A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about landscapes

A very special day in Užice

Užice


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

There were one or two more normal classes first thing and then the next couple of hours were taken up with final rehearsals and getting ready for the Show. The Show went really well - both classes put on a great performance. My class did a tweaked version of Modern Cinderella and the other class did a reverse-gender version of Romeo and Juliet.

The school day finished early so that people (including us) could go to view a special event in one of the town squares - the school leavers' dance performance! I hadn't heard of it before, but it turns out that this traditional event is synchronised in several countries across the Balkans; the school leavers from every secondary school in every town come together to dance the same dance at the same time in one massive group in a public square. There was a commentator and introducer speaking over the loudspeaker and I think it was being televised too. We went along with some students and teachers from 'our' school to watch. It started in decorous and well co-ordinated fashion, with white umbrellas and basic ballroom steps; as time went on it became gradually less and less decorous and co-ordinated... The umbrellas were dispensed with, the music changed, the group broke up into smaller ones and the celebrations became more raucous, though not in a negative manner. It was a very joyful event and I felt very lucky and privileged to have been at the school on just the right day to have had the chance to see it.

IMG_9753.JPGccc15670-1930-11ec-abf9-e9427e5ce32b.JPGIMG_9752.JPGccfe3860-1930-11ec-88ff-298941740b4c.JPGIMG_9757.JPG

Eventually M and I moved on in order to get started on the rest of our programme for the afternoon... We bought some lunch from a mini-market first, and then split up, each of us with a group of eager now-ex-students keen to show us around. M wanted to get his hair cut, so his group took him to a barber; mine took me to a tiny but interesting house museum first. It was built by a rich merchant in the second half of the 19th century and reminded me quite a lot of the National Revival house museums in Bulgaria. The Ottoman influence was clear.

a8b8e9c0-1933-11ec-8f18-f5a466d6179a.JPGa94dafb0-1933-11ec-8f18-f5a466d6179a.JPGIMG_9763.JPGa8fdbaf0-1933-11ec-8f18-f5a466d6179a.JPGa8b678c0-1933-11ec-b9fc-b3328d213a0f.JPGa99edcf0-1933-11ec-8f18-f5a466d6179a.JPGIMG_9771.JPG

Next up for me was the Church of St George, a small and pretty Orthodox church with an incredibly beautiful interior. My guides said that they had never been inside before, which I found interesting.

IMG_9788.JPGcb4c93f0-1934-11ec-8f18-f5a466d6179a.JPG

My last stop before both groups met up again was at a cultural centre, where we had Turkish coffee and one of my guides told my fortune from the coffee grounds, reminding herself of the meanings from her phone.

IMG_9733.JPG

Once we had met up again, some of each group had to go home but others remained. They took us to the Old Town, which is the name of the archaeological remains of a 14th century fortress dramatically set on a steep, rocky hill a little outside of the city centre. We walked alongside the River Đetinja to get there. It was interesting to wander round the ruins, and from the top there were absolutely fantastic views of the winding valley and river, the town and the hills beyond. The sun had properly come out now so it was a very hot day.

IMG_9820.JPGIMG_9806.JPG205ab040-1938-11ec-8c62-2302158b0d6e.JPGIMG_9802.JPGd9eebc00-1937-11ec-8c62-2302158b0d6e.JPGd9f9b880-1937-11ec-8e97-e7a013c40a3c.JPGIMG_9793.JPGIMG_20190517_141257.jpg

More people had to go after that, so only a couple remained. We were taken further along the river and through at least one tunnel to a bridge where we could see a waterfall. We had passed through outskirts of the city and it felt properly in the countryside; very green and lovely. The river ran clear and I was tempted to paddle and/or swim.

IMG_9821.JPG489c7cb0-193c-11ec-a4a7-87467c0aaf92.JPG48d95ea0-193c-11ec-a7cb-3579cfb7f017.JPGIMG_9843.JPGdef9d590-193c-11ec-a4a7-87467c0aaf92.JPGIMG_9840.JPGdefc94b0-193c-11ec-a7cb-3579cfb7f017.JPG

That was our last stop of the day, so after walking back into town and saying our goodbyes we took a taxi to our hotel. I was knackered and in need of a rest - my fitbit said that I had taken 26,000 steps so far today, so I'm not surprised!

Tomorrow we both take the bus to Belgrade. M will go straight to the airport, but I've arranged a night in Belgrade so I can have a good look round some of the city before I fly back on Sunday.

Posted by 3Traveller 09:06 Archived in Serbia Tagged landscapes waterfalls mountains bridges serbia traditions explorations english_teaching fortifications orthodox_church house_museum užice serbian_cuisine Comments (4)

In the middle of Austrian wine country

Deutschlandsberg


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

When I arrived in Deutschlandsberg last Sunday after a smooth 55-minute train journey from Graz, I was picked up from the station by the guesthouse owner and taken on a brief driven surprise tour of the town, including the little castle which lies on a hill overlooking the town. Deutschlandsberg lies in wine country, as I could see from the fields of vines on each side. There was an amazing view from the castle; apparently you can get married there - a stunning setting, to be sure. I'd heard that it contains an interesting museum; this turned out to be true, but apparently it's closed for the winter. The restaurant there - a very good one, apparently - is also closed until April.

IMG_8947.JPGIMG_8949.JPG4b193fc0-f80d-11e9-a546-73c77d0811b2.JPG4a6de490-f80d-11e9-9e79-67e0bbc67ea5.JPGIMG_9239.JPG

The town itself is small but very pleasant to walk round, with colourful buildings, market stalls, a peaceful atmosphere and some Konditorei for coffee, hot chocolate, beers and cake.

IMG_8967.JPGIMG_8970.JPGIMG_8972.JPGIMG_8971.JPGcc6fa150-f82f-11e9-a586-c7ca77699196.JPGIMG_8963.JPGcce657f0-f82f-11e9-b8ee-65e96b8363d7.JPGIMG_8979.JPGIMG_8974.JPGcd255cc0-f82f-11e9-8def-53d1d6ddf13b.JPGcc33f7e0-f82f-11e9-a586-c7ca77699196.JPGIMG_9285.JPG3a40ba70-f830-11e9-a586-c7ca77699196.JPG

This evening we climbed one of the hills surrounding the town.

35116850-f831-11e9-aefa-598b3c4d68c3.JPGIMG_8959.JPG1e9fb5e0-f831-11e9-a586-c7ca77699196.JPG

The course I was teaching this week went well. It was general English, which I have lots of experience in, but for the first time ever I had to prepare one of the groups for a show. It felt quite strange to be acting more like a drama teacher than as an English one. The show was good considering how little time they had to create a script and rehearse (it was a 4-day course rather than the normal 5), though there were definitely areas that could have been more polished. The story that the class and I came up with was a modern retelling of Cinderella with some role reversal and the appearance of one or two characters from other fairy tales.

It was an informal show, only performed to another class rather than to the whole school and/ or to parents; I was quite grateful for that because it was my first Show and because of the said lack of enough rehearsal time! Next week there isn't a Show because it's an exam prep booster course, but in my final week of this contract there is one, so I've already had a couple of ideas for how to streamline the deciding-on-the-type-of-show and the scriptwriting stages.

Posted by 3Traveller 10:06 Archived in Austria Tagged landscapes market austria english_teaching fortifications deutschlandsberg Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]