According to a few of my readers, its time to show some love to Belgrade, after much focus on the down right hilarious, drama of the citz. So OK, let me then take this opportunity to tell you how much I actually Adore Belgrade. Yes, I love Belgrade so far! It’s fantastic!! 🙂 The drama is all in good fun of course, as is everything on this blog. And so far, my impressions of the white city are mostly positive. I really don’t want to go home, I could live here in fact!
So in the spirit of “The Sound of Music”: These are a few of my favorite things:
Cafes abound in Belgrade. They are on every street, every corner, they are ubiquitous. And they are packed full of locals sipping espressos, smoking, talking, gesturing wildly, or just people watching. I’m always looking for good coffee shops back home, and its so depressing to see yet another Starbucks on every single corner! It’s quite refreshing to be rid of them, of the people in suits waiting impatiently in line for their caramel machiato, nonfat, extra hot, to go! And then they rush off in their mercedes to enjoy it silently while listening to NPR on their way to work. Agh! But not in Belgrade, no, its the opposite.
Kafana/Bars are part of the fabric of the city here. All types can be found, grunge punk, rock, pub type, chill wine sipping, even ones that specialize in communist propaganda, or perhaps, combined with a book shop. Whatever your style, you will find it here. In fact, you don’t even need to go to a bar to get a drink here. No, you can get one in McDonalds. Yes, I ordered one today. It was quite liberating. And not only in McDonalds, but also in the park, on the street, in every coffee shop, and perhaps on the stairs of an elementary school after hours? Yes, you can even find people sitting outside, drinking openly in packs from a bottle of liquor. It’s actually quite normal here.
Style is the norm here. Men, women, old young, everyone from age 15 to 65 here is dressed to impress. And there is personality! Finally! And style and sophistication! I love it! Of course you would expect that from the women, but the men are fashionable too, and its so refreshing to see well dressed men walking the streets, and not looking so sloppy as so many of them do in the states.
The streets are safe, and the night is alive with energy! In most large cities in the states, its not advised to walk around outside alone at night, especially being a female. But here, I feel quite safe actually, at all hours. There’s an easiness about the city that allows one to stroll freely without feeling the restrictive pressure of having to be with a group, a guy, or inside before dark. Love it! And though the street graffitti would initially indicate otherwise, the crime seems to be incredibly low here, as we all wish it would be around the world.
The Nightlife is near perfect in Belgrade. Always something to to, and every place is open most of the whole night. It’s not uncommon to leave a place after 4AM, and have it still be going strong on the dance floor. There are no shortage of dance clubs, live music, or bars, and even walking the main pedestrian zone is an activity in itself, as everyone is out, strolling throughout the night hours.
The character of the city and its people is all around. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to not see a starbucks, or a barnes and noble, or a cheesecake factory, or a sterile shopping mall, or cookie cutter apartment complexes covering the city. Yes, its dirty and it’s gray, but it’s real, and it’s unique, and the hardship that people have suffered gives depth to their personas. I’m sick to death of the eternal springtime in Socal, and the shiny cars, and the designer clothes, and the perfectly manicured lawns, and the flowers that never cease to bloom. Yes, the environment I live in back home actually makes me sick sometimes. You never see the flaws of the city, its all painted over with excellent make up. In fact, we don’t even really have graveyards there. The reality of life is hidden from view. Here, you see everything. And the women! Where I live, you throw a rock and hit 100 identical starving blond bimbos. Ok, so here, you may have a different kind, but I’d rather befriend an aloof sultry vixen than a clueless airbrushed airhead any day. Just my opinion.
The public transportation is efficient and extensive. I can travel pretty much anywhere, within the city, or outside, for a few bucks on reliable, timely public transportation. The city buses, taxis, and trams are on time and reliable. I can travel to a nearby city 90 km away for cheaper than a taxi from the airport to my hostel, and the bus is modern and clean. I love it!
So those are just a few of my favorite things about Belgrade….I’m having a fabulous time, and am so busy exploring the area that I have running behind on my updates. Next up, Novi Sad, the roasted pig, and more on urban living in Belgrade!