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Serbia


View Return of the Gav on aliceandguy's travel map.

We drove the 15km from Dragoman to the Serbian border to join a melee of western European vehicles that we presume were heading home from their summer holidays. It took us nearly two hours to get through all the formalities by which time we weren’t relishing the six and a half hour drive ahead of us. Fortunately, the roads were a significant improvement on Bulgaria and Romania and so we made it to our campsite whilst it was still light. Actually, calling it a campsite is a bit of a stretch. All of the other “back garden” campsites that we’ve been to, have at least had basic facilities for the campers. Here, if you needed the toilet, you had to go in their front door and through their kitchen to use the family bathroom, assuming nobody else was using it, that is. The lady who owned the house was very friendly, although she spoke no English at all and we only knew two words of Serbian which made communication rather challenging. As we were settling into our camping chairs she brought us over some coffee and some rakija (a plum schnapps) as a welcome drink.
Coffee and rakija

Coffee and rakija

Whilst we knew we weren’t going to be in Serbia for long, we wanted to make the most of our time there. We booked ourselves onto a private kayaking trip in Uvac nature reserve. Just before we departed for our trip, our campsite hosts appeared with some pita (think cheesy pastry goodness) that supplemented our provisions for the day. The kayaking was in a canyon on a lake which was formed when they dammed the river although, because it’s in a canyon, the lake very much still feels like a river. To travel on the water, you have to be part of an organised trip, which meant that we had a very quiet, relaxing paddle. The sun was shining and we were able to watch the resident griffon vultures soaring on the thermals far above us. Halfway through the trip, we stopped and hiked up to a viewpoint at the top of the canyon which was an excellent place to see the meandering “lake” below - it’s the view that makes the area famous in Serbia. As we sat and ate our lunch, we were able to observe the vultures more closely as they were now at head height and, at times, swooping below us. With a wingspan of nearly three metres, these birds were quite a spectacle. After a quick swim and a paddle into a cave, we made our way back to our starting point. As we did so, a huge storm rolled in and we were right on the edge of it. It was slightly odd to be in sunshine, with lightning striking above our heads and rain falling just metres away from us. All in all, it was a great day out; a really nice paddle through some beautiful scenery.
Freshly baked pita

Freshly baked pita

Kayaking

Kayaking

Uvac meanders

Uvac meanders

Vultures above the meanders

Vultures above the meanders

Whilst researching what to do in Serbia, Alice was delighted to discover that the world testicle cooking championship, aka the “ball cup”, was happening the very weekend we were to be in the country. Unfortunately to reach it we needed to drive for three hours in the wrong direction. Much to her disappointment, common sense prevailed and instead we drove to Zlatibor, the nearest sizeable town, which was just under an hour away. This ski town also seems to be a popular summer getaway as there were lots of Serbian tourists there. After parking Gav at the campsite, we set straight off on a walk up a nearby hill that offered panoramic views of the countryside. After lunch back at Gav, we strolled into town to go to the supermarket and for Guy to get a haircut (which is an interesting experience when you have to use sign language to communicate with the barber). In the evening, we had dinner in a restaurant by a lake. We ordered traditional Serbian food which consisted of copious amounts of meat and cheese. When you find yourself ordering rakija to cut through the richness of the meal, you know you’ve done it right!
The view above Zlatibor

The view above Zlatibor

Massive amounts of meat and cheese

Massive amounts of meat and cheese

Zlatibor sausage

Zlatibor sausage

Mini burgers with cheese

Mini burgers with cheese

Posted by aliceandguy 05:33 Archived in Serbia

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