Boat Trip, Day Ten

Danube River

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[All day cruising the Danube on now Thursday, April 30, through the “Iron Gate,” famed in song and story, with Serbia and the Balkan Mountains on the starboard side and Romania and the Carpathian Mountains on the port side.]

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[I was among the early risers to be up top . . . for this.  Gorgeous!  And my kinda weather, delightfully chilly.  This was a day that would require very little effort on my part, so that made it even better.  Wait a sec, is that the sun breaking through?  Boo!]

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[River bank travel on the starboard side required a few tunnels be built.]

From “About Travel”:  The Iron Gates of the Danube River originally consisted of four narrow gorges and three wide basins spread over several miles of the river dividing Romania and Serbia. In the 1960s, a huge lock and dam was built to control the speed of the river and make navigating this section of the Danube River safer. Today, the river flowing through the Iron Gates is peaceful, and it is 130 feet higher than prior to the dam and power station. The effect of the dam can be felt on the river for over 100 miles, and two locks, spread more than 50 miles apart, anchor each end of the Iron Gates. Over 23,000 citizens living along the river had to be resettled after the dam was complete.

Danube River cruises in eastern Europe like those with Viking River Cruises sail through the Iron Gates in daytime, and the scenery is spectacular, even though not as dramatic as it was 40 years ago. The Iron Gates and the Wachau Valley in Austria are probably the most scenic parts of the Danube River.

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[Reetz has her stocking cap on – trying to catch a quickie.]

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[A greenhouse?  Veggies and stuff?  Nope, this is Lepenski Vir.  Never heard of it?  Me neither, but it’s an important Mesolithic archaeological site, from maybe 10,000 years ago.]

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[Just making sure the pilot is still in the cockpit . . . ]

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[Hard to see how you get to the place?]

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[Hmmm, must have had to visit an indoor facility then, so what better opportunity to show off the crew.   As with our France trip, the captain spoke little English – the language of river traffic is German.  But the hotel manager, and, of course, Cornelia and Polina, who were mainly tasked with keeping the passengers happy, spoke excellent English.]      ]

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[A Danube Gibraltar?]

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[The city of Orsova, making a guess, rebuilt after the dam.]

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[Yup, those are Sketchers . . . extremely comfortable and appropriate for all occasions.]

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[Karen keeps lookout as we head to the narrows.]

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[Yup, those are The Biddies . . . extremely comfortable and appropriate for all occasions.]

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[When you come to the fork in the river, take it.]

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[OMG, I think it’s Kim Kardashian!!]

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[Our passage has everyone’s attention now as we jockey for camera positions.]

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[So what is the Super shooting?]

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[Why it’s little o’ me.]

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[Ponicova cave]

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[Wavy cliff striations]

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[The cockpit is now multi-crewed.]

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[That’s to let you know you missed 967 but 969 is just ahead . . . or vice-versa.]

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[Mraconia Monastery (Orthodox)]

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[King Decebal, Romania’s Mt. Rushmore]

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[He looks like one of my Norwegian Christmas tree ornaments.]

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[Trajan’s tablet, a little local history:  Trajan built a suspended road and a bridge to prosecute the Dacian war. This tablet, from Roman times, memorializes that feat. Its translation is as follows: 

“Emperor Nerva son of the divine Nerva, Nerva Trajan, the Augustus, Germanicus Pontifex Maximus, invested for the fourth time as Tribune, Father of the Fatherland, Cousul for the third time, excavating mountain rocks and using wood beams made this road.” 

This is the original inscription, but was moved to a higher location to preserve it when the dams were built and the area flooded. (From a Flickr site)]

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[Yup, those are feet . . . occasionally comfortable (such as now) and a podiatrist’s nightmare.]

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[You put the lime in the coconut . . . and call me in the morning.]

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[Only good up to 80 kilograms?]

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[The first of the two locks . . . or was it the second?]

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[Doubled-teamed by Polina (who is Bulgarian) and Cornelia in teaching us the Cyrillic alphabet (which, like Polina, is Bulgarian).  Yup, we’re heading to Bulgaria.]

Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them ‘Taters Got Eyes.  ~  Lewis Grizzard

Up next:  Sections or Bulgaria . . . decisions, decisions?

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