If you ever need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or are simply in search of a peaceful setting where the air is fresh, the food healthy and the atmosphere laid back, Salaš 137 is just the place for you.
The term salaš refers to an isolated village estate surrounded by avenues of trees protecting the backyard from wind and separating it from the fields around it. A group of about 400 salaš estates is located in the area of Čenej village, known for its outstanding fertility and abundance of dark soil. The salaš we wish to cover at present is the one called Salaš 137. It offers an authentic experience of life in the country (with agricultural land surrounding the estate, as well as farm animals such as sheep and chickens). Houses on a typical salaš are packed with old furniture, antique movables and other interesting items decorating the colourful walls. It is the ideal place for incurable romantics and hedonists, and since it can get pretty crowded on weekends, it would be wise to call ahead of time and reserve a table.
The Salaš 137 restaurant offers specialties of the local Vojvodina cuisine, prepared and served in the 'slow food' style. That means indulging yourself with aperitifs in the form of local quince rakija (brandy) before lunch, and then, while chatting with friends, nibbling on a variety of cheeses, pies, salads, ham, and sausages served on a wooden platter. Be sure to try the čekić (hammer) - a bite-size prune stuffed with aromatic cheese and wrapped in grilled bacon. Ideally, the 'hammer' should be followed by the chicken soup with homemade noodles (made and cut by hand), after which you can stretch your legs by taking a leisurely walk around the compound until the main course arrives (nobody will touch anything left on your table during your walk). We recommend you try the stuffed zucchini or the smoked knuckle of pork topped with horseradish and spices and baked in an earthenware pot until golden-brown. One of the various types of sweets on offer and a cup of freshly-prepared Serbian coffee would be a perfect way to end a perfect lunch. The philosophy behind this type of cuisine is to be able to relish good food and local wine without having to think about calories and every-day responsibilities. During the summer it is best to eat outdoors, beneath the cool shade of the walnut tree.
If a myriad of work-related responsibilities has kept you from spending quality time with your children during the course of the week, this is the perfect opportunity to redeem yourself. You will be able to spend an entire day with them, watching them run after a ball or a flock of chickens. The entire compound is surrounded by fields that children don’t generally find very interesting, so you won’t have to worry about letting them out of your sight. However, if you should doze off after lunch and lose sight of them, you are most likely to find them in the stable with the donkey. For some reason, children find the donkey considerably more appealing than other animals, and they could spend hours watching it and petting it.
You may also bring your dog along to this salaš. If it’s well behaved, minds its own business and keeps away from the plates of other guests, he will be allowed to run around the yard freely.
As to other adult activities available, archery might be an interesting sport to try out, whereas golf enthusiasts can practice their tee shot. You can also take a ride around the neighbourhood in a horse-drawn carriage or learn horseback riding. More experienced riders have over 20 horses at their disposal for recreational riding. This salaš also offers a playground for children, a mini-football field, volleyball and badminton, a small gym, sauna, and a massage service. You can purchase interesting souvenirs at the 24-hour open reception, and boarding for dogs and horses is also available.
For those who wish to use this beautiful and relaxing ambiance to lure their business partners into a deal, Salaš 137 offers a conference room, and there is also the option of renting the entire compound, which is blanketed in full with a Wi-Fi signal. In addition, Salaš 137 includes a branch of the Safari Club International, a hunting organisation operating in 37 countries, composed of hunters who, aside hunting, are also dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education. If you like, the salaš staff can take you on a hunting trip, as long as it is previously arranged.
Salaš 137 has a total of 14 rooms equipped with old, authentic furniture, and each has a bathroom, TV set and a CD player. Some rooms feature queen-size beds, and others have separate single beds. Rooms do not include air conditioning, which in truth is unnecessary due to the shade provided by the trees, as well as the thick walls. The bathrooms have large bathtubs which can easily hold four children or two adult lovers (depending on whether you are there with your family or on a romantic get-away). It can be a months wait to get a room on a weekend, whereas on weekdays a room is much easier to book. If you plan on spending the night at the salaš, it is advised that you inform the owners about this before your arrival.
Salaš 137 is an hour and a half from Belgrade by car. The road is good and rather straight, as it passes through the lowland of the Vojvodina province. The drive from Belgrade to Novi Sad is especially straightforward and it’s practically impossible to get lost. All you need to do is to turn off the highway at the Novi Sad exit, and drive towards the city until you cross a large irrigation canal (the only body of water in the area). Then you make a right-hand turn at the first big intersection following the canal and you’ll find yourself on a local road called Međunarodni (International) which will take you directly to Salaš 137, with no further turnings. If you are not sure whether you are on the right track, ask any passer-by for the road to Čenej (Čenej is a village near Salaš 137). When you see a sign indicating a left-hand turn to Čenej whilst on your way from Novi Sad, you should slow down because you will soon see a wooden sign on your right that says 'Salaš 137', as well as a small road that leads to the estate. However, if you decide not to do the driving yourself but to rent a car in Belgrade with a local driver, simply loll back and enjoy the view, and leave the directions to the driver. Another benefit of hiring a driver is that on your way back you will be able to take a nap and not worry about how much you’ve had to drink.
Međunarodni put 137
21233 Čenej (12km from Novi Sad)
Information and reservations: (021)71 45 01 or 71 45 05