I learned a bit more about the EU on our trip. All of the countries we visited are members of the union, but do not use the monetary system. All of those countries are working toward that end, but first must demonstrate economic stability. Employment rates, inflation rates and interest rates must all meet a specific target and be maintained before the EU can be adopted. So, we bought things in many different types of money. Converting from one monetary system to our own was a headache-inducing exercise!
In Prague we used Czech Crowns - 1 crown is less than $.05.
In Germany & Austria we used Euros. One Euro is equal to about $1.15.
In Hungary prices were listed in Forints. 1 Forint was only .0036 of a dollar.
In Croatia we saw prices in Kuna. Each Kuna was about $.16.
Serbians use Dinars as their currency. 1 dinar is ,0097 of an American dollar.
Bulgarians use a Kev which is equal to about $.59
In Bucharest the use Leu, and one Leu is about $.25.
Lucky for us we were almost always in tourist destinations where Euros and credit cards were cheerfully taken as a form of payment. We did get some cash converted in areas we knew we'd have more time for shopping or eating out. It felt strange to use different currency and to get my head around paying what seemed like huge amounts. For example, a packet of Paprika in Budapest cost me $850 Forints!
Our first stop was a visit to the town of Osijek. We toured the relatively new fortification, dating from the early 18th century. The citadel, at one time, was state of the art. Much of the elaborate wall surrounding the town and fortification was torn down in the middle of the 20th century. Our guide related that townsfolk were told they could take the bricks... and they did! What I found most interesting was that the magazine was across the river. A tunnel was constructed under the water to enable powder and armaments to be transported out of sight during an armed encounter.
This is one shot of the living room in the log house. Like the chairs and tables, the cabinets are unique. Our guide said that one can hear termites chewing on the wood at night. The owner shrugged his shoulders and commented that he will be long dead before the termites take down his building!
We had the opportunity to walk around the farm yard. The barn housed goats, sheep, pigs, geese and cows.
Next we traveled to Vukovar to connect with our ship. We had a brief walk through town, from the bus stop to the river. This particular building (like many others) was damaged by heavy bombing in the war with Serbia in the 1990's. The owner plants flowers that drape from the windows. An eerie reminder and a glimmer of hope for beauty to come.
When we arrived at the ship we noticed this installation. It is called the Phoenix, and symbolizes the rise of the fallen.