The sleep of the previous night was not good for any of us! We packed our stuff early on and went to the station restaurant to have breakfast, where we sit down to eat the night before. Tourists gather at the station, as they began the first morning trip on the train. We have done the ride the previous time we visit the Mokra Gora, so all we wanted was only to visit the village Kustudorf.
Around 10:30 a.m. we were in the village, where we left our bikes in the garage, paying 2,5€/per person for entrance. Initially, we walked into a small area, while in fact it is a small village with wooden houses and very picturesque surroundings. The small homes operate as hostels while outside there are several other buildings. The village is called «Drvengrad», which means “wooden village”. The alternate name is «Kustendorf», derived from «Kusturica» and «dorf» which means "village" in German. Manufactured by the famous director Emir Kusturica, for project requirements «Life is a miracle». The idea of the construction of the village - in addition to being used as the backdrop of the film - is "... to provide a place where will be organized seminars for movies, concerts, ceramics, painting, etc. A place where the diversity of various cultures contrasted against globalization in general...". The village has narrow streets and squares, in which Emir Kusturica has given names derived from personalities that were important to him as: Nikola Tesla, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Diego Maradona, Miodrag Petrovic Ckalja, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Joe Strummer, Novak Dokovic and natural Ivo Andric, whose name holds the main road. The cafe of the village opens at 9am where was the only place to drink coffee, to enjoy the landscape and rest for a while before leaving.
Around 12.30 we left with destination the city of Nis, where would be our last night abroad. Apart from that, it was the point of our meeting with Achilleas, who would go on the same day from Thessaloniki to return together in Greece. The route of Mokra Gora until the Uzice was beautiful. Same scene as in previous days: dense vegetation, lush plateaus and winding road but comfortable to drive.
When we passed the Uzice, we made a short stop for refueling and continued for Pozeca-Cacak. Shortly after Pozeca, just after a tunnel, we barely saw the sign for Guca. Our day did not have some special sightseeing, which should allocate some time, so we thought we could take advantage and make a detour from the main road to visit the small town of Guca. The road was narrow and curvy, most of the plateau crossed by spectacular lush vegetation. Soon we arrived in Guca, for which Sakis a friend from Kozani had talked with the best words. He had visited the music festival that is organized every year.
This music festival was officially launched in 2001 and hosts local musicians - amateurs and professionals - using wind and brass instruments. It began to slowly acquire fame, so now is an annual competition that takes place in August and musicians taking part outside of Serbia. This small village, the days of the festival, is being visited up to 600,000 people. For those who have found themselves in Guca these days, the experience is unforgettable! Reaching the main square, the first thing we encountered was the statue symbol of the city, a man playing the trumpet. We made a short stop and on the occasion we remembered the church that distinguishes by its red color and the marble plaques listing the names of those killed in the War of 1912-1918 at the Guca and the around areas.
We departed from Guca, originally for Ivanjica and then for Kraljevo. An alternative way would be to go in Cacak and from there using the main roads for Kraljevo. But we preferred to drive at the provincial road. On one side it was a very good idea, as we passed through small villages (not something special) but we saw the Serbian province. The scenery was beautiful with lush vegetation and large corn croplands. The only negative was that the quality of the road was not good and so we could not move at a fast pace.
By mistake, we arrived in Kraljevo, by following the signs to Belgrade, so many kilometers to go in the opposite direction than we had planned. Unfortunately, the label was incomplete, as we had to pass from the center of Krajevo in order to find the road that led to Krusevac. The way to Krusevac we could characterize it indifferent and monotonous, as we were influenced of course from what we had seen the previous days of our trip. The truth is that our demands have risen regarding the beauty of the scenery. The road was quite narrow with heavy traffic on main roads. In Krusevac, we encountered the first signs that inform the E75 motorway Belgrade and Nis. Achilleas was already in Nis, so we had to shorten our destination. So, once we got into the current expressway, we increased the rhythm of our driving. It is worth mentioning that in order to pay the Serbian motorway tolls, we should get a ticket at the entrance, which is cashing on the road, just before the Nis.
The output was shortly after the airport. We drove to the main road without turning anywhere, ending in a central square, which was the "heart» of the city. With a small but significant help of technology (GPS) we were in front of our hotel. We stayed in a apartment, once again, «La Palace Apartments» 48€/5 people. The room was spacious, clean and the front desk clerk was very polite and willing to give us any information while on our machines parked at the back. The hotel abstained 5-10 minutes from the most central part of town and the castle.
The city of Nis (ancient Naissus), the 3rd largest city in the country, is a beautiful city built on the banks of the river Nisava. The story begins in the era before the Roman Empire. In Naissus was born in 274, Constantine the Great. In Byzantine times it was fortified to be able to resist the Slavic invasions of the North. Until nowadays, the castle is the main attraction of the city and is visited both by tourists and locals. It has five gates entrances, while Stambol Kapija considered the most famous. Indeed, entering the particular, the left side is the old Turkish hamam. Parts of the inner side of the walls of the castle have been converted into charming restaurants and cafes.
Because once again, our time was limited and it was dark, we decided to take a walk in the busiest part of the city and come to the castle. In front of the gate Stambol Kapija, passes the river Nisava, which is the limit of the commercial part of the city and the "heart" of the nightlife of Nis. We walked in, feeling the vitality of the people. Many times we characterize Athens as "...the city that never sleeps is... " huh! in this case applied something similar. The strange thing was that Nis is not even the capital of the country! Until you reach the castle we met many cafes, restaurants, bars, fast food, etc., and it was crowded- nice crowd - as we say...! The hotel employee offered us the restaurant «Hamam», which was right at the entrance of the castle, inside the walls.
The name came from the old Turkish hammam, which have been converted into a restaurant with multiple sites and beautiful decor. When we arrived, we were the only customers, but soon the place was filled with new -locals- which may well have been their " haunt "! From the people inside, in any case it was not considered tourist place! The food was quite good and affordable, and after some time we realized that it had live music. There were three musicians who played Serbian songs and some Greek (probably because of our presence).
We do not believe that it is easy to describe the welcoming climate that prevailed but the truth is that we spent our time very nicely with the conversation, jokes and fun we did not understand that the time had been 1pm. It certainly was one of the most memorable "last" nights we lived on our trips so far...!!