Todays title is in cyrillic text, because trust me, I’ve had to deal with it all day. Београд is actually Beograd in roman alphabet (yes г is a g and р is an r sound) and Belgrade in english. They actually use both cyrillic and roman alphabets here. I’m guessing like many special letters the computer keyboard and the internet are making the change to a roman alphabet. So it makes complete sense to issue tourist maps with names in the roman alphabet to find out all the street names are in the cyrillic alphabet. Then you get plenty of english words thrown around as well just for fun. Oh and Београд is an easy one to decipher. Although apparently I have no excuse for not talking to hot young women, because they all speak english and like talking in english. Go and google Ana Ivanovic and imagine lots of women like her walking around (for the female readers, google your favourite serbian mens tennis player).
So I only have a day in Belgrade which is a shame. The hostel I’m staying in is really good, even if my single room is barely big enough for the bed, it only cost me 18 euros for the night and there are plenty of living spaces to hang out in. Plus it was a short walk from the train station. speaking of the train, what takes longer, passport control or shunting carriages and changing the engine to the other end of the train. Passport control was a breeze. I think the train arrived in Belgrade on time, but took over an hour of stuffing around at a shunting yard before finally pulling into Belgrade. Luckily I decided on traing straight to Montenegro as that train left just as I arrived. Also the 1st class seat in this train was bad. The older carriages are not good, but i guess its luck as to what carriage you get.
Back to Belgrade though. On the map if a huge area called Kalemegdan. Kalemegdan is on old fortress/citadel that sits above the Danube. Certainly you get a great view from the Kalemegdan. But like many things in Serbia, Kalemegdan is fairly poorly preserved. The locals will say NATO bombed us, but they will also admit, they are not great at preserving things either. Romania seemed more on top of things than Serbia does. Although at the Kalemegdan, I did find my favourite sign so far “Walking in this area you risk your life”. I’m certain it applied to lack of hand railings, but equally bemused as to why no handrailings were present or why the sign did not say “Do not walk in this area”. Maybe its living in the nanny states of Australia that has made me soft. For the record I walked in the area and risked my life and clearly I survived to tell the tale.
Also of some concern is the recommended walking tour of Belgrade. effectively it is to walk straight down the main shopping pedestrian street to the Kalemegdan (yes I like saying Kalemegdan). I did venture away from the recommended walking tour to try and visit the Nicola Tesla museum. I was denied access, because there were too many kids. I tried to suggest I’d do my best to avoid the noisy kids, but still no luck. Even mentioning the fact that I was only here for the day and that I used to be have my tesla coil license for operating the Tesla coil at Questacon, failed to change her mind. In 2 hours she said. Well be buggered if I’m walking all the way back here again in 2 hours so left. And that where todays tale ends. Yet another long day, waking up at 4:30am to catch the train, which is actually 3:30 am in Belgrade…. I’m surprised I’m still awake actually. Tomorrow its “Do you know the way to Montenegro?”.
Oh for the record Kalemegdan in cyrillic is Калемегдана.