A Serbian swansong…

Days: 503-504 (10 November 2015-11 November 2015)

Total distance travelled: 130,324.6 kilometres (80,946.93 miles)

Just over a thousand Serbian Dinar later and we were at our last stop in Serbia, Kraljevo.

Like Novi Pazar, we’d arrived less interested in the town itself, and rather more in a sight roughly forty kilometres distant.

Early research had revealed little in the cheap accommodation department, and that’s what saw us in our first AirBnB lodging since Iceland, but funnily enough our host was nowhere to be found on arrival… in the early evening… with the sun having set… and it getting mighty cold!

Our host had been called away to Belgrade, so it was left to a friendly neighbour to allow us in. For a long while we weren’t sure where our bed was, until our absent host called and advised that a room we’d thought locked (turns out the door was just a bit stiff) was where it could be found.

Come morning yet another astonishingly sun filled day greeted us, so whilst we waited for a local bus service I had a closer inspection of some derelict engines, slowly rusting away nearby.

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Derelict rolling stock…

Soon enough our bus arrived, and we were ferried to the junction town of Usce, and from there, we’d be relying on our legs.

A further eleven kilometres through undulating terrain lay before us, but at least we had a beautiful, if a little fresh morning in which to make the walk.

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A beautiful day for an eleven kilometre walk

There was little traffic, although by all accounts there was a bus we could have caught, aside from the occasional truck we didn’t see it (the bus) or many other vehicles to be honest.

With the road snaking through a long valley, it sure was pretty though, and we did coax the occasional local out for a peek at these random foreigners.

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Incredible colour on this lonely road (left) & A curious local (right)

As the hills rolled on, so did we, eventually after traversing a bridge and ascending one final shaded incline we made it to a cluster of buildings, apparently a sign that the monastery was near.

Although we couldn’t see it immediately, a short walk up a drive had us at our destination and after taking in the scene before us, we figured we may as well break for lunch and munch on the food we’d brought along with us.

A low wall nearby proving the perfect picnic table.

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Studenica: A first look

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Our view over lunch

There were a couple of other visitors as well, and not surprisingly they were definitely far more stylishly attired than either of us were.

We wandered the grounds, bordered as they were by a high stone wall, a few high guard towers and gateways allowing entry and exit, before entering the inner sanctum itself.

Apparently photography within is not permitted, however we didn’t realise that at the time, so the following images… I guess that essentially makes them contraband!

Still, they paint a pretty picture of what we were able to enjoy and showcase why we’d made the lengthy effort to get to this out of the way location.

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Admiring the ancient artwork within the two churches

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Looking upwards, another gorgeous dome (left) & One of the fortified entrances that protected the monks (right)

With our time at the monastery spent, we began the long trek back to the highway where we hoped to sooner rather than later spy the bus back to Kraljevo which would conclude our day.

Cue our second unintentional moment of hitch-hiking in the past couple of days.

As we laboured up (or possibly down) one of the many hills, a small, fairly beat up car pulled up alongside us (think tiny hatchback).

It’s sole occupant, a rather portly older man gestured for us to get in, and feeling a little carefree (and tired) we accepted his generous offer.

Now sure, as already mentioned, there were hills, but whilst long they weren’t particularly steep, but there were times during that journey back to the highway, that we honestly doubted this set of wheels, now with three occupants, was going to make it up some of those bad boys.

Seriously, at times we were chugging uphill slower than we’d previously been walking!

But still, it did make those downhill rides all the more pleasurable…

Eventually at the crossroads, we were fortunate our subsequent wait was short and it wasn’t long until we were once again headed back towards Kraljevo.

 

Notes:

* Our bus from Novi Pazar to Kraljevo cost 550.00 Dinar per person.

* The bus from Kraljevo to Usce (from where we’d walk to Studenica) cost 250.00 Dinar one way.

* Entrance into the Studenica monastery was FREE!

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