A significant change of scenery
Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
129Trip End Oct 01, 2007
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Where I stayed
Vojvodina is where the mountains of the Balkans fizzle out and disappear. Basically an extension of the Carpathian Basin, the region feels and looks exactly like the Hungarian puszta to its north
Subotica is a pretty little town. Naturally its outskirts are peppered with hideous tenement blocks, but the downtown core is a charming mix of Baroque buildings, humble Hungarian-style houses and grandiose Secessionist edifices. It's the latter that brings in the tourists, as the dramatic Hungarian-style Art Nouveau buildings are the best examples of their kind outside Budapest, Kecskemet and Marosvasarhely (today Targu Mures, in Romania). Overall, the town feels like a Hungarian city that somehow ended up on the wrong side of the border - which, if you ask the Magyars, is precisely what happened. It makes for a dramatic switch from the minarets and Turkish bazaars of Kosovo and Macedonia.
Though there is tourism about, the numbers remain low and likewise so does the number of hotels. As a result, I had to go for somewhat of a splurge this evening, staying at the bleakly Communist Hotel Patria. The location is nice, in quick striking distance of the train station, but it feels a little silly paying $35 a night for a small, bland room in a dim, Socialist-era block without any character. Still, the place is quiet enough, so at least I should rest well. And they offer free breakfast, which is another plus.
One day is exactly enough for the town, fortunately, as - while it is a lovely place to look around - seeing the sights takes little more than a few hours. So it makes for a good city to have a relaxing, unhurried visit before heading off elsewhere. Which is what I will be doing from tomorrow then. In the morning, I will take train back southwards to Novi Sad, spend the afternoon there and then return to Belgrade for a few evenings. It should be interesting noting the difference between each place.