Are You Balking To Me?
Belgrade Travel Blog› entry 48 of 94 › view all entries
After leaving Slovakia, there was Hungary, and not just the hungry I’ve been feeling after eating all these two-minute noodles (seriously, when will I even see the end of this never ceasing pile?), but the country.
Hungary was formerly part of the Roman Empire but in 896 the Magyars invaded the area and it is to these people that we can credit the language of this region – or aliens.
When learning about the Hungarian language people have suggested that it does not resemble any of the neighbouring countries and perhaps it originated from the steppes of Mongolia. Other reports seem to focus on a more otherworldly hypothesis; the Noble Prize winning Italian Physicist Enrico Fermi was asked if extra terrestrials existed. He answered, “Of course, they are already here among us, they are called Hungarians.
When the two cities of Buda and Pest (located opposite each other on the river Danube) were unified in 1873, the country was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, after the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War I, Hungary became an independent state. This was short lived as it included in the Soviet Communist sphere of influence and was dominated by them. However, nowadays Hungary enjoys democratic freedom and people get to vote every four years and is a member of the EU.
Walking around Buda or Pest (depending on which side of the river you are on), means you can take in some fantastic architectural sites and attractions including the Ruda Baths, the Hungarian State Opera House (Magya Allami Operahaz), the Nagy Zsingagoga (this Great Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe), the Gellert Hill and Statue (also called Gellert Hegy which has good views over the river Danube and a citadel) and the Chain Bridge (Szechenyi Ianchid) which connects the two sections together.
The following day was a train ride to a new country (well new to me after already having been to Poland, Slovakia and Hungary years previously). We arrived in Novi Sad, and were greeted with sun, no wait rain, no hang on sun. Grrrr, it was inclement. (Thanks Elaine!)
I enjoyed my time there, but I think the custom of arriving at a hotel and drinking the local fire water clouded my judgement as the 10 minute walk back to the hotel fro the town square ended up taking me a lot longer and I ended up walking past the same icon on a building three times even though I never turned off the road.
So I am now in Belgrade, it may not be the most beautiful city in the world but it certainly is exciting. The history in this place is fascinating with the NATO bombings in 1999. There is the Belgrade Fortress, which includes some Roman remnants on site and is also where you find the Military Museum, which includes exhibits about Thracian culture, World War I and Serbian Partisans and the main pedestrian street of Knez Mihailova, the Republic Square or the Skadarlija, an area which still encompasses the spirit of Old Belgrade and is a place frequented by artisans and musicians but a highlight for me was the Temple of Saint Sava.
This temple is the largest Orthodox temple in Serbia and although the interior is not yet finished, there is enough completed to give you an idea of how majestic a place this will be once accomplished.
After Belgrade I will continue on my journey through the Balkans and try out my new line …..
Ziveli from Serbia