Day 08 - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - Day on Board; Cruise the Iron Gates of the Danube
Our day was a “sailing day” as we continued south and east from Belgrade on the Danube. It rained last night and part of the early morning. Early this morning the temperature was 58°with 92% humidity and 17 MPH breeze.
We got up and out on the top deck by 7:30 so we could see the one and only castle on this portion of the Danube, the Golubac Castle located on the Serbia side. The fortress was built in the 14th century and suffered through many invasions, especially between the Turks and the Hungarians. There is not much left but the outer walls and the towers.
As we sailed today, Serbia was on right to the South and Romania was on the left and to the North. The Lepenski Vir, an important Mesolithic archaeological site, was on the Serbian bank just above the river. It was covered by a large glass greenhouse-like structure to protect the artifacts and the archaeologists. There is evidence that suggests the first human presence in the area was around 7000 BC.
The narrow gorge and the river separate the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The fall colors were spectacular although the weather was cloudy and there was often fog, it was easy to see the hardwood forests in their firey colors.
While we watched the banks of the Danube go by we walked around the deck – they say 8 times = 1 mile but according to my Jawbone UP bracelet, it was more like 1.3, and it was better than sitting in our cabins for the whole morning.
The statue of Dacian King, Decebalus is a 40 meters high statue that is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. Visible on the left side of the boat, everyone moved over to take photos. It is a good thing this is a stable vessel!
While we were having lunch we began our trip through the Iron Gates, the two lock system that allowed us to navigate this portion of the Danube. The hydroelectric dam and the locks were built between 1961 and 1970 and have decreased flooding on the Danube, made the river more navigable, as well as produced electricity for the both Serbia and Romania. Another dam and electric plant was built and completed in 1977.
It took about 90 minutes for the captain to navigate through both locks systems. We were all on deck to photograph our passage and we had good views of the depth of the two locks and of the large power stations to the south.
After passing through we entered an area much more open with the city of Drobeta-Turnu Severin on Romanian side with its abandoned ship yards and elevators for grain storage. Barge traffic on the Danube is not as common as it is in the more northern European waterways.
The remainder of the afternoon we enjoyed the sites as we walked another 1.5 miles around the deck and waved at the fishermen on the banks of the river. Gennie finished her grades for her last class and Vic took more photos and organized his pictures from the previous days.
While we were getting ready for dinner, we went through the final set of locks on the Danube. By 6:45 we were ready for the Port Talk in the lounge to learn about tomorrow’s happenings.
Dinner was at 7:00 – it seems we eat and sleep on these sailing days. We shared our bottle of champagne at dinner with Bill and Elizabeth, our new friends from Maryland. It is a good thing there is only one sailing day, we know our cruising limits!
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner ms River Splendor
Depart Belgrade, Serbia 2:30 am
This sounds like a trip I would like to take someday!
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