After a long lapse in my travels, finally I’m escaping the US abyss. I’ll arrive in Belgrade May 3rd, grateful to explore foreign soil again – BIG smile! I visited Belgrade in 2019 and enjoyed time spent in the vibrant European city. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Belgrade has seriously impressive history. Its location at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers, places it at the “intersection of Western and Oriental Europe“. Belgrade is said to have been “settled between 50 to 20 thousand years ago, fought over in 115 wars, and razed to the ground 44 times”!
Arts and Splavs
I’ll be in Belgrade for a month, exploring places missed during the previous visit and enjoying Belgrade’s museums, galleries, festivals, and magnificent performing arts venues. Warm spring weather means prime splav (splavovi) time. I’m looking forward to hiking in outlying areas and hopping on boats moored along the Sava and Danube riverbank.
Cafés and Markets
In true Mediterranean fashion, Belgrade street cafés are abundant. Serbians take their coffee as seriously as Bosnians and Italians. An eclectic variety of neighborhood green markets offer a combination of crafts and fresh produce. I speak zero Serbo-Croat (Cyrillic), but am practicing a few key words and phrases, hoping they will get me by with minimal catastrophes…
Food and Kafanas
Serbian food is dominated by meat, sauces, and flavors inspired by Turkish, Greek, and Austrian cuisine. The fertile soil is known for producing quality fruit and vegetables. During the last visit, I enjoyed delicious meals served in entertaining kafanas.
I frequented less-touristy kafanas, and eventually was accepted as a solo woman traveler. Sometimes uncomfortable, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as parts of Italy, where women traveling alone are often seated at the very back of a restaurant. I learned to object to that.
Turkey in June
Although I plan to play this trip mostly by ear, I obtained a Turkish eVisa, and Istanbul, followed by Turkish coastal regions along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, are on the June agenda. Istanbul is another exciting, exotic city I’ve visited several times before.
Feeling alive again! Regarding the dreaded “C” word, Serbia and Belgrade are doing extremely well disseminating the covid vaccine. In fact, “thousands of vaccine-seekers from countries neighboring Serbia have flocked to Belgrade, after Serbian authorities offered foreigners free coronavirus jabs, if they showed up”.