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Published: October 6th 2012
AKA: the middle of nowhere
Whew! I accidentally turned my alarm off instead of putting it on snooze; luckily I still woke up with an hour till my train, plenty of time to shower, pack and walk naked out of the hostel (because I clearly missed “getting dressed” on my list there) to make the 5 minute walk to the train station. A nice cheesy Cro pastry for breakfast and we’re off!
Another ‘whew!’ it turns out that the carriage I was in didn’t go all the way to Stara Pazova (where I have to change trains for Subotica). The ticket collector didn’t speak English so he asked the guy in the carriage with me to translate the information… unfortunately he didn’t speak much English either… but he DID speak Italian, so we were able to communicate that way instead! It was kind of good actually having to rely on my grasp of a language instead of the usual thing of the person hearing that I’m not very good at their language and resorting to English instead (considerate bastards!).
This is pretty much going to be a travel day; it’s a long way to Subotica, but then
Room at the hostel "incognito"
the cockroaches must have been camera-shy
I quite like such days because (a) you get to see a bit of the landscape/countryside instead of just the cities that you’re visiting and (b) really, if every day was as packed as my touristy day in Ljubljana… well really it’s just nice and relaxing to be forced to sit down for a few hours… though I’m not looking forward to what the flight home is going to do to my arse!
Wow so, loud people at hostels at night, that’s a bit annoying, but it turns out that being on a train for 4-5 hours with a cluster of noisy Swiss fuckwits is even worse! There’s a thing in the carriage that says: “no smoking, no littering and no loud behaviour that disturbs your fellow passengers.” I have nothing against conversation but when someone’s conversation is too loud to ignore (even when they’re half the carriage away from you) it makes it difficult to concentrate on the book you’re reading. I moved to a quieter part of the carriage but still hear the occasional loud swearing or moronic guffaw from them.
The Croatia to Serbia trip isn’t as scenic as Slovenia to
Croatia; dry, flat and mostly consisting of either corn or wheat fields as far as I can see.
Hmm the experience of Stara Pazova was an interesting one; it was my disembarking point, not because it’s some major centre but because it just happens to be the most convenient place to catch the train to Subotica. It was a very small, fairly dirty station; flies everywhere, everything in Cyrillic lettering and of course no chance of an ill-educated English speaker such as myself understanding anything. There was a small shop but I don’t have any Serbian money yet and I didn’t know if they’d accept euros, so I had to leave the whole eating/drinking thing for later. Got out of the burning sun by going into the waiting room, which smelt slightly of shit and had two men who were… if not homeless, then at least doing a pretty good impression of it. I met a young Slovenian guy from my train who was able to help me at least find out which platform I needed to be on. The train was a 1/4 hour late, I was beginning to worry that I’d somehow missed it, but the Slovenian guy assured me that the trains were often late.
When I got on the train I had to pay €1.50 “reservation fee” which was annoying (a) because I had to dig around in my bag for euros, and (b) I’d paid for my ticket, why didn’t they just include the fee in the price? Oh well, I guess at least it wasn’t €15 or something!!!
Anyway, we arrived in Subotica which at least appeared to be a much bigger place than Stara Pazova. By this stage I’d finished Bryson’s “Notes From a Small Island” and moved onto Michael Crichton’s “Micro”.
My friend Ildiko met me at the station; as I’ve said, it is lovely to have someone come and meet you and show you the way. We had a great chat and went out for some burek which was a delicious mix of pastry, meat, cheese and fat (a winning combo in anybody’s book).
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