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« Images Of Serbia | Main | Accidental Ambassadors (Serbia) »

Hike to Sokograd Fortress -- Part 1 (Hopefully) (Serbia)

Sokograd Fortress outside Sokobanja, SerbiaThe daily rains we've been getting in Serbia are, we're told, pretty unseasonal. Usually it's very hot and humid, but dry-skied this time of year. Given that, I haven't minded the bursts of thunder storms in the morning or afternoon and the cooler temperatures and clear skies afterwards. It is however, making it tricky to plan hikes and longer treks to ruins. Today we debated -- drive into Nis, a nearby city, or hike up to the ruins of Sokograd, a fortress in existence since Roman times. We looked toward the sunny skies and all agreed -- Sokograd! As we parked the car we heard distant rolling thunder. Julija and her young son Ilia turned back and said, "Go ahead, we'll wait." The rest of us went on. It's an easy enough hike, with mossy rocks and pebbly paths. As we reached the top the hike got harder -- steeper --and we needed to climb with hands and feet to make the last 20 yards or so. The skies were dark and rolling, and the wind was picking up. Terribly exciting! As we reached the peak of the mountain where the fortress is, the highest point for miles around, the lightning started. We huddled inside the roofless ruins for a few moments, then Brenna and I decided, we're here now and we want to see the top. What's the worst that can happen? We started out onto the ledge that leads to the top of the tower, and as I turned around to make Brenna pose for a picture, the mother of all lightning bolts landed on the ridge behind me. The thunder crashed almost simultaneously. Time to go down! We hoped to beat the rain and get down the super-steep slippery part first. No such luck. I ended up frantically stowing camera gear, and scrambling down a very wet and slippery rock face. It poured all the way down the mountain. The kind of rain drops that pelt and soak you instantly. The kids marched down with their hands over their ears because the thunder was so loud. When we got to the bottom we could see blue skies ahead, and by the time we reached the car, and a worried Julia, it was barely sprinkling. We were wet, but the kids were over their scare, and Brenna and Darinka couldn't stop giggling. Julia assumed that we would want to go home and dry off, but the toss up between hungry and wet went to hungry. We decided to go have lunch in a nearby restaurant tucked inside a cave, wet or not. We'll try Sokograd another day.

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Reader Comments (12)

That looks awesome. Great story. Wish I could click on the pictures and see them larger.

Jul 4, 2009 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterGerry

Wow.. I'm wondering if you got any video of all that lightning or if there was just too much going on to capture video at that time.

Thanks for sharing the story with us!

Jul 4, 2009 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterCliff Ravenscraft

Your writing style is unique and entertaining. Thanks for sharing.

Jul 4, 2009 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Z

Now that's a great adventure to enjoy vicariously! Glad you made it down safe!

Jul 4, 2009 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKecia

Glad you all are safe and having adventures, but do you have a way to record sound?????? Not just of thunder but of the surrounding area's wildlife and people???? If not I'm going to send you one right away!

Jul 5, 2009 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Ahhhh, the adventures begin!

Jul 5, 2009 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

"What's the worst that could happen?" I *love* that phrase, and use it a lot myself.

We had a lot of unseasonably stormy weather in Central Europe last month too ... luckily I had brought my REI rain jacket that stuffs into a 4" pouch, so I just carried it everywhere.

I'm loving reading your posts and following your adventures.

Jul 5, 2009 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

That's a great story! I want to hear about the food, too, though. How was lunch?

Jul 5, 2009 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterToni

Fabulous! Did you roll your Nagra to capture sound on that Thunder Clap?
I would have jumped out of my skin and back.
Bravo to you Redpath Family!!!!!!!
You are in the very essence of time and space.

Jul 6, 2009 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDarleen

Only the two of you could attract lightning! Beautiful country........wish I was there! Brenna, your grandmothern is worried about the safety of everyone and your comfort. I will not pass along the lightning thing, just tell her about the ruin.....she will love that.
Rain in Georgia also but never as exotic as where you are.
Love and great wishes to all of you with many kisses and hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jul 7, 2009 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMom / Nana June

WOW, Exciting experience!

Jul 7, 2009 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJessica

YIKES! LOVE That! I am impressed you made it that far, and ANYONE that knows Brenna knows that hungry comes WAY before Dry! That is just so beautiful! I just love it! At least you got to see most of it. That's more than the rest of us poor saps have done! Here's to YOU GUYS!!! : )

Jul 16, 2009 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterCCTriumph: The Sis From GA

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