Tag Archives: food

Euro Tour: Day 17, Donji Miholjac

1 Jul

Breakfast at Banana City was a bit lacking especially given that there was no coffee at all. But we met Mirza and Eldon and they took us to the old part of town for lunch. Most got some sort of sausage and clotted cream sandwich that was eaten with great gusto and much appreciative head shaking. Sasha and I had more potato burke which was every bit as good as the night before. Then we strolled over to an outdoor cafe to have the Bosnian version of Turkish coffee. The tiny little cups of oily, syrupy coffee are traditionally served with sugar cubes intended for  dipping and nibbling. A hunk of Turkish delight is served as a little dessert.

Most of us dozed in the van for the trip to the tiny village of Donji Miholjac, Croatia. For the first time at a border crossing, a customs agent demanded to see our gear. His inspection was extremely cursory though: he opened the back door of the van and then, confronted with a wall of guitar cases, shut it again.

We unloaded into Katakomba, dumped our bags in the band flat half a block away and settled down for a drink at a sidewalk cafe. After some pizza at the venue and a bit of a hang out back stage, the first band started. They were called Why? and were local kids doing the sort of pop-punk played the world-over by eager beginners. Joe 4 were brilliant as usual. The dazed state I had been in all day prevented me from my usual enthusiastic response, but it didn’t mean they didn’t deserve it. Bill and I did jump on stage for a few sing-alongs though. We played well enough, though like Joe 4 our bassist was pretty tipsy. Damir pointed out correctly that it made them more of showmen and cranked up the spectacle aspect of both performances up a notch. There were kids packed up front head banging ferociously and we were again called back for another song. I think I sweat more this show than any other show thus far. We hung out in the bar for a long time afterward talking to the kids swarming around. Apparently, we were the first American band ever to play to this town, so we were a bit exotic, I suppose.


Euro Tour: Day 16, Sarajevo

30 Jun

Josip picked us up at the hostel and then we collected Sasha and Damir (no Bruno for this last leg of the tour) and headed south to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The border crossing took forever. The customs declaration for our gear was in order, but they had no computerized system and had to write everything down. Our introduction to the country was sobering. Every third house was either bombed out and stood in ruins or was in some state of rebuilding in a process that seemed to be taking a very long time. The country was beautiful — heavily forested mountains and hills and winding rivers, but the depression, both economic and emotional was palpable. Driving through Sarajevo to find the venue was again sobering. Many buildings still bear bullet holes and the top floors of many of the taller buildings still appear to be empty and in ruins.

We arrived at the club and met the promoter, our friend Mirza. For dinner we were provided with a selection of bureks — phyllo pies filled with potato, cheese, spinach or meat. Absolutely delicious, especially the potato. It took a force of will to stop eating. Shortly before Joe 4 started, there had only been two paid entries. Coupled with Mirza’s apologies, we resigned ourselves to another tiny audience. However, by the time they finished their first song, the place was somehow packed. It remained that way for our set as well. Both Jason and I were pretty brain dead when it had come time to write a set list so we enlisted Steve Jobs. The iPod shuffle came up with an interesting list of songs in an interesting order and we didn’t argue. It was a rather ungainly set though that zig-zagged rather than flowed. The crowd dug it though and even called us back for one more. It was a great night and we were humbled even further by the fact that some people drove from Prague to Sarajevo to see us play. Mirza put us up in a hotel called Banana City. It was a bit scruffy around the edges but had a clean shower and relatively comfortable beds.