Last weekend we traveled about an hour and a bit northeast of Belgrade to Sremski Karlovci to attend the last days of the city’s wine festival. When we first received the invite, I thought, ‘hmm, I wonder if we can find a babysitter?’ I didn’t have to wonder long because almost in the next sentence we were told, ‘Bring your kids.’
Huh? Bring my kids? To a wine festival? That’s like telling Reese Witherspoon you’re taking your baby to a bar.
No, no, we were told, it really is family friendly. And, just like everything else in Serbia, it was family friendly. We had lunch in an old monastary that had been converted and now made wine and rakija. They served goulash, spicy chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and delicious brownies. We sampled their wine and toasted the day with peach rakija, which was okay, but could probably be used as lighter fluid in a emergency. The hosts were amazingly kind and we actually spent the majority of our day in their courtyard.
When we did finally make it to the town square, there were stalls up and down the main road, hosting local vineyards selling delicious varieties of red, white, rose and Christmas wines, which you could try.. .for free. Over and over. And over.
There were additional stalls selling locally produced honey, locally grown wool garments, toys, balloons, bags, magnets, and of course, Putin buttons. Because why not.
And at the end of the stalls, there were pony rides and a carnival, complete with bumper cars, roller coasters, swings, and various bouncy-things. The kids were in heaven. The parents were in heaven. The weather was beautiful and the people were kind and I was reminded, yet again, that I am a very lucky girl.
I find myself so curious about this amazing country that we have found. There is so much to see and do that I already think that seven years won’t be enough. I can’t explain the feeling of home that can be found in Serbia, but it’s here. And a part of me already dreads leaving.