Glimpses of 19th-century Serbia (1) – FOLLOWING BRITON THROUGH SERBIA

The first idea for this trip came from Andrew Archibald Paton, 19th century British diplomat, whose book I have stumbled upon in a local library one day. He was travelling through “Turkish lands” that, in those days, included vast parts of Serbia, still struggling with feeble Ottoman Empire.

Mr Paton went from Belgrade towards Drina river in the west, was astonished by merging cultures and national customs, and was among the first Westerners who wrote about Serbian food. He enjoyed our lush land and rich landscapes. Even wrote that “if he were a wolf”, he could only wish for “being a wolf in Serbia”…

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Andrew Archibald Paton’s book and illustrations (Glimpses of The World)

Well, it was just too appealing, hard to skip such an inducement! All those tingles that I get every time I think about my next journey, overwhelmed me the minute I took the book into my hands.

“This is it”, I thought, “I have to go after this gentleman, to travel MY Serbia in HIS footsteps”.

True, he was riding a horse, but my little French “lion” was not that bad with its’ 100 horsepower or less… And the idea emerged in a form of a question – what he would have seen today if he was once again on the back of his horse, going through Serbia. On the other hand, I didn’t visit all those small roads and villages in western part of the county, so this was just the chance waiting to jump onto me from that library, and scream into my ear: “Let’s go already!”

Rushed to the office, took few days off for number of future articles in return, drove my “lion” to the gas station to get its “ration” before we hit the road, and felt so excited! Because, even if you feel a bit insecure when you travel abroad, far away, to the unknown, often by yourself, you are totally relaxed when you are in your own country. It’s home. There’s no way to get lost… At least I thought so than.

 

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22 thoughts on “Glimpses of 19th-century Serbia (1) – FOLLOWING BRITON THROUGH SERBIA

    • It was interesting, not “just another” road trip, considering “the guide” I had, hehehe. 🙂 You’re welcome to check out follow ups on the story – January is all about that trip through Serbia on my blog. Thanks for visiting!

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  1. Very interesting idea and a great way to travel and discover places, inspired by the experiences of historical persons.
    I think, the way hoe you see and explore new places with the knowledge and understanding of them is something very unique, something very strong. This one inspired me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a really neat idea! It’s not Serbia, but you’ve reminded me of a book a Dutch writer (Geert Mak) wrote, called “In America: Travels with John Steinbeck”. In it, he retraces Steinbeck’s journey around America, the same he took and wrote about in Travels With Charley. So… maybe there’s a book in your idea, somewhere? 🙂

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  3. It so nice that you got your inspiration from a book. I’m sure it made you more excited to see all those things that were described in the pages. And when you finally saw what he saw, you can fully understand how he felt too and why he wrote those words.

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    • Hey. After reading it translated in Serbian, I’ve managed to find the original in English online so that I can quote it. So, it is available. 🙂 And it does sound like he had great time discovering the country. Thanks!

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