In December, Uros often told me about the house in the mountains that he and his father were renovating. Now I’m back in Serbia and I can’t wait for Uros to take me there and show me the area where he grew up before moving to Novi Sad. It will also be the first visit for Milica. Together we leave Belgrade and drive across the country south to the town of Vrnjačka Banja.
The Arsovic family estate is located just outside the famous Serbian spa town. The fruit trees are in bloom and the sun is showing warmth. Nevertheless, there is still a cold wind coming from the mountains. Spring is late this year.
We welcome Milan, Uro’s father, whom I was able to meet in Novi Sad in December. Then we walk along the country road to the Vrnjačka Banja spa.
We reach the spa park of the city directly. The trees are still bare.
Uros leads us through a Japanese garden, which, however, does not reveal much that is Japanese.
The city reminds me a lot of Baden Baden, where I lived for a short time. Here, too, the core of the health resort is embedded in a valley through which a small river flows and thermal baths and parks characterize the townscape. From the Japanese garden, via a duck pond, we get directly to the pedestrian zone, where small market stalls attract tourists.
A monument to a spring has been erected in the park, indicating that more Roman emperors were born here than anywhere else.
A funny winking owl is enthroned in the pedestrian zone. She’s a famous local mascot, Uros explains to me.
Of course there will also be plenty to eat. The Balkan food is hearty, the beer is good and the Mala Puna and Rakya should not be missing as a garnish.
Not only does Milica have a sick fondness for chocolate beer, but for confectionery in general.
Even if you don’t look at her, it has to be a huge portion of waffles, cream and chocolate to satisfy her a little.
Uros tells me about the “Love Bridge” in the park where people put a padlock for their love. This is nothing new and exists all over the world. The bridge still knocks my socks off when I see the number of locks there.
The whole railing is a huge lump of metal and locks hang on locks and more locks.
In the morning we go into town and find a pekara for börek and mala puna. Then we go to the farmers market. There I stock up on fresh Ajvar and wild strawberry jam to take home.
We will use the weekend to see more of the mountains. There are beautiful lakes there.
There are also historical sites to see in the area, dating back to the time of the first Uros kings, as well as more recent history and the wars that have ravaged the country in recent decades.