Monday, May 2, 2011

Final group excursion around Serbia: Đavolja Varoš

Đavolja Varoš means Devil's Town and like Felix Romuliana it is one of the "New Seven Wonders" of which there are 77, I kid you not. Admittedly it would be an impossible task to select merely seven.

Regardless Đavolja Varoš is a beautiful natural monument with what were described as "soil figures" in an English pamphlet. 202 of these soil figures lie in one area of this mountain and they range from two to fifteen meters high and .5 to 3 meters wide. I've never seen anything like it and Hawaii has a plethora of beautiful natural outliers. Apparently there are others around Europe but these ones are the largest and most stable of all.

Reminiscent of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland?

Legend has it that the figures represent petrified wedding guests of a brother and sister who tried to marry after being seduced by the devil.

Along the trail to get to the soil figures there are two mineral water wells with "extraordinary properties," again I'm quoting the pamphlet. They have pH levels of 1.5 and 3.5 if that means something to you and "high mineralization." I wish I could appreciate what that means. The local population believes the waters have healing capacities.

There are also remains from an ancient mine and church with an incredible surrounding mountain and countryside so this definitely seems worth of the top 77 rank.

After hiking back down we stopped at a kafana run by a single family.

One woman took our orders and prepared all the food and her children sold Đavolja Varoš souvenirs and bottled drinks and preserves the mom makes. The woman was extremely kind and generous making us palacinke though they weren't on the daily menu. The food as always was fantastic but we appreciated it even more knowing that she alone prepared it all. After striking up some conversation we learned this cabin in the wilderness serves as their restaurant, house, kitchen, and business from April to October.

For the first time we tried this delicious dish called popara made from kajmak (oh so tasty milk fat), old bread, milk, and sometimes cheese. It was sort of like a savory bread pudding and it reminded me of mac&cheese, a comfort food that I can't believe I haven't had since August! As you can see the kafana, actually called krcma (an old old word for kafana), is beautiful and literally located in the forrest of Đavolja Varoš.

To cap off the day we stopped at on of the towns in Southern Serbia based around its natural spring. Previously I wrote about Sokobanja (falcon's spa) and this time it was Prolombanja.

The only melancholy of the day came through realizing that this is our last excursion in Serbia and our last week here. Fortunately we have another 3 weeks together to look forward to!

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