Belgrade, Serbia

Posted on July 14, 2010

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In my continuing exploration of Eastern  Europe and the ex-Yugoslav countries for work, I was in Belgrade last week. When i told my dad he said ‘Oh, I’m sorry’ which I was really curious about, I was really looking forward to it.

My favourite place was a street call Skadarlija. It’s a cobbled pedestrian street lietrally full of restaurants which is lively any night of the week. The Serbs remined me of the Spanish and Italians with their desire to eat well and have a good time. I left well after midnight and music and danicng was still going strong at most places.
Food is typicllay meat orientated. They do great grilled food and I recommend experimenting by getting platters. Chicken liver wrapped in bacon was done beautifully, and I loved it even though I thought I’d hate it. Cevepcici which are meat kebabs are also typical (as in Bosnia) and usually served 10 at a time. Meat will often be served with potatoes or fries of some description. I also ate a lot of sopska salata (a basic salad of cucumber, tomato, onion and white cheese).If you make it to dessert then try the pastries, usually with either cheese, cherry or apple.
The two drinks that I found typical were Doonya which is a schnapps made from quince. Be warned that this is incredibly strong and may take a while to hit you! Also the local red wine is . Try Vranac, especially the reserva which is a rich Montenegro red.
The fortress on the hill, Kalemegdan, is a great place to watch the sunset. Apparently there is a restaurant there that is worth it if only for the terrace at sunset and the deafening lion and tiger roars from the zoo below although the food isn’t stunning.
The boats on the river were pointed out to be as great places to drink and listen to gypsey music. The Black Panthers is meant to be one of the best but ask a local to take you, it’s not a standard tourist destination.
A good friend who wento to Belgrade recently also thought Silicon Valley was hysterical. It’s no named becasue of silicon implants rather than any kind of IT.  There are a lot of cool bars and it’s a great place to people watch.

I stayed at the Life Design Hotel (Tel: +381 (0) 11 3534 300; frontoffice@lifedesignhotel.rs) and loved it. The rooms are well equipped, spacious and quiet. If you do go there, try the spa, it’s simply fantastic and a real bargain if you’re used to western prices.

Just around the corner is the Hotel Moskva is an institition and I had a number of meetings on the terrace over a coffee or glass of wine.
A couple of words that will get you far:
Dober dan – Hello/Good Day/General greeting
Hvala – Thank you
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Posted in: Balkans