Posted by: jwhiff | July 20, 2012

Korak po Korak in Novi Sad

We gathered up our bathing suits, drenched ourselves in sunscreen and headed for Novi Sad yesterday. It was our first real scorcher of the trip…33 degrees…but little humidity and a gentle breeze that made the shade very pleasant. This is lucky, supposedly. Serbia is usually scorching hot and humid at is time of the year.

Novi Sad is about an hour outside of Belgrade in a part of Serbia known as Vojvidina. It has a complex history. It was the first truly Serbian city, growing up in the shadow of the Austrian-occupied fortress of Petrovaradin. Even though it was known as the “Serbian Athens”, the city was never officially a part of Serbia until the end of First World War. It was ruled by the Hungarians, although the Serbs never accepted their rule. When they weren’t engaged in actual rebellion and retaliation, the two groups were in a constant cultural wrestling match with one another.

It is quite a beautiful city in a way that Belgrade is not. Its center is framed with well-maintained nineteenth-century buildings that look like lacy, pastel cakes. We wanted to explore the city in some depth, but we ended up focusing most of our time on locating and enjoying the beach along the Danube. Novi Sad has a newly developed waterfront, complete with cushy walking paths, bike trails and public memorials to NATO-bombed bridges. We paid 50 dinars (=50 cents) to enter the public beach and had a greatly appreciated dip in the river. We then parked ourselves on a beach-side patio restaurant, drinking Jelen (local beer) and munching on good, cheap BBQ. The kids happily played in the sand in front of us. All in all, it was a nice way to spend the hottest part of the day.

Later, we explored the Petrovaradin fortress. It is quite a labyrinth of crumbling brick fortifications and so it took as a while to find the entrance to the centre of the fort, which compared to the rest of it, is quite well-maintained. It houses art studios and restaurants and is a great place to sit and watch the setting sun. I actually bought a souvenir t-shirt for the first time in my life. It was designed and silk-screened by a local artist and sold by an eloquent young women who patiently explained the symbolism of each design. I was tempted to get a t-shirt with a political message, but decided on something interesting and neutral. It is my only regret of the day.


Responses

  1. Well our nice hot weather has ended with rain starting early this morning and heavy at times. I have to admit we needed it. We have Will, Helen, Liam and Josh coming to stay with us for a week. They arrive Sunday, unfortunately for them, their hot water tank failed while they were here and now restoration needs to be done, so… We’ve been enjoying our visit with Zach & Rena, June bug is almost walking and Isla is quite the clown. Well it’s nachos and guacamole…Love, Grandma Rene


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