September 6th, 2010 browsing by day


Monday Sept 6 Novi Sad, Serbia

Monday, September 6th, 2010

On Saturday I ended up having breakfast in Mohacs, Hungary, lunch while waiting for the Serbian customs to check the boat and dinner at anchor that evening near Bodovo, Croatia. Saturday was a gorgeous sunny, warm day. At daybreak I rode back into Mohacs to take pictures. Then upriver to the customs station. At first the officers insisted I bring the boat back upstream. But I pleaded that it was just too hard on my engine. Police, health and customs officers and the folding bike then all went for a ride in the patrol boat. Then the next fear I had was that the patrol boat would need to tie up on Fleetwood and with the current that could be a major hazard to the structure. But they found a pontoon next door and then they decided to forgo the boarding after all. My tie up that Friday night onto Bela’s pontoon rubbed the paint off in one spot down to the primer. The wake from the passing barges was just too violent and I should have had larger fenders instead of rubbing on the car tires of the pontoon. Bela was so impressed with my endeavor after spending two hours reading up on the web site. He did not want me to pay for the moorage. Great guy. Mohacs will remain one of my favorite places I ever visited. There was a great farmers market in town. Lots of colorful piles of Paprikas. Bought ripe plums and vegetables. I will add the pictures at the next stop in Belgrade. This internet cafe does not allow USB uploads. How I wished I had my own laptop again…. In Hungary the language was a major obstacle. Here in Serbia and Croatia my chit chat vocabulary I learned from Roman Wydra comes in handy. Roman always made sure I had the pronunciation right. There are still many places that show the 1999 Kosovo war wounds. The landscape has become a bit monotone with fewer towns or farms. There are several nature preserves and forest along this stretch. Willow, Poplar plantations. I could be going down the Columbia River or the Po.  Lots of Cormorants, Herons, Terns and since Budapest I have started to see Egrets. I am now about as far south as the Danube flows before it starts going more East and even North at the end. Latitude 45 North, about the same as Milan, Italy. The nights are fresh but the last two days I have been just in shorts again. It was too late Saturday to make it to customs in Bodovo, clear in and make it to the marina in Vukovar. I found a perfect quiet anchorage. Sunday morning I searched for the custom station and radioed on their frequency but got no reply. Then I tied up on the police dock in the pleasure harbor of Vukovar. And brought my bike out to clear in after I got the directions. This was at 9 a.m. Mass in Vukovar was at 11.  But the police boat officer, after calling the station, insisted I drive the boat back upstream to the station. I shook the Croatia dust off my sandals and took of for Novi Sad. While at the dock there I got a visit from, Belgian, Pierre Verberght, he happened to be a tour guide on a German Cruise Boat that made a stop at Vukovar. Pierre is the Danube guru and is the principal source for the current charts he publishes of the major European rivers.

I am in a funky marina in Novi Sad. I arrived at mid afternoon and the club members invited me to their lunch party. I had a little bit too much of their Schnaps. But the company was delightful. Novi Sad is a beautiful city of a quarter million Serbs. The second largest after Belgrade. Just like Vietnam in 2006 I was warned not to fly my large American ensign. But war wounds do heal. We took out all of their Danube bridges.

The same thoughts trouble my mind now visiting the scene where such atrocities took place as they did when I first drove through Bavaria, near Dachau. Villages with their churches, farm fields with the traditional small chapels and statutes of the Virgin Mary. The same harmony and friendly people here. How could these people have let this happen? Could I be the next Milochovic?

Belgrade is just 80 kms from here and I plan to spend two nights there.