National Geographic : 1965 Jul
Frequently, shirtsleeved guards popped out of watchtowers. Throwing on jackets and caps, they hustled down to the riverbank, shouting at us and waving us inshore at rifle point to examine our papers. It always turned out that they were on the lookout for Bulgarian "wetbacks," people from across the river trying to sneak illegally into Rumania. When Chris explained our mission in basic Rumanian to one group of guards equipped with machine guns, they cheerfully gave us a tow downriver behind their patrol boat. At Galita a vineyard engineer of the leading Rumanian winery gave us crates of juicy grapes. Not far away we visited a fantastic archeological dig at a place called Island of the Sun, where excavation had exposed bases of huge pillars, apparently the foundations of an enormous Byzantine shipping terminal. Fragments of fine pottery were coming to light, and a treasure of coins. Nearby, test trenches had located ruins of a Roman village. Russian Sentry Cuts Visit Short Tied on behind two successive barge tows (petunias in window boxes, pairs of wooden sandals at the doors of curtained cabins), we rode grandly down the widening river. We were impressed by huge Russian barges pushed by powerful square-prowed tugs. Far better, obviously, than pulling the tows through the propeller wash. In the lower river we saw beamy Russian tankers driven by Beating clothes clean, women of Ivancea, a fishing village, toil in the broiling sun of the Danube Delta. After soaking garments in the river, they flail the dirt out of them. Grizzled fisherman scoops water from his boat before rowing out for carp, catfish, or pike in the delta marshes. Agile fingers of a delta woman twist raw wool into thread at Carasuhatu de Jos. The widow invited Chris Knight to breakfast on hot milk with melted sugar, roast corn, and bread. "I will cook for you," she said, "like I did for my husband." Her daughter sets out a round loaf of bread.