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The Iron Gates of the Danube

First, my unofficial copy editor, Torbjörn, alerted me to some problems in the 93-94 book. So if you were waiting to get a copy, wait until I fix it. Thanks, Torbjörn.

I found a better shot of the Golubac Fortress

Remember I said the road at one time went through the fort? Here’s a shot of the road. It hugs the Danube on the Serbian side. The other side of the river is Romania.

Here are some videos of cruising down the Iron Gates. I had to mute some of the sounds because of the wind noise. In the gorge, especially, it’s quite windy. You can read about the grotto and the Roman monument at the end of the video in the link from yesterday. The river is much higher than it was in ancient times because of the construction of the locks. The monument was raised when they built them.


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Golubac Fortress

It dates back to the 14th century. It lies at the eastern end of a large lake  on the Danube in Serbia. Romania is on the other side. It has a long history of military conflicts. Until recently the road (I couldn’t call it a highway) went in one gate and out the other. Recently a tunnel was built to bypass it. Here’s our guide. He was pretty good – didn’t talk too much. He was dressed in a Serbian costume from the Ottoman times.

Cannon Balls. The bigger ones were well over a foot in diameter:

Can you see that rock in the water at the top right of the photo. That’s what Golubana was supposed to be tied to. Click the link at the bottom of the pictures to read about who she was.

In the picture above you can see the gate that used to be the main road. Big trucks had a hard time.

The fortress guarded the entrance to the Djerdap Gorge. That link will preview tomorrow’s post.

I got yesterday’s strip and today’s out of order. This one should have been posted yesterday. Hey, I’m old.

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Dining out in Belgrade

This is Skadarska Street. It’s lined with restaurants, and each restaurant has a band. Serbian food and Serbian music…

That last group was singing at our table,

OK, before you edit me. the guy has 10 hamsters, not 1 hamsters.

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I’ve corrected the 91-92 collection thanks to Torbjörn.  In case you have the book, this  the missing strip, one I liked very much:

The first mistake about the Quacko story was the result of my trying to correct a previous mistake in the story and screwing it up. I checked, and I had prepared the story in 2019.

Also, the pages in the Piranha of the Year story were out of order. Page 4 should have been page 2, page 3 should have been page 4, and page 2 should have been page 3. Or something like that. The reason this happened was because I had labeled page 2 in the story inconsistent with the other pages. I wrote a little routine to insert the pages into my word document automatically, and the file names of the pages in that story were out of order. But everything has been corrected now. I think.

But where am I? Oh, yes, Belgrade…

Many shops specialize in Orthodox religious pictures and items.

Rakia seems to be the national drink of Serbia and Slovakia:

This is the ancient fortification, ‎⁨Kalemegdan. The city is to the left in this picture This is the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. Belgrade proper is in the distance.

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The most beautiful building in Belgrade, Serbia, is the Church of Saint Sava. It’s nearing completion after a hundred years or so.

It’ almost 300 feet tall. The dome weighs 4000-tons. It took like 3 months to get it up there. But the inside is what’s incredibly beautiful. The guide told us how many mosaic tiles were on the walls. Several million as I remember. The mosaics weigh in at 400 tons, most plated in 24 carat gold. It’s just incredible.

This is the central dome:

I’d start going to church again if we had something like that in Bradenton.

In front of St Sava is a statue of a very fampous Serbian genius:

If you can’t read the inscription, it’s Nikola Tesla.

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Monday – NoviSad, Serbia

Torbjörn pointed out a mistake (actually two mistakes) in the 91-92 book. P 83. I seem to recall that I caught that problem last Spring and fixed it. I must have screwed up. So what else is new? Thanks, Torbjörn. I’ll fix it.

One thing I can say about the Serbian tour guides is that they can talk for 2 1/2 hours without drawing a breath. Drive you nuts.  See this? they call it the Gibralter of the Danube. Never conquered. At least that’s what they said.


This story is from 20008.

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Cruising in Serbia

This was just after Croatia, sailing toward the Serbian city of Novi Sad.


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Ilok, Croatia

It’s at the very northeast corner of Croatia. The church of St. John of Capistrano is high on a ridge overlooking the Danube. He was a warrior priest who defeated the Ottomans. It’s the same guy the city in California is named for. Evidently, not only was he a terrific general, he also performed lots of miracles on the side. Back then Ilok was part of Hungary. He’s buried in the church. By the altar there is a glass casket with a shred of his garment.

The Danube is to the left of the fortifications. There is a good view from the church.

The green water in the foreground is a swampy area. The river is in the background. If you turned around from the view in the church photo, you would see a palace and behind that is a wine cellar.

I’m not kidding when I tell you that for €5 I bought what may very well be the best red wine that I have ever tasted. The label is Capistrano. They drink 95% of the wine they make, so Croatian wine is very hard to find outside of the country. The guide had never heard of San Juan Capistrano in California. Nor, for that matter, When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano. I hummed a few bars for him. They say that Croatia is incredibly beautiful. I’d like to go back and see more of it and drink another bottle of that wine.

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