Dan and I decided to spend our May long weekend this year in Europe as I would be travelling there for work anyways. We flew the red-eye to Belgrade on Thursday, May 5th arriving in the wee hours of the morning. We had a rental car arranged and were soon driving on the highway to Hungary – we thought we were too close to the border not to cross over for one night. We arrived in Szeged, Hungary’s 3rd largest city, and were soon walking the streets and enjoying the beautiful spring weather. Our first stop was the Votive Church and Cathedral at Dom Square. We then had lunch along the Tisza River at Sotarto-Halaszcsarda restaurant, famous for Szeged fish soup. We ordered the soup for two and the local Dreher draft beer. That afternoon, Dan took us to the Pick Salami and Paprika museum (which was on Lonely Planet’s 2013 list of oddest food museum’s). We enjoyed the quirky museum and then bought some of their delicious winter salami to save for later. That evening, we enjoyed a few glasses of Hungarian wine and went for dinner at the nearby John Bull Pub.
The next morning we visited the local wine shop to stock up on some Hungarian wine, Tokaji Aszu and Palinka. We loaded up the car and were on our way back to Serbia. We crossed the border and our first stop was the Vinski Dvor winery. We sampled a few wines from our amazing host (who did not speak very much English but we could tell he was truly proud of his wines). We then went to Lake Palic where we found the Vinarija Zvonko Bogdan. We tried the door but it wasn’t open so we got in the car and left. I was a bit disappointed as the winery looked pretty amazing so Dan circled around back to see if there was possibly another entrance. Some other people arrived at the same time so we watched to see if they were successful. The door opened so we followed their lead and got on a tour of the winery. Very young and new winery but nice wines. By the end of our tour we were ravenous, so we asked our guide if they could recommend a restaurant in nearby Subotica. She said they had their own restaurant there and highly recommend trying Caffe Boss. We found the city centre on our own accord (as our GPS was on the fritz), parked, and starting walking. We asked one guy if he knew where the restaurant was and he personally escorted us himself. I ordered the grilled calamari, Dan went for the sea bream and we got two glasses of the ZB sauvignon blanc to go along with. After our delicious patio lunch, we strolled back to the car only to find we had received a parking ticket. Oh well – it was only $10 dollars.
We made our way that afternoon to Novi Sad, stopping at the desolate Dvorac Fantast castle along the way. We checked into our hotel on top of the Petrovaradin Fortress where we were greeted with a glass of Serbian Rakija. We went out for a walk before dinner when a huge rain storm rolled in. So much for dining outside that evening but we still found a nice restaurant overlooking the Danube River.
The next morning was bright and the sun was shining so we decided to head out on foot. Our first stop was the nearby Novi Sad City Museum right on the fortress grounds. We had a quick tour and then walked into the city centre. We walked to Freedom Square and The Name of Mary Church, strolled down the pedestrianized Zmaj Jovina street, and stopped for some streetside popcorn. We then made our way to have lunch at Project 72 Wine & Deli. We ordered the veal tongue, grilled Mastelo (aka Serbian halloumi cheese), goose liver pate, a nice fresh salad and of course some Serbian wine. After lunch we wandered around a bit more, popped in for a quick visit to the Museum of Vojvodina, and strolled through Danube Park before heading back to the Fortress for the evening.
The next morning we departed Novi Sad and were on the road again – our first stop being the Fruska Gora National Park. We drove through the lush forest, stopping to look at the TV tower that was bombed by NATO in 1999, and then onward to find three monasteries including Velika Remeta, Grgeteg and Krušedol. We then stopped in at the nearby town of Sremski Karlovci and walked around the baroque style downtown area before making our way to the Museum of Honey and Wine. We had a tour of the museum and stayed for an afternoon tasting of wine and honey. We packed up our pots of honey to make our way to Belgrade, stopping for some delicious road side strawberries along the way. We checked into the Crown Plaza hotel but unfortunately did not have enough time to explore Belgrade. We decided to have one last Serbian meal at the hotel – we both ordered a Jelen beer from the tap and shared Serbia’s national dish, ćevapi or grilled minced meat. It was a great way to end our long weekend. Dan flew out the next morning but I would be staying on for the week for work. We both hope we can go back to explore more of Belgrade!