Serbia — Day 7October 4, 2017
We have just now arrived back in Belgrade after another very good day in Novi Sad.
We started the morning off at the American Corner and heard from Marko and Milica all about their programs and the successes of their Corner. (They are the two who won the diplomacy award last year.) It was very hearing to hear their ideas for collaboration and how they solve the problem of people not wanting to come to the library in summer by simply taking their programs to the local beach (it's on a bend in the Danube and very popular.) Simple, but effective. They also shared their plans for a new building, which should be completed by next year, and will both double their available space and be in a more accessible part of town.
Next we walked over to the Novi Sad archives, which are situated in a beautiful new building just opened in April last year. We had a fascinating time with the director who spent two hours with us, showing us his new building, discussing the archives, and giving us some very great historical perspectives.
After another great lunch (many of us opted for goulash, as the Hungarian influence is still quite pronounced here) we set off for a tour of the Petrovaradin fortress, across the Danube river. Novi Sad only exists because the Austro-Hungarian empire was concerned about the safety of Vienna and built Petrovaradin as one of a string of forts along the Danube to defend themselves from the Ottoman Turks. The fort never saw a shot fired in anger, although the decisive battle between the Austrians and Turks took place only 3 miles away.
The fort is on a bluff high above the river and Novi Sad grew up as a town of merchants and traders who came to supply the large garrison with food and goods. They were not allowed to build beside the fort, so built across the river instead. Anyway, the views are spectacular, and we could see for miles in every direction.
After our tour we headed back to the American Corner, where we took part in the regular conversation club, where Serbian teens who usually come to practice their English were especially pleased to have so many Americans to talk to. Unfortunately the time was all too short and we reluctantly bid farewell to our new friends and traveled back to Belgrade.
The students have an open day tomorrow before we meet tomorrow evening for our final debriefing, then they are off early on Sunday morning.