Traveler's journal

"I first heard about the muddy volcanoes in fifth grade geography class. They're a unique phenomenon in Europe, my teacher told us with pride. This term didn't mean much to me at the time but I was taken back by the colorful images of the craters and by the thought of gleefully playing in salty mud. Fast forward to today, I anxiously search for this natural reservation on maps and along isolated green roads. Unsure of its location, I ask the locals for directions. They tell me to follow the red banner with Muddy Land logo that leads to Paclele Mari. Ten minutes after entering the Berca area, travelling next to the local shepherds and stopping to admire the sunset, I reach the valley of the Muddy Volcanoes. There, someone suggests I should follow the paved road. I’m excited but at the same time I want to enjoy every step, taking in the rare flowers that grow here adding to the mystique of the place. As I climb, I turn to admire the remote landscape, careful not to stray too far from the sparse civilization here. Finally, I reach the first volcano and start feeling as awed as a child getting his first toy. The volcanoes bubble, their depth and what happens after they fade away, fascinate me. And there`s the answer to my question, a dying volcano turns into a hill. Oh, there’s another mound and yet another one that's even bigger! I run around and it seems as if each formation has its own story. If you took a photo of me on this scorched land it would almost seem like I was taking my first step on the moon. Under the last beams of light, I relax, close my eyes and touch the shriveled ground. In the silence, the volcanoes continue to murmur their stories..."

Iulia Boboc
19 of August 2005