Leaving Ruma and my host Jules behind, i was once again on the hot road headed North. My next stop was the city of Novi Sad, Serbia’s ‘Second City’, but the road wouldn’t be simple. I still had to get over the Friska Gora.
Anyone who has been to Novi Sad or the local area will know the Fruska Gora as the large hill that seems like a mountiain in comparison to the flats of Vojovodina. The ‘mountain’ is a beautiful area rich with wineries, Monasteries, restaurants, hotels and nature trails. Situated not far at all from Novi Sad, it makes for a perfect excursion and escape from the city. But i had to walk over the top to get to my destination.
The flat road shimmered in the midday heat as i walked, the Fruska Gora getting ever closer. As i reached a small town i knew that from there, the only way was up! The road climbed slowly but surely weaving through a residential area, then a farming community and then fields. Coaches ferried tourists uphill and it’s passengers looked down from their air conditioning, comfy seats to see an english man struggling in the heat.
The fields then became forests and i cursed the fact that i hadn’t set off later and would be able to camp in the stunning wooded landscape. The trees gave great shade and as i sat, massaging my feet, drinking giant gulps of warm water from my bottle i barely noticed the ants exploring and nibbling at my legs. The food poisoning i had experienced a few days before was coming back to haunt me as my energy levels dipped very quickly.
At the top i found a few small shops selling ice cold drinks, snacks and ice creams. Cursing that couldn’t afford to eat at the restaurant cooking amazing smelling food across the road i settled for treating myself to not one, but two ice creams.
Slightly rested, i knew it was “all down hill from here” and set off on my merry way. On a sugar high i began to sing loudly whatever music was playing on my iPhone and jumped out of my skin when my little bubble was broken by two guys walking aside me.
They were tourists, one from Russia but living in the Paris, and the other, a through and through Parisian. They had spent the day exploring the area but didn’t know where or how to get the bus back down. They decided to walk with me for a short period while they found a place to ask. They didn’t find anywhere to ask for almost 2 hours. As we descended, the road snaked down towards Novi Sad. At one point a young dog adopted the russian as his friend and became joined at the hip as we walked.
The day before a friend of Jules in Ruma called Colleen, a lovely South African lady living in Serbia via the US, offered to take so of m not so essential equipment to Novi Sad where i could meet her and pick it up. As i was walking down the road, just within the city boundaries, she found me and offered to take me to the center. I agreed and she kindly offered for my walking companions to come with us and be dropped off also. We piled in, said goodbye to the lonely pooch and headed for the city centre.