We continued driving south and stopped overnight at Vranje not far from Serbia’s border with Macedonia.
Once again we were charmed at the warm welcome we received at the camp site. You might think that campsite receptions would always be polite and welcoming but throughout our travels we were regularly greeted with total indifference by folk that seemed too bored to bother to be nice. We found that it was possible to judge how pleasant or otherwise our stay would be depending on the quality of the initial greeting. In Serbia folk seemed to go out their way to be friendly – even the staff in the motorway service areas were smiling. helpful and polite.
Marco, son of the camp site owner rushed over to greet us with outstretched hand and quickly found us a place to park. Later I asked him what time the restaurant closed. “When I go home”, he told me. “What time do you go home?” I asked. “When the restaurant is empty and everyone has eaten” was his laughing reply.
Later we found out that the grandfather had owned the land and had grown rice and maize. Twelve years ago, when he got too old to farm, he gave the land to his son who developed the small camp site with swimming pool and restaurant, surrounded by fields of maize and rice. Now the old grandfather sat outside in the shade, his son pottered around watering the gardens and the two grandsons, Marco and Nico ran the site. They were such a sweet family that we forgave them the fact that the showers were cold, there was only one toilet and the swimming pool was not yet ready for the season.
We stayed two nights, drank wine and beer and had two evening meals and the cost was just over £100. We felt it was excellent value.
The currency in Serbia was the (RSD) dinar. There were no coins, just paper money; £1 was equal to 134 dinar. When we stopped for fuel the forecourt attendant served us with diesel while he expertly cleaned the sticky bugs off our windscreen. He then helped us to move the van to top up our gas bottles. Tony paid by credit card and gave the man a tip of 100 RSD note. As we drove away we realised we had given the man just 74p – which he accepted with a polite thank you.