S: Mindy and Teri Travel in Eastern Europe
BC: The End
FC: Danube River Trip June 2006 | Romania Bulgaria Serbia Croatia Hungary | We Made It!
1: Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures. Susan Sontag And so we did.....
2: In June 2006 Mindy Brooks and Teri Brooks embarked on a river boat tour on the Danube. The tour started in Bucharest, Romania and ended in Budapest, Hungary. Most nights were spent on the M.S. Adagio, while days were spent on the Danube or touring cities in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia and Hungary. This book is a collection of photos and notes from that trip. Waiting 5 years to complete this did not aid my memory, I take full credit for all errors and omissions. A Mother's Day 2011 gift from Teri to Mindy.
3: Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art. Freya Stark
4: Bucharest, Romania Travelled to Romania via St. Louis, Raleigh, NYC, Frankfurt Day 2. Started our travels with the group tour here at the hotel. Visited the Arc de Triomphe, Museum of Romanian Craft by walking. The street was lined with Embassies, with guards posted at each building. Dinner was at an outdoor restaurant with musicians playing American songs from the 40s. Day 3 we toured Bucharest by bus, with a city guide who focussed on the Communist period (1947-1989) and the overthrow and execution of Nicolae Ceausescu,after he impoverished and brutalized the people of Romania. Buildings with bullet holes are preserved. The guide pointed out the wildly extravagant Parliament Building, second in size only to the Pentagon of administrative buildings when constructed. The construction of this meant the residents had no power many days. | Kretzulescu Church Bucharest
5: The Arc de Triomphe was finished in Deva granite in 1936. Designed by the architect, Petre Antonescu, the Arc stands 85 feet high.
6: Images from Museum of the Peasant, Bucharest, Romania
7: Statue of Vlad the Impaler, famous to us as the Dracula of Bram Stoker's book, but known in Romania as a great hero for fighting against the Ottomans.
8: Freedom Square top left Palace of Parliament below
9: Day 3. Travelled by train from Bucharest to the port city of Constanta. Founded by the Greeks, famous for being the place that Augustus banished the poet Ovid. Ovid died here, after describing it: "by his account a town located in a war-stricken cultural wasteland on the remotest margins of the empire". This helped set the tone of the trip - this part of the world has gone through a lot of conflict.
10: Boarded our river ship: M.S. Adagio, in Constanta. City tour the following day included Ovid Museum, Greek ruins, early Mosque.
11: National History and Archeological Msuem in Constanta. Every household had a snake that must not be injured, or misfortune would come. Took a driving tour by the riverfront Casino, Mosque and Roman Mosaic. We also explored an excavated Roman commercial area.
12: Images from Constanta, Romania.
13: Black Sea canal history talk from our guides. Politicians considered working on the canal to be a good way to get rid of political prisoners. Over 30 years to complete, loss of life not recorded. Daily talks on board our river ship prepared us for the next day's touring. Focus in Romania on brutal regimes, changes beginning in 1989. Day 4 we learned a little Cyrillic for our visit to Bulgaria. and some survival Bulgarian: Dobar den. Kak ste? or Good day. How are you? On left is a stork nest as seen from the train.
15: M.S. Adagio Details This was our home for 7 nights. The onboard meals were amazingly good, meals were served at specified times and the entire ship dined at once. The rooms were larger than we expected, the bathroom tiny. We cruised close enough to the river banks that we could see many details on land. And when we passed through the locks, with minimal clearance everyone was on deck holding their breath. Ship Facts: Built in 2002 410' long; 38' wide 9.7 mph upstream;p 13.4 mph downstream 2 Caterpillar engines with 1050 Hp each; 2 Caterpillar Generators; 1 Caterpillar Back up generator 59k gallons fresh water; 39k gallons fuel Burn rate: 55 gallons diesel per hour
16: Dock at Ruse, Bulgaria Visit to Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi, Bulgaria Day 5. Took a bus ride from the M.S. Adagio to the ancient city of Veliko Tarnovo. En route we stopped to eat lunch at a local restaurant. Veliko Tarnovo dates from the 4th century BC. Built on four hills, the city served as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Tarnovo was a quasi-cosmopolitan city, with many foreign merchants and envoys. It is known that Tarnovo had Armenian, Jewish and Roman Catholic ("Frankish") merchant quarters besides a dominant Bulgarian population. Mindy had a small cut on her finger, that became infected over the time we had been travelling. In Bulgaria the ship staff found a doctor for us and he came on board, gave Mindy a shot and dressed the cut. She saw another doctor later on in the trip who also dressed it and prescribed antibiotics. Total cost for the ship housecall - under $100.00.
17: Mindy at Tzarevez Hill, Veliko Tarnovo
18: Arbanassi, a preserved historic area in Velika Tarnovo, includes 80 houses, churches and two monasteries from the 17th and 18th centuries.
19: We bought crayon drawings from these kids in front of a church. We bourght crayone drawings these kids were selling by a church. | We climbed a hill to reach this and walked in. Inside the monks chanted for us.
21: River Cruising - Bridge Commentary on Danube River Day 6. Sailing all day. Our guides talked about life under Communism. Our guide Koranna Gulobovic is Serbian, while the others were from Hungary and Romania. Each one had a different family experience to relate. The gorge lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south. At this point, the river separates the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. | Overnight we passed through the Iron Gates. Everyone went out on the top deck to watch. These were put in during the 1960s. Romania and Yugoslavia cooperated to build them here, the Danube was very dangerous. The hydroelectric dams are called Iron Gates I and II.
22: Dav 7. Dock at Veliko Gradiste and take a bus to Belgrade. Used as a gateway to western Europe from the Balkans. Visited Old Town Hall, St. Sava Orthodox Cathedral and Kelemegdan Castle. From the castle the view is of the confluence of the River Sava and the Danube. | Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro | Confluence of two rivers: Sava and Danube.
23: In Belgrade we took a bus to visit the Josip Broz Tito Memorial. | We were interested to learn how respected and admired Tito was by the people, who viewed him as holding Yugoslavia together following WW II. | Kalemegdan Castle Grounds
24: Day 8. Novi Sad Capital of the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina. Sometimes called the "Serbian Athens", Novi Sad has been a thriving cultural and economic settlement for centuries. Records date a fortress there to Roman times. Novi Sad was pretty, friendly, lots of people in the 5 pointed town square enjoying themselves. They had a public art project using horses at the time. | Belgrade and Novi Sad Serbia-Montenegro
26: Day 9. Ship sails to Vukovar where we go through Customs. Vukovar was the site of the worst artillery shelling of the Croatian-Serbian War. We walked through town and saw many ruined areas. Then boarded a bus to Osijek. | Memorial Cross Vukovar, Croatia | Drava River
28: Day 9 continued. That afternoon we joined a family for a hosted lunch at their home. They showed us their garden, in a pretty small back yard they had pigs, chickens, fruit trees, vegetables, corn. Very intensive farming, although they also had jobs outside the home. And their house was on an intown street, all the other houses also had these deep and narrow back yards. They told us that they only buy milk at the grocery. Their grown son lives with them, when he marries they will split the house in two and share it. During lunch we had a plum liquor, homemade, that was drunk daily to prevent illness.
30: Day 10. We left the ship and transferred to a hotel in Budapest. The entry to the harbor was very beautiful.
31: Dohany Street Synagogue Second largest in the world. Built in 1854-59 in the Moorish Revival style. Bombed in 1939 by pro-Nazi groups, turned into a stable during WWII, and used as the head of German Radio.
33: We had an excellent guide who explained all the details of the building, the funding, the restoration and so on. The second day in Budapest we travelled to Szentendre to visit an area that is primarily a tourist location. A Hungarian version of a beach town. With a stop along the way to buy diamonds. The hotel we stayed at had a beautiful spa in the basement, we had massages, walked on river stones, dipped in pools at various temperatures and rested in a room of total silence. Very refreshing!
35: Mom, thanks for being a wonderful companion, as well as the inspiration for the trip. I would never have seen all these wonderful sights, and learned so much about this part of the world. But most importantly I got to experience all this with you. With love, Teri