things to do belgrade

Diary of a British woman in Belgrade Day 42 & 44

Detail of Cityscape IV, Belgrade, monoprint by Ali Savic [1]

Detail of Cityscape IV, Belgrade, monoprint by Ali Savic [1]

My husband, who is a native Serb, our 10 year old son and I are spending 8 months in Belgrade, having moved from England. This is day 42 and 44. Not much happened on Day 43!

DAY 42

We made the most of the melting snow and had a snowball fight in the park. Snow is a real novelty for us living in the SW of England.

Snowball Fight Park.jpg

My Serbian lesson was fairly straightforward and on the way back I stopped at the lovely little ‘kore’ (filo pastry) shop. It is only really a little hatch – you can’t enter the shop, but the shop assistant was making fresh pasta, so I took a few photos. They also make fresh noodles to be cooked in soup, as well as cakes and other goodies. I bought some fresh pasta and it was cut into strips to the size of my choice. Later on I cooked the pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. Absolutely delish.

Soup is very often served as a starter in Serbia and there are two main types of ‘soup’ [1]. ‘Supa’ is a usually a clear soup with a few vegetables and possibly meat and often fine noodles. ‘Čorba’ is usually thicker and has more veg, fish or meat. It is unusual in Serbia to use a blender to thicken the soup, ‘čorba’ is usually thickened with 'zaprška' (like a roux). Serbian people love soup and feel it is very healthy.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbian_cuisine#Soups 

DAY 44

On my way to my next Serbian language lesson, I stopped off at a ‘Kineska Prodavnica’ (Chinese Shop) that sells hats, clothes and just about everything else. Since my sister had suggested I get a ‘Julie Christie’ hat (Dr Zhivago style) to combat the cold, I thought I would try a few Chinese versions on. Hilarious, not quite Julie Christie, more like Davy Crocket!

We learnt the genitive case today in the Serbian lesson, along with telling the time and we struggled through some quick fire questions. The work is piling on now.

After the lesson I walked to the big bookshop in ‘Trg Republike’ (Republic Square) near the statue of Prince Michael and bought Aleks a couple of Agatha Christie books (in English). Good man, Aleks likes her writing and she comes from our neck of the woods in Devon, England.

A friend had recommended a super gallery that is right in the centre called ‘Galerija Grafički Kolektiv’ (Print Collective Gallery) [1]. I popped in to have a look. Interesting digital print exhibition.

Galerija Grafički Kolektiv (Print Collective Gallery)

Galerija Grafički Kolektiv (Print Collective Gallery)

Next stop the Christmas Market with very pretty little chalets; mostly selling, ‘pljeskavice’ (Serbian burgers) [2], Serbian traditional woollen items and sweets. I have to say Serbian hand-knitted woollen socks are extremely toastie. They are known as 'nazuvice čarape'. [3]

Christmas Market Belgrade

Christmas Market Belgrade

A bunch of football fans were in good voice in a café near the market and some young men were drinking beer from cans on the street (I guessed that they weren’t Serbs, it’s not usually their style). It turns out there was a football match between ‘Crvena Zvezda’ (Red Star, Belgrade) and Cologne. There were about 15 riot police waiting near the cafe for any possible clashes, but all was calm. I caught the bus home, it’s cheap and convenient.

A little tangent. I first came to Serbia in 2006, with my Serbian husband, Dragan and our son Aleks, who was 7 months old at the time. All our Serbian relatives fussed and cuddled Aleks. I was puzzled though, they all kept saying ‘gde su čarape’. Eventually I asked Dragan, “what on earth are charapey??” (čarape). He roared with laughter, “they’re socks, everybody is asking why Aleks isn’t wearing any socks”. It was 25 degrees!

[1] https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AliSavicPRINTS?ref=seller-platform-mcnav 

[2] http://www.grafickikolektiv.org/html/en/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pljeskavica

[4] http://www.wool-art.com/en/accessories/wool-socks/3/-

Diary of a British woman in Belgrade Day 34 & 35

My husband, who is a native Serb, our 10 year old son and I have moved to Belgrade from England for 8 months. We have been here for over a month now.

Marshall Tito's Cadillac in Belgrade's Car Museum

Marshall Tito's Cadillac in Belgrade's Car Museum

 DAY 34

Blimey these early school starts (8am) are a killer, but Aleks is actually getting used to it. Well, finally winter is kicking in and hats were essential today. I popped to a lovely little corner shop this morning, which would be described as a deli in England. It specialises in cheese, dairy products and smoked meats and also a few everyday items. I asked for ‘dve lepinje, molim vas’ and the lady serving was very impressed with my Serbian; I got my endings right and I knew the word for 'lepinje'. Lepinje are round flattish bread rolls.

Aleks had a folk tune to practise on his violin today and it is very pretty ‘Ah, kad tebe ljubit ne smem’  (Ah, when I'm not allowed to love you). Of course Dragan knows all the words and gave us a rendition! Aleks was inspired and had a go at recording himself playing the violin and uploading it to YouTube.

Dragan returned from the University and we all walked to the ‘Muzej Automobila Beograd’, Belgrade Car Museum [1] near the city centre. Definitely comes recommended, housed in Belgrade’s first garage building, there are some cracking cars here, including my favourite, Tito’s Cadillac. I asked Dragan if he had seen the Cadillac in his youth in Yugoslavia and he remembers having to wave to Tito as the cavalcade passed by, probably in the same Cadillac!

'Moj Kiosk' (My Kiosk), Belgrade

'Moj Kiosk' (My Kiosk), Belgrade

On the walk home we passed a 'Kiosk', these are little newsagents that are dotted all around Belgrade. You can top up your phone, top up your bus pass and buy papers, sweets ect.... It was time to head home. Dragan and I got a bit cold on the way back – I had an ice-cream headache which lasted for the rest of the evening. The winter is definitely coming.

DAY 35

Today is the first day of the Orthodox Christian fast before 'Božić' (Christmas), which in Serbia is celebrated on 7th January. If you observe the fast then you are required to cut out all meat, dairy and eggs, but you can eat fish. In a country where meat is eaten so often and in such huge quantities, it is interesting that there are lots of vegan foods available. Known as ‘posna hrana’ (fasting food), it is completely vegan and very tasty. This would be the time for vegans to visit the country!

I have a routine now and stop to buy a takeaway coffee on my way to my Serbian class. We are working on our first ‘case’ – Locative. When you ask a question about where (Gde?) something is located then the nouns will need a particular ending. In this case 'u'.

Gde je Dragan?’ ‘Dragan je na fakultetu’ (Where is Dragan? He is at the University).

This evening we went to an amateur Serbian Folk Dance practise, with a view to joining as beginners. Known as ‘Folklore,’ [2 - this is a professional troupe] it is practised all over the country and every region has its own style, songs and subtle differences in traditional dress. We watched as the dancers whirled around with delicate footwork, often forming lines and circles. Much to Aleks’ embarrassment, Dragan and I had a go. Some steps were familiar, I’ve tried to dance the lovely circle dance called the ‘Kolo’ at Serbian weddings. Other steps got us in a muddle, but it was fun and we were made to feel very welcome. We will be back!

[1] http://www.automuseumbgd.com/en/ 

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WLxMsnQv-g&list=RD2LDCUxgrHwI&index=5