Monday 25 September 2023


Something seems to have gone wrong with the air-conditioning overnight. As in, switching totally off. I’m rolling in a bath of my own sweat by the time morning rolls around.

I’ve felt better in the morning. Maybe a coffee will wake me up. Though cooling down is what I really need.

“A coffee might perk me up.”

“It couldn’t make you look much worse.”

“Thanks.” The air-conditioning is starting to kick in, thankfully.

We have a wander to National Square, where there are pavement cafes. We park our arses in a random one, Ruzica. After a while, a waiter appears and tells us the table we chose, out of the couple of dozen empty ones, is reserved.

“That was weird.” I tell Dolores, as we move to the next table. “But I don’t really give a fuck which table we sit at.”

The coffee is nice, but much smaller than yesterday’s latte.

Feeling a little perked, we start making our way towards this morning’s destination: the fortress. It looks dead impressive on the internet. My only fear is that we’ll have to walk up a dirty great hill to get to it.

We know we’re just about there when we come to a tramline. On the other side of it, the fortress park begins.

“They only seem to have a couple of tram lines. I wonder why that is?” I ask Dolores.

“No idea. Maybe they replaced them with trolleybuses.”

That would make sense. There are a whole load of trolleybus lines.

My dirty great hill fears prove unfounded. That’s the day’s first win. We wander around for a bit looking for the fortress entrance. Watching where other people are headed and follow them seems a good ploy. And it works.

We first come to a couple of massive bastions. Obviously, part of a later phase of the complex. Between that and the oldest part of the fortress there’s a deep gully. Which must be part of the military museum as it’s full of tanks and artillery pieces.

“Oh, look.” I say, “tanks.”

“I suppose you want to go and look at them?”

“Yes, please.”

I send the kids a picture of a tank. “It’s so great having broadband. I can keep the kids up to date with what we’re doing.”

“Like what you’re eating? I’m sure they’re fascinated by that.”

“Well, they both like bacon?”

“That doesn’t mean they want you to send them photos of it.”

“Anyway, it was a tank photo. That’ll definitely interest Andrew.”

“And Alexei?”

“I bet that’s an Ausführung H.” I say, pointing at a Panzer IV. And trying to distract Dolores.

“Very interesting, whatever that means.” Dolores replies, apathetically. She’s not really digging the tanks.

There’s quite a good selection of them. Looking very much like what was left here at the end of the war. Being mostly either German, Italian or Russian. They don’t all look in the greatest of condition. Some lack tracks.

At the end of where the tanks are displayed is an outer wall of the fortress. There’s a slightly scary sign that proclaims “Danger of death”. That seems a bit extreme. Until we get to the very edge: there’s a 50-metre drop and no fence.

Dolores takes a few photos. I keep well clear of the edge. My balance isn’t the greatest. One stumble and I’d be fucked.

We finish in the oldest part. Which is mostly just a big open space with the occasional small building. Some people are sitting with their legs dangling over the wall on the Danube side. We go up there to have a look.

There’s an even bigger drop here. And no railing. But no death warning, either. I can’t look when a young daredevil climbs up on it and walks to the edge. How irresponsible.

After a quick sit down and a piss in the toilets, we start to make our way back. 

Cafe & bar Ruzica
Trg republike 5,


Anonymous said...

'A Piss in the Toilets' might have been a better title for today's episode?

Steve D. said...

No, it should have been "An armada of trolley buses".
I just might refer this into one of my transit | travel fora. ;=)}