It’s been incredibly hot over the last few days so the girls and I have been enjoying the outside pool at the Sportski Centar (Sports Center). Having a few more days without my board shorts, I’m getting quite comfortable in my bikini at the pool. I saw a grandmother today wearing a one piece where the neckline plunged to just above her pubic bone, along with several completely naked children. The girls, too, are getting used to this. The first day they saw a naked little boy, I caught the girls doing double – no – triple, even quadruple takes on them. After politely telling them it’s natural here and not to stare, I must admit that they have now seen so many naked people that they are beginning to get used to it.
Last night, Chris took us to Bor Lake, a man-made basin the result of a dam built in 1959 along the Valja Dzoni, Marec, and Zlot rivers. According to PanaComp, a travel website, the lake is as deep as 50m in some sections. The water was incredibly calm, there were few bugs, and the gradual depth concrete entryway was the perfect place for them to swim and try to catch a fish. Needless to say, they absolutely loved it and, first thing this morning, asked to go again today.
We took a beautiful scenic route along what Canadians would consider foothills, and, new nets in tow, trekked to the lake where Laura instantly snagged a fish. We stayed a while and Chris, still the Pokemon Go lover, said that there was a Pokestop at a nearby monument to the Hungarian poet Miklos Radnoti, a Jewish laborer killed during a death march in 1944. We read about him, instantly interested in his haunting story, and proceeded along the path to the monument.
We first come upon an old hotel, windows blown out, crumbling in the Serbian sun. We walk past it, snap some pictures and, further on, on the edge of a jetty, stood Miklos Radnoti’s monument. Reminiscent of something you might see in a Star Wars movie, the symbol laid on a concrete cenotaph, just above graffiti. Apparently, there was more to the monument, but it was destroyed. I don’t know any more than this except that Radnoti was honored at the site because in 1944, his battalion was sent to the copper mines in Bor, where he worked (forced, I believe) and wrote poetry until he was forced on a death march, where he was severely beaten and eventually shot. He was 35 years old.
If you’ve come this far, please read one of his poems, written days before his death, found a year and a half after he died.
I fell next to him.His body rolled over.
It was tight as a string before it snaps.
Shot in the back of the head- “This is how
you’ll end.” “Just lie quietly,” I said to myself.
Patience flowers into death now.
“Der springt noch auf,” I heard above me.
Dark filthy blood was drying on my ear.
Szentkiralyszabadja October 31, 1944
The girls took little notice of the significance of the monument, but it gave us chills. So much that happened. So much that didn’t ever have to happen. So much that still happens. Yet, we go on.
I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the hotel. A kind Serbian guy told us that it went out of operation about 40 years ago, as they ran out of money and didn’t have the permits to finish the addition to the top, so it fell into ruin. Don’t think I’ll be staying there any time soon.