After spending two nights in Sombor I went to Novi Sad on the morning of May 31st. The area was recommended to me by Alexandra in Sombor because it has a nice National Park right outside of the city. So I contacted some couchsurfers in town to see if they wanted to go there for a hike.
Since it was a weekday most people have to work even in Serbia the hiking wouldn’t happen until afternoon. Which would give me some time to do some work as well (Yes, it’s not all fun and travels, I do work sometimes as well ;)) In the afternoon I went into the Donau River for a swim, I was glad they had showers at the beach there, please stop throwing all your trash in that river it’s disgusting! After being refreshed from the cold shower I went to meet with Jelena a friend of hers and some weird french guy for some local food. We all had a good talk and afterwards went to Petrovaradin Castle overlooking the town (without french guy, who thought it was too warm). I’m not much of a historic geek, but these huge old castles always amaze me, how people build them back in the days so that they are still mostly intact today. We went around town for a little more before we decided to call it a night and meet the next morning to go hiking.
When I got back to the Vanagon I was able to get some internet again and got a message from Natasa (Couchsurfing) that she and her friends where going on a night hike which I thought wouldn’t happen until that point. So I went to meet her and 2 unknown males somewhere on a dark country road in the middle of the forest. Now you know why I refuse to watch Horror movies, otherwise I wouldn’t have gone ;) The hike was great fun and we had a good time making jokes about famous last words from Horror movies while hiking through the woods… “Wait… what’s that noise? Wait here, I’ll go and check it out.” We even had our personal ornithologist with us who explained some of the birds we heard in the night. He had a speaker with him to mimic the bird calls, to us it rather sounded like he was calling his home planet to get picked up :)
The next morning I meet early with Jelena and her Dog Kira to go for a hike in the woods. They called for rain that day, but we where lucky it only rained a little bit so we didn’t get wet in the woods. Wandering through the forest we had a really good time talking about the cultural conflicts in the Serbian/Croatian/Bosnia area. It is something different if you hear about refugees on the news or if you meet somebody who had to leave everything behind they owned and flee the country with barely anything. Starting all over again in Serbia but getting knocked back down again. Still her family welcomed me to their place and shared the little they have with me. The fewer the people have, the more they share, it’s amazing! I think I spent about 12h talking to Jelena that day, her mother was already telling us to stop talking while eating :) After a shower and a good movie that night I went to sleep, deeply impressed by everything I learned and experienced. The next morning I left for Belgrade to continue to Romania afterwards.
Belgrade… it’s a city, it’s big, I saw the castle. Not gonna be my favorite, Sorry I’m not a big city guy. I slept on a parking lot where I payed the guard 200 RSD (1,63€) so he watched my car during my visit to the castle and while I was sleeping there that night. He was happily waving, smiling and giving me a thumbs up every time he saw me. I didn’t realize the boats on the shore there where party boats. I found that out later that night… got some good night tunes for free then. Life’s good :)
The next night I spent on a small Island at the Donau River that didn’t exist on my map. Really beautiful place, but nothing in comparison to the scenery I indulged from there on going along the Donau River. It was simply breathtaking, from Golubac all the way down to Kladovo, just one amazing journey. I can’t recommend this highly enough, you just have to see it! I drove about 50km/h for the whole time and was only passed by really few cars during the entire time. So after you finished reading this post, go there! I will include some pictures to persuade you :)
While I was on the tour along the river, Jelena sent me a text that she has a friend in Kladovo which I can go and meet. So I went to meet Bojan who showed me his town, an old turkish castle ruin and a really good fish restaurant. His house was adjacent to a small restaurant, where we sat later that evening to chat and look out onto the river. As almost everywhere on this trip people won’t let me pay for my food, even though I try really hard and insist on doing so. I hope that there will be enough opportunities on this trip that I can return the favor to somebody. The hospitality is, what it has been the whole trip so far: Amazing! Thank you everybody for making me feel so welcome!
The next post will be from Romania… old luke warm meat soup, social anxiety and Lost in Retezat.