August 2016– We began our journey on the Danube in Vidin, Bulgaria. The Danube is the 2nd longest river in Europe, touching 10 countries in total. This includes Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.
Our second day included a visit to Orsovo, Romania, and a history lesson in the creation of the Iron Gate locks, power plants and dams. Our lesson included villages that had been moved, areas that had been flooded, and the communist government of the time, ironically agreeing to build a place of worship- a catholic church.
Jim and I couldn’t help but think of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the relocation of the town of Iroquois, Ontario. Not quite the same in that churches were not built, but land was expropriated by the Canadian government including Jim’s grandfather’s land. Ironically this length of the Seaway did not flood the adjacent lands.
After our stop at Orsovo, Romania our afternoon and early evening included a trip through the Iron Gates gorge. A series of gorges, 83 miles long, is a natural border between the Southern Carpathian Mountains, Romania and the northwest foothills of the Balkan Mountains, Serbia. The starting and ending point of the series of gorges is marked at each end by hydro electric dams/power stations each with locks, termed Iron Gate I and Iron Gate II. The projects, started in 1964, completed in 1972, (raising the waters 35 metres) and modernized more recently.
The Danube River narrows through the Carpathian Mountains, exposing bedrock folds and faults. Small villages, and churches added to the scenic afternoon.