Travel Diary: The Notebook – Chapter 1 and 2

Chapter 1 – The Notebook

So now you are here, reading this and probably the first thing you’ll want to know is where I was born, and what a mess my childhood was , and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, but actually the story is not about me or them. It’s about a notebook – old, forgotten, thrown between books with dusted covers in the family library.

As every good story starts with retrospection I feel obligated to begin with how this old notebook encountered my sight. It was actually many years ago when I still had no idea what it was. I was 5 or 6 years old, playing with my grandfather. He was reading me a books when this piece of paper fell into my hand. As a very curious child I asked him what it was and he just said that the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. He had turned it back and I completely forgot about until 15 years later when I found it again.

My grandfather was an inspirational person. He was warm, loving, firm and straightforward. It seemed like no matter what I done, I was always a perfect little girl to him and I honestly tried to be. He had a way of accepting whatever came his way with no more than a shrug. His deep faith carried him through what life had to offer, even though when he was down and sick.

I offer you to read the notebook with me, revealing its content you will see the world as my grandpa has seen it, you will experience his excitements and his disappointments. Feelings raging in a person who travels out of Bulgaria (by this time Bulgaria was a Communist country) for the first time.

It’s a simple story for an already forgotten time and a trip along the Danube river.

Chapter 2 – First Impressions

Ruse / Bulgaria / – Vienna, 09.10.1989

Departure-Monday, 20:12, with the Soviet ship “Dunai”. We are sailing towards Vienna! Rivers always fascinate me as they are the arteries of history, the lifeblood and reason for existence of the cities along their route.

First night and first impressions!

Day First 10.10.1989 Tuesday

We are excited. This is our first river cruise along the Danube and everything seems so interesting. The weather is misty and rainy but we are in a very good mood. 

It’s a pity that we don’t travel with our beautiful ships as “Ruse” and “Sofia” / they enjoy only the foreigners/

15:15h. We are entering the Yugoslavian waters. We saw and where the Timok River flows in the Danube. Beautiful!

16:00h. The first Yugoslavian town on the Danube is in front of us – Prahovo

16.30h. The first sluice gate, located about 80km from the Iron Gates. It’s spectacular! We are staying here around 25 minutes. 

20.45h. The Iron Gates are in front of us. Stunning!For the first time we see such a spectacular facility. The Iron Gates is an amazing 140km-long stretch of the Danube River separating Serbia and Romania. The scenic gorge contains two hydroelectric dams Iron Gate 1 and Iron Gate II. This project raised the river’s water level by up to 45m.
 At 22:20 we left the Iron Gate 2. I am impressed of the number of the villiges lying on the Yugoslavian coast. 

It’s beautiful night to watch the lights on the shore. Everything is perfect..

To be continued… 



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