day in Constanta was spent along the water, taking in the sea air and soaking up the sun. I really wanted to see the famous Casino but it is going through repairs and is temporarily closed.
So we walked around a lot before heading to the museum.
After a long day of driving and exploring we were starved. Like ravenously hungry and the good news? There are a few vegan restaurants in Constanta and we chose Artisana Bistro, a cute independent eatery with a nice woman who was super helpful and happy to see vegan travelers!
We started with a creamy vegetable soup with homemade croutons. It wasn’t hot or cold, more like lukewarm because it was the end of the day but it was the perfect temperature for the hot day. We ate the soup at the restaurant and took the rest to go, which included:
Mushroom & green onion stuffed pastry
Chiftele (Romanian style balls made with carrots, onions, potatoes & garlic)
Deli sandwich wraps
Raw vegan cheesecake
Batuta (creamy bean dip with caramelized tomato onions on top)
Free chocolates (dark and filled with apple compote)
It was all incredibly delicious and if you’re wondering where all the photos are…well we ate most of it on the drive to Tulcea because did I mention we were starving? I do have a few photos, though.
From Constanta we headed to Tulcea to prepare for the next day which was filled with a full day boat tour of Danube Delta and that was amazing!
I was a little anxious the night before because I’d never been on a boat so small and I’m a worrywart who specializes in worst case scenario. But it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. The boat mostly meandered through the smaller channels on the Danube Delta so we could see water lilies, egrets, herons, white swans, great white pelicans, water snakes, frogs and even a white-tailed eagle that I’m pretty sure followed us for quite a bit.
And the boat went fast when there was room across the larger expanses of water, which didn’t terrify me like I thought it would. It was fun and rather soothing, honestly. Except for the 30 minute period of rain halfway through the day. It was an adventure and cold but luckily it was warm enough that most of us dried off within the hour on a hike through Letea Forest where we saw more wild horses & cows, the oldest Oak in the area and sand dunes that were–hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago–the bottom of the Black Sea.
As for food we packed homemade vegan sandwiches for the day because one of the stops on the tour is lunch at a local home in Letea and since this area is all about fishing we figured there was a good chance there would be no vegan options.
But a quick chat with the tour guide who then chatted with the kind women who fed us, they were able to whip us up a nice vegan platter that included black olives, cucumber & tomatoes, French fries and Zacuscă, which is a Romanian vegetable dip with eggplant, roasted peppers, tomatoes, olive oil and herbs & spices. It wasn’t much compared to what the animal eaters had, but it was delicious and got us through the rest of the day.
That and two stops at Mila 23 where we enjoyed an ice cold beer, a new discovery Kozel and yes, I bought a six pack at the grocery store when we returned home!
Once the incredible boat tour was over we headed back to our Pensiunea which is the Romanian word for bed & breakfast but it was more like a boutique hotel, to relax, rinse off all the sand and salt from the Danube and go in search of dinner.
Any vegan traveler knows that you have to prepare yourself for the inevitability that you might end up making a meal out of side dishes like salad, fries, grilled vegetables and the like.
So imagine my surprise when we ended up at Old Times Pub in Tulcea and found a vegetarian pizza that had no cheese so it was actually vegan! Of course that was literally the only option because all other options contained some type of cheese or cream or cheese and cream.
But the drinks were cold, the service was good and there was a covered terrace that allowed us to enjoy the warm, starry night.
The next morning we checked out of the Pensiunea and went to check out the Heroes Monument which was pretty close but the car was packed so we drove up and took a few photos, enjoyed the view of the Port of Tulcea.
Next were two different art museums. Casa Avramide was once a family home that belonged to a wealthy businessman who was stripped of everything when communism swept the nation. Later it was turned into an art museum and my favorite part of the visit was artist Eugeniu Barău. His paintings are vibrant and political and filled with so many details you’ll spend long minutes taking in everything.
Then we went to the Museum of Art which introduced me to tons of old and new Romanian artists I had never heard of and neither had my husband. There were paintings, sketches, sculptures and even some older artifacts from centuries past.
And we found another little bistro, City Bistro, with vegan options…on the first page!
This part of Tulcea is very religious so often there are days (I guess) where they don’t consume animal products and that part of the menu was front and center. We had hummus and baba ghanoush, fried potatoes, sauteed potatoes with garlic, dill and parsley, grill zucchini and sauteed mushrooms. It was delicious and just enough food for the 4 hour drive back home.
And that was our trip in a nutshell. Some vegan options but lots of culture and exploration and adventures. It was wonderful and I hoped you enjoyed me sharing a bit of my vegan travels with you.