Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sremski Karlovci, Serbia
Our final stop before returning to Budapest is only ten miles away from Novi Sad. It's the perfect place for the trip's psychic ending, a small town in the middle of the rich Fruska Gora farmland. The Hotel Boem was tatty, but warm, and the owner seemed so anxious for the Americans to not find fault with the cigarette burned plastic shelf in the bathroom, lack of shower curtains, tvs, and other such ammenities that don't mean much to us, that of his own accord, he chucked us two rooms for the price of one! The hotel's right across from the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, and as we were sitting at an outside table enjoying some delicious, paprika-flavored fish soup, I heard the first notes of what in truth I'd traveled all this way to hear - a brass wedding band. Here came the bride and groom, followed by a gypsy brass band and all the wedding guests. Heaven!!! They played several songs, then the wedding party disappeared into the Cathedral, while the band cooled their heels in the square, waiting for the ceremony to end. A triumphant, musical exit for the newly married couple, who promenaded up the street, accompanied by the musicians, passing en route, another brass band who were marching to meet a shiny black SUV swathed in orange ribbons, which divulged yet another bride, groom, and a swaggering best man, wielding a bottle in one hand, and a bunch of dinar notes as regular tips to the band in the other. Joy beyond description.
I could have sat in the square all day, sharing in the happy couples' musical largesse, but sometimes more of a wonderful thing is merely more of a wonderful thing, and Milo, who'd been holding his ears, was now shouting over the blatting horns that it was time to GO!!!
About a kilometer away is the Zinanovic Family's Museum of Beekeeping and Wine Cellar. It isn't often you get two perfect endings in one day, but sitting under a 180 year old tree, drinking wine from a 300 year old cellar, with a charming 7th generation beekeeping winemaker and his bride surely qualifies. The children amused themselves with a honey tasting, while Greg and I sampled the wine. Maybe one day I can return on Gourmet's nickel to write a food story about this family and some of the surrounding farmers. (I can dream). As we were walking to the museum, we were passed by a farm family in a horse drawn cart. Their children's eyes were as wide as our children's eyes.