Thursday, 18 June 2009


After the laid-back studenty vibe of Novi Sad, Belgrade came as a bit of a shock to the system. It is a bustling metropolis where people seem to work and go about their daily business rather than sit around in cafes all day.
We went on a bus tour this morning but unlike other cities there is only one each morning at 11am, rather than buses leaving every half hour or fifteen minutes and it seemed the clearest indication yet that Belgrade is not really the sort of place tourists come to.
As well as the usual castle, cathedrals, churches, museums and parks we passed a couple of crumbling buildings, their blackened interiors hanging out from craters in their sides which the recorded commentary told us were the remains of former military buildings bombed by Nato just 10 years ago.
Belgrade does have its charms. Last night we ate in a cobbled street called Sadrarska, the city's former bohemian quarter were we were serendaded by a Balkan ensemble, of violin, clarinet, accordian, guitar and double bass. The music was combination of Gypsy dances, whimsical Jewish laments and Parisian cafe music. When the musicians came to our table and asked us where we were from they went in to a quick confab and I squirmed at the thought of a Balkanised version of Danny Boy or something worse, however what we got was Love Me Tender.
We spent this afternoon wandering along the pedestrianised Knez Mihailova and sitting it the park which covers the citadel on the banks where the rivers Danube and Sava merge.
I've been struck by how tall everyone is - men and women. I'm used to looking over the heads of most people around me as I walk about the place but here my heights seems to be fairly average with quite a few topping me by several inches.
We're off tomorrow to Sarajevo - an eight hour bus journey. So that should be fun.

No comments: