The 100 Step Village~Stogazevac, Serbia

The 100 step village

I was on the top of a very tall hill, and I found fossilized coral. The muz (hubby) and I walked to the bottom of the hill and at the edge of the stream we were about to cross, when we found a stone with a shell fossil in it. He says this is not uncommon here. I am like a kid in a candy store. Sometimes, I feel I should be on a treasure hunt all the time.

This trek up the small mountain was just beyond the 100 step village.  It was a typical old village, quiet and quaint.

A rakija still was in service, and 2 men catered to what the muz calls the “happy” machine. We parked the car in front of their modest, but nice, town building. A passing Baba told us our car will safe there. This was the start our little adventure.  It is small but full of character and friendly people. We also met a nice couple of goats too. 🙂

Stogazovac is the” one hundred step village”.  Just past that beautiful little cluster of homes, is a 14th Century church. On the way to the church. you bypass paved roads and walk along with towering rocks to your right and a steep ravine to your left. At the bottom of the ravine, there is a creek trickling along. A ways up, the creek is dammed up to create a wonderful little swimming hole. There is such a difference in temperature as you descend to the waters edge. Fascinating how water has carved a deep crevice in so much stone.

The mountainous rocks tower over the road like sky scrapers. At some points there is a half tunnel carved in the rock to create the path to the old church. Trust me the pictures don’t do it justice!

We stopped a ways down because we though we had lost our way, and decided rest for a picnic. We sat at the roads edge, which had transformed into pastoral land was now mostly flat. Initially, we sat smack dab on the top of an ant hill. Ant bites are worse than their bark. We moved quickly!

When we had finished our fresh-baked bread with fresh, soft farm cheese baked inside, we saw behind was the church. It had been hidden by the natural skyscraper. It was nestled in just behind it.

The view back from our picnic sight.

It only took us a few minutes to find the path to the plank bridge that crossed the brook. We walked up the very steep hill to the top, and then rested to catch our breath.

The 14th century church had a fresh coat of paint and a new roof, but it was ancient. The walls were nearly 3 feet thick.

I can easily understand how people could find peace and worship inside or out. God had created a beautiful place. Man had made good use of the natural beauty. It is awesome there.

I was glad it was a Sunday when we came. I wish we could come here every Sunday. But soon the snow will cover the ground and getting up the hill will be impossible.

After we explored inside the church and out we made our way back down the hill to go back home. When we were about to pass through a place in the road, flanked by two massive rocks, a billy-goat came through like gang busters, and stopped when he saw us, sizing us up.  He retreated when the muz took a step forward. Probably smart. If I were a betting woman, I would put my money on the muz. He has been known to head butt bigger animals creatures and knock them down.

This billy-goat and his agile friend proceeded to climb the rock as we passed through the natural gateway.

Rabbit trail....The goats warmed my heart. I grew up on a farm with goats. My grandpa once put me on the back of our kind billy-goat and I held onto the horns. I remember his back being very pointy and not at all comfortable like a horse. End rabbit trail…
On the other side of the towering rock gateway, we were greeted by two village children, the goats caretakers. They said “Dobar Dan” or good day to each of us, and then kept looking back at us.
They were bewildered by my English. I love the wonder in their eyes. I wish I could sit and chat with all of them. I used to be a village child myself. I am pretty sure we have more in common than not! Just a difference of birth place and language.

The walk back to the car was fun, I stopped to take a pic of the same couple of gents making the countries favorite liquor, rakija. (This is pronounced rah-key-a.) One of the men said to me, “Odakle ste?” (Where are you from?) When I said “America”, it was fun to see the reaction on their faces. The village reactions and sweet interactions are so much different from the ones of regular town folks.

This was a magical day.

Serbian Sightings_Ninja Nuns

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store. Everything was business as usual till two Orthodox nuns came in. I have only seen them at a monastery previously. On a day when the weather could melt any normal human, I was shocked to see this couple out and about in their black, almost burka type dress. They must have been sweltering! OR they must have super human properties that shield them from heat. I would like to believe that later. It is more interesting.

I was taking the pics on the sly…. as a result, they are BLURRY!

I was at the counter when I heard the cashier giggling under her breath remarking about the Ninjas. I didn’t understand what she was saying as she was speaking Serbian at the speed of light, but the word Ninja was repeated and I finally got it.  OMGosh!! the Nuns did look just like Ninjas!!

I must tell you, that these words are very rude in Serbian orthodox culture. I hope this will not be an offensive, but humorous post. I have nothing but respect for these ladies.

Ninja Nuns sounds really cool too! Imagine the series that could be written about that. In my mind I can see a battle that is a mix of old world orthodox traditions mixed with the interworld battles of  Mortal Kombat. I must say, I fancy that idea more than a “Flying Nun”!

My only regret on this post is that I could not share the mental images I have conjured. Maybe this video will do as a substitute.

Ninja Nun video!

In my search for that video, I found that the idea of Ninja nuns is not a new one. There are LOTS of ninja nun videos. But nun are very good.

The only thing that could have made the sighting even better would have been to see those two in this VW hot rod that was sitting outside.

A worthy Nun-mobile if I ever saw one.

It was even sporting a Serbian flag. Now, all it needs is an Orthodox Cross painted on the hood and we are good to go! Oh, that and a Ninja Nun theme song!

On a very serious note:

My hope with this post is not to offend, but to look at nuns in a light that shows the good work they do. They are selfless in their work for God. This demands the respect you would have for a ninja’s training and skill.

I have studied Islam, and I do know the burka well. It is worn by the women for many of the same reasons the nuns wear similar costumes. At the root it is modesty and the desire not to draw attention to themselves. But, when they are out of their natural habitat, so to speak, it does exactly the opposite.

That’s What’s Up

I had an unintentional week off from blogging. Since it is cherry season, and the harvest is in about a month we will be busy with that and all the other village work. There will probably be other lapses in writing.

The village has had us most of the last week. Weeding, pruning, planting, and even avoiding snakes! Just a little one, he was less than 3 feet long.

Just a little constrictor

He was sunning himself on the road when the little munchkin and I were returning from the Greats. (The Great Grandparents.) Fortunately, the neighbor lady I was walking home with saw him. I was busy driving a new kiddie contraption that needs a little adjustment. The steering was a little off…. but we avoided the slithering sunbather by a few feet. He or she was so happy to feel the heat, the stones I threw to shew it away were not headed. not a few minutes later, the hubby came alone in the tractor and a stick at his back side made him move reluctantly on to the side of the road.

In my blogging absence I have come across lot of things to share, most of which I cannot recall. But one that does stick out is the load pop I heard yesterday. I was in the apt with Mama and the baby. The loudest bang you can imagine out of now where startled me. Now, normally I am not unnerved by such things. But, since our first trip to Serbia 5 years ago, when a bomb went off in our building at 6AM, I am now a little weary of loud bangs and pops!

Mama said it was a car tire popping because of the heat. Another new thing to learn about in Serbia. Apparently, it is not uncommon for tires on old cars to pop on hot days. Interesting…

We have had a few summer type thunder showers in the past week. The lightening show was fierce on the the earliest. and the sun cam out while it was raining on both. There is a saying here when the sun shines during a rain storm here in Serbia, they say bears are getting married. 🙂  Cute, huh?

On our day in town of “rest” we had coffee with a friend on his rooftop!  The view from the top of the bank at sunset was stunning!

I love sunsets!

Plants and so many chimneys covered the roof for the myriad of wood stoves that heat so many rooms.

This was the coolest chimney I saw.

 

The little monster ran around the roof with joy at finding a new place to explore. Avoiding the many hands of friends, she laughed, giggled and fell a few times too. Eventually all the running and laughing turned to fussing and we had to get back home to put the munchkin down for the night. I love how excited she gets when she is tired and she sees the bed. It is just how I feel sometimes.

Our slava, Sveti Nikola

Today is our families Slava. I am not looking forward to it. It is a fasting slava with fish and beans. I hate the fish, and the beans are made with no oil. so they stop up the plumbing. I am going now to eat some non-fasting food so my body doesn’t lead a revolt later that will put me in agony!

The early morning tradition for the day of slava.

Wish me luck!

I will post about the slava  when I can.

Dobar Dan!

Whatever Wednesday~ Easter Feast pics

Easter in the village is so much less formal than I have known Easter to be. Mind you, there are formalities. Just different ones.

Family Sets up the “picnic” under the pavilion, Neighbors wander in. There weren’t as many people as I thought. It must be an invite only kind of thing?  I don’t know.

There is tons of food, wine, and beer waiting to be consumed. The table is lined with the closest family and friends and the ceremonial bread is broken.

Brothers

Wine is poured into the four crevices cut into the cake like bread. Probably to symbolize the four places Jesus was pierced with nails.  Now it is like a communion bread and wine all in one. Pieces of the bread are passed around to everyone. Incense is burned, candles are lit and food is eaten. Not all in that order. 🙂

Lighting the incense, saying a prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Everyone is lined up to light their candles by the Ancient cross.

The candles they will light are a soft wax. If you hold them in your hand too long they wilt like a flower and face down. Easily remedied by straightening them out.  and letting them cool a bit.

I had to get a pic of this lady with the kerchief tied behind her head. If that outfit doesn’t scream fortune teller. I don’t know what does. But this is just her choice of clothes for the day.

 

The cross is  the closest thing to a church in the village. There is a church a village or two over, and then the one in town. There are lots of these crosses all over. One might be hiking through the forest and find an old abandoned cross like this from another lifetime in Serbia. The  writing on the cross is in old Cyrillic. I can’t read it.

People eat. Children get restless. Beer, cigarettes, and conversation flank the table. Children find ways of amusing themselves.

washing their hands over and over, playing in the water.

 

Taking walks

 

Learning and playing the egg tapping game for the first time.

Happy Easter from our family to yours.

 

 

Green Thumb Thursday

There is some sort of magic dawn brings. The new day with no mistakes made. (Yet.)  A fresh head after a good sleep. (If I am lucky.) Time to myself. (again, if I am lucky.)

Mother nature’s Green thumb is at work all over the world right now.

One of the many snails I saw this morning. They are everywhere.

The sun cast its beams all over town. Dew shimmered in the early morning light.

Understated homes blossomed with the newness of the day.

I wish I could take these early morning walks more often. They are soo good for the soul, especially when accompanied my such lush greenery brought by so much rain.

Imagine the yummy baked goods some Baba makes in this enchanted yard or what a great Easter egg hunt cold be held just inside the gate. Remember, we are still awaiting the Easter bunny here. It will be glorious. 

More fun spring pics tomorrow.
Dobar Dan!

The path of the righteous is like
the light of dawn, that shines brighter
and brighter until the full day.
Proverbs 4:18

Sunday Comics- Foreigner Follies

I don’t mind making it known how silly I am at times. I am that way naturally, but living cross-culturally intensifies that aspect of my personality. I have no shame. really. The most recent thing I have done that you may find amusing has to do with condo life.

I have never lived in a condo like this before. This one is a walk up but nice. The issue that has caused the folly a.k.a. foolishness is that the doors all look the same, if you forget what floor you are on and don’t look at the number. One could easily mistake one’s own apt for another.

Yes, my friends that is what I have done. Thank God not continually.

Just last week, I was carrying my small heavy bundle of a munchkin up the flights of stairs. I came to “my door” and opened it. Inside everything was different. I had opened my downstairs  neighbors door. DUH!

Now, it may be important to note that they know my husband, and have since he was a child. They have been his neighbors for more than 20 years and their son worked in the states like my muz. Now, they also know me through the family ties.

Continuing with my story… I realized my “crawl under the rug” mistake the split second I opened the door. A balloon of embarrassment swelled to the point of popping within me.  Immediately I shut the door. Then, I reopened it to say “Sorry”. Then, realizing I had said it in English, I opened it again. I said, “izvini”. and shut the door, totally flustered.

Readjusting my bundle of munchkin I started up the stairs. The door opened and of course as soon as the neighbor saw me, he knew what I had done as I pointed to my apt above.

SONY DSC

If this was my door, there would be no issue.

I am sure they think I am an utter dolt, but at least they are nice to me. 🙂 That is all that matters to me.

Dobar Dan