Monday, August 1, 2011

Šaran Eight/Take a Break/You Can Reach Your Destination

Constructing a railway from the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, to the Bosnian city of Sarajevo was an important way to link together the young Kingdom of Yugoslavia. However, the mountainous terrain between these two cities created an engineering challenge for the government. Through a series of tunnels and switchbacks, a narrow-gauge railway was constructed climbing hundreds of meters to solve this challenge.

In 1974, the then unprofitable line ran its last train, until locals on the Serbian side decided to revive the line in the late 1990s (amidst the chaos of the Miloševič years). Today, a charming tourist train, called the Šargan Eight and rebuilt to early 20th century standards, runs this portion of the historic track, with plans to extend it all the way back into Bosnia. It is a great way to enjoy the green mountains of Serbia's Zlatibor region.

(But it's still a ways away...)
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Nearby is an artist colony/˝etno-village˝ that also has some nice views of the area, which made for a nice walk up a mountain while we waited for the train to depart. We were also filmed by several Japanese guys with fancy camera equipment at one of those touristy photo-op placards where you put your head inside. Perhaps we are big in Japan.

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