Categories
Spas

The other side of Sokobanja, Serbia

First of all, a big clap to me for finally being able to write another post. My apologies for bragging, but I haven’t updated for quite sometime and I feel sorry not to share all the beautiful places that I’ve been to lately.

So I decided to write about  a quite famous destination (for both tourists and locals) here in Serbia which is Sokobanja. A banja is a Serbian word for spa. There is quite a number of spas in Serbia, and each banja is known for it’s own therapeutic specialty. Few banjas are bigger than the others and one of them is Sokobanja. Tourists often see the pedestrian zone which is full of coffee shops, restaurants, street sellers and mostly elderly pensioners relaxing with the fresh clean air.

Traditional Turkish coffee from one of the coffee shops along the pedestrian zone

There is also a big park just beside the pedestrian zone where the therapeutic spa water is. Here is a view of the park at night

Night view in Soko Banja

A few steps from the pedestrian zone is a park along the river which has a path going to Soko Grad which is a medieval city and fortress. I still haven’t visited the fortress (I don’t like myself for that), but I plan to check it out soon and take a few snaps to share on this blog.

Moravica river in Soko Banja

From the path next to the Moravica river you can get the Soko Grad Fortress, the view halfway is already very amazing.

View going to Soko Grad

When you climb up halfway to the fortress, you can follow another path to a restaurant which is beside the river (I know, I know… I chose the restaurant than the fortress). Hopefully, I can visit the Fortress soon for more photos.

Categories
Blog Cities Travel

Lost in Šabac, Serbia

So we had to go to the city of Šabac on a 7°, rainy Wednesday… where are you Mr. Sun? It’s still raining and freezing cold until now. Anyway, it was for work so I didn’t managed to take pictures of the city center or the big Sava river, or that beautiful fields of yellow flowers along the road. I read that there’s also a fortress near the riverbank of Sava. Too bad that my watch and weather was not on my side since I would like to explore this city more. Maybe next time, I can show you more of Šabac.

It is more than an hour drive from Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, and is situated along the Sava river. This city is not a famous tourist destination, but they do have a fair share of attractions and festivals to celebrate so I wouldn’t mind going back in the furture.

Meanwhile, I managed to take a picture of Hotel Sloboda Šabac which was our main destination. As I said, it was a very gloomy weather so please excuse my dark shots (excuses, excuses, excuses…. haha I just really don’t have creativity in me).

This hotel was renovated a few years ago and it is now considered a luxury hotel. The ground floor is surrounded by coffee shops in almost all sides (all-operated by the hotel of course) and is just connected to each other. The prices are above average, but still justifiable when you look at the fancy ambiance of this hotel.

Here is what it looks like inside:

Hotel Sloboda
Hotel Sloboda, 2nd Floor

And here is the view from the 2nd floor:

sabac

The weather may not be on my side, but one interesting happened when we’re already heading home. Somehow we were once again a victim of confusing and missing road signs that we couldn’t figure out how to go back to the highway. We had to stop a bit to figure out how to get out of the city when another car pulled over and then a man got out of his car to ask what’s bothering us. I’m telling you people, I don’t see that often in here. So we asked him for directions to the highway and tadaaaa… he went to his car and said he will turn around and guide us to the highway. I was in a complete state of shock, because once again, I don’t see that often in here. We do live in a world where people just like to rush and don’t have anytime to spare, I can’t help but be moved. This man and that woman seating in the passenger seat went out of their way to help complete strangers. And just that is reason enough for me to go back to the city of Šabac.

Categories
Food Homecooked Meals

Serbian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Sarma)

sarma and paprika salad

Stuffed Cabbage rolls or more popularly known as Sarma is a local Serbian dish in Serbia. There is a wide variety of recipes for sarma out there with different ingredients for the filling, different way of cooking, etc… It can also be made with fresh cabbage or sauerkraut leaves.

Today, I made the vegan version of cabbage rolls with a stuffing of rice, mushrooms, lots of minced onions and scallions. Grated  or minced carrots are also good and basically whatever you have in your pantry which you think will not ruin the recipe. Yup, I’m no follower of recipes to the letter especially for meals. I usually change recipes to my liking or to whatever ingredients are available at the moment. If you’re using sauerkraut, then salt is not needed. Just add a sprinkle of paprika, pepper, bay leaf, a bit of olive oil, water and you’re good to go. Prepare the rolls a bit similar to how you will put together a spring roll and simmer it at a very low heat for hours. Some prefer to bake it but I do prefer to just leave it on the stove for hours.

The original and non-vegan version calls for ground meat. Just sautee the onions until translucent, add the meat and let it fry for a while, add the rice, add grated carrots (optional; I try my best to veggies when I can) and a pinch of salt and pepper. After a few minutes, turn off the fire and fill your cabbage. It is best to lay some smoked meat or bacon at the bottom of the pot and a splash of oil. Add your rolls in one layer or two depending on how much you made, then add a bit of bacon on top again, sprinkle of paprika, bay leaf and water enough to cover the rolls. Then you can leave it for a few hours in a very low heat. 

Here’s an up close photo of my yummy cabbage rolls:

posna sarma

A side dish of grilled paprika soaked in salt, olive oil and vinegar  overnight is a perfect combo to this authentic serbian sarma.

paprika salad
Categories
Churches and Monasteries Travel

One Sunday in Ravanica Monastery

Due to it’s very strategic location, we often frequent Ravanica Monastery (Manastir Ravanica). It’s in the center of Serbia, Ćuprija to be precise, and is roughly 10 km away when you exit the highway to Ćuprija. It is not only accessible but it is also surrounded by trees and a quick getaway for a day of peace and quiet.

Ravanica is a 640-year old monastery that fascinates even people like me who doesn’t have even a bit of fondness with history. Surrounding the church are walls preserved from the watchtowers which were destroyed from the attacks many years ago. The remains of Serbian Prince Lazar is also buried here and can be found inside the church.

Upon entering the gates of the monastery, you will see the church and then on the left side is where you can buy candles. On the right side of the church is where you can light candles and beside it is a small souvenir shop which sells different stuff from ref magnets, some hand-made goods, home-made jams, etc… We bought a small bottle of honey for 300 rsd or around $3. And of course I have to take a photo of this embroidered cloth on top my sweet sweet honey.

A visit to Ravanica Monastery is highly recommended for a glimpse of Serbia’s rich history and a breath of fresh air from surrounding nature.