Guesthouse “Bajka”


On a road trip through Eastern Serbia we came across to one of the most unique guesthouses we’ve ever seen. Several wooden houses and cabins, one of which is a tree house, are placed in the forest next to Danube close to Golubac fortress. It took 40 years for owner of the place to build it from the scratch, and it truly looks like a fairytale (Bajka in Serbian means fairytale). Location: Vinci, Serbia

Na našem proputovanju Istočnom Srbiju naišli smo na najoriginalniji smeštaj koji smo ikada videli. Nekoliko drvenih kuća, jedna od njih na drvetu, nalaze se u šumi pored Dunava, nedaleko od Golubačke tvrđave. Čoveku, koji je izgradio ovo mesto od nule, bilo je potrebno oko 40 godina i zaista je od mesta napravio pravu bajku. Lokacija; Vinci, Srbija

Putovanje kroz Istočnu Srbiju #1 : Imaj malo vere


Kratak, odzvanjajući zvuk zvona, vezanih za vratove ovaca odjekivao je kroz svetlozelenu dolinu, razbijajući maglu koja se prolivala kroz grožđe, narušavajući tišinu koja je obavila selo prethodnih dana. Zategla je čvor crne marame na glavi i, nakon što se uverila da ovce neće napustiti proplanak okružen vinogradima i niskim, žbunastim drvećem, lagano je savila glavu napred, sklopivši oči, pitajući se koliko je vremena prošlo otkad je poslednji put čula zvuk crkvenih zvona, koja su pozivala ljude na jutarnju liturgiju. Koliko li je vremena prošlo otkako nije sedela kod vatre, sa celom porodicom, dok su muškarci razgovarali o polju i njivi, a žene plele i prenosile novosti u selu. Koliko li je vremena prošlo otkad ona i njena deca nisu spavali u svojim krevetima, nego su, već neko vreme, noćili u štali iza lažnog zida na zemlji prekrivenoj senom. Koliko li je vremena prošlo otkad nije čula smeh svog komšije kako odjekuje kroz nepregledne vinograde, dok bere grožđe i zbija neprimerene šale sa ženama koje mu pomažu. Zvono na ovcama ponovo je zazvonilo, navodeći je da pomisli da su još blizu, pa je, bez otvaranja očiju, savila glavu još malo napred, kao u molitvi, razmišljajući kako je teško setiti se da li je uopšte bilo mirnih godina u kojima su živeli, a ipak, nekako su ih preživeli i, bila je sigurna, opet će. Moraju. Otvorila je oči i počela da doziva ovce, hodajući polako, u opancima, prema njima, kad ju je iznenadna svetlost zaslepila, na sekundu, a čim je, ubrzo, ponovo jasno videla, zaustavila je pogled na svo zelenilo oko sebe. Činilo se da su svi željni da zauzmu ovaj mali komad zemlje, u ime ovog ili onog Boga, ovog ili onog zakona, Osmanlije, Bugari, Austrougari, a sada i Nemci. Iz nekog razloga, samo postojanje nje i njene porodice bilo je problematično kao takvo, jer sve što je učinila pogrešno je to što su joj preci rođeni na ovoj zemlji i nisu bili spremni da je se tek tako odreknu. Bez daljeg razvijanja ove misli, iznenada je postala svesna ovaca, koje su, nepomično stajale i gledale u nešto iza nje. Tišina je polako gutala vazduh i pre nego što je i uspela da se okrene, kratak i jak pisak, razbijajući muk, poslao je ptice u vazduh, napunivši joj glavu toplinom i za manje od sekunde bacio je na zemlju. Krv je počela da se preliva preko zemlje, polako natapajući ivice plavog neba, a ovce su, poput belih oblaka, trčeći uletale u njega, smanjivale se i konačno stapale u crvenilo. Marama joj je pala preko očiju kao što bi zavesa pala preko prozora, stvarajući prijatnu senku i sve što je mogla da čuje je sve jače brujanje crkvenih zvona, koja su se njihala na vratovima njenih ovaca i punila vazduh svojom zvonkošću, nadjačavajući smeh njenih dželata.

Zoran je prevlačio prstom preko pukotine na plafonu štale obeležavajući mesto gde je nekada stajao lažni zid za skrovište koje su koristili njegova baka i porodica svaki put kada je neprijatelj bio u selu. Još je čuvao maramu koju je nosila onog dana kada su je nekoliko nacističkih vojnika ubili, kladeći se ko će da je pogodi prvi. Zavijerovo lice posivelo je dok sam mu prevodila priču i dok sam završavala mogla sam da vidim, prema njegovom napregnutom čelu i staklastim očima da se, opet, bori protiv nagona da počne da potpuno mrzi sve Nemce zbog zločina koje je u prošlosti učinilo nekoliko poremećenih pojedinaca. Mogla sam da vidim kako se njegov bes opet transformiše i uljuljkava u jednostavnu pomisao da „Bog ne postoji“ praćenu rečenicom da „Ako i postoji, zašto bi onda dopustio da se ove stvari dešavaju?“. Mislim da mu to pada na pamet svaki put kada u stvari posetimo bilo koji religijski objekat, tako da on retko kada ide dalje od njihovog posmatranja poput još jedne svete velike stare zgrade i ne mogu da ga krivim za to. Mi smo zapravo tog istog dana posetili manastir Manasiju, našu prvu stanicu na putu kroz Istočnu Srbiju i ostali zadivljeni preko 600 godina starom crkvom i visokom, kamenom tvrđavom oko nje. Iako razumem postavljanje pitanja da li Bog postoji u mnogim prilikama, ja crkvu i manastir, u većini slučajeva, doživljavam kao mnogo više od mesta na kojem bi neko samo bespogovorno obožavao svece. Ovaj manastir je, kao i mnogi drugi, tokom proteklih vekova, više puta oštećen i preživeo, i kao takav predstavlja svedoka i testament svih nemira i osvajanja tokom 6 vekova, kao i čuvara kulturnih obrazaca celog regiona. Između ostalog, to je bila prva škola rukopisa i prevoda u kojoj su napisane prve knjige na ćirilici. Njen osnivač, Stefan Lazarević, bio je prestižni vojnik i državnik, s’obzirom da je pobedio u nekoliko bitaka protiv Osmanlija i stvorio „Zakon o rudnicima“ kojim je kontrolisao najveći rudnik na Balkanu u to vreme, koristeći svaki period mira da ojača Srbiju politički, ekonomski, kulturno i vojno. Takođe je bio vitez, kao i pesnik, a njegova pesma „Slovo ljubve“ je, već u 15. veku, pokazivala premise Renesanse. Moć mesta leži, ne u oltaru gde se možemo klanjati u uvažavati Boga i nebesa, već u samom njegovom postojanju, u otporu i žrtvi uloženom da se spasi za buduće generacije.

Kada sagnem glavu ulazeći u crkvu, to radim zarad ljudske ideje o Bogu, malog čoveka koji zna da nije i odbija da misli o sebi kao o nekome ko raspolaže tuđim životima. Zarad njihovih malih preživljavanja i borbi za svoj identitet i slobodu, za žene koje slobodno čuvaju ovce na poljima i muškarce koji beru, seju, žanju, pre nego zarad bilo kakve magične sile koja dolazi sa neba. Ja to radim za život i za jednostavno postojanje.

Zoranova baka nije sumnjala u svoju veru dok je grabila poslednji komad vazduha ležeći u prašini, sumnjala je u ljude koji su sebe smatrali Bogovima i odlučili da njena vera nije ništa više od prašine.

„Leto i proleće Gospod sazda,
kao što i psalmopevac reče,
i u njima krasote mnoge:
pticama brzo, veselja brzo preletanje,
i gorama vrhove,
i lugovima prostranstva,
i poljima širine;
i vazduha tananog
divnim nekim talasima brujanje:
i zemaljske daronose
od mirisnih cvetova, i travnosne;
ali i same čovekove prirode
obnavljanje i veselost
dostojno ko da iskaže?

Ovo sve, ipak,
i druga čudna dela Božja,
koja ni oštrovidni um
sagledati ne može,
ljubav prevazilazi.

I nije čudo,
jer Bog je ljubav,

kao što reče Jovan sin gromov.”

Slovo ljubve, Despot Stefan Lazarević

Road trip Eastern Serbia #1 : Have some faith


Short but resonant, repetitive sound of bells, tied around sheep necks echoed across the light green valley breaking the fog shedding over grapes, disturbing the silence that occupied the village in the past days. She tightened up the knot of her black head scarf and, after making sure sheep are not leaving the glade surrounded by vineyards and short, shrubby trees, she slightly leaned her head forward, closing her eyes, wondering how long has it been since she hasn’t heard church bells ringing, inviting people to the morning mass. How long has it been since she haven’t sat at the fireplace, with her whole family, while male were talking about fieldwork and female were knitting and discussing latest news in the village. How long has it been since her and her children haven’t slept in their beds but instead were spending nights in the barn, behind the fake wall, on the ground covered with hay. How long has it been since she haven’t heard her old neighbor’s laughter echoing around the endless vineyards, harvesting grapes, making inappropriate jokes with women helping him. Sheep bell rang again, leading her to think they are still close, so, without opening her eyes, she bent her head more, as in prayer, thinking how she can’t remember if there were any peaceful years they lived in, yet, they somehow lived through it and, she was certain, they will again. They must. She opened her eyes and started inviting sheep back, slowly walking towards them in heavy, rubber shoes, when sudden light blinded her and made her stop for a second, and, as soon as she started seeing clearly, she rested her eyes on the greenery around. Everyone seemed eager to occupy that little piece of Earth, in the name of this or that God, this or that rule, Ottomans, Bulgarians, Austro-Hungarians and now the Germans. For some reason, her and her family’s solely existence was problematic as such, because all she did wrong was having her ancestors born on this land and not willing to give it up that easily. Without further developing that thought, she suddenly became aware of sheep, not moving, starring at something behind her. The silence gnawed at the air, and before she got to turn back, high pitched sound broke the stillness, sending birds in the air, filling her head with warmth and in less than a second she found herself lying down. Blood started spilling over the ground slowly catching the edges of the blue sky with sheep, like white clouds, running into it, shrinking and then finally blending into the redness. Scarf fell over her eyes like a curtain falls over the window, creating a pleasant shadow and all she could hear were church bells, getting stronger and stronger, swaying on her sheep necks, filling the air, overpowering her executors’ laughter coming from the behind.

Zoran ran his finger over the crack on the ceiling of the barn, marking the place where the fake wall was built for the hiding place his grandma and cousins were using every time enemy was in the village. He still kept the scarf she worn on the day she was killed by few Nazi soldiers betting on who’ll hit her first. Zavier’s face started turning gray as I was translating the story to him and by the time I’ve finished talking I could tell, by his forehead getting tense and his eyes slightly watered, that he was, once again, fighting the urge of starting to hate Germans altogether for the crimes few sick individuals did in the past. I could see that his rage was again transformed and nested into a simple thought of “God doesn’t exist” followed with the “If he does, why would he let things like this happen then?”. I think this crosses his mind every time we visit any religious object, as a matter of fact, so he simply doesn’t go any further than seeing it as a sacred, big old building and I can’t blame him for it. We actually visited Manasija Monastery that same day, since it was our first stop on our road trip through Eastern Serbia, and got astonished by over 600 years old church and tall, stone fortification surrounding it. Although, I get the urge of questioning God’s existence rising in many occasions, I, in most situations, see churches and monasteries as so much more than places where one would unquestionably worship saints. This monastery, as many others, was damaged numerous times over the past centuries and survived, and as such is a testament to 6 centuries of turmoil and conquests, as well as it is a guardian of the cultural patterns of the region. Among other things, it was a first manuscript and translation school where first books in Cyrillic were written. Its founder, Stefan Lazarevic, was a prestigious military man and statesman since he won several battles against Ottomans and created the “Mining Code” with which he controlled the biggest mine in Balkans at the time and used each period of peace to strengthen Serbia politically, economically, culturally and militarily. He was also a knight and a poet, writing a poem “A homage to love” that carried the premises of the Renaissance already in 15th century. The power of the place lays, not in the altar where you can bow in the appreciation of the God and heavens, but in its solely existence, its resistance and sacrifice invested to save it for the next generations.

When I bend my head while entering the church, I do it to pay respect to the people’s idea of God, for a little man, enlightened, refusing to think of himself as of anyone with power in disposing of other people’s lives. I bow because of their little, but significant survival fights for their identities and freedom, for women freely shepherding in the fields and men harvesting their fruits, rather than to any magic force coming from the heavens. I do it for life and for simple state of being.

Zoran’s grandma didn’t doubt her faith while grabbing her last breath of air lying on the ground, she doubted people who thought they were Gods and decided her faith was groundless.

“The Lord hath made both
spring and summer,
As also the Psalmist sang,
And all their delights:
The birds their swift and joyous flight,
The hills their peaks,
The groves their length,
The fields their breadth,
The air its beauteous soft sounds,
And the soil its gifts
Of fragrant flowers and grass,
And for man’s being itself
its renewal and joy;
But who is worthy enough
to recount all this?

But all these

And other wondrous works of God,

Which even the sharpest mind

Cannot perceive,

Love all surpasses

And no wonder is it

For God is love,

As said John, the son of thunder.”

A Homage to Love, Despot Stefan Lazarević

Tea party with Alice


Picnic is my favorite sport. Food, dresses and cute photos. What’s there not to like?? Torta di mele, black tea with lime, wildflowers and Alice in the Wonderland. Location: Wonderland

Piknik je moj omiljen sport. Hrana, haljine i slatke fotke. Šta ima da mi se ne dopadne?? Torta di mele, crni čaj sa limetom, poljsko cveće i Alisa u zemlji čuda. Mesto: Zemlja čuda