Well today we leave Western Europe and head into the Balkans area with our arrival into Vukovar and Osijek. The main reason for this very noticeable difference is that in 1991 was the outbreak of the Balkans war mainly between Crotia and Serbia. There are still houses and a few buildings that show the results of the war – particularly in Vukovar. Vukovar, where we docked, is right on the Danube and indeed a very pretty town as they have done a considerable amount of rebuilding after the war.
The main tour today was to the Tvrda fortress in Osijek. I will not attempt to describe as this reference is quite good. While there we lucked out as there was, in the fortress courtyard a ‘flea’ market going on. Picked up an embroidered tablecloth for Patricia. Croatia is well known for this type of needlework.
After this, we visited various Croatian family homes, 10 people per group and had a chance to talk with them over tea and crumpets. The lady whose house we visited had an absolutely awesome garden in her large backyard. Fruit trees, apricots, apples, etc., all kinds of vegetables. The house had been pretty much destroyed in the Balkans war but the Croatian government furnished funds to rebuild houses. Based on the number of people living there you were given so much money to rebuild. Some of the houses in her area, very few, have not been rebuilt and do serve as a reminder of how bad it was.
After the house visit, we went back to the ship. Later Susan, Pat and I (Patricia is almost over her cold) went into the town center of Vukovar to look around. They have a really nice town museum which we toured and then just looked around. Pat and Susan headed back to the ship and I wandered around a bit more. The town center is very very well kept up as this is the area the rebuilt right after the war. They redid it pretty much to the same designs as before the war. They do have a three-story shopping center in the town center which is quite nice and modern, movie theater, grocery store, clothing stores, general merchandise shops – very nice. It was a Saturday afternoon so they had set up some booths, kids were playing volleyball, families walking around – very pleasant afternoon.
Wake up in Vukovar and have breakfast before your excursion to the Croatian city of Osijek. Inhabited since Neolithic times, this area has had several heydays under the Romans, the Ottomans and the Hapsburgs; now Vukovar is revered for its baroque buildings, parks and monuments. Return aboard for lunch and enjoy free time before an early evening departure.