Impressions on Serbia and the Balkans

Paste Magazine : Sarah BennettTake Five Unexpected Serbia

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SALLY WRITES – freelance outdoors and travel writer

Suggested image: https://unsplash.com/search/bear?photo=kZ8dyUT0h30

What You Need to Know to Have the Best Animal Tracking Experience

Want to see a bear in its natural habitat? These massive majestic creatures are a delight for people of all ages, and they are one of the main attractions at Tara National Park. To ensure you have the best experience possible, we have put together a few animal tracking tips.

Animal Tracking Is in Our DNA

Our ancestors could stay well fed and safe thanks to their ability to track animals. Of course, tracking is much more than a hunter/gatherer endeavor. It can also improve your outdoor experience by helping you make discoveries others may have missed. It also teaches you to slow down and look around you. Something we could all use more of these days.

Everything leaves behind tracks. Stop, listen, and look when you find tracks. It helps to know what critters are in the area you visit. However, you can figure out the weight, size, and speed of an animal by its tracks. A discreet trail camera will allow you to observe the creature behind the tracks and maintain contact with the area even when you’re in a remote location.

The First Print Will Start You on Your Journey

Once you find tracks, try to figure out which way the animal went. Observe other signs like sounds, stomped down grass, or even droppings. You must first make a general assessment of what you think the animal is doing. You are essentially a detective. Part of the chase is being aware, collecting clues, and having a creative imagination. You will see more as you look deeper. Here are a few tips to help you understand what is going on:

  • ·         The depth of a track will tell you how heavy the animal is. Bigger animals leave a deeper footprint.
  • ·         If you find droppings that still look quite moist despite it being a warm and dry day, it means the animal is nearby.
  • ·         If the tracks are elongated and less of a perfect outline of the animal’s paws, then you can assume the animal was moving quickly.
  • ·         If you assess that you are close to the animal you are tracking, proceed with caution. You do not want to frighten the critter.

Bear Tracking in Tara National Park

One of the many outdoor adventures that PanaComp offers is a bear watching expedition in Tara National Park. Within the park, there are four bear feeding grounds used to supplement the bears’ normal diet. Near each of the feeding areas is a wooden watching hide that fits four people and keeps them safe from the bears while providing a terrific view of these beautiful beasts.

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Europe’s Foodie Secret : Serbian Cuisine by Tamara Sheward Lonely Planet Writer

Vojvodina vagabonding : Slow travel in Serbia’s north by Tamara Sheward Lonely Planet Writer

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Paste Magazine

CYCLING SERBIA’S SOUTHERN MOUNTAINS by SEVEN DAYS CYCLIST

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Well I arrived back home on Saturday after a brilliant month in The Balkans! My stay in Arilje was delightful and Olivera was very kind. The fact that I was there at just the right time to visit the Guca Brass Band Festival was a real bonus. Nis was much nicer than I expected too! I will be sending you lots of photographs and notes about my impressions soon, but for now thanks again for all your kindness – I wouldn’t have experienced the real Serbia without it. Love, Adrian

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Lonely Planet the Best in Travel 2015 – Serbia among Top 10 Countries

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Dear Ivanka and Team,

I am home now and following all the horrible flooding in your country. We were very lucky when we were there. It was beautiful and everyone treated us very well. Our stay at the Sirogojno Open Air Museum could not have gone better. A very tall woman ~~ I think her name was Ivanka also ~~ was wonderful. She spoke excellent English and arranged for our meals, lodging and visit. We could not have been better taken care of while visiting. The food was also delicious.

I really hope you, your family, friends and team are all safe from the flooding. I imagine it has been horrible for your business and your country. I doubt there is anything I can do; but if you ever need a recommendation about the Museum, please feel free to contact me. Please be safe, Rikki

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Gergana wrote on November 15, 2013: I recently visited Uvac Reserve – there are a few interesting things I want to point out: 1. You can explore the lake only with a ranger from the reserve. If you go around and watch – it is free. But the fee for the boat ride goes directly to the reserve – which is the best management approach. 2. The nature is sooooooo beautiful – you simply do not want to get out of there. 3. There are amazing places nearby where you can stay overnight (with great home-made food). 4. We saw 5 griffon vultures!!! :)))))

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[25.6.2013 8:10:33] michiel van dam: Dear Ivanka I made good pictures at Sutjesko and Jablanica. Also awesome ride, from Foca to Mostar via Gacko! I am now near Konjic, Blaci, Blackevo Jezero very nice place from Bosnian couple thatives in The Netherlands, worth recommending www.herzegovina-lodges.com. The bienale art exhibition in “Tito’s Bunker” was somewhat meagre, but for the rest this tour is great. It is not so hot any more. But it is raining. I will return next year, to travel further down the Tito Trail! I hope that we will be able to meet then. If Serbia Tourism can arrange flights, transport and accommodation for me, I might already come back in August, for the Guca Festival. Warm regards and thank you again! Michiel van Dam

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 UK Adventurer plans to ‘Walk Serbia’

Kevin Shannon, an Adventurer and Writer from the UK, will walk through Serbia from the northern most border to the south, a journey of over 500 miles. The expedition, entitled ‘Walk Serbia’ is being sponsored by The National Tourism Organisation of Serbia.

With not much more than a sleeping bag, camera and phone stuffed into his rucksack he plans to explore the country, sleeping along the route wherever he can find space to unroll his sleeping bag. His aim is to document Serbia’s culture, people, food, wildlife and history.

Starting north of Subotica his trek will take him through Novi Sad, Belgrade, Smederevo, Porodin and Nis before finishing just south of Preševo.

Walk Serbia is not just another expedition, but a project quite close to Kevin’s heart. After spending almost 4 months in the country whilst cycling through Europe in 2010 and 2011, Kevin believes this is a way to give something back to the country.

“Since my first step in Serbia back in 2010 I was shown nothing but kindness by the people of Serbia” he says “I arrived at the border with no real prior knowledge of the country and left with a real yearning to return”. The 26 year old commented “I think people should know just what Serbia offers to tourists; whether it is the fantastic food, amazing people, great culture and history and awe inspiring nature – Serbia holds something for everyone. And this is my way of showing them”.

Walking on foot through Serbia will ensure that Kevin comes face to face with everything Serbia has to offer. “The beauty of walking is that you go slow enough to absorb every detail and you get to interact with people en-route in a way that can’t be emulated; your welcomed into peoples’ homes, eat local food and learn more about people.”

Aiming to tell the expedition’s story in real time, He’ll be updating followers of the journey using social media sites like Twitter,Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo and will be writing a daily blog that will be view-able on The National Tourism Organisation of Serbia’s website, as well as his own. Kevin plans to write a book about his journey, as well as produce a short documentary film, on his return to the UK. Kevin will return to Serbia in July to walk the route in reverse to show how the country differs in winter and summer.

The expedition’s main sponsor is The National Tourism Organisation of Serbia. The expedition is also sponsored by are Tourism organization of Belgrade, Vojvodina online, Visit Subotica, Columbia Sportswear, Vip Mobile, Vivobarefoot, Moleskine, Breo, Sealskinz, Trailmakr, Soto
stoves.

“Walk Serbia” can be traced http://www.becauseitisthere.co.uk http://www.serbia.travel/ and on Twitter @ or # Kev_Shannon walkserbia.

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Archaeologie Magazine – dr Lou Lichtenberg impressions on archaeological and cultural heritage of Serbia

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La Serbie chez l’habitant

Côté serbe, on se sent tout de suite plus dépaysé. Aux paysages bucoliques se superposent les regards profonds et souriants des habitants qui, en dépit du chômage (un Serbe sur sept a un emploi), rayonnent d’un bonheur dont nous avons parfois perdu la recette. C’est ce qu’ils nous donneront de plus précieux, avec leur cuisine « de maman » toujours élégamment présentée ! Impossible d’entrer – et encore moins de séjourner – dans une maison sans goûter ses spécialités : fraises sauvages, bœuf séché, tarte au fromage, jus de pêche, pain aux épinards, légumes du potager… et raki bien sûr ! Avant de commencer, on brise le pain, on le trempe dans le sel et on en croque une bouchée. Bienvenue !

Les habitants accueillent donc les touristes chez eux, mais avec confort et intimité (la plupart des maisons aménagent une salle de bains par chambre). Pour en moyenne 20 euros quotidiens, la moitié pour les enfants de plus de 4 ans (gratuit pour les plus jeunes), on mange trois fois par jour (si toutefois on y arrive !) et l’on dort dans de jolis draps brodés par la dame. Jardin et très souvent piscine accompagnent la lente course du temps dans un silence entrecoupé du bruit d’un ruisseau.

C’est une vraie volonté locale, exclusivement portée par le ministère de l’Agriculture et quelques personnalités engagées comme Ivanka Tasić, la responsable de l’organisme touristique PanaComp, de développer le tourisme à domicile pour que le produit en revienne directement aux habitants et non à des investisseurs étrangers en mal de terres vierges. De fait, la nature est incroyablement préservée en Serbie. Là-bas, on n’est pas bio par choix, encore moins par calcul, mais par évidence, parce qu’on n’a jamais appris à faire autrement. D’où une offre touristique aussi embryonnaire que respectueuse des équilibres. L’un des derniers édens.

Infos pratiques

Pour trouver un hébergement, téléphoner ou écrire en anglais à Ivanka Tasić, en précisant bien ses exigences en termes de confort. Parmi les maisons que nous avons visitées, deux coups de cœur : celle de la blonde et joviale Gordana, ainsi que les petits chalets tout confort éparpillés dans le jardin de Zeljko et Marija Sreddic, qui organisent aussi de magnifiques randonnées, apprennent le français et offrent le wi-fi.

Tél. : 00 381 21 466 075.
E-mail : info@panacomp.net
www.panacomp.net

Plus de “Art de vivre”, Reportage Sandra de Vivies

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Each year, non-profit organization Ethical Traveler conducts a survey of the world’s developing nations, analyzing their progress toward promoting human rights, preserving their environment, and developing a sustainable tourism industry. The study, run by Ethical Traveler’s all-volunteer staff, factors in country scores from databases like Freedom House, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the World Bank, then dives into actions that governments have taken to improve circumstances within their countries in the previous year.

The top countries are celebrated in Ethical Traveler’s annual list of the Developing World’s Best Ethical Tourism Destinations, with the hope that increased tourism will help those countries continue to improve. “Travel and tourism are among the planet’s driving economic forces, and every journey we take makes a statement about our priorities and commitment to change,” they say. “Ethical Traveler believes that mindful travel is a net positive for the planet. By choosing our destinations well and remembering our role as citizen diplomats, we can create international goodwill and help change the world for the better.”

This year’s list includes Argentina, the Bahamas, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Latvia, Mauritius, Palau, Serbia, and Uruguay.

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We can’t thank you enough for such a wonderful adventure. I’m a professional photographer in Canada and my wife and I, along with our two young children embarked upon a trip to Serbia this past month. We are still on the road as we speak but I just couldn’t believe how wonderful it was to visit, even in the shoulder season. We’re traveling by bus and train and we found everything to be so great, easy and everyone was friendly and helpful. Traveling with a two year old and a five month old infant it was great to know we were safe and in good hands.

I had always wanted to visit Serbia and this region, ever since a small child and it far exceeded my expectations. I have written a travel blog, written tongue in cheek a little but I really hope I emphasized how wonderful our adventure was, and not to mention so very safe! Thanks so very much and if there is ever anything I can do to help please let me know!  Carey

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Tourist Promo Weekend West Serbia

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Good Mornîng Mrs. Tasic

Thanks a lot for your colorful mail. I do know the Yougoslawian hospitality and the specialities, but I was not aware, that the Danube flows through really green serpentine-canons in your country. With best regards from Switzerland, Hans Wiesner

Windrose Reisen AG
Wallisellenstrasse 318
8050 Zürich, 043 321 29 29
wiesner@windrose-reisen.ch
www.windrose-reisen.ch

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BBC World

“Outstanding natural beauty”

The Observer

 „Simply the Irresistible“,  „The cutting edge of cool”

Serbia is an outstanding country and the Serbs are phenomenal people out of the ordinary! May others understand Your history and culture a lot more than today and support You a lot more than today! By so much sacrifice, You’ve earned Your place and THERE MUST BE JUSTICE! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! May Your glorious past be acknowledged all over the world! Živela Srbija!!! VOLIM TE SRBIJO! All good powers get together and help build a strong Serbia! Greetings and kind regards from a Norwegian

Lonely Planet compiled a list of the world’s top 10 party cities in its new guide, “1000 Ultimate Experiences.”

Top 10 cities to party the night away

1. Belgrade, Serbia!!!

The long years of bad press that kept Serbia off the map have now passed, and foreigners are now realizing what locals always knew – that Belgrade really rocks. With an exuberant population and its legacy as an intellectual hangout, Belgrade offers varied nightlife, ranging from eclectic watering holes for those in the know, to the busy restaurants and bars of the Skadarlija district and the summer clubs in barges on the Sava and Danube Rivers.

By Tom Owen CNN Traveller

Despite a few reminders of war, Serbia’s capital is a party town
(CNNTraveller) — Belgrade, like a Jack Russell terrier, has character in spades. Bosnia might have a lead in exoticism, and you cannot better Croatia for jaw-dropping natural beauty, but for the real beguiling Balkan spirit, it has to be Belgrade. It is a city where you can dance until sunrise seven nights a week, where hospitality crackles in the air, and where looking good is a birthright and a religion in one.

It is no Rome or Paris, and therein lies its appeal — no matter that it is battered, ragged and faded, Belgrade’s charm is simply irrepressible. One thing to bring is your Alka Seltzer. One thing to leave at home is politics — Belgrade has far too much already, and does not need any more, thank you.

11:00: If you are up and about much before this, you are probably doing something wrong. The Kalemegdan fortress stands in the middle of a park, overlooking the confluence of the rivers Danube and Sava, and hiking up the hill to the bastion is a bracing start to the day. Overgrown schoolboys will enjoy the slightly incongruous displays of Tito-era tanks and artillery within the fortress walls.

13:30: The garden of the Klub Knjizevnika (writers’ club) on Francuska 7 is the perfect spot for lunch on a summer day, non-literary types welcome. Amid the rush of the city, it is a true literary paradise — with a kitsch twist courtesy of the Tito era.

This was where scribblers who did not scribble too much to upset the League of Communists would meet to gossip, squabble and lap up their privileges. The marshal has long gone but the club’s stucco mansion just gets more charming, with its waiters in white tunics and animated Serbian chatter as background music. Try the utterly toothsome and no-nonsense roast lamb and potatoes with a few glasses of slivovitz (Balkan plum brandy).

15:30: From Klub Knjizevnika, head toward the government district, where you can still see vast ministries collapsed like dolls’ houses after the 1999 aerial onslaught. Head onward to the imposing cathedral of Sveti Sava, like a latter day Hagia Sophia, with its Byzantine domes surmounted by shining golden crucifixes. It was here that the slain prime minister Zoran Djindjic’s funeral took place in March — a salutary reminder of the dark side of Serbian life.

Return via the landscaped bank of the Danube, where in summer you will be regaled with the sight of octogenarians sunning themselves and fishing in the skimpiest of swimming trunks.

19:00: Like most Mediterranean people, the Serbs take to the streets at dusk to parade and watch each other — the ‘corso’ on Kneza Mihailova. Best to have an ice cream in hand if you really want to blend in.

20:00: The World War II partisans implanted a love of all things underground in Serbs, and the anti-Milosevic movement renewed it among the young. You only have to watch the legendary Emir Kosturica film Underground to see it, or the rebel media network B92 (www.b92.com). This is no less the case with Belgrade’s bars — if the entrance is marked, it is not hip. A grown up, laid back lounge is Ben Akiba, a stone’s throw from the Hotel Moskva. More youthful is Moloko on Kneza Mihailova, with shades of A Clockwork Orange. To find them, ask someone young — people are usually overwhelmingly friendly and speak a couple of foreign languages.

22:00: For dinner head to Skadarska, an old, slightly raffish and Bohemian cobbled street, teeming with lively restaurants. In most European cities it would be a tourist trap, but as Belgrade has precious few tourists, prices remain reasonable — parade along the street a few times and hunt out a place.

00:00: Belgrade has plenty of gypsy music boats but, if you can get to it, Fat Toma’s on the lake is one of the best. Elsewhere in eastern Europe gypsies are despised, but in Serbia they have a special role as musical clowns, and are held in much affection. As the night draws on this floating shed heaves in the water as the musicians and revellers get into their stride. With its wooden walls covered by nets, it is like a smugglers’ den, and no doubt a good few of the clients are hajduks (rogues). If the double bass looks a bit ropey, that is because it sometimes gets hurled into the water on particularly ribald evenings.

06:00: Being first in line for breakfast at the Hotel Moskva is the perfect end to a Belgrade night. As dawn rises, the place has more than ever the Le Carre vibe, but the most sinister thing that will happen is that your eggs will be overdone — if you can keep your eyes open long enough to notice.

The Sunday Times : Europe’s best nightlife in buzzing Belgrade – enjoy the finest nightclubs, bars and restaurants in Europe’s new capital of cool 

Tom Hall, The Observer

“Summer or winter, it’s time to get across to Serbia, which shows every sign of being the next big thing for Europe-bound travellers…it’s the spot for the discerning traveller who’s looking for something totally new.”

Russell Stenhouse, Suffolk Magazine

“My advice is visit Serbia before it changes.” “Serbia is not milking the tourist, and rather, offers superb value as a result… Serbia is land full of surprising contrast and contrary to perception, offers tourists a truly warm and hospitable welcome catering for everybody. Given the turbulent history of recent events, Serbia is now on the up and tourists are guaranteed an exceptional destination at incredibly good value.”

George Jacob, Time Out

“Belgrade….dazzling at the crossroads of European resurgence, celebrates a rich mix of cultures, a natural combination of Oriental passion and European finesse.”

Patrick Horton, San Francisco Chronicle

“Belgrade’s the new tourist hotspot of Europe, so new in terms of tourism that it’s unspoiled and still rather chic. Plus it’s safe and cheaper than Western Europe. You say you crave good books, clothes and scarfs? Well, they’re all here. Window-shop the smart, pedestrian Kneza Mihailova street for galleries, boutiques, and bookstores.Skadarska, Belgrade’s Bohemian quarter and once a retreat of poets, wrtiers and musicians, is quaint and cheerful cobbled street full of old wooden-beamed inns that offer Serbian food accompanied by roving bands of musicians. In summer, eating, drinking and music flow out into the street…”Good Evening, I’m an American. I want to express my dismay that the Serbian people have sufferred, at the hand of my Government. I am so sorry for the persecution. I hope Serbians are able to triumph, in the end.

Yvonne Van Veen

When I think of Serbia, I think of its untouched beauty, wonderful cuisine, hospitable and warm people. Serbia as a land is an interesting blend of a rich, long tradition and a modern lifestyle.

Top London DJ Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio 1

Belgrade – wow!… their musical knowledge of what’s hot is second to none and as such could be my favorite spot right now.”

Tom Hall, The Observer

“Away from the capital, Novi Sad is an undiscovered treat, with classical architecture and a fortress that dominates the city. Novi Sad is also home of EXIT, one of Europe’s largest music festivals.”

Guca Brass Festival – The most famous Folk Festival in Yugoslavia
“I didn’t know you could play trumpet that way” Miles Dives, a Guca Festival visitor Metropolis, Amsterdam. The greatest festival I’ve ever been to. Great music, great fun, great people, pretty girsl, awesome food! Serbia rocks!

Kay, Herne Bay, Kent

Two days of heaven – fantastic music, food and rakia – best festival in the world – and the best two days of my fantastic holiday in Serbia!

 

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