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Calendar >  River Trip Update

River Trip Update

By   /  October 4, 2015  /  No Comments

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After a night of sailing we arrived in the Serbian town of Nova Sad. Nova Sad is a university town and has a quiaint park that leads to a pedestrian walkway and a large Christian Orthodox church. The town is very clean. Not much was open when we arrived so after a short walk we stopped in a very nice McCafe for a Macchiato on National Coffee Day. The pastries were amazing.

After a short stay we were back on the river boat and headed for Vukovar, Croatia. We arrived in port around 6 pm and took about an hour and a half walk through part of the downtown area. This city is going through growing pains at this time as it was one of the hardest hit Croatian cities from the Croatian War of Independence, also referred to as the Homeland War. This war with Serbia lasted from 1991-1995 and was between Croatian forces loyal to Croatia and the Serbian controlled Yugoslavia Republic Army. Croatia was declaring independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The port town of Vukovar was hard hit and numerous buildings still show the scars from the war. Many have never been repaired. The population of Vukovar fell from 45,000 to under 25,000 for the last years, many moving to other parts of Europe.

Our guide told us there is over a 35% unemployment rate in the city as many factories closed never to open again. The eastern coastal cities of Croatia were spared from most of the war. Our river boat then pulled out of this area and sailed overnight to Mohacs, Hungary where we had to go through facial recognition on board by Hungarian Customs officials. After we were cleared we boarded a bus for a 45 minute bus ride to the town of Pecs, Hungary. Our guide told us Mohacs has an unusual custom that is on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage sites.

They have a 4 day festival/custom at the beginning of the winter season involving men wearing bizarre monster type costumes made of twigs, branches and other materials with scary masks who go around the town dancing and performing other activities to scare the cold/winter away. What is unusual also is that this Hungarian custom involves people of Croatian ancestry that live in Hungary and you must be accepted/approved to take part in this activity.

Some general history about Hungary, Romans in the 3rd century were some of the first settlers here. In the 6th century Attila the Hun controlled the area, but the name Hungary does not come from him. The name Hungary actually comes from eastern Russia, when horse riding peoples drove Attila out and took control. 1000 AD saw the first Hungarian King. For the town of Pecs, 1367 saw the 1st university in Europe established. This town has beautiful architecture and is at the edge of the Mecsek mountains.

We enjoyed a nice walking tour and went into a local cathedral with amazing frescoes painted on the walls and roof. We also were treated to a short organ recital from the massive organ and a trip into the catacombs that strongly resembled the inside of a Turish mosque.

Our morning ended with free time to roam the pedestrian streets of the town. They are famous for leather goods, especially gloves and for ceramics. The town also is a world heritage site due to having the largest necropolis in the town outside of the necropolis’s of Italy. The drive back took us through the flat farm land of Hungary.

We are now on our way to Budapest where we will stay for a couple of days. We will have to watch our pockets in Budapest due to the large number of gypsies in this town and the high number of pick pockets, but the market areas are supposed to be quiet amazing for shopping.

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  • Published: 9 years ago on October 4, 2015
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  • Last Modified: October 4, 2015 @ 11:13 pm
  • Filed Under: Travel
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