First Stop In Serbia: Niš
Hitchhiking from Sofia, Bulgaria to Serbia wasn’t easy. I waited roughly 45 minutes until a Turkish truck driver picked me up in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately the route from Bulgaria to Serbia (and often until Germany) is frequented with truck drivers from Turkey, who often take hitchhikers. I noticed that hitchhiking in Eastern Europe is more common than in Western Europe, I have never seen one hitchhiker in Germany.
Finally I arrived in Serbia, on the border I witnessed my driver bribed the officials. But I didn’t notice what was going on because my driver Mustafa spoke broken English.
I guess you can spend easily two days in Nis and move on to the capital without compunction.
Even though Nis is the third largest city in Serbia, I got bored after 3 days and left to Belgrade.
Cool fact: Is is the birthplace of the Roman Emperor
Constantine the Great, who emerged a series of victory in some civil wars thousands of years ago.
I tried to visit Mediana, but Easter is in Eastern Europe too significant to let anyone work, a desperate look from outside and I had to go, Yay!
The Red Cross Nazi Concentration was closed too, much to my regret.
Nowadays most skulls are gone, but the Skull Tower in Nis shouldn’t be miss on your list. The tower bears its name due to the human skulls which are embedded in the stone structure.
Short stories: Serbian rebels were attacked by the Ottomans near Nis. Knowing that he and his soldiers would be impaled if captured, the command killed himself, his fellows and the interfering Ottoman soldiers with a detonation. The Ottoman general Hurshid Pasha ordered to build from the skulls of the fallen rebels the tower.
The story could have been part of a chapter in Game of Thrones.
If you finish walking all day long you can rest in St.Sava Park.
Enjoy observing people playing with their kids or the younger generation flirting. A lot of small restaurants and cafes are within the park.
The Monument to the Liberators of Nis marks the city center. On the right bank of Nisava River is Nis Fortress, an important historical monument.
Belgrade, Capital Of Serbia
Hitchhiking from Nis to Belgrade was easier than Sofia to Nis. After 20 minutes Sertac, a Turkish truck driver stopped and gave me a ride to Belgrade. On the top of that, he is from the same delivery company like Mustafa. And they know each other. Small world.
He explained that every truck driver has a small kitchen to cook and left me wondering where the primitive kitchen is implemented in the truck.
In the hostel of Belgrade I made immediately a new friend: Nono. Together we explored the next days Belgrade and every night Nono was going out to the pubs while I was more than exhausted after a long sightseeing day. I never understood where he got all his energy from. Do a Free Walking Tour in Belgrade and you get to know everything you need to know. Personally, I prefer Belgrade over Nis. But each to their own 🙂
I lingered at the huge Belgrade Fortress – a fortress which is protected by the Republic of Serbia – more than planned. There are so many things to do and see, the fortress is heart and soul of Belgrade.
Have a look over the second-longest European river called Danube river and Sava River and their confluence.
Kalemegdan Park, the largest park in Belgrade is also part of the fortress.
Paris has its Montmartre and Belgrade its Skadarlija, the main bohemian and vintage quarter of Belgrade. The most famous kafanas can be found there. Kafanas are kind of local bistro which primarily serves alcoholic beverages and coffees, with snacks and other food. Live music performances are not rare. The kafanas Tri šešira and Two Deer welcomed in the past numerous of famous guests such as Jimi Hendrix or chess player Anatoly Karpov and politicians like George H.W. Bush.
A monument of the bohemian famous poet Dura Jaksic is located in Skadarlija . Jaksic wrote poems, short stories, plays and is a representive of Serbian Romanticism. Through his poems he expressed his bitterness and attempted to revive the glorious past days.
Either cold, warm or hot, you can always stroll along Zemunski Kej at Danube river bank. Here you can spend a pleasant day with walking, jogging or biking along the river.
Many restaurants, bars, popcorn vendors along the esplanade won’t let you suffer from starving (cheap until expensive delicacies).
Abundance of churches overstrained me after two days.
Churches I recommend: St. Mark’s Church, a Serbian Orthodox church is near the Parliament.
Church of Saint Sava, the Serbian Orthodox church is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.
Back in April 2017 there were heaps of protests in front of National Assembly of Serbia against the political situation in Belgrade, which Nono and I spontaneously joined.
Museum, recommended by me: In remembrance of the Serbian-American genius Nikola Tesla the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade was established in 1952.
Last stop: Novi Sad and Fruška Gora
The second time in my life I was hitchhiking with another person was in Serbia. Nono joined me on my hitchhiking trip to Nis.
And we got picked up by a local, Vladimir! Not enough, he kindly showed us Petrovaradin Fortress and a secretly hidden underpass. The famous Clock Tower on uphill with the small hand showing minutes and the big hand showing hours can be seen from far away.
The Name of Mary Church is located in city center at Svetozar Miletic Square. The vibrant square is a great spot to sit for a drink or eat, since its full with bars, restaurant, benches and friendly people.
Danuvska Street is a rustic charming street with lanterns and close to Danube Park, where you can dwell several hours.
Fruska Gora Mountain
On my last day Novi Sad was really sad, it started to snow and of course at this weather condition I had to go to the mountains, more precisely Fruska Gora. And up there I walked lonely through the snowstorm, only a barking dog was my companion. Frustrated after two hours I gave up because I was scared to get lost in the mountains again, somehow a notorious talent of mine. Snow whipped in my face and I got back to the bus station. One more hour until the next bus would come. Great.
Feeling lonely and cold, I pitied myself. After waiting 10 minutes for the damn bus, I stood up again and walked back into the mountains.
I knocked at some stranger’s house to ask if they would welcome a little girl for a short while. Nobody opened and I staged the lowest point of my joy. Waiting another 30 minutes for the bus and being alone in a middle of nowhere with a snowstorm is not as great as hollywoood movies are illustrating, believe me.
But nevertheless, if you are traveling Serbia in Summer it would be good to hike in Fruska Gora Mountain. So go for it!