On the way to the South, 1st part

Hello, hi, what’s up, do you have a balcony (in Hungarian, it sounds much-much better, and has a meaning at least, trust me)?

By the way we do have, if that’s the question. And since one of our passenger asked it just like this, I thought it could be the perfect start. But this is not the main point. Since the last post, we’ve been in a totally new places for 2 weeks – I mean, all of us. Until now I just wrote about the things between Budapest and Nuremberg or Vilshofen. It was just the time – either if we want or not – to see something else. In this year, because we have a new, bigger ship, we’ll have 2 times to go almost until the Black See, until Rousse. To where? Yes, that’s right, to Rousse, Bulgaria. Small city, the center is nice, but nothing special. I did not hear so much good things from this trip, just that it will be hard time for the reception, much more attention, work, more checking and administration. I’ve told to The Boss, no worry, everything will be good. Since he’s coming back for this 2 weeks from 2 weeks vacation, so with full power, energized.

For that 2 weeks when he was gone, Attila came to replace him, and I have to confess, it was a pleasure to work with Him. I wish him all the best, I was happy that I could work with him, and I hope to see him again. Nice, smart, ambitious, so Sir, if you read these lines, keep up with the good work! 🙂

But now, the main point. We’ve arrived home on Saturday, and as usual, on Sunday we had disembarkation and embarkation, and on the same day’s evening we set sail, but now to the other direction. Around 11 pm we’ve passed Erd, my hometown. I’ve just seen the top of the Minaret with it’s lights, and it was a beautiful, warm feeling, almost like I was at home. But after a few seconds, this moment was gone, as the river kept hitting the shore with it’s blue-white waves. A little later I also go to sleep, tomorrow seemed like a hard day with long hours behind the desk. The Boss was flexible, so he said I could come one hour later than usual, but in exchange, the meaning of “break” was almost completely forgotten during the day, and the nights reached me with a little delay.

 

On a beautiful Monday we’ve arrived to Mohacs. I had no idea that any kind of ship has a stop here (if you didn’t count the local ferry), but still, they have, you can’t imagine. Mohacs is one of the most secured and checked place here on the Danube. Until our guest’s feet reached Hungarian lands, there was no problem at all, but as the night came, the border crossing came along with it. But it’s not so simple here, not at all! We had to relocate the ship to the international port, where the police, the authorities and the customs could came on board and check it. They could decide how the want to check the ship. For our luck, they were in their good mood. After the passenger’s face check, the crew had their turn. We’ve also made it, one by one, and of course, the European citizens did not get a stamp, but the others. In the end only 3 person left, The Big Boss, The Boss and me. After the police checked our pictures, the Big Boss asked them – just by fun – that we don’t get any stamp? The two officers looked at each other, and decided, why not to give a stamp for us? So first, they went through the Big Boss’s passport, found a blank page and stamped it. After her, the Boss got the same procedure. My passport was the last, so I’ve asked for a stamp. The gentleman checked the passport once-twice, turning the pages, looked surprised.

– Look at this, this one is still original. There is no stamp at all!

– Come on, no way. Check all the pages. – the lady replied.

– But I’ve already checked it, for sure it’s empty.

– Let me see – said again, and checked it. – Woow, look, it’s really empty. So is this your first stamp?

– Yes – I replied.

– Sir, then if you would like, you can put the stamp with your hand. – the guy said, and gave the machine to me.

First I did not know how to react, is it serious? Everyone was surprised, I was the most, but did not freeze, so I grabbed the stamper and pressed it to the paper! So, who can tell about him/herself, that he/she stamped his/her passport by him/herself during border crossing? 😛

 

 

 

So, in the end we’ve entered to Croatia. Tuesday’s first stop was Vukovar, where we sent out the guests for excursion, and after that we’ve continued sailing. There was nothing spectacular in this part, but literally. The Danube was much wider in this stretch then anywhere else before, but it’ll still change. In the afternoon, there was Ilok (what is that place, why we stopped here beside to pick up the guests, I have no idea), and after the technical stop we went toward until the evening, when we’ve reached Novi Sad. In the evening we could finish a little bit earlier, so had a chance to go out and have some fun, and the best part, we could do it with the guests.

 

Our guests had a tour under the near castle’s labyrinth, so I’ve asked the  responsible one if I could join the tour. She said yes, of course, If I want I could bring a plus one with me. So after all, we’ve joined to the bus with the guests, and headed to the castle. Everyone got 1-1 torch, and up in the castle we’ve met our tour guides.

The story of this place: this is a huge, enormous, strong castle, but really. Even more what is under and around that. Because the building itself is not so big, but the surroundings. From the sky it is star-shaped, the walls are in several layers after each other, just to make it harder to pass through them. From one side the forest, from the other side the Danube stands in your way if you would like to go around. So if someone wanted to pass here, there was only one way, just through the dead bodies of the castle’s defenders. But! According to the history, it wasn’t so easy, hadn’t happened so often. Neither the Turks could conquer this place, even if they were really strong. The key for the success was the managing of the supply. In the maze – if someone knew it – they could get fast from one point to another. But if someone was new here, he could get lost within a minute, and then good luck to get out from there alive! And of course, the fresh water was provided as well, thanks to the Danube. So this whole place is more mysterious, interesting than it looks like from the outside.

After the tour we had a nice dinner in the castle, on the balcony.  It was very nice, the place’s feeling was excellent, the view was picturesque, something like the view from the Halaszbastya Restaurant in Budapest. The waitress was kind, ordered a taxi for us and discussed with the driver where to take us. We could pay the ride only with local currency (Serbian dinar), what we’ve got from the local guide. He was one of the most helpful guide who I’ve ever met. He told us that he give some local currency for the dinner, no worry, tomorrow he’ll come again to the ship, I can give it back then. For my luck we could pay by euro in the restaurant, so we had to use this strange money only for the taxi, and of course on the next day I gave back all to him. But the dinner was fabulous, delicious food, excellent environment and feeling, and really, the cherry on the top of the cake, the view. To look down on the city of Novi Sad, through the bridge, as it’s lighted up under your feet, breathtaking, amazing.

After dinner we went back to the ship, and straight to sleep, next day was also a long one. But I’ll tell you about it in the next episode.

To be continued…

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