Thursday, April 10, 2014



Enthusiastic European language tutor and translator


1993                        TEFL Diploma (Teaching English)    Marble Arch Teacher Training, UK
1990/1                    2 x diplomas in advanced Hungarian (grade A*) KLTE University, Debrecen, HU
1986                        Diploma in Czech language and literature    University J.E. Purkyne, Czech Republic
1985                        Diploma in graphic design and life drawing  Jacob Kramer College of Art, Leeds, UK
1984                        BA Hons. Degree in Russian (w/ Spanish, Czech and English Lit.) Leeds University


2009 – 2014:            Photojournalist, editor and translator (based in Brighton, 2009-2011 in London).

2004 – 2008:       EU (EP/Commission) correspondent The Budapest Times (based in Brussels).

2003 – 2004:         Editor-in-chief at Where Budapest (based in Budapest).

1996 – 2003:         Cultural and features editor at The Budapest Sun (based in Budapest).

1994 – 1996:          Bilingual reporter at Budapest Week (based in Budapest).


Excellent references and writing samples available on request

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Transylvania: The Bradt Travel Guide

2nd Edition 

                                                                      1st edition

Transylvania: The Bradt Travel Guide
By Lucy Mallows
1st edition published August 2008 - ISBN-13 978 1 84162 230 9
2nd edition (updated by Rudolf Abraham) published December 2012 - ISBN-13 978 1 84162 419 8

Bradt Guides

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Bratislava: The Bradt City Guide

Bratislava: The Bradt City Guide
by Lucy Mallows
First edition published December 2005 - ISBN 1 84162 142 0
Second, revised edition published January 2009 - ISBN-13 978 1 84162 229 3

Bradt Guides

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Slovakia: The Bradt Travel Guide

Slovakia: The Bradt Travel Guide
by Lucy Mallows
First published April 2007

ISBN13: 9781841621883
ISBN10: 1841621889 

Bradt Guides

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Achievements in 2012


IN 2012, I...

* Created a database of the top 660 restaurants in Brussels, Belgium for Zagat Restaurant Guides (now in collaboration with Google)

* Fact-checked, edited and supplied photographs for The Bradt Travel Guide to Transylvania, edition 2 published December 2012 by Bradt Guides Ltd. First edition by Lucy Mallows published in August 2008.

* Updated the DK Eyewitness Guide to Hungary 2013, to be published by Dorling Kindersley in June 2013. 

* Translated 25+ articles (Hungarian to English mother tongue) for the new Globeland children's educational magazine.

* Translated numerous articles (Hungarian to English mother tongue) for a new dental tourism (to Budapest and Debrecen) enterprise, Say White / Tibor Dental.

* Translated articles and web copy (HU to EN) for Swiss Halley travel website.

* Wrote web copy about 86 wine regions (in Hungary, Austria, France, Spain, Italy) for a brand new website My Wine and Me wine experience, offering wine lovers the opportunity to create their own virtual vineyard.

* Held my first photographic exhibition 'Brighton - First Impressions', showing framed prints of my photos of Brighton and Hove. At Harry's restaurant in Hove.

* Supplied travel information, short articles, photographs and listings on London for The Guardian newspaper Been There travel pages.

* Supplied entertaining and informative European travel articles for the website When Sally met Sally.

* Uploaded fascinating, in-depth articles and photographs on Budapest's hidden history, culture, architecture and society to my popular Disappearing Budapest blog.

* Started a full-time job (September 2012) at Brighton & Hove City Council, working as a relief administrator for Child Protection Services (with enhanced CRB disclosure), then at the Coroner's Office (& Bereavement Services), Woodvale Crematorium, Lewes Road, Brighton and now at Financial Assessments in Bartholomew House, Brighton.

I AM NOW available for more writing/translating/travelling commissions

Please contact me via this website or at

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Lucy Mallows new CV (media)

 January 01 2013 - my media CV 

Lucy Mallows 
Brighton, East Sussex, UK


 • Highly motivated, dynamic and conscientious photojournalist and editor with more than 18 years’ professional and practical experience; editing & writing for magazines, weekly newspapers and guidebooks. 

 • An expert with in-depth knowledge of and contacts in the Central and East European region with up-to-date information on the political, sociological and cultural developments. 

 • Extensive experience in reporting & editing work at the highest level, under pressure, always to deadline, in busy newsrooms and at magazine editorial offices. 

 • A professional, reliable & creative writer who works at a national & European level, publishing clear, concise copy and entertaining, inspiring travel & feature articles with attractive photographic illustrations. 


Write & edit articles & guidebooks that interest and inspire 

 • I am the sole author of five guidebooks, contributor to 20+ guidebooks, author of 3,000+ articles published in the UK, Hungary, Belgium and worldwide in daily & weekly newspapers and magazines. 

 • I speak (write, read & understand) six foreign languages: Hungarian (fluent), Russian (fluent), French (advanced), Spanish (advanced), Slovak (good) and Czech (good). I also have a good understanding of all Slavic languages (Polish, Serbian, Bulgarian etc). I am learning Italian, Portuguese & Romanian. 

 • I have 16 years’ practical & professional experience working in Europe (12yrs Budapest, 4yrs Brussels). I used my fluent Hungarian & French plus excellent communication & diplomatic skills. 

 • I translate (HU, RU, FR, ES to EN mother tongue) legal documents, technical journals, medical files, news, business, political & cultural feature articles. I have first-class English language and grammar skills and am experienced in proofreading, sub-editing and copy editing. 

 • I write PR copy for advertisements, marketing copy and eye-catching reports. Given a 30-minute deadline, I can transform a document from rambling prose into a concise, yet fascinating and informative read. I write eye-catching headlines and snappy stand-firsts that leave the reader eager and excited to discover more. 


1993 TEFL Diploma (Teaching English) Marble Arch Teacher Training, UK 

1990/1 2 x diplomas in advanced Hungarian (grade A*) KLTE University, Debrecen, Hungary 

1986 Diploma in Czech language & literature University J.E. Purkyne, Czech Republic 

1985 Diploma in graphic design & life drawing Jacob Kramer College of Art, Leeds 

1984 BA Hons. Degree in Russian (with Spanish, Czech & English Lit.) Leeds University


2009 – present:  Photojournalist, editor & translator (based in Brighton, 2009-2011 in London)

• I am the sole author of guidebooks (Transylvania 1 & 2, Slovakia, Bratislava 1 & 2) and a regular contributor to international publishers: Bradt Guides Rough Guides, Time Out Guides, DK Eyewitness Guides. 

• I research and report on life in Brighton, London, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia & Romania for airline in-flight magazines (BSpirit!, BThere!, Ryanair, Wizzit, easyJet, SkyEurope, CNN Traveller). 

• I am the ‘London local’ writer for The Guardian newspaper, reporting on South London. 

• I am the local restaurant expert ‘food authority’ in Budapest & Brussels for Zagat Restaurant Guide. 

• I provide attractive, inspiring photographs to illustrate travel & news reports. 

• I translate legal documents, news & business articles & web copy (HU, RU, FR, ES to EN).  

2004 – 2008: EU (EP/Commission) correspondent The Budapest Times (based in Brussels)

• I provided interesting and accurate reports about life in Belgium (cultural, political, business articles) for English-speaking readers in Hungary. 

• I researched developments in the European Union with regard to the New Member States. 

 • I wrote travel articles about the entire Central European region, using language skills, experience and contacts for UK, Belgian & international publications. 

2003 – 2004: Editor-in-chief at Where Budapest (based in Budapest)

• I managed a small but busy office (15+ staff) with an editorial of freelance & staff writers, the production team and the advertising & marketing department. 

 • I set out the monthly profile for the free magazine, commissioned articles from freelance writers, set deadlines, edited, sub-edited, copy edited and proofread articles and wrote many features. I compiled the events and entertainments listings. 

• I liaised with clients for advertising and marketing in a variety of languages & locations. 

1996 – 2003: Cultural & features editor at The Budapest Sun (based in Budapest)

• I was responsible for the largest and most widely read cultural section (20+ pages) of the local, English-language, weekly newspaper. 

 • I developed story ideas for the section, commissioned articles, reported on cultural events: news, local interest, restaurants, cafes, bars, films, books, galleries, concerts, architecture, history & society. 

• Subbing, editing, proofreading work, laying out pages and illustration. 

• I regularly provided research work for TV (Channel4) and radio (BBC Radio4) using language skills, local knowledge & expertise and a wide range of contacts. 

1994 – 1996: Bilingual reporter at Budapest Week (based in Budapest). 

• I reported daily from the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, interviewed politicians, wrote informative, accurate political and news reports. 

• I interviewed members of the public, went on assignments in the region, conducted extensive research, gathered background knowledge and cultivated contacts and sources. 


• Articles published in UK & international publications: The Guardian, The Independent, International Herald Tribune, Wanderlust, Condé Nast Traveller (UK & US), CNN Traveller, Daily Mirror. 

• I was invited to speak about travel to Romania on BBC Radio4’s ‘Excess Baggage’ (Feb 2011). 

• I show an exhibition of my Brighton photographs at Harry’s in Hove (March 1 – May 31 2012). 

• I created a successful blog: ‘Disappearing Budapest’ (

• I am an activist for Greenpeace Brighton, campaigning on environmental issues (Common Fisheries Policy, fracking, drilling for oil in the Arctic). 

• I volunteer for the Marine Conservation Society and regularly take part in beach cleaning projects.

 • IT skills: Mac & PC literate, Tera Super User, Microsoft Word, Excel, Quark Xpress, Adobe Photoshop, basic HTML knowledge. Swift, accurate keyboard skills & shorthand. 

• Current, clean UK & international driving licence. 

• INTERESTS: Photography, architecture, playing piano & guitar, environment, sport, ear acupuncture, wild swimming.

 Excellent references available on request

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Birdcage views

'Brighton Bandstand by Day' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

Designed by Brighton Borough surveyor Phillip Lockwood and completed in 1884, Brighton & Hove Bandstand - known to locals as 'The Birdcage' - is considered to be one of the finest examples of a Victorian bandstand still surviving in England today. The original design featured a bridge linking the upper promenade with the Bandstand which was removed in the late 1970s. The ground floor was used as public conveniences until 2003 when vandalism forced their closure.

I have been capturing the Birdcage at different times of the day and night, in various lights and shades.
All photos are available for purchase as prints in dimensions from 6 x 4 to 10 x 15.
Contact me through this website for more information.

'Brighton Bandstand by Night' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

'Birdcage at Dusk' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

'Birdcage Tiles' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

'Alone in the Birdcage at Sunset' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

'Birdcage Wrought Ironwork' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

'Bandstand Cafe' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallowsMarch2012

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Harry's restaurant closes - Mallows photos continue

Very sad news this week: Harry's English Restaurant - a haven of fine English cuisine and home to many art & photographic exhibitions - has been driven out of business by rocketing rents.
Harry's opened in 1990 and has supported and showcased work by local artists while serving great grub.
I put up a selection of my photographs of Brighton and Hove last Thursday (1 March 2012) and now I will search for a new venue.
In the meantime, I showcase the work from Harry's here.
The photos are all available for purchase and further prints can be ordered directly from me in a variety of frames and dimensions.
Please contact me via this website for more details.
You can also send me a message via Facebook (
Here's hoping Harry also finds a new home...

'Preening Seagull' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Feb2012. 10" x 8" wooden frame £65

'Stormy West Pier' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Nov2011. 10" x 12" reclaimed wood frame £80

'Pavilion Silhouette' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Feb2012. 10" x 8" wood frame £70

'Moody West Pier' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Nov2011. 9" x 6" gold-painted wood frame £65

'Remembrance Sunday, 13th November' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Nov2011. 9" x 6" gold-painted wood frame £65

See also the post below for the two 'famous' seagull photos, taken at 11am on 11.11.11, and which started a new direction in my artistic work

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photographic exhibition

'Who you lookin' at?' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Nov2011. 10" x 8" wood frame £70

I will show a selection of my photographs 'Brighton - First Impressions' at Harry's English Restaurant in Hove.
The show opens on Thursday 1 March and continues for three months until Thursday 31 May.
All prints are available for purchase and extra prints, in various dimensions, can be ordered from me directly, by mobile phone (details at the show) or via this website.
Harry's English Restaurant opened in 1990 and is one of the best restaurants on the South Coast.
The menu is packed with all the favourites, from steak and kidney pie to bangers & mash or liver & bacon.
The breakfasts are wonderful, offering scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or hot buttered kippers, and room must be saved for a pudding. How can you resist jam roly-poly with custard?
I look forward to seeing you all at Harry's English Restaurant.

I will be there in person on Sunday 4 March from 1pm. It would be lovely to see you!

Brighton - First Impressions
A collection of photographs by Lucy Mallows
Thursday 1 March to Thursday 31 May 2012
Harry's English Restaurant
41 Church Road (on the corner of Palmeira Square)
Hove, BN3 2BE
Tel: 01273 727410
Open: Monday to Saturday 09.00--22.30, Sunday 09.30--21.30

'Brighton Birds' by Lucy Mallows ©LRMallows.Nov2011. 10" x 12" wood frame £80

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Watery isolation under threat – The Lipovanis at Letea

The isolated Danube Delta region of southeast Romania
Words and photographs by Lucy Mallows ©LRM2008

The mighty Danube River, Europe’s second longest after the Volga, runs like a watery thread for 2,860 kilometres from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. The sometimes blue - but more often greenish brown - waterway flows through ten countries linking disparate communities, though vastly differing cultures, economies, tongues and lifestyles.
The Danube flows through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and the Ukraine. The entire length is lined with very different cultures, people, religious beliefs and traditions.
Nowhere is the vital linking force of the Danube better illustrated than at its terminus, right at the Delta where the river, in an attempt to force its way through to the sea, separates and divides into dozens of waterways, each straining through the tall reed beds to reach the mouth and finally release pent-up energy into the Black Sea.
Shortly after entering the Delta at Tulcea, 320km northeast of Bucharest, the Danube splits into three main channels (braţul): the Chilia, the Sfântu Gheorghe (St George) and the Sulina, the main shipping channel.
The 5,640-square-kilometre, untamed wilderness of the Delta is home to almost one third of Romania’s plant species, including most of its medicinal plants. More than 5,400 species of flora and fauna are found at Europe’s largest wetland and the most enthusiastic inhabitants are water birds. Herons, pygmy cormorants, red-breasted geese, white-tailed eagles, Dalmatian and Great White pelicans feed on the wealth of fish in the river and finding safe breeding places in the world’s largest unbroken expanse of reed. The most important habitats for wildlife are the reed beds, the floating islands or plău, moved by the wind, blowing the tight-knit vegetation about the lagoons.
The Delta is also home to mink, foxes, otters, turtles and water snakes. Seen from the perfect vantage point of a tiny motorboat, the delta is a watery network, cobwebbed by creeks, backwaters, marshes, swamps, lakes and lagoons. On land, two unique ancient forests, Letea and Caraorman, are populated with oak, orchids and liana.
The Delta was designated a Unesco biosphere in 1990 to highlight the natural and cultural heritage. The biodiversity is matched by the ethno-diversity.

The human element of the Delta is equally unique and varied: a hotbed of cultures living peacefully along side one another, crafting a living from the Danube. In the early 20th century, 20,000 people lived at Sulina, at the mouth of the Delta, speaking 20-25 languages. Nowadays, it is estimated that the figure has dwindled to 5,000 inhabitants speaking a dozen different languages.
The most populous group are the Romanians, the Lipovanis from Russia and the Haholians from the Ukraine. However, there are also Aromanians, Greeks, Turks, Italians, Macedonians and even Tatars, originally from Mongolia, in Babadag.
Over the centuries, locals have survived by the Danube in extreme conditions of temperature as well as political climate. Many villages are totally isolated and accessible only by boat, creating a unique, preserved way of life and cultural traditions, as well as forging close links between man and nature.
However, the relationship is now under threat and the ancient way of life has reached crisis point.
Many young people have left the region to seek better career opportunities elsewhere, in Bucharest and more prosperous Transylvanian cities such as Braşov and Sibiu. In the current economic climate, it is virtually impossible to live from fishing and agriculture alone.
Other elements threaten the traditional way of life. An increase in environmental pollution and the relentless interference in the natural environment pose an increasing threat to the delicate ecological balance.
Local travel company bosses claim to work for the environment yet urge the construction of more water channels so that tourists can do a round trip rather than go along the Sulina channel and then back again along the same route.
More cohesive legislation about high-speed boats and jet skiing is needed as tourists discover the possibilities for exploiting unspoilt sporting venues.
At present, it is only possible to visit the Danube Delta with a tourist or fishing permit, however these are very inexpensive and the region is too vast to patrol adequately. “There are wardens, but the poverty of the region makes local workers susceptible to corruption,” says Tirgu Mures biologist Márton Kelemen.
The delta took an ecological hammering under Nicolae Ceauşescu’s tyrannical reign. “He planned to drain it for agricultural use and turn it into a huge cornfield,” explains Kelemen, whose relatives were brought here in the 1960-70s as political prisoners to work on digging and drying out the channels.
Ceauşescu also had a hair-brained scheme to make Bucharest a port, by digging a canal from the Black Sea to the Danube then linking up with Bucharest via another huge canal. He wanted to build the world’s third largest channel after Panama and Suez. The canal was partially completed, from Agigea, just south of Constanţa, the Canalul Dunăre-Marea Neagră flows northwest to Cernavodă on the Danube.
“In 800 years, it will finally make a profit,” notes Kelemen bitterly.
A highway is planned from Tulcea to Sulina threatening both the unique environment and the wildlife on the Delta. Sulina is the easternmost city in the European Union, however it is still little more than a village, accessible only by water.
The highway to Sulina is for tourist development but the road will kill off most of the natural assets with noise and water pollution, creating stress for the fish and the birds.

Mass tourism - the only form of tourism in Eastern Europe - can also have a devastating effect. “The EU gave money to sink a concrete channel into the Braţul Sulina to make it into a convenient cargo channel to develop the infrastructure and the economy, however this is terrible for the natural environment,” explains Tiberiu Tioc, a tour guide and wildlife enthusiast. He warns that a West European company is already present in Sulina, planning the construction of the concrete river channel.
Many Lipovani and Romanian fishermen and boatmen live in Crişan, a village of around 600 inhabitants situated between water and reed on the Sulina channel.
They exist peacefully together. However, the Lipovani and the Haholians have had serious conflicts and still loathe the sight of each other after entire villages were exterminated 100 years ago. Lipovanis speak a mixture of Ukrainian, Russian and some Old Russian. The Haholians speak very clear Ukrainian. The two communities keep the ‘enemy’ at a safe distance.
The Delta is not only a safe haven for wildlife, it is also home and sanctuary to many ethnic minorities who fled persecution in other countries.
Lipovanis are the Old Believers, who in 1666–1667 separated from the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon (1605—81). When he made changes to worship in 1652, some of the believers insisted on worshipping in the ‘old way’. They continued to speak Old Russian, to cross themselves with two fingers instead of three and to keep their beards. The Lipovanis fled religious persecution in Russia around 1770. Preserving their culture, traditions and even gene pool through watery isolation, the Lipovanis stand out from the dark-skinned, brown-eyed Romanians with their striking blue eyes, blonde hair and beards.
At one time, the Lipovanis lived all over the Delta but are now found only at the villages of Crişan, Letea, Mila 23, Mahmudia and Peripava.
Adapting to their environment, the Lipovani became skilled fishermen, gardeners and animal tenders. The Lipovanis differ greatly from Romanians in their fundamentalist abhorrence of tobacco, which they call the ‘Devil’s weed’. However, their consumption of vodka is the stuff of legends.
Crişan villagers have lived for generations from the Danube, fishing, hunting, reed processing and keeping livestock. Economic pressures have also forced many locals to use tourism as a source of income and they supplement their minimal wages by ferrying wildlife enthusiasts through the waterways on small motorboats.
The working day starts before sunrise. At 3am, fishermen pilot their boats through the darkness to the lake where they empty the fish traps. From there, they take their daily catch to the collection point. In the evening, the traps are placed in the water in a time-consuming chore, which many fishermen perform in a solitary routine.
Life on the Delta has changed within the time-span of one generation. Previously, fishermen would row out to the richest fishing areas, set up their reed huts and stay in the reed beds for weeks on end. The Delta area covers 4,500km2 and has the largest expanse of reed beds in the world.

Now, the fisherman use boats equipped with outboard motors and can commute between their villages and the lakes on a daily basis. However, the catch is now much less, as fish stocks in the Danube channels have declined sharply.
Previously, a good catch could amount to 300 kilos a day. Today, it is usually between 15 and 30 kilos, and only the very fortunate can bring home a 100-kilo catch, a quantity not even enough to cover the cost of the fuel.
There is conflict between the local population and the fish eating birds, especially the pelicans, which gobble up the most fish. However, the fish stocks are threatened not by birds but by humans as increasing numbers of tourists visit and locals turn to tourism to make a living.
The temptation to resort to poaching is strong.
Five species of lake sturgeon are found in Romania. Four of these sturgeon species produce black roe, which is made into caviar, a delicacy throughout the world.
Black market caviar sells for 200 euros a kilo and a large sturgeon can produce 60 kilos.
For very poor fisher-families eking out a living on the Danube, 12,000 euros represents more than they can earn in an entire lifetime. There is huge financial pressure to poach sturgeon. However, the penalties are severe with potential fines of 25,000 euros or ten years in prison.
The CITES Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species set out the permitted quotas for sturgeon fishing and in 2005, Romania introduced a 10-year ban on sturgeon fishing which was a good initiative.
On our five-day journey on a floating hotel boat, the only way to visit this isolated region, we ate a lunch of boiled carp and catfish followed by fisherman’s borshch soup, simmered in Danube water with tarragon, rosemary and wild mint and served with mushdai, a potent wild garlic sauce.
Further along the Braţul Sulina (Sulina Channel), heading towards the Black Sea, we turned off the main channel and travelled for two hours on the narrow channel, Canalul Magearu in tiny motorboats, passing two-metre-tall reed bed islands, rotting tree trunks poking from the brackish water and pretty water lily lakes to reach the isolated village of Letea, almost on the Romanian-Ukrainian border.

Amusingly - but logically, considering these channels are the only thoroughfares in the region - these channels have ‘street’ signs; rusting metal signs poking up from thick undergrowth by the turning points.
Letea is an amalgamation of three small villages with a total population of 1,200 people. The settlement is accessible only by water and so completely isolated and cut off from the rest of Romania at during floods or stormy weather. Letea has one tiny stone post office and a little grocer’s shop but there is no priest resident in the oversized church. In Letea, the Lipovanis live in traditional houses with thatched roofs made from reeds, which are designed to last for 35 years.
The houses are built in the traditional Lipovani style with wood and clay walls.
These houses are the perfect ecological solution for the region: the clay walls can breathe and keep the homes cool in summer when temperatures can soar beyond 40ºC and preserve heat in the bitter minus 30ºC chill of winter.
“The temperature difference is 70 degrees which is incredible,” says Kelemen.
The buildings have a traditional unity and the wooden facades are carved in patterns, the only ornamentation. The Delta people tried to modernise their housing styles but discovered that it wasn’t suitable for the region.
Tiled roofing is too hot in summer, the reed roofs are like thatch and are much better.
In the UK, the insurance for thatched roofed houses is very high because of fires or lightning damage.
“Here nobody has house insurance anyway, so it’s not an issue,” says Tioc, “the houses are painted white and blue in traditional colours and also the mosquitoes don’t like the blue colour.”
The three colour schemes for houses reflect the respect the locals feel for the powers of nature. White and blue represents the sky and the water, green and blue are the reeds and the water while white and green are the sky and the reeds.
“The locals believe that when a storm is coming, the houses are camouflaged in the colours of nature and so the storm cannot find their houses,” explains Tioc.
In Letea, few venture out into the street in the stifling heat of an August afternoon. A few ancient grandmothers shuffle through the dust of the main street, little more than a dirt track. Their huge kitchen gardens are lush with grape arbours keeping the yards cool, while desiccated corn cobs and stalks are dotted about the fields, piled up in mountainous ricks. A child potters along shyly behind her father’s legs, peering out nervously at a stray dog refusing to be shooed away. A farmer clip clops along in his horse and cart, bringing the hay for the animals in the stable. It’s an idyllic scene but a hard life as the young have all left to seek easier lifestyles in Bucharest. It’s left to the elderly and infirm to preserve a historic but threatened way of life.

The only way to visit the Delta is on an organised tour by canoe or motorboat. These are organised almost exclusively for wildlife enthusiasts, as –obviously- the region has none of the usual tourist ‘attractions’. Trips must be escorted by local guides and permits to visit, camp or fish are compulsory.

Tioc Nature and Study Tours, Contact Tiberiu Tioc, Aleea Genistilor 25, Sc.C. Ap 61, Sibiu, Romania; tel/fax: +40 269 233 625; mobile: +40 743 025 154; email:; Expert-led trips by motorboat or canoe, staying on a floating hotel along the channels of the Danube Delta.

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