Bianca’s Brown Bear Experience
Ciao! My name’s Bianca. A few things you should know about me:
- I am a big animal lover, and an animal rights activist. I volunteer with PETA, and also run a Facebook Page about Animal Welfare News.
- I studied Animal welfare, the environment and politics at University.
- I’ve always been interested in sustainable travel – I try my best to save the planet, or at least not to make the situation any worse than it already is…
While searching on Eco Companion, I came across The Brown Bear Experience, and immediately I fell in love. With the opportunity to visit cities and castles, as well as to watch animals in their natural habitats, I knew that this would be the perfect experience for me.
At this point, I had already had some personal reasons for choosing this tour in particular, through my work as an activist. After learning about ‘the world’s worst zoo’ in Armenia, where animals like lions and bears were living in terrible conditions, I decided I wanted to help. I used some of my skills to make a difference in any way I could, by doing some translation work and also donating to France’s leading animal protection NGO, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.
I later found out that some of the bears from this zoo had actually been rescued and transferred to Romania – the thought that I might actually get to see some of the animals I had helped to protect was truly thrilling!
The Booking Process
After chatting to Eco Companion, I decided to go ahead and book the trip of a lifetime!
I received lots of information pre-departure, giving me an idea of what to expect from the experience. I was sent a leaflet, all of the itinerary information, and a helpful guide. I’m the kind of traveller who spends days researching and reading about the places I visit; the booklet included everything I needed to know: the history, the politics, the language but also tips on what to wear and where to go at night.
Our guide, Dragos, who soon became a friend, greeted us with a drink at the hotel in Bucharest.
He is very knowledgeable and passionate about his work, which made us even more excited about the trip.
It was a pleasure to spend time with him and the rest of the group. We were like-minded people – we all wanted to experience the beauty of nature, but also have a good laugh together!
On the way to Brasov, we stopped at Peles Castle where we were able to skip past the long queue. The guide then took us around; smart and funny, he made the experience really enjoyable.
In the afternoon we went to the Bear Hide, walking through the Carpathian Mountains. Our guide Cosmin greeted us with Țuică (a traditional Romanian spirit) and told us about his work in protecting the bears and other wild animals. Once we got to the Bear Hide we sat and waited to watch the animals in their natural environment.
We were lucky enough to see few bears and two cubs! This was the high point of the holiday; it’s not every day you come to see a family of wild animals.
Next was our visit to the Libearty Bear Sanctuary.
The Libearty Sanctuary is, between others, home to two bears who made news in the UK when they were rescued from the “world’s worst zoo” in Armenia, as I mentioned earlier. I am a big animal lover and one of the highlights of the trip was seeing these two bears living happily and healthy.
As an animal rights advocate, meeting the rescued bears I had helped to save was both emotional and inspiring. At the end of the tour we visited the souvenir show and I ended up adopting a bear. I couldn’t help myself!
We continued with a visit to Bran Castle (more famously known as ‘Dracula’s Castle!), before returning to Bucharest for some time at our leisure. Before leaving us at our hotel, our guide Dragos gave us more advice on few other places to visit – some hidden gems only known to the locals!
On the last day we went to the Village Outdoor Museum. If you love animals you’ll be in for a treat… there are cats and chickens everywhere. It’s great for adults and children and very well kept.
Finally a private driver came to picked us up from the hotel to take us to the airport for our flight back to the UK.
From the beginning to the end we felt really looked after!
So that was my adventure!
Why not follow in my footsteps, and discover the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of Romania for yourself as a traveller on the Brown Bear Experience?