Posted by: lindsaygoes | October 12, 2016

Adventures in Serbia 

Monday 3rd October 2016
Budapest to Novi Sad

We had an early start today to head to Serbia. We were catching the train to Novi Sad. The train journey took about eight hours, with the train travelling at a relaxed pace. However, the journey was interesting, passing through the country side with lots of farms and woods.

Once we arrived in Novi Sad we checked into our hotel and then had a bit of a walk, we went through the town centre and then went up to the Petrovaradin Fortress, although it was too late to go in. Then we went back into the town centre and had a look at the cathedral and some of the other lovely buildings before having dinner.

Tuesday 4th October 2016
Novi Sad to Belgrade

This morning the group met up and we walked back up to Petrovaradin Fortress where we went on a tunnel tour within the fort. The majority of the fortress was built by the Austrians in the 1700s but fortifications of one sort or another had been present since Roman times. There are around 16km of tunnels and we walked through around a kilometre of them, seeing gun holes, kitchen areas and shafts down to deeper levels. After walking around the tunnels we went to the fortress museum which had some more information on the history of the fortress and the area as well as information on some of the battles between the Austrians and the Ottomans. Then we walked around the fortress walls looking at the view of the Danube and surrounding areas.

After that we headed back into the town centre, had some lunch and a bit of a wander and then caught a bus into Belgrade.

It had started raining by the time we arrived in Belgrade, but luckily by the time we checked in it had stopped. We had a bit of a walk into the town centre and Republic Square and then had dinner on Skadarlija, a pedestrian street, and listened to some live Serbian music during dinner.

Wednesday 5th October 2016
Belgrade

We started our sightseeing by walking to Kalemegdan Park where we had a wander around the fort, saw the view of the Danube and Sava rivers and a dinosaur exhibition, as well as visiting the military museum, which had some interesting augmented reality exhibits and military costumes, although a lot was in Serbian, so I didn’t get the full picture.

Next we joined a walking tour which started in Republic Square and went through the history of Belgrade and Serbia as well as to some interesting areas of the city. We went back to Skadarlija, the bohemian quarter, where we had an opportunity to try Raki, a local alcoholic drink. Reactions throughout the group were mixed.

We also visited the oldest Turkish building and the oldest mosque in Belgrade, and went back to Kalemegdan park, where we saw the view of the Danube and Sava rivers again, heard some more history and saw the symbol of Belgrade, a naked man statue, representing all the soldiers who had fought for the city.

After the tour we grabbed a quick bite to eat, then headed for the Nikola Tesla museum, stopping to take some photos of the Hotel Moskva on the way. The Tesla museum was small but had some fascinating interactive electrical exhibits as well as items belonging to Tesla.

Next on the agenda was St Sava Temple, which is the biggest Orthodox church in the Balkans, which was very impressive from the outside, and under construction on the inside. It has been in progress since 1935, it was pretty cool to see the insides with a bare concrete floor and wrappings around all the columns, it was a real contrast from the marble exterior.

Walking back we passed a bomb site from 1999 when NATO bombed the city, and went to a local craft market. For dinner we went to a restaurant called the Taverna, and were served by a hilarious waiter who kept us laughing. The food was pretty good too!

Thursday 6th October
Belgrade to Nis

This morning we caught a local bus from Belgrade to Nis, it wasn’t a bad journey, although we were warned before-hand that there were no toilet breaks on the way.

Once we arrived, we got rid of our luggage then had a bit of a walk around. We walked through the main square, King Milan Square and through Nis Fortress.

Then we went to the Red Cross Concentration Camp, named after the local suburb, not the aid organisation. It is one of the best preserved concentration camps in Europe, and was the location of a massive escape of prisoners. It was a very somber place to visit, particularly with the rain beating down around us, but an interesting site.

After that, due to the rain, we caught a taxi across town to the Skull tower, which is a tower built by the Ottomans, containing skulls of Serbian Revolutionaries from 1809. I’m not sure having to clean almost 1000 skulls was a great reward for the victors of that battle, but it was fascinating to see the remaining skulls neatly lined up in rows on the tower.
Then we found another taxi and went to the Archaeological Hall, which was small, but had quite a few artefacts and models of tombs and it was amazing how long there had been settlement in the area for.

That was all our sightseeing for the day, so we headed back to our hotel for a bit of a break before going to Tinker’s Alley for dinner which was very nice. 

 

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