Belgrade, Serbia

After the trip back from Hydra to Athens, we headed for the airport by the metro and got checked in for the flight. Robert was heading for Rome, and I was headed for Belgrade. After a quick flight, I landed in Belgrade and got sorted and out of the airport. I was stunned by a breeze of cold/cool air and misty gray in this damp soviet looking place. Cyrillic was seen scattered throughout as the written language, but also roman letters which was interesting. Apparently they learn both simultaneously and it is remnant of the main divide of the culture clashes that happened in Yugoslavia in the past.

I’d rented an Airbnb place and took the directions that were listed and took the local bus #72 into the city. The ride from the airport was interesting as we drove through the surburban outskirts of Belgrade and into the city center almost 40 minutes later. Coming over the bridge crossing over the Sava river was really pretty as there’s a main church steeple that is very beautiful that looks out over the area. Whether it’s a symbol of the city or not, in my mind it will be.

I made my long way with my backpack to the house and met the man who was there waiting for me. He set me up in the apartment and I got settled in. It’s a cute little studio that’s modern, comfortable with great wifi, so it was a great rest stop in my journey. I got to get caught up on downloading photos and organizing my blog :)

I went out that night for a quick dinner, and poor Serbia, along with so many other countries I’ve come across, still cannot see the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke, and I was forced to take my food to go as there was just way too many smokers inside. I’ve been stunned at how smoking is still an issue in so many countries with how much information everyone has access to about its horrible effects. Disgusting!

The food was surprisingly bland, yet well made which was odd. Homa is one of their top restaurants, and while I appreciated the quality of the food, it was lacking in flavor :( I found that to be the case the next day for lunch as well, that my risotto with seafood lacked a sort of flavor that made it a bit boring to eat.

The next day I spent walking all around the city to see its sights. Starting at the main fortress, I learned about Belgrade’s strategic position and why it was sought after in history. It sits next to the Sava river which meets the Danube literally just at the corner of the city. From here you can travel easily and in history, Belgrade used to be a rest stop between Austria and farther south.

After the fortress, I headed to St. Michaels Cathedral, the symbol of the city. When I went inside, a wedding was taking place so it was great to witness this for a bit. After the cathedral, I went through to see the Republic Square, Hotel Moscow,  the National Assembly/Parliament buildings, as well as the St. Mark’s Church. I also stopped by the presidential palace and watched the guards until being shewed away for being too close for pictures.

I then went back home to rest from the full day of walking and got my flight for Sarajevo sorted as well as a place to stay. I then went out to get a traditional dinner at a place called Walter’s which was recommended by my Airbnb host. It was ok, and seemed like a take on the Greek Pita Kebabs. Needlesstosay, I’ve been a little disappointed at the food here :(

The next day, I went down to the water’s edge and found a place to rent a bike and headed along the Sava river for the day. It felt great to be a on a bike, with the nice sunny weather. I went over the bridge to the other side of the city and went to the main shopping center to check it out, and had a quick lunch. Back on the bike, I went back across the bridge and along the river for a good hour or so until turning around and coming back to turn my bike in.

After another full day of checking out Belgrade, I felt I’d seen the main places of the city and am content heading out tomorrow and glad I’ve had a bit of down time to work on planning the last part of my trip.