Blogs from Slavonia, Croatia, Europe


Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Vukovar June 26th 2016

Geo: 45.3441, 19.0109 While we sleep at night, the boat calmly and surely makes its way forward, heading northwards on the Danube. I awoke to a continual, peaceful scene, verdant foliage on the far bank as we leisurely rolled along. It was very early, not yet 5AM, but again the sun was shining; what beautiful weather we have had here! Soon little villages appeared, then bigger buildings, and I knew we were soon to dock in Vukovar, Croatia, where the boat would pass through customs. Once we were secured, I quickly dressed, wanting to go out for another delightful early morning walk at my own fast pace, not hampered or hindered by people who move along slowly and gracelessly, and yet who do not like anyone passing them by. Plus I enjoy moving quickly; it is ... read more

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Vukovar August 9th 2015

Today we head off for a tour of 2 cities in Croatia (and yes, I do have my Croatia t shirt on today). Firstly we visit Osijek, a little town about 20 minutes for our docking place at Vukovar. We get to see lots of interesting countryside and then a local farm visit to sample some locally made fruit brandy (Slivovic). The guy who runs the place was quite the comedian. Lots of stories about how to fish with a net, then he ran through a powerpoint of the local area with running commentary. Afterwards, we got to sample some of his local wines (red and white - very young indeed). Then we went to a local church where we had a private recital. One young lady on the piano and a singer. Beautiful piano work, ... read more

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia August 27th 2014

We met our Intrepid group of travellers. There were 9 other people aside from us, and our leader who was Croatian. The group was a good mix of nationalities - Australians, Brits, Americans and a New Zealander. One of the British travellers was our good friend Alan from Oxford - 87 years young and fighting fit. We met Alan on our 2008 Intrepid Middle Eastern Adventure - 4 weeks through Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. We met Alan again in 2009 in Budapest and again in 2011 at his home of Oxford, and he also came to visit us in Brisbane later that year. After a welcome dinner with our group and then drinks at a funky open air multi-storeybar, we went back to the hotel to rest for a big day ahead of exploring Budapest. ... read more
Osijek old town
Nice Croatian beer
Me and Bill at his birthday dinner

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Osijek July 21st 2014

On July 18th I set off on another solo trip through the balkans. A bit of background info to this trip is necessary. M and I were supposed to go on solo trips at the same time, her to the Alps and me to Bosnia. Hers was to do some serious mountaineering and mine was for background research for my next book. My trip was delayed because I was waiting for a new passport and some 400,000 applications were piling up in a conference room somewhere in the Scouse Republic, mine being one of them. Finally, a week ago, I set off on a train for Budapest and checked into the grimmest and most cheap and spiteful hostel I've ever seen, though for 10 euros for a private room one can hardly complain. The next morning ... read more
Crossing the border at Barcs
Entering Croatia
Church in Gornje Bazije

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Vukovar May 3rd 2013

Vukovar, Croatia This little city of about 40,000 is right on the Danube. On the other side is Serbia. This location has not always proved to be advantageous to the citizens of Vukovar. During the most recent Balkan war the Serbian army and Slobadon Milosovic, the Serbian leader, took a dim view of Croatia’s move toward independence. The Serbs tried to capture Vukovar but managed only to almost completely destroy it by lobbing artillery across the river until 90% of the city was leveled. We saw the first evidence of the war as we were pulling into the port facilities. There is a tall brick and concrete water tower on the edge of the port which is riddled with holes. I am told that the present government wants to leave it as it stands ... read more

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Vukovar June 22nd 2012

Just a quick entry about our visit to Vukovar, Croatia. We crossed into Serbia not long after and it felt strange putting Vukovar and Serbia together in one entry. After a fantastic dinner at our guide (Sonja)'s parents house, with homemade wild boar sausage and homemade rakija (the local brandy/schnapps), we temporarily left Croatia to head to Serbia. We nominated to do this via Vukovar, a town on the way to Serbia, without really knowing the significance of the town. However it all soon became apparent. Right on the border with Serbia, Vukovar suffered a 90 day seige by the Serbs where most of the town was completely destroyed. We visited the hospital which continued to function during this time, although it too was being bombed. They relocated all patients to the basement of the hospital, ... read more
Memorial hospital
Memorial hospital
Memorial hospital

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Osijek June 19th 2012

After spending a fair chunk of time wishing the weather would be more summery, my wishes have finally come true! It has been nearly 35 every day for the last four or so days, which although makes sightseeing a little more challenging and the local food a little heavy, does make it feel like a summer holiday. After rendezvous-ing with my new group (who have a much different demographic, I am the second youngest!), there was one more day in Budapest. Given the weather, I carefully considered my options and decided on a trip to the edge of the city to some Roman ruins. This involved a simple change to a suburban train from a metro station. Well not so simple after all, as they were doing track work. So it was on to a packed ... read more
Sun finally sort of sets
Getting my Croatian support on
Eco farm

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Osijek May 7th 2012

So we leave the hot and deserted beaches of the Venetian coast behind, having not actually seen the City! It was several hours of bus and ferry travel into the city (no cars allowed) so we pass over the city tour and vow to take a break here in the future sans Horace to see it. We head for the Slovenian border looking for a place to buy the famous vignette. A word about tolls, they can be expensive but that’s because we don’t have them much in UK. The alternative is usually a lot worse so we normally pay. It’s like using the A4 and having all the hassle of negotiating towns like Marlborough and Hungerford or paying to use the M4 and moving quickly on your way. The tolls are either paid at a ... read more
Croatia at night.
Horace hanging out in the harbour
Happy Dees

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Osijek May 5th 2012

Since the last ramblings of our travels we have had mixed fortunes with weather but have finally landed on our feet at a site just outside Venice on the Adriatic. The weather is perfect and we have achieved one ambition of the trip – to swim together in the sea with Horace. It is a perfect coast for swimming, shallow beaches that get deeper very gradually, as it is shallow it warms quickly in the sun and so clear that you can see your feet until you’re out of your depth (don’t want to tread on any nasties!) We travelled from our last stop in the Riviera dei Fiori just north of San Remo to a small town called Iseo on a lake of the same name. Placed between it’s more famous neighbours of lake Garda ... read more
The beach, nr Chioggio
coffee morning
go get that ball!

Europe » Croatia » Slavonia » Vukovar June 10th 2011

We spent one whole day cruising down the Danube so I thought I would tell you a little about the river. It is the 2nd longest river in Europe and the 25th longest in the world. It srarts in the Black Forest region of Germany and ends about 1,766 miles later on the Romanian coast and then empties into the Black Sea flowing from west to east. The Danube river basin is more than 300,000 square miles and includes parts of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, and Ukraine. While I mostly knew the 'Danube' as a pretty Strauss waltz, in reality it has shaped the destinies of many countries. The river was used to transport cargo such as salt, wood, and ores. The Roman emperors recognized its strategic location centuries ... read more

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