20160709_121211After a long weekend visiting my grandparents in the countryside, I felt my inner travel bug calling, yearning for an adventure, for a new discovery. Luckily,  I’m very blessed to have incredible parents who share a sense of travel and adventure like me, so rather than driving the boring route back to Belgrade, we packed our bags, said goodbye to the grandparents and headed east of Serbia on a road trip through Djerdap National Park.

The biggest feature of the beautiful park is the Iron Gate, the largest canyon in Europe created as the Danube River splits Serbia and Romania. As we drove up the mountains, through the countless shades of green forest and winding slithering roads, my excitement grew to see the mighty Danube in its wild form. After nearly an hour driving, we noticed a small village complex called “Kapetan Misin Breg” (translation: Captain Misha’s hill), as we caught a glimpse of the the river from the distance. We decided it was a great place to take a small break and stretch our legs, so we parked the car and were greeted by the owner’s wife.

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To our surprise, the village was actually an eco ethno complex, surrounded not only by the beautiful nature, but also by wooden sculptures, flowers, and orchards. Established in 2003 by the Stefanovic family, Captain Misha’s Hill, is a hidden gem, … but first who is Captain Misa?

Misa Anastasijevic was born in the early 1800’s on this very hill, when his family owned the estate. He was one of Serbia’s most influential and successful businessmen, thanks to his salt export company and close business partnership with Prince Milos Obrenovnic I. He was a philanthropist and contributed heavily to our culture by commissioning one of Belgrade’s most impressive buildings at the time. He earned the title of “Captain” during his military tenure and despite his great success, Captain Misa died poor.

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The Stefanovic family purchased his estate and transformed it into a beautiful oasis in the heart of the national park. The first notable segment of the complex is an art gallery which has displays of beautiful pieces, commissioned by apprentices who are just starting out. They live on the estate and put their creativity to canvas – every painting is available for sale. Scattered around, are over 400 pieces of wooden sculptures, which are carved by the owner himself, who was self-taught in the profession.

Beautiful flowers surround the pathway, leading visitors to the glorious viewpoint of the Danube river. We passed by a wine gallery which holds an impressive collection of vintages received by visiting guests from around the world. Although the wines are not for sale, I believe this gallery will be priceless in the future 🙂  The family welcome tour groups on a daily basis, offering traditional Vlach* cuisine in a peaceful setting, as well as overnight rooms, for those who wish to spend the night under the stars.20160709_11291720160709_11342120160709_113329The complex is filled with interesting details including, mini open air chalets where guests can enjoy refreshments, a signpost with directional arrows to nearby European cities stating exact distance, so that you know how far you have to travel to your next destination. A bridge built over a serene pond filled with water lilies and fish, leads visitors to the guesthouse and children’s play area. The crowning glory of the complex, is the open air viewpoint, built to capture breathtaking sights of the Danube as it winds its way between the majestic mountains.20160709_11295520160709_121103Located only 10 minutes from the town Donji Milanovac, this charming complex, is a wonderful edition to the vast eco tourism in Serbia … and with a view to die for, it definitely sits on my “Top Things to see in Serbia”. As we continued our journey back to Belgrade, we followed the Danube river, admiring the beautiful landscape of Serbia on our left and Romania on our right, and appreciated the beauty of the world’s nature, which we so often take for granted.

More photos here, enjoy! 🙂

*Vlach: Vlachs are an ethnic minority in Northeastern Serbia who descended from Romania. Their culture, cuisine, language and customs are unique and quite different to the rest of Serbia. In terms of cuisine, specialties include hearty dishes, made with lamb, root vegetables, polenta and various savoury and sweet forms of pita.   

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