Browsed by
Category: Holidays

All my blogs about my holiday trips.

Belgrade – Bar by train

Belgrade – Bar by train

Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) and Bar (a sea port in Montenegro) are connected by a 476 kilometres long railway. It is one of the most scenic railways in Europe. I already travelled a part of this railway line, but now finally I had the chance to do the whole trip with some friends. We took the Friday night train from Belgrade to Bar where we arrived on Saturday morning.

Locomotive 461-043 from the railways of Montenegro, build in Roumania.

We just woke up on time to see how we passed the Male Rijeka viaduct, the tallest railway viaduct in Europe (and once of the world, but then the Chinese started building).

Mala Rijeka viaduct in Montenegro is 198 meters high and therefor the highest railway viaduct in Europe.

After we passed Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, we saw the beautiful Skardar lake.

Skardar lake

After the 6km Sozina tunnel we could catch a first glimpse of the Adriatic Sea in Sutomore. When we arrived to Bar we went to drop our stuff at our accommodation and we walked to Stari Bar. Stari Bar is the old (stari means old) part of Bar and is very beautiful. Worth visiting is the fortress and be sure you visit a restaurant where the serve fresh fish ! The locals are super friendly and welcoming.

Stari Bar

When we went back to Bar we walked along the sea so we could drink a beer (be sure it is a Nikšićko Pivo, which is a very good beer from Montenegro) and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Bar, Montenegro

After a good night out in some local bar(s) in Bar it was time to go back on Sunday morning and enjoy the scenery of this railway line by day. It was rainy and windy and the autumn colours made it even more special.

A couple of kilometres more to the highest point of the railway line which is 1,032 meters above sea level in Kolašin, Montenegro.

The trip takes more or less 12 hours and we arrived on time in both directions. I can highly recommend you this trip: take your time, enjoy the scenery, talk with the super friendly locals and relax!

Near Zlatibor in Serbia.

More pictures can be seen here: A weekend trip by train from Belgrade (SRB) to Bar (MNE)

And for our train lovers you can go straight to the railway pictures only by clicking on the following link: Belgrade (SRB)-Bar (MNE) by railway

Here are some links to previous blogs which I wrote regarding this subject:

Situation and tips&tricks regarding the railway stations in Belgrade.

Tito’s railway

A small part of the line is passing Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the train does not stop there.
Please follow and like us:
0
Kajmakčalan

Kajmakčalan

Kajmakčalan is a 2528 a.s.m.l. meters high mountain on the Greek-Macedonian border. This is the second time I climbed this mountain, the first time was in 2011 (see here), but this time with my wife and two Dutch friends who are also interested in WWI history (and not only about the Western front). Since 2012 I did read a lot about the First World War and started even a research together with two friends (see www.secanje.nl) of whom one is now my wife (my dear Tanja). Back then it was the end of a tour through former Yugoslavia, just like the famous Yugoslav song “od Vardara do pa Triglava” (from the Vardar river in Macedonia to the Triglav mountain in Slovenia, I did it only the way around). Now it was a climb towards WWI history: on this mountain in September 1916 a battle took place between the Serbian army (part of the Triple Entente) and the Bulgarian army (part of the Triple Alliance) .

The church Sveti Petar (the top is called Profitis Ilias-(Sveti Ilija in Serbian) on the summit of Kajmakčalan.

The battle was eventually won by the Serbs on 30th September 1916, but after huge losses on both sides.  In Serbia this mountain is almost considered holy as it was for the Serbian army the first victory after their losses in 1915 and the retreat of the Serbian army to the Greek island of Corfu via the Albania. It was here, at Kajmakčalan, where the Serbian army resurrected from their ashes and it was here that they started to liberate their country (back then this was the Greek-Serbian border).

Ramonda nathaliae, also known as Natalie’s ramonda. The flower is considered a symbol of the Serbian Army’s struggle during World War and can be found also on Kajmakčalan.

The church was recently restored ( 2016 ?), but unfortunately it was not done properly as the front part of the church is not white any more. It seems the cross on the top was also hit by lightening or a storm. A truly hope that funds will be available to repair the church and to keep it in good shape for further generations seen the historical value of this place.

Front view of the church “Sveti Petar”.

Above the entrance is written in Serbian: 
“Mojim divjunacima

neustrašivim i vernim
koji grudima svojim otvoriše vrata slobodi
i ostaše ovde
kao večni stražari na pragu otadžbine”

Translation in English: 
“To my fearless and faithful

colossal heroes,
who opened the gate of freedom
with their own chests
and who stayed here as permanent guards at the doorway of fatherland”

Inside the church you can light a candle, write in the guestbook and see the urn of Archibald Reiss. Rudolphe Archibald Reiss (8 July 1875 – 7 August 1929) was a German-Swiss criminology-pioneer, forensic scientist, professor and writer. He investigated the Austro-Hungarian war crimes committed in Serbia in 1914 and 1915 together with the Dutch doctor Arius van Tienhoven.  He retreated towards Corfu together with the Serbian army and followed them towards the liberation

After his death, his body was buried in the Topčider cemetery and, at his own request, his heart was buried on Kajmakčalan hill. The urn containing his heart was later demolished as revenge by the Bulgarians in World War II, but there are other stories that the JNA (=Yugoslav army) soldiers took it when they retreated in 1991 when Macedonia became an independent country.

Inside the church “Sveti Petar”, with at the right the urn where the heart of Archibald Reiss was kept.

It is hard to imagine that on this beautiful mountain so many soldiers died. Večna im slava! (=Eternal glory to them !)

Panorama picture of Kajmakčalan (click to enlarge).

*All pictures on this page are made by me on 18/08/2018 when I climbed Kajmakčalan.

And for those who want to climb this beautiful mountain themselves, here the route:

Please follow and like us:
0
“Trst je naš”

“Trst je naš”

Last week I enjoyed with my wife a small holiday in the region of Trieste, in the Northeastern corner of Italy. We were in Grado (beaches), Muggia (a small nice village on the coast) and Trieste itself. Trieste has an amazing history and lies on the border of the Roman, the Germanic and the Slavic world.

15/07/2018: Trieste as seen from Monte Grisa.

Until the First World War this city was the main harbor of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and thus an important city.  The Austro-Hungarians built the “Südbahn”(=Southern railway) , connecting Vienna with Trieste which boosted the harbor of Trieste further. It was, and still is, a free port and the most important harbor for Central Europe or in German “Mitteleuropa”.

14/07/2018: Trieste, the Canal Grande (Grand Canal).
14/07/2018: A view from the castle of Duino, close to Trieste.

After the Second World War the Yugoslav troops liberated Trieste from the Germans, but that lasted not long: the city came after 40 days under British / US military administration. In 1947 Trieste became the “Free Territory of Trieste”, an independent city state under UN protection. In 1954 Trieste, part of zone “A”, became Italian and zone “B” became part of Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav partisans wanted to have Trieste and their sentence was “Trst je naš” (Trieste is ours). They did not get it, but now it doesn’t matter any more as the whole area (Zone A and B, plus the whole of Istria) is now in the European Union and the borders disappeared. Triest, Trieszt, Trst, Трст or Τεργέστη is a pleasant city where the Germanic, Roman and Slavic world meets. Depending of your view the Balkan starts or ends here, Italy as well and yes once back in the old days also the Austro-Hungarian empire. I can strongly recommend to visit Trieste and the region, because it is a very interesting city & region and can´t wait to go back.  As Dutch living in Serbia, loving Italy, I almost want to say:  “Trst je naš!”

14/07/2018: a statue of the famous writer James Joyce who lived also in Trieste.
Please follow and like us:
0
Serbian integration lesson: “the Greek beaches”

Serbian integration lesson: “the Greek beaches”

It is almost 3 years ago that I moved from the Netherlands to Serbia and slowly but surely I integrate more and more into the Serbian society. I have to admit that it is not always easy and my patience is tested many times, but  patience is always rewarded. The holiday season is in “full swing”  so I want to share my Serbian integration experiences regarding this topic here on my blog. So where do Serbs go? It is actually very easy, because most Serbs are mostly going to the ” more”. “More” is Serbian for sea, so my wife told me all the time, ” this we need for the more” , ” that we need for the more”. As I am from the Netherlands which is a true sea nation ” more” is a pretty wide term for me, but for Serbs it is pretty clear: it is the sea in Greece or the sea in Montenegro. Greece is the most popular destination, with the peninsula of Chalkidi (which is below Thessaloniki) as number one destination.

July 2017: boat trip mount Athos (Greece), photo made by myself.

So we went this year for the second time to Neos Marmaras (link) which is a lovely place on the “second finger” of Chalkidiki. My wife discussed with her colleagues  already months before which are the nicest beaches there and where to go. My colleagues also told me where to go and which place is where. On the Serbian state TV you have a program, 24SAT, which describe ever possible way to Greece (and Montenegro) and where to stop, eat &sleep. Unfortunately you can ‘t make everybody happy as I have 1 colleague from Montenegro who was angry with me, because I went to Greece and not to “his” lovely & beautiful Montenegro: sorry Jasco ;-). And so I have more Serbs around (if not all) me who went to Greece or soon will go (and yes Jasco, one family member of me is going to… Montenegro).

July 2017, City beach in Neos Marmaras (Sithonia,Greece), photo made by myself. 

Moral of the story: since I live in Serbia my knowledge about Greece is increasing very fast. I know Serbs have to work hard and a lot the whole year so I wish them all happy holidays and of course I wish that to everybody else as well ! Enjoy your holidays!

July 2017: Sunset in Parthenonas (Sithonia, Greece), photo made by myself.
Please follow and like us:
0
Thessaloniki Railway station

Thessaloniki Railway station

Last wednesday (05 July 2017) I was at the railway station of Thessaloniki in Greece.

On the 9th October 2004 I was here the last time. Why I do remember ? I do remember as it was from here where I took the train further into the Balkans: first to Skopje and afterwards I also visited Serbia and Bulgaria. Thus, it was from here I took my first steps into the Balkans.

Not a lot has changed since then, as you can see below on the picture I made on the same spot, but then almost 13 years later. 

The only thing which changed is that I am married to a beautiful lovely Serbian lady and that I live in Serbia now which is in the the heart of the Balkans….

Please follow and like us:
0
Naissus (Niš) at the crossroads of South-East-Europe

Naissus (Niš) at the crossroads of South-East-Europe

Naissus or in modern times Niš is the third largest town in Serbia. It lies on the crossroads of South-East Europe: to the North you will find Belgrade (and further Northern/Western Europe) to the South you go to Athens and to the Southeast towards Sofia -Istanbul and further towards Asia Minor. Niš is also the birthplace of Constantine the Great, a Roman Emperor.

We went for a long weekend to Niš and we enjoyed it: it is a very nice town were the people are very friendly and when you are used to Belgrade everything goes a bit more “samo polako” (just relax). Is the mentality of the South ( it seems to exist in every country) ? The splendid nature around Niš ?  The rich culture and history ? The good food and drinks? I don ‘t know , we just enjoyed it and that’s what count. Here some small impressions of Niš.

niš001
The Nišava river flowing through Niš.
niš004
The “Istanbul” gate of the fortress of Niš.
niš002
The bridge over the Nišava river.

 

Sunset as seen from the fortress wall towards the university.
Sunset as seen from the fortress wall towards the university.
niš005
A square in the city center of Niš.

 

niš006
The “Latinska” church in Gornji Matevac (near Niš) from +/- 12th Century.

And if you do not believe me of Niš being on the crossroads , here a traffic sign in the center of Niš:
DSC_4286

Please follow and like us:
0
Chalkidiki = “boring”

Chalkidiki = “boring”

Chalkidiki is in Northern Greece and it has three peninsulas. Currently we are visiting the second one (the middle finger some people would say) and we have to admit, it is really boooring….  See the pictures and judge yourself.

DSC_2434
As you can see: nothing interesting here.
DSC_2539
They did not tell us that the sea has waves…

 

DSC_2551
As you can see the coastline is really boring.

 

DSC_2592
And then those stupid flowers everywhere.

 

DSC_2721
The sunsets in Chalkidiki are also nothing special, just like the ones from the movies.
DSC_2769
Better leave your slippers and sunglasses on the beach and run as fast away from here….

Hope this photo impressions helped you to understand that actually it is really boring here and that there is nothing to see here in Chalkidiki.

ps) for those who do not understand irony: we really love it here, it is so beautiful and the people are really friendly 🙂

Please follow and like us:
0
A Greek cat on Sunday

A Greek cat on Sunday

I spotted this Greek cat on a terrace of a cafe in the Plaka area of Athens…. Life is beautiful 🙂

DSC_9575
Athens, Greece: 31th May 2015
Please follow and like us:
0
Đerdap

Đerdap

The National Park Đerdap, where I was this weekend is a beautiful area. It is situated on the bank of the Danube , which forms the border with Romania. The Iron Gate is situated here, it is the smallest point of the Danube river and the gorge formed by this mighty river is impressive.

The region is truly beautiful: it has historic and cultural monuments, the nature is outstanding. The Roman Limes were here for example, but before (+/- 6000 years before) a settlement was already here (Lepenski Vir). Now it is the border between (EU-) Romania and Serbia and in the middle the mighty Danube flows as always towards the Black Sea.

 

DSC_8492
Golubac Fortress, 14th centuary
DSC_8530
The Iron Gate, with left Romania and right Serbia. This is the smallest point of the Danube.
DSC_8671
Serbian border pole: the border with Romania is in the middle of the Danube river.

 

 

DSC_8642
Lepenski Vir (Лепенски Вир) is an important Mesolithic archaeological site : the latest data suggest 9500-7200 B.C. to be the start.
Please follow and like us:
0
Time flies

Time flies

I was so busy last weeks and so many things happened that I will not name them all here. I have been around New Year two weeks in Serbia and Bosnia and that was of course really nice again, pictures can be found here. Every time I am going to Serbia I have the feeling that I feel more and more home and that thanks to the nice friends I have there: Hvala vi!

When I was in Serbia we visited a monument for Miloš in Miločaj, see previous blog post and we were interviewed by Serbia’s daily quality newspaper “Politika” as you can see below.

art01 Original article on the website of Politika.

If you can’t read Serbian, no problem, the article translated in English can be found here. Yes,a s you can see (when you clicked on the link about the article) we have now also our own website online about our (re)search to the Serbian WW1 soldiers who died in the Netherlands. We have two domain names: www.servische-krijgsgevangenen.nl and www.secanje.nl , please visit those sites and spread the word: we have spent a lot of effort to put it online and we will continue to expend it.

Soon in it is carnival in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which I will not celebrate too much this year, although the Sunday parade cannot be missed of course. After that a good friend from Serbia is coming over and then it is just a couple of weeks later when  spring will start: time flies…..

Please follow and like us:
0