Days: 489-490 (27 October 2015 -28 October 2015)
Total distance travelled: 128,696.3 kilometres (79,935.57 miles)
After days of sitting idle, I’d made an early morning dash to the consulate to lodge my passport, before heading directly to the bus terminal where Sarah waited with our bags.
Finally, we were about to get on the move again!
After wading through the usual cigarette haze that lingers in most Balkan bus stations, we asked to purchase a fare on the next available bus to Novi Sad, handed over our cash and we were seemingly set.
Our first moment of panic arose when she tried to explain to us in English that the bus was at twenty to nine (9am).
A quick glance at our watch told us that it was already 8:42am!
In one of those rare moments where we were actually relieved that something had been lost in translation, it turns out she’d actually meant 9:40am.
At least we now had time to gather some supplies, which came in the form of some more water and a couple of packets of potato chips (crisps).
If we thought this was enough excitement for one morning, we’d thought wrong.
Half way through our roughly hundred kilometre journey, one young girl thought it was a bit too much, and we were serenaded for several minutes with the wonderful sounds of her vomiting…
We’d booked a hostel, and had a fair idea of where it was (across river in the old quarter). The problem however was that we didn’t know exactly where we were as entered the city, so ultimately it was at the main bus terminal that we finished (rather than having gotten off much earlier where we’d have only needed a couple of minutes walk cross a long bridge).
So here we were, at the bus terminal which also happened to be the railway station, doing our best to decipher which local bus we needed to get us where we needed to be… no easy task when everything is written in the Cyrillic alphabet!
Fortunately the numbers we could understand, and eventually we got ourselves across river and were soon wandering the small old town that sits beneath Petrovaradin Fortress.
As soon as we got there and found our very modern hostel behind a classic old facade, we knew we’d made the right decision when it came to where to stay.
It was a really nice place, and in something that didn’t truly come as a surprise, we were the only guests.
There was an undeniable charm here, so we dumped our bags before wandering out to explore a little more of the city and grab ourselves a bite to eat at the same time.
Despite there being a good several hours worth of daylight left, the wan light offered by the late Autumn sun made it feel a little dusk like as we made our way back across river and into the modern town that is Novi Sad.
The heart of the city was the domain of the pedestrian, so after wandering some nicely paved and very broad thoroughfares, we ultimately found ourselves on Liberty Square, around which was clustered a handful of grandiose buildings and some appealing looking eateries.
It wasn’t long at all before we were taking a seat at an outdoor table, a very welcome glass of red wine each.
We ordered a pizza to share between us, then noticed with some surprise that Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds are Burning’ (Midnight Oil is an Australian band from the 1980’s who had a strong political and environmental stance) was playing through the music system around us!
Surely it was just incredible coincidence… nobody had advised the people of the town that two Australians had arrived… had they?
Still, we enjoyed our wine, our pizza and the tunes, before making our way back across the Danube as the air afternoon began to chill relatively quickly.
Morning again revealed another day of stunning weather, so good in fact we could scarcely believe that we were just over a month shy of the northern Winter.
Under blue skies we began the trek up to the fortress that dominates the Danube, and in fact could be reached by a set of stairs almost right behind our old town hostel.
The place doesn’t resemble a castle like you may imagine, rather it’s a series of large, still grand buildings, protected by the elevation upon which it sits, and an extensive series of walls and earthen ramparts.
From here, we had great river and city views, although those views did remain a little hazy thanks to the almost winter time in which we visited.
But it’s not all about views alone, as one of those aforementioned grand buildings is also home to the City Museum of Novi Sad and with nothing much planned for our day, we decided to pay the entrance fee and check it out.
Within, we were met by a young local man with decent English who after asking for us to wait for a moment, decided to take it upon himself to provide us with a guided tour (we would have been happier to wander the place ourselves, but that would have been rude).
The middle level, where we made our entrance was devoted mostly to military paraphernalia, and mostly of a Soviet/Communist leaning.
We descended a little deeper within the stonework of the fortress where we were shown narrow passageways and a deep well that would serve the defenders in times of siege, before making the ascent to the top floor where we were joined by another couple of (Serbian) tourists.
At this time we were headed upstairs, where the contents of what must have been considered bourgeoisie homes were now wonderfully displayed, so this new pair of visitors joined us, the plan being they would see the lower floors after our departure.
When done, it was back across the river and into Novi Sad proper (I say proper, as I have assumed that Novi Sad which means “New Plant” refers to the newer parts of the city… probably an incorrect assumption) where under the much brighter day that we’d been gifted, the city was looking even more lovely.
A couple of inquiries were made about getting me a haircut, after all the ‘Mullet’ should have well and truly died back in the 1980’s, but a combination of little availability and little English saw it postponed for another day…
Another day yes, just not the following day, for we were up and at it early, packs on our backs and in search of a bus to take us north towards the Hungarian border and the city of Subotica.
* The bus from Belgrade to Novi Sad cost us 810.00 Dinar each, as well as an extra 30.00 Dinar per person to stow our large packs beneath the bus.
* To travel from the bus station across town (and across the river) to our hostel cost 55.00 Dinar per person for a one way ticket.
* Entrance into the City Museum of Novi Sad (situated up in the castle) will cost you 300 Dinar per person, however entrance into the castle grounds is FREE.