He had never been to the Eastern Europe before so it was very interesting to see the Balkans through his eyes. We arrived to Belgrade on Friday August 30th. My parents picked us up and we drove from Belgrade airport to the city center for a walk through Kalemegdan fortress and park for as much sightseeing as possible since we would spend only 10 days in the Balkans. In the heart of Kalemegdan fortress we found the perfect place for lunch at Kalemegdanska Terasa. This restaurant can definitely compete with any New York or London hot spot, but I have to admit that lunch was also priced accordingly :-).
After lunch I sent a couple of text messages to arrange coffee with my cousin and her family and it felt like I never left.
|Panoramic view from Kalemegdan Fortress overlooking the confluence of the Rivers Sava and Danube|
Even though it drizzled a little bit we continued our tour through Belgrade's main street Knez Mihajlova. I happily posed for the picture in front of Instituto Cervantes de Belgrado (hint: my husband is Spanish :-)...) and then like real tourists we went to the tourist info office to ask about Belgrade's open roof tour bus. That was SOOOOOO MUCH FUN! Even my cousin and her son joined, despite the fact that they live in Belgrade. It was a perfect way to see so much in one day. We came back to Belgrade at the end of our stay for our friend's wedding but could not really count on those days to see anything else. The bus ride was 90 minutes long and you could choose to listen to the guide in more than five different languages, so everyone was happy.
These are the results of the tour.
|House of the National Assembly|
Trivia: Some scenes of the movie Coriolanus were filmed in the building of National Assembly in Belgrade.
By the way you can see in a glance of the pictures below that they were taken by my husband. His fascination by Nato bombed buildings, communist style architecture and run down buildings are so amusing to me. It was great to see Balkans from an outsider's point of view. To me it was just being home.
I am not even surprised that the building bombed in 1999 was not repaired 14 years later. Things tend to change veeeeery slowly there. Unfortunately :-(.
|A building bombed by NATO in 1999|
On the picture below you can see House of Flowers, where Josip Broz Tito (former president of the Socialist Federalist Republic of Yugoslavia) was buried in 1980, following his personal wish. Tito is the most romanticized figure in the Balkans. Most of the people there look back at Tito's Yugoslavia with nostalgia and great fondness no matter which ex-Yu republic they are from. Tito played a big role in Europe's anti-Nazi resistance. He was also a leader and one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. People usually have a misconception that Yugoslavia was a part of the Eastern block in the Cold War, that we all speak the "easterneuropian" language (?!?!?) and that we all kind of look "the same". I remember in the US I would be placed in that category by default.
The following picture is of Saint Sava Church. One of the biggest Orthodox Churches in the world.
|Temple of Saint Sava|
No, the underneath pictures are not from NY projects, they are just from a lovely neighborhood in Belgrade: communist stile! :-) Maybe that's why I lived in Harlem, NY - it felt like home :-).
And, last, the beautiful Ada Bridge. You can see more pictures of this bridge here. And watch this beautiful video of Belgrade from the air here.
It was great being back again!
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