Diary of a British woman in Belgrade - DAY 19 & 20

DAY 19

This is our third week in Belgrade for me, my husband (a native Serb) and our 10 year old son. We moved from England and our stay will be 8 months long.

Crkva Svetog Nikole, St Nicholas' Church, Belgrade

Crkva Svetog Nikole, St Nicholas' Church, Belgrade

Sunday in Belgrade, Dragan went to the liturgy this morning in our lovely local church. Ok, so churches in Belgrade are mainly Serbian Orthodox churches.

Later we visited Dragan’s Mum and watched a quiz show called ‘Chase’ on Serbian TV. The questions and answers appear on the screen, but they’re in Cyrillic so I really don’t have much chance of getting any right, although I once actually answered a question correctly!

Next stop, a visit to some more relatives for coffee and a ‘Cockta’ [1]. ‘Cockta’ is the brand name of a soft fizzy drink made in Slovenia (part of former Yugoslavia). It’s dark, sweet and flavoursome, a bit like Dr Pepper or Vimto. Cockta’s main flavour is rose hip, with 11 herbs plus orange and lemon. For Dragan it is pure nostalgia, because he grew up drinking this with his friends in Yugoslavia.

Aleks & Cockta.jpg

When I first visited Serbia 11 years ago and visited one of Dragan’s many cousins, they offered us coffee. Great, yes I understood and asked for mine without milk but with a bit if sugar (in Serbian). The coffee was bubbling on the stove, so when Dragan’s cousin then asked if I would like ‘sok’ (juice), I was a bit flummoxed and turned to Dragan and said quietly ‘aren’t we having coffee?’ ‘Yes we’re having both!’ Coffee and soft drinks can be served at the same time. Sok literally means juice, but in reality it can mean any soft drink, including Cockta!

Aleks is now a real fan of Cockta.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockta 

DAY 20

School is ‘pre podne’ (in the morning) again this week, so it was an 8am start for Aleks. We stopped at the ‘Pekara’ (bakery), before school to get Aleks a ‘Rol Viršla’ (frankfurter in puff pastry) to eat at mid-morning break.

Our local 'Pekara' 'ПЕКАРА' (Bakery) called 'Sreća' (Luck)

Our local 'Pekara' 'ПЕКАРА' (Bakery) called 'Sreća' (Luck)

Ok, here goes, it's your turn to learn some Serbian cyrillic. The large red letters in the photo above, spell ПЕКАРА (unfortunately the last letter in the photo 'A' is hidden behind the tree!)

П is P,
E is E,
K is K
A is A
P is R
A is A

ПЕКАРА! 'Pekara' Easy isn't it?

After we dropped Aleks, Dragan and I went for a run around the park in the pouring rain – rain in Belgrade is not wimpy drizzle. It does it properly and for a good few hours – no messing.

After Dragan went to work I ventured out to the 'Mesara' (Butcher) to order some ‘ćevapi’ (Serbian sausage-shaped meat patties). You buy the amount of raw meat that you want and then it can be cooked for you. The women working in the shop already know who I am, so they didn’t ask for my name for collection – not many British women in our area! They are good humoured and asked Dragan when he recently bought some chicken from there ‘gde je Engleskinja’ – (Where is the English woman?)

Local 'mesara', (butcher)

Local 'mesara', (butcher)

So I decided to go to the 'pijac' [pronounced pee-yats] (green market), and buy a few veggies. I negotiated the pedestrian crossings – a bit hairy, with trams, trolley buses (a tram/bus mixture), buses and all the pretty impatient Belgrade car drivers. Ok, so when it is a regular zebra pedestrian crossing on a small road it is no good standing at the curb, you’d be waiting all day. You actually have to step out in front of the cars to make them stop! And yes, they do! If it’s a crossing with traffic lights, then jay walking is not allowed and you must wait. Keep your wits about you though when you cross because cars turning the corner can go if there are no pedestrians crossing – so don’t linger!

I was chuffed to arrive at the 'pijac' only to discover it was being demolished! My first solo trip to the 'pijac' was thwarted! They are building a new one, which is long overdue.

Pijac demolished.jpg

Before collecting Aleks, I had coffee with my Kuma (godmother, who’s actually younger than me!) and was amazed to see her ceramic stoves! A tall tiled rectangular stove that had been converted to run on electricity in the 1960s, when electricity was cheap. She also has a baby portable one.

Serbian ceramic stoves including our Kuma's on the left! 

Serbian ceramic stoves including our Kuma's on the left! 

Aleks and I did very little after school – we both needed a gentle afternoon.