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Published: October 4th 2008
Having decided to do a run for Montenegro from Veliko Tarnovo I knew it would be a big couple of days. I had made up my mind to skip Belgrade completely except for a couple of hours until the next train. That lasted as long as it took for me to get off the train and start talking to a French guy Igor and all of a sudden I'm spending 12 hours in Beograd, providing adequate justification for the purchase of the very important fridge magnet!
Lonely Planet basically says that Belgrade is ugly, but interesting and now having visited I'm confused. OK there are your regulation communist era buildings and not so nice areas, but there is also a lot of cobblestone streets flanked with trees and pretty shuttered houses - after a one day visit I think it doesn't get the respect it deserves!
The day started with coffee and pastries in a random park while waiting for information to open at 9am to set the itinerary for the day. Some phaffing around finding a hostel for Igor then off to Kalmegdan Citidel. This is a large green park (with some fortress bits and the odd tank
& gun) overlooking the confluence of the Danube and the Sava Rivers. It's filled with statues, fountains and lots of rather odd furniture (stay tuned for the 'watemelon' pic) and lots of lovely soft green grass which was particularly welcome for some 'quiet time' after the stop start driving and screeching rails of the 9 hour train trip. The weather has taken a turn for the better so it's back into tanks after having to rug up in Bulgaria so lying in the sun was a lovely way to spend a little time.
The park was playing host to an children's parade with marching girls, bands and kids dressed up to represent different European nations including the grapes of Serbia (you have to see the pics to understand). I'm not entirely sure what it was for, but free park entertainment is always welcome.
The rest of the day was spent eating, wandering the back streets, people watching, the odd glass of Bosnian wine and enjoying the sunshine before back to the Train station for overnight sleeper train Mk II to Bar, Montenegro! Not the most action packed day, but a city worth a visit and prettier than made
out to be!
Love Jane x
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