Blogs from Serbia, Europe

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Europe » Serbia October 2nd 2019

Our ship docked at Golubac in Serbia and we drove down the coast to an archaeological site called Lepenski Vir. This was discovered during the 60s in a farmers field in an area which was subsequently going to be flooded by the building of a dam. The archaeologists had 5 years to excavate and move the village they discovered stone by stone. The buildings were built 9000 years ago and are one of the earliest examples of human beings forming a community rather than moving and hunter gathering. All the buildings were facing a stone mountain which was clearly revered by these people. The floor was made of the clay found locally and had a central fireplace with a hole in the roof. The skeletons which were found showed the people to be short but very ... read more
One of the foundations with central fireplace
Fish sculpture
Skeleton in the foetal position

Europe » Serbia October 1st 2019

Our Serbian guide Yelene who was very good on history only briefly touched on the Serbo/Croatian war, but she was too young to be part of it. It must be difficult to go through a period with a cruel dictator. First she took us to Belgrade Fortress which has good views over the River Sava. It has a collection of tanks and cannons from all the various wars. The view of the symbol of the city, Victor, is from the back as it is a male statue and it was thought ladies might faint at the sight from the front! We visited Tito's memorial , a least he was a benign dictator who could negotiate with both East and West and the locals are proud of the fact that they had the first MacDonald's in the ... read more
Belgrade Fortress
Dinasaurs by the Fortress!
Tank collection

Europe » Serbia » West » Belgrade April 30th 2019

Another country visited and discovered . We started in the north at a place called Novi Sad and it was a very pleasant stop .It,s claim to fame is a fortress that was designed and built in the 1300s (I think that is right) . It really was impressive .The fortress itself is built on a hill but they dug and reinforced tunnels sourounding it . A whole network of tunnels within Air vents , smoke exhaust holes , gun holes (?) for long guns , sink whole traps , the equivalent of dumb waiters to bring down food and other supplies . It was quite the design and required the labour of the 10000 soldiers who lived there to do the work .Above the tnnels and below the fortress they developed what they called the ... read more

Europe » Serbia » South » Nis October 3rd 2018

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 ... read more
Summit in Sight
Looking Back at Babin Zub
Skull Tower

Europe » Serbia » South » Nis October 2nd 2018

It’s our last day before dropping the hire car in Skopje. We are breaking the journey in Nis, mainly because it’s half way between Belgrade and Skopje. Nis has 3 very diverse tourist attractions; the 4th century Roman palace of Constantine the Great, an 18th century Turkish fortress and a 20th century Nazi Concentration Camp. It’s pouring with rain and takes almost an hour to fight our way out of Belgrade through the rush hour traffic, despite the old man going native and driving through red lights, in bus lanes, over pedestrian crossings etc. Eventually the rain clears and by the time we reach Nis it’s 20 degrees and sunny. After Novi Sad and Belgrade, we aren’t expecting to like Nis, but it’s actually quite nice. We walk through the pedestrian precinct to the fortress which ... read more
Nisville Museum
Nisville Museum
Nis Fortress - Bali-bey Mosque

Europe » Serbia » West » Belgrade October 1st 2018

Today, a full day of sightseeing in Belgrade. It’s not the most successful day. First, breakfast; a minefield of a buffet – bowls of nuts, cake with nuts, bread with nuts, pancakes with Nutella, there are nuts in the cereal, nuts in the salad, even nuts randomly strewn over the cheese and ham. Breakfast consists of sausage and eggs. Then we go sightseeing. Not to the National Museum – that’s closed on Mondays. Or the Tesla Museum – closed on Mondays. Or the Royal Compound – closed Monday to Friday. We attempt to visit the Blue Train. This is available for hire, but open to the public otherwise. We go to the central station where tickets are allegedly purchased. It has closed down. We try tourist information – it’s shut. We find another tourist information office. ... read more
Central Railway Station
Sveti Sava Cathedral
Sveti Sava Cathedral Crypt

Europe » Serbia » West » Belgrade September 30th 2018

Today we are going to the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Things I know about Belgrade; (1) it was the capital of Yugoslavia, (2) Tito is buried here – you can visit his mausoleum at the Museum of Yugoslavia and (3) you can visit Nikola Tesla’s remains in a gold casket in the Tesla Museum. First, breakfast. In Serbia, everyone smokes. All the time. Breakfast is no exception; it’s like being stuck in the 1980s. I half expect Michael J Fox to turn up in a DeLorean. We are offered the hotel’s signature breakfast - the waitress says it’s a bit of everything. She means meat. Lots and lots of meat – sausage, bacon, salami, 2 types of ham. Filled to the top with pig products, and smelling of a combination of stale cigarettes and strawberry shower gel, ... read more
Serbian breakfast
House of Flowers
Tito’s mausoleum

Europe » Serbia » North » Novi Sad September 29th 2018

We have a long drive today; 4 hours and 240 miles across the Serbian border to Novi Sad, a city on the banks of the River Danube. I start the day with a shower. The shower gel is mint and nettle, so I am clean but smell like an enormous throat lozenge. Next, breakfast; we are served pancakes and home made plum jam which causes great excitement after 3 weeks of bread, cheese and ham. Then we set off for Serbia in a cloud of minty freshness. Most of what I know about Serbia comes from news reports on wars with its neighbours. This image was not helped when, in Ljubljana, a group of Serbs handed us a leaflet saying “Welcome to Serbia,” which seemed like rather an aggressive thing to do in the capital of ... read more
Novi Sad selfie
Petravaradin Fortress
Petravaradin Fortress

Europe » Serbia July 27th 2018

Friday 27th After plenty of relaxing at Matkar we were ready to get on the road again and cross the border into Serbia. We had a pretty long drive but as always were taking the smaller roads and driving through villages most of the way which made it much more enjoyable. When we arrived at the border there was a huge queue and we prepared ourselves for another over the top search but amazingly we sailed through without even a sideways glance! Once we had crossed the border we headed in the rough direction of Niš and found a lovely higgledepigglede village with wooden or mud houses and lots of farms. There were some locals sitting in the shade of a tree and we began a very humorous game of shirades trying to ask them if ... read more

Europe » Serbia July 24th 2018

On most ships you might have a day as sea, but since we are not in the ocean, today is a day at river. We got up early because we wanted to get good seats on the main deck and we were afraid we would not be able to since we were going to be on the river all day. Almost no one was up there. Breakfast started a half hour later than usual and once it opened we went down and had a nice breakfast. While we ate we watched the beautiful mountain scenery go by and took some pictures. These are the first real mountains we have seen on this trip. We saw the greenhouse looking building which houses the excavation of an ancient settlement from 20-50 thousand years ago and a little later ... read more
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