Belgrade Neighborhoods and Rosenberg Trio Gypsy Jazz Band

Savamala Neighborhood – getyourguide.dk

Belgrade has been a wonderful surprise. I’m happy and enjoying the experience! I moved from a studio apartment in Dorćol neighborhood to a loft in more central Palilua. It’s sunny, comfortable, and close to everything. The old renovated building has high ceilings and a fascinating antique cage elevator!

Belgrade has festivals almost every week and many museums and galleries to explore. I’m slowly making my way through attractions of interest. The friendly apartment owner provides valuable information on special activities and performances.

Typical Belgrade Kafana – BTURN

After traveling since October, my brain is on overload. I’m taking downtime to explore Belgrade – no rushing. Have had simple, memorable experiences interacting with locals. There’s so much to learn and see. Serbia’s turbulent history is complicated. Stories of its royal dynasties – Kardjordjević and Obrenović – are fascinating.

Zemun Neighborhood – StefanRTW

This post has brief descriptions of Belgrade’s neighborhoods. I’ve visited most of these and explore new areas every day. When you look beneath the surface, every building and street has its own history and a deeper meaning.

Skadarlija Bohemian Borough Belgrade – Serbia Incoming™ DMC

Belgrade’s unique atmosphere and way of life is a refreshing change from anything familiar. It’s good for the heart and soul to experience new places and cultures, but takes considerable effort and energy. I’m due for a rest :o)…

Nebojša Tower – Belgrade my way

Dorćol

Dorćol is a laid-back neighborhood known for its cafés, restaurants, and pubs. The name means “crossroads” in Turkish. The area is near the Sava and Danube Rivers and was “a busy trading point during Ottoman occupation”.

Dedinje Mansion – Mentor Real Estate

Belgrade’s Bohemian district – Skadarlija – is in Dorćol. It’s best known for reasonably priced Serbian Kafana restaurants with attentive waiters. I have a few favorites but am always trying new places. Traditional food is delicious and reasonably priced. I’ve gotten used to roving musicians playing gypsy music while you dine.

Typical Kafana Restaurant Belgrade – Restoran Beograd

Kalemegdan Park – The Happy Hermit

Dorćol represents Belgrade’s multicultural history. In addition to Orthodox churches it’s home to the only surviving mosque – Bajrakli Mosque – and the former center of Belgrade’s Jewish community. Each Orthodox church has a unique story!

Mural Savamala  neighborhood – Wikipedia

Dorćol has Belgrade’s largest park – Kalemegdan – near the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. The park includes Belgrade Fortress, a two-thousand-year-old Roman Well, and Nebojša Tower.

Roman Well Entrance Kalemegdan – tipotravel.com

They say if you haven’t visited Kalemegdan you can’t claim you’ve been to Belgrade. I’ve walked through the large park – it was raining that day – and will return. The views are magnificent. The Roman Well even fascinated Alfred Hitchcock.

Savamala Neighborhood – mreast.dk

New Belgrade – Novi Beograd 

New Belgrade has “massive expanses of towering concrete building blocks in a world within itself”. It’s one of the “most populous parts of the city”. Established at the end of the 1940s, Novi Beograd “satiated Josip Broz Tito’s desire for a huge capital city”.

Beograđanka Skyscraper – The Skyscraper Center

As in Sarajevo, the blocks with ugly but functional communist-style concrete buildings – also known as Brutalist Architecture – are slightly overwhelming. Genex Tower is a prominent Novi Beograd landmark. In spite of the architecture, some describe Novi Beograd as one of the “most exciting parts of Belgrade”.

Brutalism – Soviet Architecture New Belgrade – ArchDaily

New Belgrade Neighborhood Flickr

Vračar

Vračar is Belgrade’s smallest municipality. It’s considered one of the most desirable neighborhoods. The iconic Church of St. Sava, National Library of Serbia (once a brothel), and Beograđanka Skyscraper are in Vračar.

Bajrakli Mosque  Belgrade – Todayonline.

Kosančićev Venac 

West of central Belgrade, Kosančićev Venac was “built on the site of an Ancient Roman necropolis”. The area was “damaged heavily during World War II”. It’s Belgrade’s oldest neighborhood. Cobblestone streets and a “charming mix of architecture and tree-lined paths and palaces make it one of the city’s most appealing spots”.

Orthodox Church of St. Sava Vračar Neighborhood – Mondo

Savamala

I’ve ventured into Savamala a few times. It’s near the Sava River waterfront. Once considered Belgrade’s “cultural powerhouse” At one time Savamala was also known as the “shabbiest part of the city” inhabited by drug dealers and pimps. Live music, popular bars, and art galleries have turned Savamala into a cultural centre.

Dorćol  Neighborhood – CityExpert

Dedinje

Magnificent villas and mansions are characteristic of Dedinje, Belgrade’s wealthiest neighborhood. It’s said that “strolling through Dedinje opens one’s eyes to the riches of diplomats and businessmen involved in questionable actions during the 1990s”.

Kosančićev Venac Neighborhood – Wikimedia

Zemun

Practically the “dictionary definition of a town within a town” Zemun hugs the banks of the Danube River. People from Zemun are “fiercely independent” and don’t consider themselves part of Belgrade. The neighborhood is known for its restaurants – especially for fish lovers – and lively bars, pubs, and clubs.

Dedinje Neighborhood – Nekretnine

Zvezdara

Zvezdara neighborhood is Belgrade’s forest haven. Its “mass of greenery” is home to interesting fauna, including owls and hedgehogs. This is the neighborhood for hiking, walking, and enjoying nature.

Dedinje Neighborhood Wikipedia

Palilula

My neighborhood Palilula “occupies some of Belgrade’s prime real estate”. It’s close to the city centre but without the traffic and intensity. The neighborhood developed during the Habsburg occupation of Belgrade. It’s an active desirable location with interesting landmarks, markets, restaurants, and shops.

Belgrade Genex Tower – The Bohemian Blog

Rosenberg Trio Gypsy Jazz Swing Band

Rosenberg Trio is a famous Gypsy Jazz Swing Band from the Netherlands. They’ve performed throughout Europe, at Carnegie Hall, and several times at Belgrade’s Jubilee Guitar Art Festival.

Inspired by French jazz guitarist Django Rinehart and considered the “essence of Gypsy Jazz Swing Music” the group has performed together for over 25 years. It’s a family affair and the concert features two brothers and an uncle.

Beograd Fortress – Wikipedia

Last night I saw them perform at Belgrade’s Kombank Hall as part of Belgrade’s Guitar Festival. The group consisted of founder and virtuoso Štochelo (Štoke) Rozenberg main guitar, Mozes Rozenberg rhythm guitar, and Noni Rozenberg bass guitar.

Rosenberg Trio

Štoke is considered one of the best guitarists of all time. He started playing guitar at age 10 and won Guitarist Magazine’s prestigious Golden Guitar Award.

The performance was sold out and the audience went wild for the trio. They did two encores and ended with a toe-tapping Serbian / Hungarian piece that had the audience squealing with delight. They’re a lovely group with a wonderful vibe and have recorded 26 studio and concert albums. It was a memorable evening.

Kombank Hall Belgrade – SEEbtm

Next week there’s an International Piano Competition and luckily, I got a ticket! I’m taking some walking tours and have tickets for March ballet and opera performances at the National Theatre.

Interior Subotica Synagogue – szecesszio.szegedvaros.hu

Lake Balaton Hungary

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

Hungarians refer to Lake Balaton as the “Hungarian Sea”. It’s a 50 mile long lake in the Transdanubia region west of the Danube River. As the train from Ljubljana to Budapest passed by the lake it seemed to go on forever. Yesterday I decided to take a day tour and get a closer look. The lake is about a two-hour drive from Budapest.

Lake Balaton Swans

Lake Balaton Swans

The Transdanubia region is a series of hills and highlands with forests and rich agricultural areas. It has some of the densest and greenest forest I’ve seen.

Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and one of Hungary’s most precious treasures. The summer water temperature is around 80 °F, which is warmer than the average air temperature in the morning and evening. The water and mud of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anemia, and fatigue.”

Lake Balaton Valley

The Lake Balaton area is known for its beautiful vineyards and excellent wines. Our tour stopped in Siófok on the southern side of the lake. Siófok is Lake Balaton’s “party town” and has many beaches and parks. Its port serves the boat routes on the lake.

Siófok Church

Siófok Church

Keszthely is the oldest settlement of Lake Balaton. It was an important hub of commerce in Roman times. One popular Keszthely attraction is stately Festetics Mansion with its ornate wrought iron gate surrounded by an English park with 400-year-old chestnut trees.

Festetics Mansion

Festetics Mansion

The Balaton Museum has information about the lake’s formation, flora and fauna, and history, including archaeological memorabilia. You can also see camels, water buffalo, and zebras roaming along Lake Balaton! They’re part of the Safari Park and Africa Museum established by Endre von Nagy, a Hungarian explorer and hunter.

Villa in Keszthely

Villa in Keszthely

It was a long day and the last group tour I’ll take for a while, but visiting Lake Balaton was a special experience. Tomorrow I’m headed to Salzburg, Austria via train.

Budapest Hungary

Budapest Hungary

Budapest Hungary

Budapest (boo-dah-pesht) is the capital of Hungary with a population of about two million. It’s a strikingly beautiful city! There’s much history here and the city is a major hub of activity. The local currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) and 1 US dollar equals about 250 HUF.

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Budapest’s scenic setting and grand architecture earned it the nickname “Paris of the East“. During a day of touring I barely scratched the surface and saw breathtaking castles, parks, and bridges with an architectural masterpiece on every corner!

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle

One beautiful building near my hotel is the Boscolo Budapest Hotel – which was originally called the New York Palace Hotel. New York Café is on the ground floor and I had coffee and dessert there just to admire the Belle Époque interior. The exterior of the building has bronze Luciferes, symbols of artistic spirit.

Opera House

Budapest Opera House

It will take a few days to re-acclimate from Slovenia to Hungary. I woke up last night and for a minute thought I was still in Croatia.

New York Cafe

New York Cafe

Budapest has 23 quarters in its two major cities – Buda and Pest. Buda is west of the Danube River and includes Castle Hill, the oldest part of the city which houses castles of former nobility. Pest is the area east of the Danube and associated with a modern youthful atmosphere, a world-class classical music scene, nightlife popular among young Europeans, and an abundance of natural thermal baths.

Boscolo Budapest Hotel

Boscolo Budapest Hotel

Visiting a thermal spa is on my must do list. Szechenyi Spa Baths is one of the most popular in Budapest. Visiting Buda and Vajdahunyad Castles and taking a cruise on the Danube River are other priorities.

“Locals refer to Budapest’s quarters by their historical names. The names are often linked to members of the House of Habsburg or – in fringe areas – the names of villages or towns which later became part of Budapest. Some of Budapest’s more interesting areas include Leopold Town in V. District, the heart of Pest with its beautiful squares, cafés, and the Parliament building, and Andrássy Avenue in VI District with a range of museums, exhibition halls, and examples of fine architecture.”

Szechenyi Bath

Szechenyi Baths

Budapest is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination. It offers a “unique atmosphere influenced by Viennese and Parisian architecture”. Hungarians are proud of their beautiful capital and its contributions to European culture, especially in the fields of music and sciences.

Budapest from Citadel

Budapest from the Citadel

In 1987 UNESCO added Budapest to the World Heritage List for the cultural and architectural significance of the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, and Andrássy Avenue.