Diary of a British woman in Belgrade DAY 9 & 10

Serbian gentleman wearing a Šajkača, a traditional Serbian hat

Serbian gentleman wearing a Šajkača, a traditional Serbian hat

My husband, Dragan, who is a native Serb, our 10 year old son and me have moved from England to Belgrade for 8 months. This is day 9 & 10.

Aleks happily ran into school and asked if he could go by himself, so we came to a compromise and will drop him at the corner in future.

Another lovely day, so we agreed that I would try and remember the way to the pijac. On the way past Vuk Karadžić’s sculpture, we saw an elderly gentleman feeding the pigeons in the park. He was wearing a traditional Serbian hat, known as a Šajkača [1].

St Sava Church, Belgrade, Collagraph print by Ali Savic

St Sava Church, Belgrade, Collagraph print by Ali Savic

After buying some warm hats and slippers, ready for winter, we made our way to the 2nd largest Orthodox Church in the world, Saint Sava Church [2]. It is totally spectacular with verdigris domes and white stone facades. Vogue magazine recently described it as Eastern Europe’s answer to the Sagrada Familia.[3] The exterior is complete, but the interior is a huge space with only concrete walls and scaffolding! The building has been under construction for about 100 years.

But... the Crypt below the main church is one of the most stunning sights I have ever seen. The frescoes are in a typical Serbian style with no expense spared on the gold leaf. It was also refreshing to see other tourists for a change!

The Crypt of St Sava Church

The Crypt of St Sava Church

On the way back home we stopped for coffee in Kapetan Cafe, luckily there was no-one smoking inside! We had Topli Nes (hot & frothy instant coffee with a straw).

We met Aleks at 12.30 and he played basketball for a while with his new friends in the playground. Next on the agenda was a walk into the city centre for lunch at a lovely restaurant called ’Walter Sarajevski Ćevap’, famous for its Sarajevo ćevapčići (gound beef & pork sausages). Dragan will correct me and say, ’they’re not sausages!’ Whatever they are, they’re delicious served with raw onions and ’lepinja’ (round flat bread made with yeast & baking powder).

The restaurant is named after the 1972 Yugoslav film, ’Walter Defends Sarajevo’, set in 1944, about a mysterious character called Walter who is the leader of the Partisans in Sarajevo. He causes a lot of problems for the German army there.

The picture was distributed in sixty countries , and achieved its greatest succeess in the People’s Republic of China, becoming the country’s most popular foreign film in the 1970s. Owing mainly to the Chinese audience, ’Walter Defends Sarajevo’ became one of the most-watched war films of all time. Wikipedia

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%A0ajka%C4%8Da

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Saint_Sava

[3] https://www.facebook.com/Vogue/posts/10155629586197279

DAY 10

After dropping Aleks, Dragan and I went for another run in the Park of the Defenders of Belgrade. The usual suspects were there too, the maintenance guy, the dog walkers and our lady with the log. Today she was struggling with two large branches and I smiled as we jogged past. She laughed and said in Serbian (translated by Dragan), ‘oh you’re laughing at me trying to carry this wood’. She said it in good humour.

Park of the Defenders of Belgrade

Park of the Defenders of Belgrade

On our next circuit she appeared again this time she was dragging a 10 foot branch and was clearly not going to make it back to her place. She had brought a komšinica (a female neighbour) with bright red lipstick to help. I set Dragan up saying we could help and next thing he was carrying this huge branch out of the park to her house! Dragan returned and we continued our laps, and there she was again with yet another neighbour and they heaved yet another lengthy log off to burn in her stove.

Dragan collected Aleks’ new Serbian passport today and Dragan also had his first meeting at the Fakultet (University Faculty).