Trip Start May 07, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2012

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Flag of Serbia  ,
Monday, May 21, 2012

Arrive at Belgrade 5pm’ish and exit the side of station to avoid any hassle. 10 mins walk to Hotel – another good one and the cheapest so far! Spend our Anniversary evening at an extremely quirky restaurant (Lorenzo & Kakalamba) absolutely full of strange furniture, ornaments, statues (e.g. a full size goat statue hanging upside down from the ceiling). Very hard to do it justice in pictures but an extraordinary place; fortunately the food was good too!

Take a taxi – driven by a maniac of a driver – back to the hotel. You may or may not be aware that it is the Serbian election today and as we got close to the Parliament House we encountered the victory cavalcade of winning supporters in their cars and on foot blocking off the road for a while (see video) and seriously annoying our already tetchy driver. Perhaps his lot lost.

Spent the day seeing the sights of Belgrade; Serbian Parliament House, City Square, Fortress etc. It’s a much more walkable City then we first thought. Had a good wander through the City Park in the sun (hot day today) and saw old men playing chess, people walking their dogs as well as a woman walking her cat and an old man taking his white rabbit for a walk!

One of the most interesting sights was the old Serbian Army HQ which was blasted by NATO missiles (actually US bombers) in 1999 and has not been touched since. Apparently there was no impact on the Army leadership at the time as they were all holed up under the ground as the building goes as many floors below the ground as above.

Strangest site of the day was when we approached the famous Hotel Moskva; just outside by a fountain we saw a large’ish group of men exchanging pieces of paper. Thinking this must be some covert activity, maybe black market currency exchange, when we moved closer we saw that they were actually swapping Panini Football Stickers! The police did not seem interested…having probably already done their swapping earlier!

Saw much disappointment in the bars over lunchtime as Djokovic lost the delayed Rome Masters Final to Nadal. He is a national hero here and they all had TV’s set up outside to watch. Late afternoon meal and then early night ready to catch the 5.13am to Zagreb in Croatia. Rain started just after we returned to the hotel.

General impressions of Belgrade – navigation is tricky as the Serbian language uses a Cyrillic alphabet which is completely different and not all street names have an English translation. More police around than anywhere we’ve been so far and not a smile between them. This felt more like old style Eastern Europe but then again they have had Western missiles fired at their capital in the past decade and a half. This is definitely the land of have’s and have not’s with a thriving café society but kids begging from cars at traffic-light queues. Unemployment stands at 24% – no wonder they’re desperate to get into the EU. They’re not quite ready for tourism yet and, to be fair, don’t profess to be. We’re glad we’ve seen it but wouldn’t recommend a special trip to anyone else. Looking forward to moving West and a little more of civilisation as we know it.
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Joan Penny on

Upside down goats are my favourite!!

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