Sunday, 15 April 2007

Entering a tropical Novi Sad

From Istria we had a long trip to Novi Sad. They are building a highway through the mountains between Rijeka and Zagreb all at once, just everywhere there are huge bridges and tunnels built, and we wondered who finances this, until we had to pay peage (highway fee). After Zagreb there is a certain change of atmosphere. Slovenia looks quite western nowadays, although the countryside is much less polluted by mass tourism or high tech agricultural industries. There is still a small farmers culture and a lot of people grow vegetables and fruits in their own gardens. Istria and the Kroatian coast are more polluted by tourism, and there is a certain welfare ass well. After Zagreb, tank stations started to look crappy, cars drove more crazy, and all of a sudden we were driving in the middle of a Dutch army convoy!

We crossed the first ´real´ border, and unfriendly officers were asking loudly: Gaya Prins Palmer! But off course even they could not refuse to smile after all. And in Serbia, everyone was really, really friendly to Gaya, smiling at her, coming to say hello, talk to her. We are noticing a culture change getting stronger and stronger since we corssed the alps. The more south east we go, the more enthousiastic and open people get towards Gaya, and I guess also towards us.

The political situation in Serbia is insecure since they don´t have a government, and the Kosovo affair still hanging in the air as a sword of Damocles. No one wants to get at power, because no one wants to be responsible for the though decisions to make. The International community have been punishing Serbia a long time, and with the isolation the ultranationalists gained more influence. It seems to be double, on the one hand capitalism is conquering Serbia rapidly, in tow years since we were here, there has been a rapid boom of clubs, cafes, fashion stores, international banks, etc. in Novi sad. On the other hand there is not such a Europe friendly atmosphere. As Serbia is a black sheep for Europe, it is maybe not even so strange that foreigners have to pay a double highway fee (50 Euros for 200 km hobly highway).

Most people are very friendly, and the atmosfere was good. It is actually hard to say what is so nice about Novi Sad, but it has something special. Maybe it is the strange magic of the enormous Petrovaradin Fortress (largest fortress tunnel complex of its kind in the world) at the other side of the Danube, maybe just the atmosphere of a rapidly changing city. A city in which youngsters try to live more western than westerners,and where the pourness is expressed only at the backsides. It is off course nice and exotic to see horse and carriages in the streets of a city. And soon enough they will drive around tourists in stead of garbage.

It was great to spend a couple of days with Goran, sitting on his balcony in the evening drinking Hungarian champaign, going barbequing with his friends in the forest, sharing ideas and opinions. Goran has a lot of ideas and plans to realize, which is quite brave in a country where not everything is just possible like that. You need great courage and believe to realize your ideas while swimming upstream! We wish him all the best and if anyone is interested in the support a group of promising cultural activists and creatives in Novi Sad, we will be pleased to bring you in contact with them!


Anonymous said...

hier ook nog steeds onverwacht heel mooi weer weekend en vandaag.
Maar wel nu kou verwacht.
Als het goed is krijgen jullie wel even minder zon onder weg maar niet meer kou volgens de voorspellingen.

Bobo said...

Hi Frans and Cissi!!! Cool to see your travel online, so nice pictures of Gaya and you. I hope you really enjoy the travel and you find what you seek!!! Love from cousin Joa

Luxie said...


Va roligt att se hur ni har det. Underbart söt lilla Gaya är! Har provat flera ggr att ringa på två nummer som jag har till dig, men har ju aldrig fått nåt svar =( Kanske gammmla nummer? Har du nått annat telenummer man kan ringa på så mejla det gärna ( Skulle vara roligt att få prata med dig och höra hur allt + är ju nyfiken på er lilla älskling =) Själv har jag ju mina goa grabbar Max och Wilmer som snart blir 3 år samt 1½ år. Ha det så bra och hoppas vi hörs! Stor kram till dig och familjen från mig! // Linda Wiklund

gnu said...

Dear Gayanauts on board the red mothership
Just wanted u 2 know that I think u r hip
On the road with signor Rossi or maybe Kerouac
Flow with the beat - never look back
And if things start getting complicated
Just remember, all is illuminated!