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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Going horse riding at Dobro Prase Ranch near Novi Sad in Serbia.

Serbia. What comes to mind when you hear about Serbia as a travel destination? Before I’ve actually been on my very first trip to Serbia, not much I have to admit. I did see the beautiful video, sure, “Serbia: Land of New Beginnings”, which was done by my international travel writer & video producer peers, and which you can see below. It did get me interested in Serbia as a culture as well as a destination, and I have been looking for an opportunity to go since:

 

The following questions, however, do remain: Who are the people of Serbia? Where and how do they live? And what can you learn from and with them?

Have a look at the following map with me:

 

See the small green dot, pointed to the northern edge of Fruška Gora national park, about an hour’s drive south of Novi Sad? This is where Dobro Prase Ranch is located, literally meaning “Good Pig”, or Happy Pig. And happiness is what you’ll find there: Dragan and Sanja are the perfectly warm and welcoming, generous hosts you’ve been waiting for, particularly out here in this beautiful forest and hill country that is Serbia’s Fruška Gora.

 

“I have always wanted to spend more time with horses. When our children were still little, I said to my wife, Let’s go back out to the countryside. We can, we will do it”, says Dragan during a morning horse trek from his farm.

It’s touching to listen to Dragan’s story, unlike that of many other Serbs who have either left the country or gone back from the countryside to live in the city. “We have never been really happy in the city”, he says, talking to us about the early days when moving back out into the countryside everybody thought they were crazy. “But you know, living out here has taught us something far more valuable. And that is simplicity, modesty, happiness with what you have. It really is all down to your own attitude. And if you really want something, you will be able to get it, too.” This, for him, involves renouncing costly worldly goods but rather spending time on the farm, with his family, his wife, children and grandchildren, his horses and his guests, who come from near and far: “Dobro Prase Ranch” has made itself known far across the borders, “even people from Norway have already stayed here with us”, Dragan muses. And slowly, little by little, rocked in the gentle speed of the sturdy horses, we get to see and feel the magic the family has chosen to live and create. Check this out.

Im Morgengrauen hinaus aus der Stadt Novi Sad ...

Leaving the city of Novi Sad during sunrise …

 

... finden wir uns wenig später in dieser Gesellschaft wieder: Wer würde einer Frau mit einer Katze auf dem Schoß schon nicht vertrauen wollen ..?

… we soon find ourselves in the company of charming local lady Sanja: Who would not trust a woman with a cat in her lap ..?

 

Sanja übergibt gleichermaßen an ihren Mann Dragan, der Maria, Christina und mich (von links nach rechts) auf die Reitstunde mit ihm vorbereitet ...

Sanja then hands us over to her husband Dragan, who patiently teaches Maria, Christina and me (from left to right) about the morning’s horse trek out into the surrounding countryside …

 

... während Christina und ich einiges an Erfahrung im Umgang mit Pferden haben, ist es für Maria tatsächlich die erste Stunde hoch zu Pferde! Doch keine Sorge, Dragan stellt sich mühelos auf alle Niveaus ein ...

… and while Christina and I have had many experiences with horses before, it really is the first time for Maria to go sit on a horse that morning! But not to worry, Dragan really adapts very well to teaching all levels and skills in dealing with his horses …

 

... schon geht es auch los ...

… and so, off we go …

 

... hinaus in die Landschaft hinter dem Hof Dobro Prase, mit Blick bis weit über den Horizont nach Novi Sad.

… riding beyond Dobro Prase farm, with its view stretching all the way north and back to Novi Sad.

 

Danke, lieber Dragan, für die gute Unterhaltung und den Wald- und Wiesenspaziergang hoch zu Pferde ...

Thank you, dear Dragan, for showing and sharing with us, a part of your beautiful homeland!

 

Still while we were out, the “country’s fairy tale” has continued to evolve. Sanja, the lady of the house, meanwhile has taken to preparing a typical, Serbian meal for us – complete without meat, partly even entirely vegan! “Ever since we’ve moved here”, she explains, “we have gradually adapted to a full vegetarian / vegan diet. It has made a real difference in our lives, besides the move out from the city.” And the “happy pig” on her T-Shirt, which defiantly pulls up its “arms” in a “Don’t mess with me” kind of gesture?! “I’m a piglet, but not for you to eat”, the speech bubble on it reads, according to Sanja’s smiling explanations. Besides feeding their guests, Sanja and Dragan have also set up a small studio apartment, with room enough for one family to stay. “We want our guests to find comfort in a small, modest retreat here, to experience nature with us, to escape the busy and often stressful city life. Many of them come after finding us on the Internet. And thus, little by little, I get to speak more and better English with my guests”, she replies, blushing, encouraging us to help ourselves to even more of her delicious food. I love her in an instant.

Zu Gast am Land in Serbien : Köstlich, die eigenen Brotaufstriche sowie das selbstgebackene Brot hier ...

À table in Serbia: Home-made food, including home-made spreads and bread …

 

... und sind die Gäste zufrieden ...

… leading to happy guests …

 

... ist es die Gastgeberin auch ...

… and a happy host …

 

... nicht wahr, liebe Sanja?

… I would really come back and visit any time, dear Sanja! Hope you have many more happy guests now and in the future!

 

Tipp : Auf dem Weg zur Ranch Dobro Prase könnt Ihr übrigens auch an diesem Kloster Halt machen ...

If you drive out to Dobro Prase Ranch, you may want to stop at this local monastery, called “Manastir Novo Hopovo” …

 

... welches neben serbischen

… which offers Serbian honey, liquor and spirit products in a “help-yourself-little-shop” down the entrance …

 

... auch einen Blick auf die wirklich schöne, für die serbisch-orthodoxe Kirche so typisch gestalteten Innenräume bietet.

… as well as, of course, this magnificently painted interior of a typical Serbian-Orthodox church! Well worth the look inside: Thank you so much, dear Aleksandra, for your many interesting and personal anecdotes there.

 

Want to know even more? I have two more blog posts about travelling to Novi Sad, as well as the Serbian capital city Belgrade, including their history, their coolest neighbourhoods as well as delicious foodie fun tips to experience Serbia through your palate. Stay tuned!

 

 

Christina and Maria, by the way, have also written and shared about their experiences in Serbia:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Serbia Tourism on this trip to Belgrade, Novi Sad & Fruška Gora. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Travelling South-Western Ireland: Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula & the world-famous Cliffs of Moher.
Novi Sad: Hipster & History in what is perhaps the coolest town of Serbia.

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