SOME GYPSY MUSIC TO END OFF SERBIA

Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
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Trip End Oct 15, 2012


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Where I stayed
Belgrade City Hotel
What I did
Zemun, St Sava Temple and St Mark's Church

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Up just before 0600, having survived the a/c pelting down on me, hunkered down under the covers. The Dutchman is being lazy this morning, shutting off his 0630 alarm and still trying to catch some z's. It's like a sauna in the bathroom after Arjan showers: mate, what ya doin' in there?

I went down for the normal 0700 brekkie but sleepy head headed down at 0800. Some spicy cold cut and watery yogurt the main differences from pretty standard brekkie fare on the trip.

The Aussie blokes were just heading down for brekkie as we were heading out. Arjan asked about inviting the girls along but they had a chance to say yes last night.

The hotel reception gave us some idea re the bus 83 process to Zemun. That still did not consider having to deal with the shop lady who spoke essentially no English. Things got sorted out eventually and we were off 190 SD.

The bus took some 15M to get to Zemun. I think we should have got off a stop or two earlier but eventually we found the right part of the neighbourhood.

Our first church was St Francis. Arjan appears to be churched out ie AFC but I like to get into as many as possible to see how elaborate or modest the interiors are.

We headed for the waterfront area, along the Danube River. It was a bit cooler there on a warmish day.

A white church not detailed on my map was next as we started to climb up some quiet streets. I suspect the entire area does not get a good deal of tourists.

The highlight of Zemun is Janos Hunyad's Tower on Gardos Hill. It was first noted in 1089 in the course of the First Crusade. Its four corner towers are 'Gothic-type'. The structure looks like it has been through a few fires. You could not enter same.

There was a mustard yellow church behind the town, beside a very large cemetery. Having pretty much given the area a once over, took a cappuccino break in one of the many town squares 270 SD. We found a bus stop and were back at the hotel by 1215. Up for a quick loo break.

Out for a good walk thereafter. There was a more pronounced police presence re the gay day happenings. Most of the kids here have English on their T-shirts.

Everything in this country seems under reconstruction or renovation. Walked to the St Sava Temple. Only a small area was accessible for tourists with several handfuls of items to see. We headed back toward the downtown area by 1300.

Reached St Mark's Church by 1320. A significant part of the exterior was under renovation. The interior was modest, the interior reaching skyward but with a poor use of space.

The Parliament building also had some exterior renovations afoot. We reached the pedestrian area at Republic Square, Arjan treating to some ice cream [pistachio and cherry for me]. We ran into the Aussie blokes, chomping down on gyros. The military men had been to a military museum [big stretch there].

We moved on to the park outside the fortress to chill a bit and watch life pass by. I am going to exchange less than whatever Zsolt recommends hereafter as not spending nearly the suggested amounts per diem in whatever country. My goal was to find a money exchange [no problem] to turn my excess SD's into euros [done]. Arjan was looking for a wacky T-shirt, something proving more difficult.

I walked with him as far as the Hotel Moscow and returned to the hotel. Apparently those in the other wing of the hotel have good wifi so I went over there and things were good, checking out my email, scoping out the news and uploading yesterday's blog. Not quite 1630 but will chill until the 1845 group departure.

Had a shower and uploaded the day's diary to the blog site to save time later, including pix. Not expecting wifi on the bus!

All down by 1845. Walked up to and past Republic Square to the evening's restaurant in a part of town not visited so far. The meal was just so so for several reasons. I would have been happy to order a la carte for a bit over half the price what we paid for the dinner re appetizers, shopska salad and plate of meat. I think Zsolt angles too much for what is best for the locals rather than his clients.

I did not particularly enjoy the gypsy musicians as they were playing in a pretty enclosed area, magnifying their music to the point conversation was difficult. Arjan kept clapping and asking for encores, knowing it would annoy me. I asked him if the musicians would take requests ie bugger off! 1,200 SD.

Bozo Ben is such a dork. Does he have to fill every vacuum with his nonsensical observations? He is this trip's version of Emirates Airlines.

Zsolt carried on with the boozing Aussie blokes and Bozo Ben and Ms BB while the rest of us returned 'home'. A quick diary/blog update and bed by 2300.
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