Sorry to leave Subotica, or at least our hotel, behind, we head off to Novi Sad, best known as the site of the (mostly) electronic music EXIT Festival.
We’re travelling by train, not a great idea in most of central Europe and especially not here where the train is a local one (as opposed to InterCity), which means it’s old, slow and (in this case) really dirty, with graffiti everywhere and some proper bombing on the outside of the carriage. Think late 70s New York. Not particularly pleasant. It takes 2 and a half hours to go 100km, crawling along at what feels like walking speed.
First impressions of Novi Sad aren’t great – but what train station does look attractive? (OK, there are some now, but the majority aren’t let’s face it). We do our usual walk to the hotel (both of us pretty much refuse to take taxis, and we don’t know which bus to catch). This gets us a few second glances from people, but no hassle.
The hotel itself is pleasant (we end up with an apartment rather than a room, so we have a bedroom and lounge) and very well-located, close to the centre of town. We stroll out and grab a late lunch (once again failing to calibrate our order to the reality of central European portion sizes) in an Italian style place. Again, there are plenty of people out and enjoying al fresco meals in the centre of town, but I suspect that things aren’t quite so pleasant in the high-rise estates I saw.
We cross the river (the Danube, again, almost like an old friend after seeing it in Budapest (and Vienna, in Rhonda’s case) and crossing it on our way to Szeged) behind a gaggle of American exchange students and make our way up to the fortress (site, strangely, of the EXIT Festival). It’s a pretty cool space, and huge, not just the central fortress but a whole series of outbuildings beyond the (empty) moat. The view of the river and city at sunset is quite impressive.
Back to the hotel to relax. We go to dinner at the hotel restaurant and once again fail to consider portion size (Rhonda’s starter would probably be a slightly small main meal in NZ; my salad was more than enough for me on its own). Next time I’m ordering half portions.