Following Briton through Serbia

The first idea for this trip came from Andrew Archibald Paton, the 19th-century British diplomat, whose book I was fortunate to stumble upon in a local library one day. He was traveling through “Turkish lands” that, in those days, included vast parts of Serbia, still struggling with the 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 lush land and rich landscapes. Even wrote that “if he were a wolf”, he could only wish for “being a wolf in Serbia”.

Andrew Archibald Paton book and illustrations

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 through MY Serbia in HIS footsteps”.

True, he was riding a horse, but my little French “lion” car was not that bad either with its’ 100 horsepower or so. 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 this part of the county, so this was just the chance waiting to jump onto me from that library, and scream in my face: “Let’s go already!”

Rushed to the office, took few days off for a 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 then.


The full 19th-century Serbia SERIES


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0 responses

    1. 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!

  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!

    1. Oh, thank you, I’m glad it did! 🙂 And it sure was interesting, like being at one place in two separate periods of time. Thanks for your kind words, Hendrik!

  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? 🙂

  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.

  4. Andrew Archibald Paton’s book sounds really intriguing. I would love to read his book and his travels in Serbia, must be a really fascinating experience.

    1. 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!

  5. Ahh this is a different start to a travel story… you’ve got me hooked! Can’t wait to read about the next instalment of your journey 🙂

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