Travel Journal #32 Pentecost Monday – from Mohacs to Vukovar

Long before 6 a.m. the Hungarian sun kissed us awake. Sunrise directly mirrored in the river Danube – what a special treat! And again a delicious breakfast in St. Johannes of Mohacs.

bild0314 We departed at 7.45 p.m. Near Udvar, we cross the border to Croatia.

On the Croatian side of the border, we actually got another stamp in our passports. These days, as EU countries get ever closer to each other, this happens rather seldom.

The first 50 kilometres were sensational. There is an immense vastness to the landscape. Small streets everywhere, little traffic. The sun is shining, but it is not at all hot. Shops, coffee houses and bars are open on Pentecost Monday in Croatia.

Only as we near Osijek, the roads get a little less comfortable to ride on. Traffic increases considerably. Now we got east – and the wind is all of a sudden an easterly one!
Immediately after entering Osijek, we cross the river Drau. In Osijek, we can study city life while eating meat stewers and drinking beer. It looks much like at home, and yet somehow different.

I rather like the small street cars in Osijek. It all gives you the impression of liveliness.

Then we learn about the (hopefully past) regional problems. More and more areas on both sides of the streets are closed. Signs warn that trespassing is forbidden, because of deathly mines. In between, there are mine fields that have already been cleaned. Now these fields look hopeless and fear-inspiring. The soil has been digged over and there are no plants whatsoever. The construction progress is marked by ribbons.

In one of the fields, we see mine sweepers at work. The men work with steel-plated crawler tractors. The front bumpers have special equipment, barrels and chains. It is really creepy.

The nearer we get to Vukowar, the more the damage done by the 1991 war is obvious.

bild0317However, there is also something nice to report. Near the road, we find a strawberry salesman. We decide to have a strawberry snack. They taste as nice as they smell. Very fresh, very ripe, and very tasty.

Then it starts raining! First, there is just a little drizzle, but soon we have a real country rain. That is why we finish todays jouney at Vukovar. We have no problem at all finding a wonderful hotel called LAV. I can really recommend it.

We are, again, welcomed most warmly. The bikes get a special place in the hotel workshop.

Next to our beautiful hotel, there is an out-bombed shop. Spooky. This same evening, we are going to see pictures from that time in a Vukowar restaurant. It is really an atrocious madness. It seems that, in a way, the (we) people will never learn.

Than, Barbara and I promenade through Vukovar (while it rains cats and dogs). This is a town that has really been hit. And it seems that no economic miracle for re-building is about to take place.

Nevertheless, we find a nice Croatian restaurant – “time for dinner”. It is deserted, like all of Vukovar. The waitress says she hopes to get a few more guests. Nevertheless, dinner tastes excellent. Afterwards, we go back to our hotel.
Looking like two totally wet poodles, we arrive. Now into bed. Barbara sleeps and I “go” internet – writing today’s travel journal. While I write, it happens: I actually see a freight ship driving on the river Danube!

I finish with a little reading: what is new in the world? It seems like Paderborn had little difficulty beating Osnabrück, same as the club did with Cottbus. Haching would have done no worse. What a pity.

But back to the really important issues: tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., breakfast will be served at the LAV, then we will continue our journey, rain or no rain.

(translated by EG)

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