Wednesday, 9th August 2018
The boat had travelled through the night southbound through Romania, before curving westwards along the Danube on the border between Romania and Bulgaria. At 10:00 the boat docked at Oltenita on the Romanian side of the river, south south east of Bucharest. With the exception of us and about 8 others, the passengers disembarked to join the waiting coaches. While they all drove off for the one and a half hour coach ride to the capital, and their tour, the boat, with us moved on to Giurgiu.
We had a relaxing time on the boat as it travelled along the river. Because the weather has been so hot and dry across Europe, the Danube is about 3 meters shallower than normal. This meant that in this part of the river even on a boat with a draft of just 1.6 meters we had to travel slowly, meandering backwards and forwards across the river following the deepest channels.
At 14:30 we moored at Giurgiu. In the photo below you can see the ‘Giurgiu-Ruse Friendship Bridge’ that connects Romania with Bulgaria across the Danube. This is one of only two bridges connecting the two countries across the Danube, which runs 450kms along their border. It is a double decker bridge with both rail and road levels. It is the route of the Bosporus Express train [Bucharest-Istanbul].
The bridge is a border control point with checkpoints at each end. Below is the view across the river to Bulgaria on the other side. The boat in the foreground is a border patrol boat.
At 18:00 the coaches returned from the tour of Bucharest and the boat moved two kilometres upstream to moor at the city of Ruse in Bulgaria. Interestingly enough, we were not subjected to any passport controls.
Miles walked today: 3.0