Chapter Twelve: Belgrade

Belgrade was bleak. It’s hard to know what to expect of a country that has recently waged and lost a brutal war, and I don’t plan on getting into any of the politics of it,  but it definitely had and air of grim sobriety to it. So I am giving it its own post as it is so unlike what I have seen of Bosnia, where we have just entered.

We spent less than two days in Belgrade but I was thankful we did not dedicate more time. It seemed sufficient to explore the key monuments, the old fortress and copper-topped basilica as well as the nicer pedestrian streets.

We got stuck in a downpour on our first evening and showed up, drenched, to a cozy little Serbian restaurant, which was just what the doctor ordered. We shared Serbian salad (very Mediterranean influenced) and some main dishes of spicy meat balls and sausage with spicy sauerkraut, washed down with two steins of Lav beer.

Day two was city exploration day and we saw a mix of bustling neighborhoods and dilapidated apartments and infrastructure, with far more of the latter. Though, to its credit, the city seemed to liven up at night, when the streets busied, the restaurants boomed and you are greeted by the smell of grilled street meat and the sound of live music. Known as a party city, the clubs seemed to be popular, despite the solemn atmosphere by day. We grabbed a couple of Serbian burgers in fresh pitas with mixed salads and a spicy cheese spread, which, with a coke amounted to about $2.50 CAD each. One thing the Balkans are at no shortage of is cheap grilled meats. I guess I will have to start being a weekday vegetarian after this trip…

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