The Kaštel Ečka Hotel is fully booked tonight with a wedding this evening so they were unable to give me a late checkout from our room. Consequently, Kali and I are sitting in the VIP room above reception. It is decorated in a boardroom style with portraits of important men along the wall, beautiful cabinetry, and a very long boardroom table bordered with green leather executive chairs.
In our suite after Kali transitioned from hiding behind the TV, she spent most of her time in a lovely, silk-like yellow upholstered chair that I pushed up to the window. She loved the breeze and her view on the world safely behind the window screen. In the VIP boardroom she has found no place to hide so she is sitting on the floor under the table and in close proximity to my legs.
The staff at Kaštel Ečka Hotel could not have been more charming or helpful when it came to accommodating Kali Cat. Several weeks ago when I asked about their pet policy, they responded, "Your cat can stay with you in your room, if you’d like to bring her along, but for reasons of hygiene, pets are not allowed in hotel restaurant." Good enough.
Kaštel Ečka Hotel kind of grew on me after I became less judgmental. The sheets are a lovely, silky cotton and the bed was comfortable. Each evening, a pleasant breeze came up and made the room comfortable enough to sleep. This is an agricultural village with nearby village farms and a comforting scent of nearby animals and earth floated in with the breeze. It is very quiet here so I did not need my usual earplugs. It was refreshing to be in a rural area.
In my days alone while Dan was teaching, I was often out walking with my camera equipment in the evenings and also this morning. The first evening at the church, I met Jelitsa and Tanya who told me about the Children's Folklore Festival. I saw both of them often during my three days here. Last night, I sat with Tanya at the Folklore performance. Her two sons, 11 and 16, were performing. I met her 16-year old son who speaks English and Hungarian in addition to his native Serbian. He also served as translator for the Hungarian dancers.
Since Kali woke me at 6:00 a.m., I decided to see how morning light was and visit the Saturday market. Here are some images from this morning. I once again ran into Jelitsa.
A woman merchant at the Saturday Market
A shy girl
Beautiful Peppers for Sale
Fence Detail at the Austrian Catholic Church
I also met Suzana who is the sister-in-law of the priest at the magical Church of St. Nicolas. She lives in Novi Sad and was in Ečka to visit her sister for a few days. She is trained as an architect so she was able to educate me about the history of the churches here.
Everyone I met was exceedingly charming even to an American who speaks no Serbian.
We will spend one more night in Belgrade and fly to Skopje tomorrow afternoon.