Sunday May 1, 2022
Sue and I continue our European adventure from Budapest. That post can be found here: Hungary. Budapest; isn’t it everyone’s favourite?
We met new comers to our G Adventures group and our new leader, Filip. This one’s a full trip so 16 people plus the CEO. In a private van we drove through Hungary, enjoying the views along the way. It’s mostly very flat land all planted in various crops. The canola was in full bloom and absolutely gorgeous.
The border crossing from Hungary to Serbia was different as we officially left the European Union. To exit Hungary we lined up to get our passports stamped, then back in the van to cross “no man’s land” and enter Serbia where we got out to get an entry stamp
In Novi Sad, we checked into the hotel and Filip showed us around town. First the whole group went to a restaurant serving typical Serbian food. It’s hearty, good food.
After “lunch” (it was 5 pm by now) we ended on the Danube river where they too had a statue to commemorate the residents of Novi Sad (In what was then Yugoslavia) who died between 1941-45. Here the Hungarians (at that time allied with the Nazis) pulled families from their homes and brought them down to the river where they shot them and pushed their bodies under the ice. It’s unknown exactly how many died but it’s around 4,000. https://balkaninsight.com/2019/01/23/last-survivors-recall-wwii-massacre-in-occupied-yugoslavia-01-22-2019/
Too much sitting today so Sue and I continued to walk about, crossing the river and checking out the fortress and taking a few sunset photos. On the way back we treated ourselves to ice cream. We deserved it, right? Novi Sad at night is particularly beautiful!
Monday. Today’s breakfast was okay but I missed the usual fruits and veggies. Lots of protein options to keep us full though. We met Lilliana who took us on a walking tour, explaining the history of the area and noting how proud she is to be from Novi Sad (New Plant) It’s a melting pot of nationalities and 14 languages are typically used. We toured the Petrovaradin Fortress and got explanations on what we’d seen on our walk the previous evening. I’m glad we went last night though as the lighting was much nicer for pictures
After a lunch of ice cream we got back in the van and drove to Belgrade. (White town) it’s a big city and first impressions are that it’s kind of grubby. Filip took us on a walk through the fortress which was very busy with lots of people. It’s a beautiful area to walk about so no wonder.
It was interesting to see the combination of old and new buildings everywhere. Belgrade has been bombed often so new building has been done to replace those bombed to destruction.
Dinner was with the group at a restaurant called ? Yes, that’s the name. It’s called ? There’s a story behind that of course. ;). It serves typical Serbian food which is heavily meat and potato based. We’re starting to crave veggies again so we have to try a different cuisine tomorrow.
Tuesday. We only have one full day in Belgrade so we ate lots of breakfast and hit the pavement shortly after 8 am, heading directly to Zemun. Since we’re pretty tired of cities and buildings I really wanted to go to Great War Island as it’s a nature sanctuary with a nice trail. We were told there’s no bridge and you can’t get there. Huh. We’ll see.
Sure enough. There was no bridge and no ferry terminal so I saw a sign that looked like it might be a marina and asked a man working on the dock if he knew how we could get to the island. He apologized for his English (that always amazes me. I’m in SERBIA. I don’t assume you speak English!). Milan had a boat and offered to take us there. Awesome! We settled on a price, jumped in his boat and off we went. He told us to keep to the right and watch out for wild boars. No problem.
The trail was wide, flat and easy and abut 6 km long. It was so peaceful. All we could hear were the birds, frogs and the wind in the trees. We saw 2 other groups of people and lots of pretty birds. It was such a nice break!
Next we wandered around Zemun, starting with a coffee at a nice cafe on the street. We found a market with a ton of fresh veggies and fruit for sale then headed up to the fortress. The views were nice but there’s not much left of the fortress itself.
After all that we deserved a double ice cream cone before walking back to Belgrade. Also a stop for popcorn was in order.
By the time we got back we were bone tired so quickly tidied up a bit before heading out for dinner in the Bohemian quarter. We both had the chicken risotto and a salad and it hit the spot. For desert we got a tiny ice cream on the way back ;). Twas a 40,000 step day. We took the elevator up the 6 floors this time.
Next we go to Sarajevo, Bosnia