Wednesday, April 24-Day 6
Overnight we had docked in the Sava River port of Belgrade. Sunshine streamed into the boat this morning as we prepared to leave on our trip for the day. As we boarded the coach at 8.30 am, we were looking forward to visiting Kalemegdan Parkand the Belgrade Fortress contained in the park.
The bus rolled around the city centre as our guide, Marigold, (her Serbian name was unpronounceable) did a fantastic job of informing us while keeping things light. She was not above throwing in the occasional joke, and soon had the passengers on the bus eating out of her hand. An amazing stat she told us was that this country had been conquered 60 times and Belgrade re-built about 30. She was 28 but told us that by her 24th birthday, she had lived in four different countries without ever leaving her current address.
The temperature had been around the 22 C mark when we began and climbed steadily as we walked through the park. A light breeze kept conditions perfect. The park was wonderful, as many Spring flowers were in bloom and all trees were leafy and green.
We passed over what was formerly the outer moat to the fortress. Nowadays, it is filled in and houses tennis and basketball courts. No wonder the Serbs produce such good players in these sports, among others. There was an inner moat too, which is the current home of an outdoor war museum. Cannons and tanks of all descriptions and sizes filled the solid area of what was the moat. Finally, in the inner sanctum of the fortress, though still outdoors, we learned of the great importance of this port and why it had been built where it lay. We could see the confluence of the Danube and Slava rivers, and whoever controlled the river controlled trade in the area.
The hour at the fort went quickly but soon we were en route back to an hotel in the centre for coffee and a break. That done, we boarded the bus again and were taken to see the St. Sava Cathedral, one of the biggest in the world in the Orthodox faith. It’s founder, St. Sava, was a prince but chose to become a monk and is credited with founding the Serbian Orthodox Church. The astounding thing about this building is it is being built entirely with donations and though the outside is finished, construction of the interior is on-going. Before we went into the what will be the cathedral, we visited the model of the cathedral (built as a normal sized church) close by.
From the cathedral, we returned to the bus for lunch. The four of us ate well. Don and Lynore were off again at 2pm to see a violin maker’s establishment, but Cynthia and I had an important meeting with Gerhardt, the ship’s hotel manager. I will inform you of the outcome of that meeting in the next post.
Until then, Goodbye for now and God bless.