Salaši: the Cure for the Urban Serb
When we told a friend that we were exploring Vojvodina (Northern Serbia) with my
šurnjaja zaova, she asked us if we were taking her to a salaš. “A what?” we asked. I wasn’t sure if it was a park, restaurant, or dance club. As it turns out, a salaš is a bit of all three.
A salaš is a working farm that provides lodging, activities, and giant portions of home-cooked Serbian specialties. Some salaši even offer live music at night. They are unique to Vojvodina, but the emphasis on food can be appreciated by all Serbians. Most salaši are named with a number that I think is the registration number of the salaš; let’s hope I have Vojvodina readers who can weigh in on this. Based on recommendations, we decided to try Salaš 137, a few miles outside of Novi Sad.
The grounds feature horseback riding, a children’s playground, and sheep and chicken pastures. We nixed the horseback riding but stayed for a few hours to smell country air, eat great food, and bask in the satiated happiness of everyone around us. It was a true Serbian experience, but American visitors have nothing to fear: there are English menus available, and waiters responded to our bad Serbian with English when things got too confusing.
Once again, Serbian guidebooks get an F for not mentioning this wonderful respite from city life in Belgrade or Novi Sad. I love living in the heart of Belgrade, but our salaš visit reminded me that Serbia’s rural areas are great tourist destinations, too.