Balkans Day 21 - Belgrade

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October 1st 2018
Published: October 1st 2018
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Today, a full day of sightseeing in Belgrade. It’s not the most successful day. First, breakfast; a minefield of a buffet – bowls of nuts, cake with nuts, bread with nuts, pancakes with Nutella, there are nuts in the cereal, nuts in the salad, even nuts randomly strewn over the cheese and ham. Breakfast consists of sausage and eggs.

Then we go sightseeing. Not to the National Museum – that’s closed on Mondays. Or the Tesla Museum – closed on Mondays. Or the Royal Compound – closed Monday to Friday. We attempt to visit the Blue Train. This is available for hire, but open to the public otherwise. We go to the central station where tickets are allegedly purchased. It has closed down. We try tourist information – it’s shut. We find another tourist information office. She directs us back to the first office. We say it’s shut. She says it’s news to her. After making some phone enquiries, she explains that there is a new station and the blue train will eventually be housed here. But it’s not ready yet.

So we head for Sveti Sava cathedral instead – the 2nd biggest Orthodox Church in the world. We arrive to find it’s surrounded by scaffolding and is, in fact, shut. After walking right round the building we finally find an entrance. They have managed to keep the gift shop open, and the crypt. The crypt is spectacular; the walls and ceilings are covered with gold and brightly coloured paintings.

We head across the river to the Contemporary Art Museum, walking through an area described as a park. It’s actually a strip of dead grass filled with broken glass and dog poo next to a row of night club barges. I’m so busy trying to avoid the glass and poo, I almost tread on a snake.

We are in luck at the art gallery. Sort of. It has 5 floors and 2 are open. When I say two, this includes the ground floor which houses a library (shut) and a café (shut).

We round off our day of sightseeing fails with a walk to a viewpoint where the rivers Sava and Danube converge. There’s a submarine moored there and two men with guns enforcing a strict no photography policy.

In the evening we walk through the pedestrian centre of town, stopping for a view of the sun setting over the Danube. Then dinner; traditional Serbian Cevapcici – sausages served in a flat bread served with onion, cabbage, sour cream, mustard and chilli sauce.

On the way home, we stop for supplies in my favourite place in Belgrade (partly because it’s always open); Idea London. It’s a London themed supermarket, complete with red phone box, tube maps and a shelf stacker dressed like a dragoon guard.

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