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Danube River Delta, Romania
At the end of its 1,771-mile journey across Europe, the mighty Danube River seems to give up trying to reach the Black Sea. It turns north, away from the coast, crosses the lonely steppe country, then frays into myriad channels, marshes, swamps and lakes edged by waterlogged willow trees.
Colonies of birds fly in from Asia, Africa and Siberia. In the stalled, murky water, giant carp and catfish lurk, sought by fishermen who live in villages that can be reached only by boat.
This is the Danube River delta, a 1.6-million-acre World Biosphere Reserve, out of time, unknown and remote, a lost puzzle piece at the wild, eastern edge of Europe. To see it is proof that the meandering river has never lost heart.
-- Susan Spano
Read more: The Danube's green waltz in Romania
Pictured: A horse-drawn hay cart modified with auto tires constitutes traffic in Romania's Danube River Delta in northern Dobrogea.