lördag 6 november 2010

Divčibare - Daytripping in Serbia

In the middle of September the whole family went on holiday to Serbia to visit family and friends and to have some needed rest at Hotel Maljen in Divčibare west of Belgrade. This time no serious trekking activities were planned as our youngest was now only 6 months old and would accompany us on all walks. Nevertheless we had an excellent time and it was nice to spend a lot of time all together outdoors in a pleasant climate. The temperature during the day was around 20C and quite optimal for leisurely walks up to the mountains ridges of the mountain Maljen ( around 1100m above Sea level).

Divćibare is an old mountain resort that has seen better days, but my impression is that the small village is now slowly recovering from the economic crisis and many hotels and villas have been renovated in the last 5 years since I was there the last time. The natural beauties of the location are still very well preserved and there are well marked footpaths to nice vistas of the Serbian countryside.

F and S safely escorted by "čika Milan" (uncle Milan) on his trusty horses Klara and Sara

To me, the traditional agricultural landscape and society are among the things that attracts me the most in Serbia. It may not be the most efficient, but free-ranging sheep and cattle as well as manually mowed meadows sure create beautiful scenery.

Each day during the week we went on shorter walks for about 1-2 hours. The hiking was very easy with only about 130m climbs which suited us fine since we were also carrying our baby in a BabyBjörn-carrier. The Baby-Björn works, but I must say that it's quite uncomfortable for my back. My wife however seems to be better trained after all the time spent with the baby and doesn't complain at all. The advantage of short day-trips is also that you really do not need to carry anything more than your rain clothes and some snacks and water. 

S was able to carry all our gear with ease

The kids really enjoyed the walks and it was nice to not worry about bad weather and wet clothes. I don't know if it is just my imagination, but my impression is that the children really start to enjoy a nice scenic view as well.

The view east from Crni Vrh (Black ridge)

Look! He's barefoot and it's only 25C. He will catch pneumonia in no-time!

Having lots of practice by now we don't see any difficulties in bringing babies for a walk. Diapers can be changed virtually everywhere and it's even easier to find a nice secluded place for nursing outdoors. A tree works well as a back support. With our first child we used to bring a dedicated nursing chair! If there is a chance of rain the children can also sleep under my Gatewood Cape.

Little M slept comfortably on the Gossamer Gear Nightlight torso-length

F finds the perfect spot to take in the scenery in peace alone

Oh no, here comes little brother and disturbs

Look a lizard! It's not so bad with company after all

Not so easy to catch a good picture of this beauty

Not all days brought good weather, but the fog has it's charm too.

The Gossamer Gear Murmur pack traveled to Serbia as cabin baggage and still shows no signs of wear

Back in Belgrade to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the bohemian quarter Skadarlija

All in all we really enjoyed our holiday in Divćibare and we will most probably return again. Serbia and especially the capital Belgrade, is starting to become a tourist destination and if you are an outdoor enthusiast it is nice to know that only about 1-2 hours from the capital you also have nice hiking areas. If you go further away south there are also other really interesting areas, such as Zlatibor, Kopaonik, Mokra Gora and Stara Planina.

8 kommentarer:

  1. What a nice family holiday you had! Thanks for telling us about it. I think babies and children nap especially well in the fresh outdoors!

  2. P.S. I, too, love to spend time in Serbia.

  3. Beutiful landscapes there in Serbia! It would surely be worth a visit. And I'm sure the kids enjoy having an uncle with horses! Do you mind if I ask whether your children speak Serbian?

    About the Baby Björn: I also found it quite incomfortable. I had a chance to test it before buying, so in the end I chose something else. I have liked a very basic wrap the best (see in Swedish e.g.: www.sjalbarn.se/ , typ "vävd långsjal"). It can be used in the front for smaller ones and (after some practise) in the back when the kid starts to be too big to be carried in the front. You can adjust the tension better and get the child much nearer to you than with e.g. Baby Björn so it is more comfortable to carry the child (the centre of mass is closer to your body). The wraps might look a bit hippie, but I strongly recommend trying them. Besides, the wrap can be used as a blanket when the kids are taking their nap!

  4. Hej Maria! Thanks for the tip concerning baby carrying. We have recently invested in a new carrier, a Patapoum, but he needs to be a bit bigger before he can ride on the back with it. A review will probably follow this spring.

    Concerning the language question I don't mind at all. Svi govorimo Srpski! The children are all bilingual thanks to their diligent mother. She was in fact encouraged by a Finnish writer, Tove skutnab kangas. I speak a bit of Serbian too.

  5. Hej Gustav! Glad to hear that! My educational background is in linguistics, so I'm quite interested in these questions. Actually, I'm returning back to my roots (linguistics) after spending approx. ten years in the IT. Your children will get so much more out of the two cultures when they know both languages. - BTW, the daughter of Tove S K is a friend of mine - it's a small world! :)

    I've heard that the Patapum is a very good carrier. We have the Ergo carrier as well, it resembles the Patapum very much. My husband prefers the Ergo over the wrap thing (långsjal) as he thinks it is too awkward to tie the wrap. But these are personal preferences, I think the most important is to find the carrier which suits you.

  6. Gustav, a wonderful report about the joy of children and introducing them to the outdoors. In my view Gossamer Gear should pay you a fortune for the picture of Maksim on the nightlight, it is priceless. How did you manage to take a photo of the green lizard?

    Bilingual, trilingual the more the better to understand different cultures, sadly my learning of other languages is too little too late.

  7. Gustav, I echo Roger's comments about the photo of Maksim on the Nightlight. Be sure to send it to Grant for inclusion on the new web site. I also loved the photo of Simon and the Murmur.

    It looks like you had a wonderful vacation. The scenery is beautiful.

  8. Blackbird - Thanks for your nice comments! It would be great to know if you have experience of any other nice hiking destinations in Serbia.

    Roger - I had to run around a bush a few laps to catch the lizard. The difficulty was also to get the distance right for the Macro-mode. I'm glad you liked the picture of Maksim. I hadn't thought of it as something that special, but I guess there aren't too many babies sleeping on Nightlights!

    Joe - Nice that you also like the Simon Murmur shot. I have an even better one which I will add to the photo album.

    Maria - Indeed it is a small world!. Did you know that Tove Skutnab Kangas "Bilingualism"-book was even translated to Serbo-Croation? Concerning the wrap/långsjal I did some research before and I wonder if a wrap is not better, but I too am too afraid of the the knots. I was also seduced by the fact that the Patapum can handle up too 15kg, but I guess a wrap does that too. In any case it was only 45€.