Rollin' on the River

Trip Start Sep 17, 2013
Trip End Dec 06, 2013

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Monday, September 30, 2013

Vukovar & Osijek, Croatia

Rollin' on the River

More cold and rain.  Can this stop now?  Once again the ignorant American didn’t realize that this city, the largest port for Croatia on the Danube was 90% destroyed by the 87 day Croatian War of Independence or Homeland War.  The damage is considered the worst since WWII.  Approximately 25,000 people were killed or are missing.  As you can imagine the political atmosphere is highly charged and is a long and complicated situation.  From the Hapsburgs to Tito, Croatia has seen more than their fair share of invasions and wars.   Osijek is a smaller village north of Vukovar.  It also had some destruction during the Homeland war but it wasn’t damaged as badly as Vukovar.  Our stop in Osijek was at a family’s home.  Our host gave us a comical overview of Croatia’s history including the story of how the locals repelled the Ottoman Turks by dressing up in sheep skins and making noise to scare them away.  Well, that’s the short version. I’ve included a photo of it.  They offered homemade brandy (walnut, cherry, apricot, etc.), homemade sausage and little knick-knacks.  Back to the old part of Vukovar where we toured the old fortress and a neo-gothic church known the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul but the locals refer to it as St. Anthony’s.  Can’t remember why…  On the way back to the ship we passed a bombed out building in Vukovar with beautiful pink flowers cascading down – a symbol of hope for the Croatians and a building that appeared on the cover of National Geographic.

On board afternoon entertainment was a local Croatian Tamburica band that plays "tamburo" music.   These six guys playing string instruments were wonderful.  One instrument was completely unfamiliar to me.  It began with a “B” in Croatian but the English translation is “pearl”.   As they were playing, I was thinking, this sounds a little like Bill Monroe.  The style of music and instruments had a similar sound and rhythm to Texas Swing and Bluegrass. They should be on Austin City Limits.  The next thing you know they played Proud Mary (Ike and Tina Turner’s version) and Take Me Home, Country Roads.  Actually, these two songs were the most current music we’ve heard on board!  I liked it – we bought their CD!  How could we go down this river without hearing Proud Mary?  Rain and cold is expected for tomorrow.  Dreaming of my sweet Pierre.
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Barbara Thurgood on

No mention of John. Is he still among the living?

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