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Published: June 19th 2009
We had to get up nice and early to catch the train to Belgrade. It was quite amusing as the very second that we had all hopped on the train the train moved out of the station. 20 minutes early. We were all a little surprised by the fact that the train was leaving ahead of schedule until Chris told us that this was in fact the 6:30am train that was in fact leaving an hour late, not the 7:30am train leaving early. Welcome to Serbia 😊
I think we were all a little dubious when we walked off the train into the Belgrade train station. It certainly wasn't the most salubrious train station in the world and it probably didn't help that the last thing that we saw on the train before we arrived was a rather large gypsy shanty town. However Belgrade soon managed to redeem itself. We have the most unusual accomodation here in Belgrade. We are staying in a uni student dormitory, which I think is part of a youth hostel. It reminds me a lot of Uni Hall where I went to university.
After we had settled into our accomodation Chris took us out
to meet our local guide who would take us around for an orientation walk of Belgrade. First of all however we stopped in for lunch at the ? Restaurant. And no that isn't a typo, it is actually the name of the restaurant. This restaurant is in fact the oldest restaurant in the Balkans having been continously operating for the last 200+ years. What happened is that the original owner called the restaurant the Kavina by the Church. However this upset the church officials who didn't want the church associated with a place where alcohol was drunk, and naughty words were said as well as naughty things happening. Therefore they ordered the restaurant owner to change the name of the restaurant. However he couldn't think of another name and therefore just called it ? and the name has stuck ever since. The food in this restaurant was amazing. I had a traditional local dish of goat and potatoes that are cooked in a fire. It as just lovely. After lunch we all headed off to meet our local guide who was a lovely, mildly eccentric lady called Bojana. She took us for a walk around the town and told us
some of the history of Belgrade. Our major stop on the walk was the Beogradska Tvrdava. This houses the Kalemegdan which is the old fort for the city of Belgrade. This fort has a very interesting history. It has been destroyed a couple of times by the turks and the austro hungarians and the version of the fort that is standing at the moment is the one that was constructed by the austro hungarians. Bojana did tell us a lovely story about where the Sava and the Danube rivers meet. Apparently the Sava is a female river and the Danube is a male river and they fell in love but didn't know how they could be together. Anyway to cut a rather long story short they agreed that they would try and meet up and kiss under the white city walls of Belgrade which is why the Sava and the Danube rivers meet here. And you can actually see the meeting point of the rivers as they are different colors. The Sava is blue/green and the Danube is brown.
Bojana also walked us around a few parts of the old town of Belgrade and showed us some of the
more interesting sights. After the tour ended we met up with Chris at the square in the centre of the city and went for a most lovely dinner at a beautiful restaurant in the gypsy quarters. The meal was fantastic. Truely fantastic. Although I have now decided that I am on the Balkans wine and gastro tour rather than the Balkan history tour.
The following day was a free day in Belgrade. Susie and I started this day off with a quick pastry and coffee at the local bakery shop just over the road from the student accomodation. We managed to pick up Chris there as well and the 3 of us headed off for a wee tour of Belgrade. The first stop on this tour was the Nickolai Tesla museum. I was a little dubious about this museum to start with as I thought that it could be pretty lame. However it turned out to be excellent. They play you a fascinating 15 minute video about the life of Nickolad Tesla at the start and then they take you on a guided tour of the museum afterwards. The museum actually houses some of his original experiments and we
got to try a few of them out.
After the musuem we headed off to an orthodox church that is still being constructed in the city. I have to say that this wasn't the most exciting thing in the world at all. The outside of the church is really quite lovely but as the inside is still being constructed there really wasn't all that much to see at all. Following the excitement of the church we decided to head off to the Zemun district of Belgrade. This is apparently the more bohemian artistic part of the city and we had the most delightful meal sitting beside the Sava River. Our meal was so amazing that we were nearly full to popping after it. However we did manage to move along the river bank a little bit further to have some desert of pancakes 😊
Tomorrow we leave the joys of Belgrade to head to Sarajevo.
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