Been There! The Danube

Danube, Orthodox churchI’m reading a book by Nick Thorpe about the Danube and encountering familiar scenes from the middle portion of the river we sailed on last year. Almost the exact photo at right is in the book, called “The Church Above the Waters” and on Thorpe’s BBC page “an Orthodox monastery.” The rooftops have been restored and slightly redesigned–made rounder–since his earlier pictures, though, and the church has a new coat of whitewash.


Danube, VukovarI wish I’d learned more at the time about Vukovar, besieged by the Serbs in the early 1990s, and the memorial on the farm where patients and staff from Vukovar hospital were taken and murdered. The townspeople kept their damaged water tower as an ad hoc war memorial. A deteriorating water tower in my experience reflects economic hard times, but both meanings apply here. Thorpe says, “The doves of peace have taken over” the tower now. Pigeons, at any rate. And he describes, Vukovar’s most famous scene of rebirth: “In one of the houses near the (river) shore, still in ruins, purple flowers burst from the frame of an upstairs window.”