Translated by: Alexandra Fadgyas
We said goodbye to Belgrade on a rainy day. Sadly, we did not have a chance to explore the city because of the heavy rain that had been going on for the past 3 days. We could see clearly through the window that a huge amount of water was slowly rolling down the hill. The weather was definitely not ideal for sightseeing. We got cozy in the flat of our host and did not mind the bad weather as much. Belgrade is not far from Hungary, and we could come back any time for a visit once we have completed our journey to New Zealand. We stretched out our legs – they were really tense from the lot of exercise- and started writing our travelogue, so we could share our first weeks with you. As the day was passing we got more and more relaxed. We enjoyed pretty good weather before Belgrade and deep in our heart we hoped that spring will find us again very soon.
We left our host in the afternoon. We had an exciting meeting coming up that evening. We were supposed to meet a couple who had just arrived back from an 8,5 month journey from Asia. First-hand information– we thought. Eni was especially interested in Mongolia. While we were having our dinner – which was delicious- we had a nice chat about the countries, they visited.
The exchange of information was not as sucessful as we hoped it would be at the beginning but we did not mind. They were such a cool couple!
The journey continued early morning the next day. This was the night when the clocks had to be set an hour forward and we had to keep our tight schedule. We only had a chance to say goodbye to our host’s wife, because Ivan was still asleep.
Right after we had left, we came across two wayfarers – Christoph and Simon. These two guys left Austria in January to raise money for children living in Vietnam. Their plan is to make the journey on foot and get to Vietnam through China finding as many patronisers throughout the trip as possible. They have been helping many children, orphanages and schools already. The positive mentality of these two persons impressed us a lot. They were radiating energy. It was so contiguous/ infectious that we also started feeling the good vibes. We needed this push as we had a long day ahead of us.
We turned towards Smedrevo. It was the next stop of our trip. Smedrevo is a small town in Serbia. It is situated on the bank of Morodva which is one of the sub-rivers of the Danube. The place became famous of its fortress, which was built in the 15th century. Another interesting fact is that one of our talented general was killed here in a siege in 1494.
We were crossing the second steep hill towards Smedrevo, when our host Ivan reached us. He wanted to say good bye and wish good luck for the rest of our journey. We had a little talk on top of the hill, hugged each other and took a couple of pictures. Ivan gave us some useful directions on how to get to our next stop. As a farewell present he handed us two nice bottles of mineral water, which was refreshing!
After a long day we arrived at the border of the town. We turned south towards Pozarevac to pass the city and find accommodation in one of the neighboring small villages. We hoped to build up our tent in a garden/ croft and spend a peaceful night under the stars. This solution seemed much safer, then sleeping somewhere by the road. However, today I would not agree with this statement completely. Camping somewhere – in the middle of a meadow or on a bank of a nice river makes you feel free. Truly free.
Finding accommodation in Salakovac seemed a pretty difficult task. Even though we asked for help from the locals and even from the teachers from the school, it looked like an impossible mission to find a place to sleep. Time went by and it got dark and cold. All of our attempts were rejected. At the very end we got help in the local hospital. One of the nurses asked the police for assistance. Soon we found ourselves at the police station with a warm cup of coffee in our hands. After all this hassle it felt really good to rest on a chair and drink something hot. We cracked some jokes and had a nice chat and our stay at the police station ended up to be lots of fun, despite the location
Soon our new host - the local priest arrived. He was a tall man, over 190 cm with a beard and a huge smile on his face. He looked about 50 years old. Slobodan Stanich – introduced himself. We shook hands and greeted each other.
After gathering our staff up, we started walking towards the vicarage. Slobodan bought some food for us at the local shop. He insisted on inviting us for dinner.
His house was a one floor building with a peaceful warm atmosphere. We got a cozy little room for ourselves and we soon started to feel at home.
As a welcome drink – Slobodan offered us some pálinka. He did not drink with us. He was fasting. We started talking during the dinner. He gladly shared some stories from his life. Originally he comes from Bosnia. He moved to Serbia in 1996. He has a family, a son and a daughter: He was not only a father but a happy grandpa as well. He proudly told stories about his grandchildren. He is divorced now.
He was such an open minded person, who talked so honestly that this encouraged us to ask anything from him that crossed our mind. Eni was mostly interested in the difference between the catholic and orthodox rite and religious practices. Soon it was our turn. We told the story of „our track” and even showed our page on facebook to him. He „like-d” us right the way He liked the idea of supporting children and hoped that we will reach our goal.
Hosted by Slobodan
Sadly, Slobodan did not talk very good English and my Bulgarian language skills were also limited, so we had to use google translator to help us out and to understand each other more.
We were chatting, laughing around the table. At the back the fire was dancing in the chimney-piece and the icons and the rest of pictures of the saints were smiling at this cheerful weird company. Time flew by and the morning soon was knocking on our door.
The breakfast was lovely. We packed our stuff up. As a gift we got two wristlets (looks like rosaries) a saint picture and also a bottle of palinka for the stressful days.
Visiting the church
Just before we left, we visited the Orthodox Church. The building was quiet small which made its atmosphere very friendly. It was bright, had huge windows on the sides. On the upper circle there was a space for the choir. There were also several chairs at the first row, for old people to sit during the mess. The walls were decorated with icons and other saint pictures. At the very back of the building there was the presbytery. Only priests were allowed to enter there. Slobodan showed us around. I took some pictures while Eni was asking about the steps of the rite.
We did not really want to, but we had to say goodbye to Slobodan and to this wonderful place. We got on our bike and forced ourselves to concentrate on our next stop. It was difficult. This encounter, the conversations and the experience uplifted us so much that we could not even talked to each other for a while. Slobodan was watching us until a little hill hid us for good.
It was a windy, cloudy day when we were leaving for Vaskapu to get to know closer the Djerdap National Park.