My husband who is a native Serb, our 10 year old son and me have moved from England to Belgrade for 8 months. This is day 17 & 18 of our stay.
Dragan was reading through a thesis today and Aleks had his violin lesson on Skype with his Suzuki teacher in England. It works pretty well on Skype, but the delay can be a bit off putting. Aleks played well and was really tired afterwards.
After a late lunch we all piled in the car and battled with the traffic through the city centre to visit Baka Dana (Grandma Dana). The journey, which normally takes 1/2 hour, was 1¼ hours long (too long), but Aleks kept himself amused by taking photos of the traffic zooming by. Belgrade is so photogenic. The delays are caused by lots of streets being reconstructed in the city centre.
When we got to Grandma's, she was chatting away to me, but I really didn’t understand a word – still it won’t be long before I am fluent!
We then went for a drink with some friends at a local café/bar and Aleks had two huge 'Palačinke' (pancakes), with 'Eurocrem' (Serbian Nutella) and crushed ‘Plazma’ biscuits. OK, so ‘Plazma’ are a brand of biscuits that are almost an institution in Serbia. The name is very off putting, I know, but they taste exactly like British ‘Rich Tea’ biscuits and are really very nice! The pancakes were served in a cute enamel frying pan. More about enamel later!
This morning I caught the bus into the city centre alone, but I was a bit nervous. The boys saw me onto the bus, No. 27 to ‘Trg Republike’ (Republic Square) . You can enter the bus by one of 2 or 3 doors and you need a travel card to swipe as you enter. The buses stop at every stop and the name of the stop is shown on an LED display as well as being announced. Trg Republike is the last stop and it was very easy and quick. It was a 5 minute walk to Knez Mihailova (the main pedestrianised street)  which was quiet and sleepy. I pottered around, took a few photos and stopped for a coffee. For great photos of Belgrade check out 'Belgrade in pictures' on Instagram.
I caught the bus back and feel chuffed that I can now get to the centre alone by bus. I don't usually have an issue with buses!
Meanwhile Dragan and Aleks had met up with Ljuba and they all went to the 'pijac' (green market) and bought delicious fruit and veg, including 'suve šljive' (sun-dried plums), which are absolutely lovely. They also bought ‘celer’, which are celery leaves to be used as an herb.
At about 4pm we all headed back to the city centre by foot this time. Aleks has his Fitbit, so is happy to walk miles to increase his number of steps! Knez Mihailova was packed with promenaders, buskers (violinists and guitarists) and street hawkers. We got chatting to a printmaker who was selling his work on the street and it seems I may be able to use his printmaking press! Aleks had the obligatory popcorn from a stand and we stopped for a coffee at one of the many cafes. The atmosphere is amazing and the streets are decorated with beautiful Christmas lights, (very costly and highly controversial!). That said, Belgrade is really very beautiful at night.
After walking back we played a card game at home called ‘Cheat’.