I had a good night’s sleep at the hotel. Before I left I went up to the top floor of the hotel and took a picture of the buildings across the road, it should give a basic impression of the landscape.
I took a bus across the river into the centre. Going by my map, the only major area I hadn’t walked through was the fortress near the river.
There’s a park surrounding the fortress, containing various busts of famous figures, monuments, and this fountain with a fisherman at the centre of it.
Wasn’t keen to go inside the fortress itself because I had my backpack with me, and couldn’t spend too long else I miss my train.
Parts of the old moat have been converted into sports areas. Here it is in use as a tennis court.
And a basketball court.
In front of the castle gates there’s a large ‘monument of gratitude to France’ - in thanks for France’s support for Serbia during the First World War.
The topless woman with the sword is supposed to represent France. Wonder whether somewhere in Paris there’s a large statue of a topless Serbian woman with “you’re welcome” carved into the base.
There wasn’t much more to see around the castle walls.
I walked down back through the city.
On the way I stopped to pick up some snacks. My dad used to have a tendency to pick all the cheap Eastern European chocolate bars from the imported foreign foods aisle at the supermarket. I don’t know if he still does this, but since I’m here it would be a shame not to take a selection.
The ‘fazon’ was airy waffle and not worth it, I haven’t tried the rest but I have good feelings about the TAKE! bar. Very enthusiastic packaging.
Here’s Belgrade Central station when approaching from the west.
They’ve got to be planning to put something on top of that big flat roof. I don’t believe this station is in its finished state yet. It doesn’t even have ticket barriers. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Here’s my ticket.
338 dinars to get to Novi Sad. That’s around £2.60, rounding up. It’s comparable to the distance between London and Brighton, which on a Thameslink train from St Pancras would cost £8 (off-peak times, with a young person’s railcard). Even by comparison, that ticket isn’t just slightly cheaper because it’s Serbia, it’s genuinely an economic magic trick.
This is the train which goes to Novi Sad. Number 2424.
Looks like a new-ish train, the inside of the carriage is all modern and clean. The train conductor has a smart red cap. Meanwhile in the north-west of England people are still commuting daily in these old trains. Did I mention the Serbian railways are under public ownership?
Pulling out of Belgrade, here’s the view over the river.
The train stops at New Belgrade station.
Yep, it’s still rubbish.
The train passes through corn fields, rural stations, and two hours later, we’re slowly rolling into Novi Sad.
As we get off a herd of riot police move to kettle a group of people in the front carriage. They’re Red Star Belgrade fans, come up to watch a football match with the local Novi Sad team. There are also small gatherings of riot police discreetly waiting around the city, just in case.
The station building itself is tall and grand. See, this is what Belgrade Central needs - a big hall like this.
The station exit faces onto a long boulevard, which leads almost directly to the old town centre.
The old town centre is probably what you’ll get if you stick ‘Novi Sad’ into google. Here’s Liberty Square, with a large and very traditional-looking cathlolic church.
A short walk down the street we arrive at the ‘episcopal palace’.
I don’t know what an episcopal palace is. Maybe I will find out tomorrow.
I also liked this statue of a dancer in white marble, just off Liberty Square.
And for balance, here are some other buildings I saw which you might not find on TripAdvisor.
Tomorrow I’m going to visit Novi Sad properly, and prepare a little for my multiple train hops through to Belgium. I need to organise/timetable the last leg of the journey a bit more thoroughly, and find somewhere to wash my clothes. It’s hot here, I get sweaty walking around all day, and the section of my bag dedicated to dirty laundry is starting to fill up.