Days: 491 (29 October 2015)
Total distance travelled: 128,801.3 kilometres (80,000.78 miles)
We stood outside the address that our directions had led us to, supposedly a hostel we’d booked in the northern Serbian city of Subotica.
Like so many places we’d been of late, other tourists were none existent, one of the key motivators in our recent decision to start booking more of our onward lodgings in advance, lest we arrive in a place to find nothing open, nor anyone around.
At first it appeared to have made no difference, as this place, despite our booking, still looked well and truly closed!
Whether we saw a sign on the door, or dumb luck shone on us, I’m unsure, but we eventually found ourselves buzzing our way into the adjacent restaurant where it turns out there was somebody who could both let us in, and check us in.
Only she spoke no English, and our Serbian, well to be blunt it is totally shithouse!
Still, we pantomimed our way through it all, paid our dues and then got out to explore our surrounds on another fresh day.
We’d not arrived with grand plans, as this was more a transit point for us on the way to spending a weekend with my Hungarian family just across the border in Szeged.
As far as transits go however, this one was certainly one of the more photogenic we’d experienced!
It wasn’t much of a walk from our pad to the heart of the city where its stunning centre-piece was the Subotica town hall.
It felt like we were wandering through a lost pocket of the Austro-Hungarian empire and with good reason, as it was well and truly a Habsburg city that was only lost when the empire disintegrated at the end of the First World War.
Apparently this was once the third largest city in the former Yugoslavia (behind Zagreb and Belgrade), however it had a decidedly slow and sleepy feel as we walked its historic centre.
We didn’t have any purpose, just meandered our way around (following the odd brown sign that seemed to indicate something touristic) and eventually found ourselves outside the now tired, but once grand Subotica synagogue.
During the sad period of history that was the Second World War, Subotica, then occupied by the Axis powers saw almost all of its Jewish population deported, many finding their way to Auschwitz, but we didn’t know that at the time as we peered at this well aged building.
Whilst different in their appearances, it did also make me think of the rather close (as in only forty five kilometres away and also our next destination) Szeged synagogue, the fourth largest in the world!
Other than wander, what did we do?
Really, we just took in the sights, on occasion some of them quirky, especially the random statues which had us casting our minds back to time spent in Bratislava on European adventures past (for the second time this trip, more recently whilst in the Colombian town of Villa de Leyva).
With so many grand buildings, despite the chill that seemed to set in as soon as the sun set (in truth, it was a pretty cold day even before this time), we figured we must venture out and see what sort of lighting budget a city like this would offer.
It was certainly no disappointment, the town hall well aglow, the ‘dulcet’ tones of a local drunk as he yelled across the square only adding to the ambience.
The opera house, although not hosting any events was also a little gem with a decent lighting budget.
Which was the highlight though?
Well that honour went to a small shack with a thankfully short queue.
It’s lighting budget was rubbish, but it served us brilliantly for dinner as we were able to stuff our faces with deep fried dough… sour cream… shredded cheese.
This was Hungarian Lángos, an old favourite of ours and we hadn’t even had to wait until we’d crossed the border to find it!
What a brilliant way to end our day… with artery clogging goodness.
* The bus from Novi Sad to Subotica cost us 820.00 Dinar each, as well as an extra 20.00 Dinar per person to stow our large packs beneath the bus.