A ride on the tourist tram and cheers at Fidel over rakia!
Belgrade Travel Blog› entry 2 of 13 › view all entries
I was evidently very tired, I didn't get out of bed until 11:00.....even late for me. I did wake up to a sunny day!
After getting ready for my day...or afternoon by the time I had finished. I had a bit of breakfast and lunch and then set out on the sunny front terrace with Igor and had a chat. Soon a large group of Bulgarians arrived and I left for a walk down to the fortress and back. I had about 2 1/2 hours until Igor was finished with work and he had found a tourist tram that circles the city. It should be fun and informative.
I did pretty well as far as diretions. I had walked this path many times on my previous trip and now it was familiar. I passed St. Marks, the Parliament,. Republic Square, and then headed down the pedestrian area. This time it was filled with many cafe's tables and chairs filling the sides of the path.
Upon reaching the little stalls selling locally made goods, I recognized a seller of cermanics. His daughter is a graduate of the local art instiute and he was selling her wares. There were mugs, rakia sets, vases, and interesting ceramic wall art. All of the deisgns included elements of Belgrade's skyline or Orthodox churches. She also used glazed and unglaed areas on the surface to show textural differences.
I continued on crossed the street to the grounds of the fortress. The path was filled to capacity. Everyone was enjoying the sunny day. Carts were selling handmade gloves, shoes, wollen items, old communist era memorabilia, and touristy souvenirs galore.
Starting my return, I made it to Republic square and found another shop which had a ceramic painted Serbian woman in traditional dress. I also bought a few other trinkets and made my way to a shop that Igor and I had passed the previous night. It had many flags in the front window and an unusual shirt with many countries names in grey and Serbia in the center in bold raised red. I struck up a conversation with the lady running the store. She had spend much of her youth in Wisconson. We had a bit of conversation about Serbia, the Balkans, and Kosovo.
I was now a bit late and rushed to get back to the hostel. I arrived 15 minutes late and still needed to get a snack before we continued to the tourist tram.
We left, now having 30 mintues to get there. I misunderstood the location. I thought it was at the fortress area that I had just returned from and it was all the way at the bottom of the hilll and by the zoo. We arrived at the tram just as it was about to leave. The guide asked our names as there was a list. We did not have a reservation. He said that it was not a problem and asked for passports or ID. This was a problem as Igor had neither on him. I did have my Dutch ID and Serbian registration card. He was about to turn us away when he said to please get on and don't tell anyone. Evidently the police requires identification information on anyone who rides this tram...???
We spent the next hour traveling the city in an old tram car and receiving historical information about the city. The zoo, fortress, defense ministry, river, train station, and numerous religious buildings were covered. It was really a pleasant way to get an overview and the guide spoke English well and was enthousiastic about his work. It is offered twice a week and is free.
The sun was starting to set and we decided that it was cocktail hour. After a brief stop for burek (Balkan filled pastry), mine with cheese, we stopped in at Fidel's. It's a little local bar where we could relax and have a drink. Igor had a red fruity thing and I had peach rakia. It was STRONG but had a light peachy aftertaste. It took me quite awhile but, I did drink it all....powerful stuff!
After a family showed up with their two children ........this is a bar......we decided to go. The kids were being very loud so, quiet and relaxing was over. We walked across the city, all lit up, and enjoyed the coool night air. As it was Friday night, the streets were filled with families and fun seekers.
Upon return to the hostel, Igor left for home and I settled in for a movie and then a bit of blogging. I enjoyed the tram ride and my rakia. Tomorrow we would be off to the south and ZIca Monastary.