abril 09, 2010

belgrade, serbia

After having a great birthday party last week (thanks everybody for being there!!) , still with some hangover and the promise of a new one because of Torbjørn birthday, the expedition team headed to Belgrade, Serbia, on a sleepless night train.
Belgrade was the capitol city of Yugoslavia, country that ended quite sadly, with wars in the '90. You can still tell the importance of that city, it's in the buildings decorated with imperial eagles, in the size of monuments and avenues. Quite different to Zagreb. It's also a big city; again, quite different to Zagreb. From the moment you step on Belgrade, you can see the ex-comunist atmosphere around, the old cars, huge dark buildings, shitty trams, people of any procedence, all together... i loved that. In fact, i really liked Belgrade, there was something going on, in the sense i conceive it: street art, dirty alleys, some kind of social friction that makes sparks... I hope i might come back sometime. Besides, i got 1000 dinars left (=10€) that i would love to spend there.
A special mention deserves our host Zeljko, who showed us many parts of his city and guided to some special alternative bars. Viewed from outside, you hadn't given a penny for them; but once inside, it was quite different. Again, i'd love to come back to that place.

Sretan uskrs za sve! Happy easter for everybody!

1a. Zemun in front, Belgrade behind (from the hill of Zemun). to your left, the Dunav (Danube, coming from Budapest); to the right (not in the picture), the Sava river (coming from Zagreb).
1b. crossing the Danube, arriving to Belgrad by train. 6am, no sleeping and a fantastic atmosphere of 'feeling tired as shit but i don't care a fuck'. Jigar (singapur) put his camera aside, but just for a minute.
2a. hotel of doubtful category, "Mr. President". anyway, the category of our hostel wasn't doubtful at all: it was 100% no-category.
2b. feeling arty argain, sorry. very alternative-yet-nice-clean bar. there i learned, at last, how to order coffe the way i like it. i should ask for a 'double macchiato' (mostly coffe with a little bit of milk) or 'turkish kava s mljekom' (simple kava is too short!)
3a. ortodox church... looks like an old-school beautiful church, but it's been built in the last years. inside it's not even finished yet!
3b. coming back from Zemun to Belgrad, in the coast of Danube. the name says it all.
4a. below the walls of the fortress that dominates belgrad, where once armies used to aniquilate each other, we have this cute tennis courts.
4b. some random street in the center of Belgrad with a beautiful statement.
5a. Zeljko, a serbian guy we met in Cvjetno (the students residence), was in Belgrad with his family. we went to his place for easter lunch, on Sunday. we were six hungry, messy, international loudy people, even one of us was a vegetarian! needless to say, they were VERY kind.
5b. in the top of Gardoš hill, the beautiful Gardoš tower. climbing a few more stairs, you can have the great view of [1a]
5c. good to know. by the way, in Serbia they write in cyrillics. serbian (that's not exactly the same as croatian) AND cyrillcs it's way too much. i think know i have a permanent brain damage.
6a. cyrillics strike back. i think the problem is that they are quite similar to latin characters, so you have like an automatic impulse to read them. i wouldn't happen with chinese, or arab, tell you that by experience.
6b. serbian expedition crew, from left to right:

Zeljko (serbia)
Anikó (hungary)

Torbjørn (norway)
Justyna (poland)

Gaëlle (france)
Jigar (singapur) was around, taking pictures probably

7a+b. great graffitti on some random wall. belgrad is full of graffittis, and many of them are these huge. The bottom line says "The saint of ("La Santa de", in spanish) Belgrade ("Београд", serbian cyrillics)". it was funny to translate this graffiti: Zeljko didn't know what the first part meant, and i didn't know the second one.
8a+b. on the opposite side of the Danube, quite near Belgrade, you have a whole neighbourghood of houses on the shore of the river, and boats instead of cars. this reminded me Buenos Aires and "El Tigre", even it's not so close (but remeber, Belgrade has 1.5 million people; Buenos Aires, 13)
9. where are we?


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