Belgrade – A Miniature

So, the Stones have left me speechless yesterday, and I will follow suit with today’s post. But not because Belgrade left me in awe, but because I honestly don’t know what to think. Rollo has already dubbed be a difficult tourist because I’m not easily moved by any destination.

I like cities. I’d also like to stare down a volcano or do some serious mountaneering, the likes of which Burja hates. But cities. Me likes. I like the heated concrete, the sound of sirens and screeching tires, the feeling that you get from being out at 2 AM still sweating like a pig because it’s still 28 degrees Celsius out there. By this measure I should have loved Belgrade. Yet I didn’t. I did, however, feel like home. It took me an hour to figure out the traffic-lights system, another two hours to figure out the angles at which streets in the Old City criss-cross and that was it. By the time it was time to go to a concert I was almost able to move freely around downtown.

The city basically left me unfazed.


However….


….there was no way to hide the fact that it was once a great city and will undoubtedly become great again. Personaly I think Belgrade is the “fifth capital of Europe”, next to London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna. If I had to make a comparison, I’d say that Belgrade is like a middle-aged woman who cannot hide the fact that she was once gorgeous.

Since this side of the digital divide is more than filled with pictures of Weissburg, let me show you a couple of moments that caugth my attention:

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Like the city itself, the plateau in front of Tito’s Memorial Centre (Kuča cveća) demonstrates its faded greatness


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The old federal coat-of-arms still hangs on what remained of the building of the Ministry of Interior (destroyed in 1999 NATO bombing campaign)


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You can still see waitresses wearing the old socialist regulation footwear that was kind to their legs and ankles.


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One of the small surprises was Belgrade’s Hyde Park, or as they call it: “Hajd Park” – the map says so! 🙂


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Imagine the smile on my face when a hydrant in Tito’s Memorial Centre sported the name “Pohorje” :mrgreen:


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The last ever Relay of Youth (1987). Like everything else Yugoslav, its beginning of the end started in Slovenia.


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And last but not least… Belgrade serves a decent beer: BG Beer. Goes down so discreetly that you have to have another one just to have it check up on the first one.


So, that was my Belgrade. How was yours?

Published by

pengovsky

Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

45 thoughts on “Belgrade – A Miniature”

  1. Now I have a strong urge to go there now. 🙁 Luckily, I’ll be there at the end of August and September. 🙂 I absolutely love that city. It has so many hidden treasures to discover if you take some time. They are not the kind to be found in travel guides, but I adore them nevertheless.

  2. @Sunshine: Hope you don’t hold it against me for not being moved by the city 😀

    @Dietmar: That’s the lot, I’m afraid… But I didn’t really want to put postcard photos here. although I do have some 🙂

  3. I thought we already discussed that. 😛 If you ask me, it’s your loss, so I don’t have anything to hold against you. 😉

    Same way as I wouldn’t expect you to hold against me my lack of enthusiasm over the Rolling Stones. From your point of view, it’s probably my loss. 😀

  4. Exactly! And also no point in expecting/demanding mad enthusiasm over Belgrade, if you don’t percieve cities this way.

    I meant “my loss” that I’m not crazy for them, not that I didn’t go (that seems like a logical decision, doesn’t it? 😉 ). And even that is more a figure of speech than a fact. I believe no one can be forced into liking anything against his/her will if the (non)liking doesn’t have anything to do with prejudice. That, on the other hand, is worth fighting against. 😀

    Damn, that was deep. 😳

  5. I’m going there in September.
    Hajd park… hehe… I remember those funny shoes… but they were comfortable (I used to steal my mother’s shoes when I was a little girl, so I know).
    I admire their selfesteem… We won’t ever have anything called LJ or SLO or… Well Feel sLOVEnia doesn’t count.

  6. @Sunsihe: Very deep. You should send it to Reader’s Digest… They have a page for people like you 😉 (a quote from The Hitchiker’s Guide)

    @Morska: For starters: I don’t see anyone in Slovenia being able to throw a Stones gig – much less a Belgrade-like one.

  7. Next yaer… if you’ll still know me … you can join me… they’re for sure coming to Austria. 🙂 As for me… that’s an event that fills me up for the whole year 🙂

  8. Unfotunately Bon Jovi doesn’t do it for me… Much like Stones to Sunshine… If, however, Dire Straits were to come back from the dead – now that would be an entirely different matter 🙂

  9. !!!! … ful mi po pasu šiba roka, če hočeš ti za odrom naredim … !!!!

    😳 Sorry, this is my own private Slon in sadež party. 😀

  10. sounds like the problem of many other bands. But I once found a Mark Knopfler CD in the library – seems like that guy can also make some quite good music alone.

  11. If I even think of posibillity of wearing that footwear as teachers used to…aaaa!! But they say that there’s nothing more comfortable than those blue “sexy” shoes…who knows…
    p.s.tnx.for linking me 🙂

  12. This is off-topic but any of you know the origin of “ful”? Like who or where did it start in Slovenia?

    I started hearing my little cousins using the word in 2006, but the year before I didn’t hear them ever say it. I also noticed it translates in the Amebis translation tool even though it is not a proper Slovene word.

    Just wanted to know in case I ever invent a time machine I can go back and find the original person who came up with the word and slap them silly!!! grrr lol j/k. But when I do hear my little cousins say the word it irritates me. 😉

  13. The word “ful” is not so irritating… at least for me.. I get wrinkles when someone says “valda”. I guess “ful” has a long “tradition”. I came to LJ in 1996 and it was already in people’s vocabulary. As for us “from the coast”.. we were great in using the word “mona” which was used in almost every sentence. I think they’re still doing that 🙂

  14. Hmm, I guess it took a long time to reach the western parts of Slovenia then. First time I heard it in use was 06, and I had been to Slovenia in ’05- ’02, ’00, ’98, ’94, ’91,… and never heard it before last year. I find it most irritating when used like this “ful dober”.

    I find it more irritating because Slovene is already hard enough to learn, without all these added BS words.

  15. I came to Ljubljana in 1991 and FUL was already there. So was MONA and PINJO ROSNO.
    Even though my Slovenian is moving towards the (bloodless) standard, I can’t imagine life without FUL, as silly as it sounds. Another word I cannot live without is SORI.As a comparison: it was easy to drop Serbo-Croatian swearing …

  16. Looks like it started in LJ then and radiated outward. Guess I will have to go back further in time to eradicate the beginning of this word. 😉

  17. Yes, I simply can’t imagine to say “oprosti”… though it’s not something to be proud of… I guess… don’t know…
    Mona is old… I was a little girl and we all used that word. Teenagers were using a lot of english word when I came to LJ: flet, moja sister, keš, densat, drink,…
    I still call my father “tata” as every “Primorc”.:)

  18. The trick with “ful” is that it is used in a variety of situations, most of them having to do with something being full/empty.

    The most basic example of it is the term “full cool” 😀

    Being a Ljubljanchan myself, I was exposed to Slovenian with English/Serbian/Croatian flavour early on. The first English term to enter slang (that I can remember of) was “sure” – used as “šur” or even “šur da” (“yeah, sure” as a double affirmative)…

    stops to think…. A lightbulb appears above his head

    Well, well, well….

  19. Zadnjič sedim z enim ful kul tipom v njegovem fletu v Ljubljani. Ima d best oči in je do kraja skuliran. Lih ko je najbolj hot se spomnem, da imam še pentilajner in…šit…vsa magija momenta je skenslana.

    A se tako pogovarja mladina danes?

  20. Depends… What’s a “pentilajner” ? 😀

    But if you want fancy-speak, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow… A post is already in the making… Sorči, srči :mrgreen:

  21. “The most basic example of it is the term “full cool””

    Yeah but “full cool” makes no sense in English…just as “ful dober = full good” is just as weird.

  22. the “ful” thing seems somehow interesting. The translations would mostly make no sense in English, but in German. It would be nothing special (at least in southern Germany) to stress something by adding “voll”, the German word for “full”. As there are many other Germanisms in Slovenian, this seems to be quite a strange one, because it’s German “logic”, but English vocabulary…

  23. I second alcessa. My American-Slovene friend was ammused by the use of “full” already back in 1991, maybe 1992. As long as we didn’t use it in the combination “it was ‘ful prazno'” This case made shake her head in disaproval. As Morska, being from the coast, I also used a lot of “mona”, but this was used very much by my “tata” in his young days, also. “Sori”, although I learned to use it a little, I hate it, too. Could slap myself when I hear me saying it. Must have been the 15 years living in Ljubljana 😛

  24. Sem prav vesela mona, da je še nekdo tu z obale. Jaz sem v LJ okrog 11 let že, mona, pa vidim, da nisem edini outsider, mona. :))
    Kok sem zaspana, mona… grem kar spat… *zeh* … mona… 🙂

  25. Visiting this place is definitely on my ‘to do’ list. Have been told the perfect time to visit is early autumn. Apparently, there are some kick ass jazz bands in town. Anyone been to one of their concerts on the river?
    P, thanks for the virtual postcard!

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