Posted by: tim ellis | September 14, 2005

Romania September 2005 (European Brown Bear)

The original plan had been to go on a Bear watching trip to Romania – 4 days, 2 trips out to the Bear Hide and a visit to Dracula’s castle.  It sounded great – a part of the world I’d not been to before (Eastern Europe) – A chance to see wildlife that I’d not really seen in the wild before (a disappearing hind leg on Vancouver Island hardly counts) and some genuine historic culture with Gothic undertones.  It ws all going fine until a week before the August Bank Holiday, when the Travel Company phoned to say there had been a bit of a problem – someone had died in the hide! (Not, they hastened to reassure me, from a bear attack, it was actually an Asthma attack.)  In consequence the authorities had closed the hide pending an official enquiry, so all remaining trips this year had had to be cancelled, There was a chance, though, that they could arrange me a Bulgarian trip for the same dates, still to look for bears, would I be interested?  I said yes, and waited for the rest of the week for them to get back to me…

On Friday I got fed up of waiting, and phoned them instead.  They were still working on Bulgaria, but were having difficulty getting answers,  They promised to let me know by Tuesday.  Which they did, but it was to say they had been unable to arrange it.  Would I be prepared to do a trip to Finland, which was their other European Bear trip.  While I’d have preferred Romania, at this stage I’d take Finland if that was all that was on offer… sadly, the nexst day it transpired that Finland, being that much further North had already ended it’s bear-watching season, so one refund later, I’m left looking for a Holiday I can arrange at short notice. 

A couple of years ago I stayed up in Edinburgh for a couple of days tacked on to a weekend event at Herriot-Watt university, and was able to visit the Castle and Holyrood house, but never got to see the Zoo, so I decided to spend another couple of Days in Scotland’s capital to do some of the things I’d missed out on last time.

And it looks like I picked a good time to come, with the new Koala exhibit only having opened a couple of weeks earlier!


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