Osijek, Croatia

02 June 2011 - Today we arrived in the port of Vukovar, Croatia. After an early breakfast we headed off for a tour to Osijek. It is the largest city and the economic and cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja county. Osijek is located on the right bank of the river Drava, 25 kilometres upstream of its confluence with the Danube.

After a tour of the town we visited a school to see a presentation of some local folkloric songs and dances. The costumes were very colorful and it was enjoyable to see the proud faces of the girls and boys beaming with pride for demonstrating their local culture.

The highlight of the day for me was a hosted lunch by a local family. We were broken down in groups of eight and had lunch prepared by a local Croatian family in their home. When we entered the gate there were three little miniature Doberman dogs sitting there at attention as if to welcome us.

The meal comprised of a hearty vegetable soup with some home made bread, a salad, roasted chicken with great potatoes and home-grown vegetables and finish it off a nice sponge cake. They pride themselves in offering their home-made brady but man is it strong! It's 50% proof! One shot of that and you don't have to heat your home for weeks!

After the meal I just had to go out and play with those dogs. They came running over and were dancing all over the place with friendliness, very cute. I noticed a pond in the yard and then saw some small frogs jumping from lily pads into the water, when the dogs caught sight of them all hell broke loose! It was hysterical to see these small dogs swan dive into the pond and look for the frogs (which they never caught). They ran around the pond in a frenzy while the frogs mocked them, I had a great time watching them.

Behind the yard the owners had cages with an owl, some pheasants and other farm animals. They also had the biggest roses I have ever seen, I'm sure some were the size of lettuce heads. Very beautiful to see this calm way of life, a quiet village with small cottages dispursed here and there overflowing with flowers and caring neighbors and small animals. It was a fabulous day.

We then drove back to the ship to get ready for dinner. Tonight I had a very good consomme with dumplings, roasted rack of lamb followed by an amazing hazelnut cake served with hazelnut ice cream and caramel sauce.....OMG I can just imagine the calories on that one!

After enjoying a few Coke-lights in the library while I checked my emails and chatted with some friends, I went to bed around 1am...tommorrow is another day!

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