Posted by: jwhiff | July 30, 2011

Hello From Serbia!

We arrived safely last night at around 7:00 pm.  The flight was easy and our welcome was warm.  Jelena’s father met us at the airport along with a family friend, ready with umbrellas, goodies, and two separate vehicles so they might transport us to our apartment safely and comfortably.  Rain seems to like us, and was present in torrents here in Beograd (Belgrade) for our arrival. That’s okay, though…better rain than heat wave in my world!

Our apartment is in a great central location, right around the corner from the Serbian parliament.  It is clean and comfortable and supposedly belonged at one time to a Serbian general.  We had a good sleep were up bright and early to explore the city.  And guess what?  Sunshine!  I actually needed sunscreen today.  We were interested in passing through the bohemian district (Skadarlija) and making our way to the fortress overlooking the river (Kalemegdan).  Stephen was a little worried about relying on the iPad, since it is a pretty desirable object in a place that is a little rough around the edges.  So…we didn’t end up finding Skadarlija.  But!  We passed through an amazing open air market full of  farm produce, pyramids of eggs and watermelons, fresh baked bread, fish and pork.  I wanted to pull out the camera, but I was also a bit paranoid about sticking out as a tourist flaunting fancy gizmos.  I missed a bunch of interesting photo ops for this reason alone.  It is a very interesting city to photograph–lots of graffiti and crumbling, elegant nineteenth century buildings.

At no point did I feel unsafe, by the way.  People are just out and about, doing their own thing.  No one bugged us, or begged or looked suspicious.  We did see a father and daughter in a shabby horse-drawn cart, holding up traffic.  The city is busy, but not touristy.  At no point have we had to fight crowds of tourists.  Plus, the food and attractions are cheap (or free).

In short, we enjoyed ourselves today. The kids enjoyed climbing all over the tank collection at the fortress museum and found a bunch of interesting red insects to handle and observe.  They wanted to go into the zoo at the fortress, but we’re saving that for tomorrow.  Jelena picked out a great restaurant featuring more traditional Serbian fare (pork stew with paprika, stuffed pork, cevapcicis, grilled chicken and tomato salad).  I was pleased with the location, since the backdrop was a couple of decrepit nineteenth century buildings with graffiti.  I can’t help but be fascinated by them.  Not every building is like this, by the way.  However, we had read that the greatest danger in Serbia is being hit with chunks of debris falling off of old buildings.

After dinner (around 9:00 pm), we walked back through the pedestrian shopping area which is on the way back to our apartment.  Nothing seems to close early here in Beograd!  There were all kinds of street entertainers and people out enjoying themselves.  The crowd was really comfortable…mixed and balanced.  We weren’t the only ones out walking with small children.

Now were are drinking a cheap, rather sour bottle of red wine.  The kids are sound asleep.  A good day!


Responses

  1. I’m glad the sun has come out for you, and happy to hear you’re settled in Beogard. Today is blustery and a mix of clouds and sun (more clouds). I’m scrambling to get everything together for tomorrow. Dave is picking us up at the ferry and we are staying the night with Rena & Zach. Today is Dad’s last work day, the guys have planned a get together at the end of his shift. Steve Williamson is coming in early in case there is a late call, which he will do for Dad. I will pick him up after work as he has to clean out his locker, etc… it seems really weird to think his finish this stage of his life. Well, wish us luck. See you in Dubrovnik!


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