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Published: October 4th 2018
Controversial High Point of Serbia
Crazy windy on the summit and pretty, pretty cold.
Objective numero dos
on this trip was Mt. Midžor @ 2169 meters ASL (a.k.a., 7116') known to most people as the highest mountain in Serbia. I may have offended a local who asked me why I was going to Midžor and replied because it's the highest mountain in Serbia. He didn't think that was true and told me Đeravica was the highest. Of course, Đeravica is in Kosovo which to Serbs is still part of Serbia.
Political and topographical distinctions aside, I did manage to summit Mt. Midžor yesterday at 12:26 pm local time after an easy, short hike from the ski chalet at Babin Zub.
Incidentally, Đeravica is actually no longer considered the highest mountain in Kosovo. After a redrawing of the Kosovo-Macedonia border several years ago, Velika Rudoka, right on the border, is generally accepted to be Kosovo's highest peak. I will attempt that tomorrow as a long day trip in a rental car from Priština.
$US ≈ 102 Serbian dinar (RSD)
Stopped here from Budapest for a couple of days. Nice enough place but this time of year not much to really necessitate a stay. Many festivals during summer. Accommodation and
Summit in Sight
Meandering across sub-alpine meadows mostly along a 4x4 track.
food Reserved a night at Rookies Hostel via email and was able to let myself in and check in early after the train from Budapest arrived at 5:00 a.m. Paid 2160 RSD for 2 nights. There's a chill bar downstairs which is the common area but extremely difficult to pass any time there due to the insane amount of cigarette smoking prevalent all over Serbia. Great 70 RSD macchiatos at Novosadska (Новосадска) near the market. Couple of bakeries (pekara, пекара) near the hostel for the ubiquitous 100 RSD cheese bürek
. Otherwise, food scene is unremarkable. Transport
Can walk to the bus/train station. Buses to Belgrade depart every ~15 min. I went with Niš Express for 576 RSD (bought online) plus 130 and 60 RSD (paid for at the terminal) for the "gate" tax and baggage, respectively. Trip takes ~1½ hours.
Neat capital city, certainly way more to do and see than Novi Sad but I still only managed 2 days there. Free walking tour (tips based, as usual) with Željko not to be missed. Goes at 11:00 and 16:00 daily from Trg Republike. Bring good walking shoes and be prepared for ~3 hours. Other tours on offer,
Looking Back at Babin Zub
Can just make out the chalet, bottom left.
prices vary. Accommodation and food
Two nights at El Diablo Hostel ran €22 or 2500 RSD in a big 8 person dorm and included a huge breakfast at a nearby cafe. Tea and Turkish coffee always available gratis
. Down from the hostel by the tram stop are a couple of grills or roshtil (роштиљ), figure ~400 RSD for a large amount of food, usually some type of grilled meat. Transport
Roughly hourly buses to Niš, went with Lasta for 1320 RSD including the gate tax, baggage was 50 RSD. Trip was ~3 hours with a 10 minute stop halfway presumably for a smoking break. Some trips to Niš aren't direct and take an hour longer.
I first walked from the Belgrade bus station to the hostel after waiting half an hour for tram 2. It was a Sunday so severely curtailed services. Going back I took the tram (150 RSD payable to driver or there are pass options) because it was raining. Takes ~25 min, same as walking. Nikola Tesla Museum
Cool little museum with a short presentation and hourly guided tour in English, 500 RSD. Closed Mondays. Easy 30 min walk from the hostel.
Highlight of Niš.. after the summit, of course.
Pleasant base for 2 days for Midžor. Several sites to visit but I only had time for two: Skull Tower and the Red Cross Concentration Camp (Crveni Krst, Црвени крст). Another day there would have been better.
Skull Tower was a 30 min walk from the center. Don't know what it cost as there was no one in the office when I arrived and it was closed when I left. It's a memorial to the first Serbian revolt against the Ottomans in 1809. The "monument" was actually built by the Turks and the skulls are Serbian soldiers who died in battle against overwhelming forces. Simultaneously morbid and interesting.
Crveni Krst is a well preserved memorial to rhe victims of Nazi atrocies during the 1941-44 occupation of Yugoslavia. Highly disturbing but not to be missed. Short walk from the center, 200 RSD or 300 RSD for the combo ticket with the National Museum. Accommodation and food
Best place I stayed in Serbia was here, Sweet Hostel which was, in fact, very sweet. It's small, 4 rooms, no dorms, share kitchen and bath, good WiFi. Paid 2800 RSD (€23.40 actual price) for 2 nights. Budget car rental is
conveniently across the street for the day trip to Midžor. Food scene like much of Serbia: grilled meat dominates as well as pizza which is very good country-wide. Transport
Next stop, Kosovo. There are 2 direct buses a day, dep 7:00 & 18:00, but the destination is Gracinica, a Serbian town near Priština. Might have to tell the driver if Priština is the destination as they might not stop there otherwise. Price is 770 RSD incl the gate tax and the driver let me bring my bag onboard. Trip is just over 3 hours including 20-30 min for border formalities. Not many people on the bus this morning so I imagine it could take longer if the bus were packed. Mt. Midžor
I had reserved a car rental with Budget since it is pretty much the only way to get to Stara Planina - the start of the hike to Midžor. I picked up the car, left town at 8:10, and after a few missed turns arrived at Babin Zub ~10:20. After a brief chat with the front desk about leaving the car (no problemo), I took off down the bare sno-cat track at 10:29. It was a
Nikola Tesla Museum
Hands-on demonstration of a half million volt discharge.
little cold so I was able to move at a pretty good clip and got to the summit at 12:26. Didn't dawdle on the summit as it was really windy and cold.
I figured if I could make it back to Niš before the rental office closed at 16:00 then I would be able to take the 7:00 bus to Priština instead of dropping the car at 8:00 when they opened the next day then catching the 18:00 bus. Without the driving misdirections on the way back, I did make it to Niš at 15:45 only to be shocked and chagrined that the office had closed early. Got the landlady to call a Budget employee who was nice enough to come back to the office for the car.
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