Vidin, Bulgaria, Aug 29th
The high point this week was our passage through the ”Iron ’Gate”, where The Donau has carved its way through the big mountain range of Eastern Europe, the Carpathians. In the 1960ies Serbia and Rumania cooperated here to build one of the largest dams of Europe, drenching vast areas with cities and villages, from where the inhabitants were forced to move in thousands. It gives both countries huge amounts of electric power and, through the locks, has made it very comfortable for boats like mine to make this trip without risking one´s life in the strong currents. But still it is marvellously grand landscape. Especially the Kazan gorge, a part of the Iron Gate, was impressive, where the river narrowed to 150 m with 300 m high mountains on both sides.
The whole area has become intensely exploited by the tourist industry, for good reasons. An interesting sight was also the sculpture av the face of king Decibel directly in a rock by the river, a work of 12 sculptors during 10 years and finished 2004.
The passage through the Iron gate also meant the passage through the last locks of this trip. The first one, a 32 m giant lock led ur through the real iron gate.
Anders and Ann at the lock
The second one, much smaller was the last lock of this long journey through the canals and rivers of Europe, n:o 410 when I count from my start in Lübeck last year.
Nils leaving the last lock, n:o 410
The Donau is here for a long time the border between Serbia and Romania and further ahead it becomes the border between Romania and Bulgaria. We had to spend quite some time to check in and out of these countries and it was fascinating and sometimes frustrating to go through all those administrative procedures. In Vidin we checked in to Bulgaria and went for a dinner at a fish restaurant on a boat by the river. This was the last dinner with Ann, who was going to leave us the next day.
An english-speaking Bulgarian neighbor at the restaurant helped us understand the menu. We started to talk to him quite a bit about his connections to Sweden and about our boat-tour, which impressed him immensely. When he heard that Ann was going by train to Sofia tomorrow he immediately offered her a ride because he was going to Sofia by car tomorrow together with his wife. Ann accepted gladly. So now Anders and I will continue on our own on there last part of the trip to then Black Sea.