Gateway To Black Sea

Day 05 - Saturday, October 12, 2013- Arrive in Mohacs; Bus to Pécs; City Tour of Basilica of St. Peter & Roman Necropolis; and Museum Quarter

We had a gorgeous day for our day trip to Pécs; it was 63° and 81% humidity with blue Colorado skies and no clouds in sight. The yellow group was the first out this morning so we hustled and were already on the bus by 8:30.

In the port talk last night the passengers were warned there would be a lot of walking today so many people decided not to go on the excursion to the European Capital of Culture. They missed a very interesting outing.

Our City Guide, Sophia, (a medical doctor from Pécs) gave us even more information on the 47KM drive to the city. One of the questions several people have been asking was the same as our observation yesterday. She explained that the people of Hungary have been down trodden and in the ravages of war for so many centuries, the people are very pessimistic and sad and do not respond well to strangers.

She also told us of the Battle of Mohács in 1526 where the Hungarians were over run by the Ottoman forces of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. A downward turning point in the country's past, Hungary was always on the wrong side of history and has lost every war they have ever been in and never regained any international power.

As we traveled to Pécs we passed through very fertile farm land with fields of corn ready to be harvested, bright red and green apples set to be picked, and grassland of hay and straw baled for winter. Many of the creative farmers have made giant Straw Dolls with bales of hay dressed up in Hungarian costumes.

The area is sitting on underground geothermal springs. Used for both medicinal and heating purposes; there are many spas and treatment facilities near Pécs. The city is also heated by the thermal energy as huge aluminum pipes crisscross the fields and then dip underground carrying the super heated steam to individual buildings and homes.

We made our first discovery at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral where we visited the church originally built in the 11th century. After the invasion of 1526, the church was taken over by the Muslims and the frescos were destroyed or painted over.

After the Turks were expelled in 1686, the Christians took the church back and began restoring the cathedral and made the larger building more magnificent than it is today. We visited the cathedral and also the Chapel of the Virgin Mary that now houses an exhibit of the Episcopal Treasury containing costly artifacts and vestments of gold and silver from the early days of the church.

From the chapel we went down into the catacombs, the Roman Necropolis, and then down several more stories underground to an early Christian cemetery. The ornate frescos from the Burial Chamber I (Peter-Paul) were amazingly preserved after centuries.

From the church grounds we walked to the Széchenyi Square to see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim that now functions as a Catholic Church. We had free time to wander around before lunch.

Sophia offered to take us on an extended walk to the Jewish Synagogue and also the Misericordia Hospital. We met the rest of the yellow group at 12:25 and went for a lunch of typical Hungarian cuisine at the Relay Restaurant.

By 2:45 we were ready to get on the bus for our trip back to the River Danube and our boat. Before crossing into Croatia the Hungarian authorities boarded the boat to stamp all of our passports with an exit visa.

The Captain had warned us that if they were not in a rush, they might want to do a face check. The Border Control officers had nothing better to do so they called each of us down to the lobby according to a block of 20 rooms and we had to pick up our passports and then look at the officer, who looked at our photo, then verified and stamped our passport.

At 4:00 we were invited to afternoon tea in the Lounge. Fortunately for Gennie, tea means cakes, cookies, éclairs, and scones! We will have a light, very light dinner tonight! After the Hungarian authorities had had a spot of tea and a bite of cake, we were finally able to leave Mohács and sail to Vukovar, Croatia.

Our Port Talk was at 6:45 with dinner at 7:00 in the Captain’s Club. Many more people were in on to our little secret and there were about 25 of us who avoided the sit down dinner and went to the soup and salad buffet instead.

We came back to our room to finish the journal and catch up on our mail. The boat arrived in Vukovar at about midnight. The Captain made good time once our passports were all stamped and we could leave Hungary.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner ms River Splendor

Depart Mohacs, Hungary 3:00 pm --- Arrive Vukovar, Croatia 11:00 pm

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Very very interesting - what is a traditional Hungarian crusine? Glad you didn't have to do a face check on your passports! I'm with Gennie - Tea needs cake, cookies, clainrs and scones - LOL -- the tiles on that church is outstanding and unbeleivable!! Love the pics. Thanks

Pat Heald   October 13, 2013 - 8:06am

I'm glad you went on that excursion. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. And that tea sounds delicious!

Susan Phillips   October 12, 2013 - 5:48pm
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Episcopal Treasury Artifact

Episcopal Treasury Artifact

Roof Tiles of Pécs Post Office

Roof Tiles of Pécs Post Office

Burial Chamber I (Peter-Paul)

Burial Chamber I (Peter-Paul)

Széchenyi Square

Széchenyi Square

Captain Spoor at Border

Captain Spoor at Border

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