Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Tues 7 Jun 2016. Szalka (Hungary), to Novi Sad and Fruska Gora NP (Serbia)

Tues 7 Jun 2016. Szalka (Hungary), to Novi Sad and Fruska Gora NP (Serbia)
Someone with high beam and flashlight came by and checked us out briefly before midnight, otherwise no callers. Woke to "awfully pretty" misty sunrise over the lake. Nobody knocked to remove us from their little piece of paradise. The Angelus bells echoed out over the lake on time at 6am. 

Showered, ate breakfast on log beside lake, and departed south towards Szeged. Crossed wide Danube (still brown, still raging) flat land, all small holdings, individual crops, sunflowers - too early in season to show faces, pretty poppies along edges. Big bugs squashing on windscreen. Dairy country too, contented fresians. Goats and sheep, water wells in front yards of cottages. People in this southern region are quite dark skinned. Wanderoos agreed Hungary certainly more prosperous than neighbouring Slovakia. 

Pulled up for border crossing from Hungary to Serbia, looking in trunks of all cars, "passports", "auto document", look inside lockers and house, stamped us out, then everybody had to come and look at truck, map of travels, handshakes all round. Our smiles vanished as we came up to a refugee camp in no mans land, so dirty and impoverished. Drove up to less-smiley Serbian border, but interest in vehicle soon took over, and we were stamped in, and waved off...

Stopped at Subotica to get dinar currency for next two days, not expecting the gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings ("Secession" in Austro-Hungarian culture) - spectacular City Hall, Savings Bank Palace, Tenement Palace, Golden Lamb Hotel, Blue Fountain, and the amazing Raichle Palace with their distinctive pottery and ceramic pieces. 

City Hall


Coat of Arms
Blue Fountain

Raichle Palace 

The Franciscan Church, the People's Theatre, and National Theatre were also distinctive but not of the period. Tourist info directed us to parking big enough to take camper truck, and to hole-in-wall currency exchange. Stayed on in town for pizza lunch - all quite inexpensive.

Franciscan Church

National Theatre
Showpiece on Korzo

On highway again to Novi Sad, Serbian and Cyrillic road signs. Amazed to see deer sleeping in wheat fields - ears and nose sticking out! Drove through unprepossessing Novi Sad to have a look at Petrovaradin Citadel on its volcanic hill overlooking the Danube (yet again!) Road narrowed alarmingly and Wanderoos had to back up for traffic coming down to pass. 

Petrovaradin Citadel

Uh oh - somebody's got to give....

Castle itself restored too well to be interesting, but fortress walls and levels between fascinating, especially the little pop-up arrow emplacements. 

There were dressed-up people everywhere as well as in traditional costume, filming a music video for an upcoming festival (not sure if it was for the Exit Festival for which Serbia is famous). Before departing, had a refreshing lime and mint cider on the Terrace with the Beautiful People, loving the oh-so-cheap prices 

Went off looking for "kemping" in town but Garmin led us a merry chase through ever increasing narrow lanes and alleyways. Stopped to ask an older gent fresh home from work in his factory overcoat, and he asked "professional camping?" We said yes, thinking it would be a caravan park as opposed to a Stellplatz, and he promptly jumped into his car and led us 3kms to a 4 star resort. We thanked him profusely, waited until he'd waved out of sight and set off towards an Eco-camp we'd seen in a nearby national park. Felt right at home as we pulled into a wooded valley Strasilovo, in Fruska Gora national park, 15kms from Novi Sad. It was a gorgeous camp among pine trees, watching squirrels and birds as dusk approached. Could not believe our luck when the toilets were clean, lockable and full of paper - and the shower water being hot and plentiful (not needing 15 pushes of a button!) was the icing on the cake! Lovely dinner of smoked salmon, hot potato and salad.

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