My first full day in Belgrade was full indeed….
I will save my impressions of society until I’ve been here a bit longer, although I can see how they are already forming.
Instead, I can report only on my extremely full day today, my first full day in Beograd, fair?
Luckily, I have discovered how to change my keyboard from SRB to USA, so I can type properly, if only I remember where the keys are, since they are not labeled correctly. So far, so good, forgive a few discrepancies.
I woke up early enough to barely make the 12PM free Belgrade walking tour starting at the famous Equestrian monument in front of the National Museum. The tour guide, Ana, was quite good, leading us on a 3 hour walking tour all around the city, and including important parts both socially and historically. A few highlights include the Skadarilja district, which is the Bohemian district, the Kalamegdan Park, the most well known park in the city, in which we saw many famous old statues, mostly of naked men, and also a few kiosks, and a tomb of an old Serbian leader….much history there. Also, the Belgrade fortress, used to defend the Serbs from the Turks in ancient history, and many many other forces as well. We saw the field of tanks, real military tanks from Italy, Germany, Turkey, and more, many tanks that have entered this city. Also, I saw the Belgrade zoo, some very cold Lammas, and heard the story about the famous monkey, who would always escape to the Republic Square, and won much notoriety to it. We also saw the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, saw the National theater, and saw the Saint Sava Church, saw the one and only mosque, and also friendship park. Halfway though the tour, we stopped at a local underground bar, where the tour guide inquired if they could fit 30 for a sip of rakija, the famous brandy. They could, and we entered into the painted red basement of the Communist Cuban themed bar, for rounds of rakija. I chose the honey flavor, and I must say, it was better than expected. This was amusing, since 20 of the 30 on the tour were high school students from an American school in Italy. In the US, serving hard liquor to a group of 16 year olds at noon would be a crime prosecuted by law, but in Belgrade, I guess its the norm….In addition we saw Knez Mihailova, the famous pedestrian zone, and also the Silicon valley area, around Strahijica Bana. Silicon valley is said to be the area of fancy cars and surgically enhanced women, but I was un phased. That place has nothing on Orange County.
As I’m writing this, a hostel manager has come up to me, to check in on the hostel, completely blasted after a night on the town, its 2:15 AM. Oh, Beograd…you are just as I expected it to be.
All in all, the tour was great, and I met a few guys, a German and an Australian, that wanted to go to lunch, so we found a local restaurant and I ordered cevapcici, the only thing I recognized on the menu. It was better than the cevapcici back home, but still not my cup of tea, no surprise. Afterwards, the three of us went to the Nikola Tesla museum, which my muz is completely enamored by, and then we went and saw the destroyed buildings from the NATO bombing, which have never been repaired. Then I wandered around till I found an exchange office and my hostel. Tonight I met up with them again to tour the town…. with an additional pair, a German and a guy from Denmark, and they must have been intent on getting lost because we took a bus, then a cab, to a far away restaurant they were set on getting into, but after searching for quite some time, we were turned away, no reservation. Alas, we ended up at some random place with a bunch of old men eating giant plates of meat. Afterward we found our way to the Mama’s Biscuit house, for a few drinks and conversation. All in all, a fantastic first start for my first full day in Beograd. Tomorrow is yet to be seen, but I see it as full of possibility.
Good Night, Laku Noc, lepo spavai lepo sanjai, from Beograd…..