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.
….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:
Like the city itself, the plateau in front of Tito’s Memorial Centre (Kuča cveća) demonstrates its faded greatness
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)
You can still see waitresses wearing the old socialist regulation footwear that was kind to their legs and ankles.
One of the small surprises was Belgrade’s Hyde Park, or as they call it: “Hajd Park” – the map says so! 🙂
Imagine the smile on my face when a hydrant in Tito’s Memorial Centre sported the name “Pohorje”
The last ever Relay of Youth (1987). Like everything else Yugoslav, its beginning of the end started in Slovenia.
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?