JenSop: The Singing Travel Pro!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Rakija Fest in Serbia

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Back in November, Miloš and I took a trip to Serbia to visit some of his friends and former colleagues from past cruise seasons.  I started writing a blog entry on the trip shortly after it happened, but it was right before we headed back to the USA for the holiday caroling season, so my writing time was limited.

 

We were invited by friends Niki and Robi to come for a visit in their town of Subotica, Serbia for Rakija Fest.  Rakija (pronounced “RAH-kee-yah”) is essentially an alcoholic beverage made from the distillation of fermented fruits.  Think of it as brandy, schnapps, or better yet, moonshine.  It’s very strong, having anywhere from 35-70% alcohol content.  The most common rakija (called šljivovica) is made from plums, but you’ll also find rakija in flavors of apricot, quince, grape, and many others too.

 

At the festival, we got to try ALL kinds of rakija and liqueurs.  I have to say that I had several favorites, including cherry and the medica (a popular honey rakija.  Medica is super popular in Croatia as well.)

 

The festival was held at a farm just outside of town.  Our host set up rooms for all of us in the large farmhouse building so that we could stay as late as we wanted and not have to worry about anyone driving anywhere.  Upon arrival, each person pays for entry and you are given a shot glass.  Your shot glass acts as your ticket and method of drinking all in one.  There are booths set up all around the large yard, with different families and businesses showcasing their homemade rakija offerings.  You can go up to all the booths and try their many flavors of rakija and liqueur.  Have as much as you like!  Because of the high alcohol content in the drinks, Robi and Niki prepared us by passing out water bottles before we entered the festival.  After each shot, we drank water.  This helped us from getting too drunk.

 

Shot glasses at entry of the festival.

Shot glasses at entry of the festival.

My shot glass to taste all the delicious rakija!

My shot glass to taste all the delicious rakija!

Farm house area at the festival

Farm house area at the festival

Yard filled with people attending the festival

Yard filled with people attending the festival

Our first stop!

Our first stop!

So good!

So good!

 

The festival went on for hours, with awards being presented to winners in various categories.  We bought a few bottles to take with us: several full size large bottles, and a number of small travel size bottles – all in different flavors.  We couldn’t take everything we bought to the USA with us (we were leaving just a few days after to head overseas), so we gave some to Miloš’ mom and grandmother while we were in Miloš’ hometown in Croatia for the few days before heading to America.

 

Enjoying the festival!

Enjoying the festival!

Miloš and I were having a great time!

Traditional rakija is clear, unlike liqueurs

Traditional rakija is clear, unlike liqueurs

Winners being announced in the various categories

Winners being announced in the various categories

 

They also had a few food options for festival-goers.  There was a big grill area where they were serving up different kinds of meat options, and a stand that was selling tasty sweet baked goods called chimney cakes.

 

Grilling up some meat!

Grilling up some meat!

I'm not really sure what this meat thing was - not a hamburger, not sausage... I honestly have no clue - but it was tasty!

I’m not really sure what this meat thing was – not a hamburger, not sausage… I honestly have no clue – but it was tasty!

Menu at the chimney cake stand

Menu at the chimney cake stand

Man making chimney cakes

Man making chimney cakes

THIS is a chimney cake!  I got mine with cinnamon sprinkled on it.

THIS is a chimney cake! I got mine with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on it.

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

Miloš got the chocolate variety

Miloš got cocoa powder on his chimney cake

 

In addition to the drinking going on, there were also horse carriage rides being offered.

 

Carriage rides available

Carriage rides available

Horsies!

Horsies!

 

The festival continued as the sun went down.  As it got dark out, most of the crowd thinned out, and our group remained to enjoy some more food and great conversation.  (Albeit, at this point, we were all feeling the effects of several hours of rakija drinking…)

 

Having a great time with friends

Having a great time with friends

Enjoying our time together!

Enjoying our time together!

 

Once it got rather late, our group headed in to the farmhouse where we’d be spending the night.  Before turning in, we gathered in the large dining room area and were serenaded by a local traditional musical ensemble.

 

Our own personal concert!

Our own personal concert!

 

Overall, we had a wonderful time at the Festival.  Miloš was able to reconnect with good friends (Robi, Niki, and Vania – all of whom I met on that same cruise when I first met Miloš back in 2011), and we got to have yet another wonderfully authentic travel experience to a place I’d never been before.  The whole time we were there, we were made to feel so welcome – just like family.  And we couldn’t wait to take home our own bottles of rakija so my family back in the USA could also try it!

 

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And this year, I've started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm engaged to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

One thought on “Rakija Fest in Serbia

  1. Oh this festival looks absolutely like my kind of thing! I love rakija! Do you know the Serbian folktale says it was introduced to their first archbishop St Sava by the Devil himself? http://lordsofthedrinks.com/2016/01/26/serbian-folktale-how-the-devil-finally-tricked-the-clever-saint-sava-with-rakija/
    Cheers,
    Micky

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