Naturally our first stop in Novi Sad, my home for four months during Bridge Year, was my favorite palačinkarnica, or crêperie. Though I had forgotten the route, we eventually made it and I treated myself to a crêpe topped with a Milka chocolate bar.
Nom nom nom.
The next, much more highly anticipated, significant, and meaningful stop was my host family’s apartment. These people truly became my family during the four months I lived with them. While we’ve vaguely kept in touch, sending messages here and there and skyping on my host sister’s birthday, I hadn’t seen them since March 2011. Four and a half years! To my great delight and relief, our joking, loving dynamic has stayed the same. The main change was my host sister’s height. She’s a Laker! Taller than me, and I’m not exactly short. She remarked how different it was to look at me eye to eye after looking up to me four years ago.
My host mom, being the thoughtful woman she is, remembered how much I loved palačinke so she prepared pumpkin crêpes with ice cream and a homemade chocolate spread, which we all happily consumed. There can never be too many crepes, I say!
The next day, we actually toured the city of Novi Sad, the capital of Vojvodina, the autonomous province in Northern Serbia with Hapsburg roots. Vojvodina served as a sort of military buffer zone between the Austro-Hungarians and the Turkish Ottomans, and Novi Sad’s location along the Danube made it an important area to defend.
During the NATO attacks against Slobodan Milošević’s governance of Yugoslavia in 1999, all of the bridges in Novi Sad were bombed. On one side of the Danube lies the city center, business district, and most residences. On the other lies Petrovaradin fortress.
Sometimes referred to as the “Gibraltar on the Danube,” Petrovaradin first served as a Roman fortress with additions made through the medieval period. Today, the grounds are free and open to the public year-round.
Although you wouldn’t know it by this photo of the fortress’ clock tower, the shorter hand on this clock tells the minute and the longer hand tells the hour.
Some photos from the city center:
A car company supposedly sponsored this display. Whatever the cause, it delighted us and many other passerbys.
Albert Einstein’s house when he lived in Novi Sad for a few years with his first wife, Milena Marić, a Serbian scientist.
While walking around we encountered a Serbian wedding procession. Caught the maid of honor in the act of selfie-ing. In another post I’ll include a video that does a better job at capturing the lively affair that is a Serbian wedding.
Residential palace of the Serbian Orthodox bishop in Novi Sad
I forget which war left its mark on this wall, but there are many remnants from past wars throughout the Balkans, preserved so its citizens never forget the contentious crossroads between East in West that they inhabit.
While I may not be back to Subotica anytime soon, I’m hoping to revisit Novi Sad next weekend. Located but ninety minutes from Belgrade, I see many trips to Novi Sad in my future to visit my former home and host family, the loving Damjanovićs.