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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”.

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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.

Next: PLAYING POOL IN TURKISH CLOTHES (2)

The full 19th-century Serbia SERIES

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Comments:

  • 23/01/2017

    This sounds like an interesting road trip. Would love to read more about what you discover and how it compares or differs from Mr. Paton’s experiences.

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  • Hendrik

    23/01/2017

    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!

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  • LC

    23/01/2017

    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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  • 23/01/2017

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! It is nice to read about your home country from the point of view of others, it is so nostalgic!

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  • 23/01/2017

    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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  • 28/01/2017

    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.

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  • thesanetravel

    29/01/2017

    It sounds like a fascinating idea. Would love to know more about the trip.

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  • 29/01/2017

    Thanks a lot for sharing this awesome post.

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  • 30/01/2017

    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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  • 30/01/2017

    This is interesting! What happens next? 😀

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