When you have a perfect guide that knows how to wake up nostalgia within you, and how to preserve national identity through centuries and completely delight you with the unusual tourist offer, then that’s the journey you can not miss. I will try to bring you closer to the nature of beautiful Western Serbia.
THE BEGINNING OF OUR ADVENTURE
We went into a car and set off on a village pedestrian adventure. I have to tell you that this is not a text about Kopaonik how the most of it’s visitors might see it – it’s not about drinking expensive drinks in the lobbies of fancy hotels, enjoying wellness and spa on the mountain, etc. If you want to read about all the fancy, commercial, fan stuff you should do, try, and see, on Kopaonik, CLICK HERE!
Nothing fancy, but a typical rural route and lots of walking! As we went through the Ljig-Gornji Milanovac-Cacak-Kraljevo highway, we reached our destination, mountain Kopaonik. Before entering the Josanic Spa, on the right, on the cliff in the distance, we were proudly greeted by a medieval fortress named Maglic. The medieval castle Maglic, viewed from below, seems almost unattainable, on the top of a large wall. It was built on a steep cliff at about 150 meters above the level of the Ibar River. Many consider it a classic example of Serbian medieval military architecture. Maglic survived all the troubles and wars probably due to his inaccessibility, and his main function was to protect the road along the gorge connecting two church head offices: Žiča and Peć’s patriarchate, as well as to guard the entire Raska from enemy incursions on the north.
ARRIVAL TO KOPAONIK
It took us about four hours of slow drive to reach the center of Kopaonik, a place known as the “Sunny Valley. Of course, we were not interested in this commercialized part of the mountain, but the one that was soured, away from the crowd, who’s magic is hidden deep into the nature. I missed being isolated, just for the moment, so I could be sitting on the grass, watching the sunset, turning the phone off, and putting my brain on the grazing. ?
The very center of the settlement is enriched with new hotels, apartments, restaurants, good cafes about which we have already written. However, I was attracted to the variety of hand made products that were made by the locals, and sold for affordable prices. In that moment, I simply knew that I would bankrupt. Everything is so tasty, useful, healthy. How to get home without home-made beef prosciutto, brandy, home-made sweets, and warm woolen socks when cold days and other deacons knock on your door. My recommendation is to try the brandy, quince wine, which is said to cure all the sick, but you should take only one small sip in the morning, no more, because it will quickly get you very drunk.
We took a pedestrian tour to Pančićev vrh, the highest peak of Kopaonik. It has a slight rise and you need about half an hour to reach the beautiful viewpoint. You can also use the scapegoat to wander the heights of Pancic’s peak, but we advise you to take a walk through the clean, fragrant and intact nature of our mountain. You will see beautiful scenery and have a chance to talk to the hard-working women who are picking wild blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, and you can also enjoy and full taste of this wild, unpainted, delicate berries. In addition, you will see the frogs who guard the cows and lead them to grazing. So we met veteran Dejan who has 17 cows and each of them is well fed, not to say with a very curvy figures. ? He and his two brave, fearless mini dogs contribute to the development of our agriculture. We chatted a bit with him and found out which cow is most unpleasant, which gives the most milk, which is not afraid of the dogs, nor does it follow the command, which likes to listen to Beethoven and all that stuff. His job is not easy. Much invested work, effort and time, but he says he loves his job and truly enjoys taking care of his animals. Cows and sheep show him how grateful they are by giving him high-quality calfs, and great, sweet milk.
On Kopaonik, one shepherd that is skilled in guarding the herd, for the season that lasts from Đurđevdan (spring) until the first snow falls (which is usually by the end of October), earns about 6000 euros. Hat, straw, one or two dogs, and taking responsibility and control for 300 sheep all day in exchange for 1000 euros a month, is not so bad deal after all!
After a glass of brandy and a pleasant conversation with Dejan, we’ve continued our journey. When we reached the mountain top, we saw a beautiful view that feeds both the soul and the body. We spend half an hour there, sitting on the grass, watching the birds fly freely as they swooned in the breeze. After that, we descended to the next, even more fascinating viewpoint. However, since I am always hungry and it makes me very nervous, we had to stop for a quick snack in the nature. We had food with us, a towel to spread it on the grass, and a lot of free time to enjoy our little picnic. Around 4 pm the sun warmed us and the wind cooled us down from time to time, as we enjoyed home-made ham, brandy, eggs, ajvar, tomato and hot peppers. The nature and the smell of fresh grass have touched us deeply. At 7 pm, the sun didn’t set yet, so with our stomachs full of deliciousness, we rushed to the next destination point.
It took us about 45 minutes, by moving up the goat’s path through the forest, but we did not surrender! Right at sunset time we reached the very top. Huge hills, abandoned houses, big, dark, forest, and the four of us. There was no one else around for miles.
We took a rest on Galet’s bench, which was donated to the Kopaonik by three families: Popara, Milojević and Lasković. The view and unique twilight was worth the effort to climb up to the top. The colours of the sky shifted and played their game showing proudly what they could do. This sky looked like gates of heaven – dressed all in purple, pink and blue…
As the darkness slowly began to fall across the wildlife, I started the car engine and we hit the road to Golia, Serbian unexplored and neglected mountain. The story that follows will not leave you indifferent. The forgotten villages inhabited by the free, cordial people, the breaking of the present and the past and the children who cheerfully run across the fields of Golia… Read some more about it by CLICKING HERE.