BALKANTOUR - Serbia
Trip Start Jul 08, 2010
31Trip End May 04, 2011
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From Serbia I reached Bosnia-Hercegovina by bus visiting Sarajevo, Mostar, Medugorie and Blagaj.
Following southbound I arrived at Dubrovnik, Croatia and had two excursions on Island Korcula and Mljet.
I then entered Montenegro following the coast upto Bar and from here I reached the border with Kosovo and visited Peia-Pec, the capital Pristhina, Prizren and then passed to Makedonia-Fyrom to the capital Skopje, Ohrid, Kruscevo and Bitola. From Bitola I hired a taxi and arrived at Florina in Greece and reached Kalambaka, to visit the Meteore rocks and monasteries. Then I reached by train Thessaloniki and spent a week at Kalkidiki region, Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos or Agio Oros
TIMISOARA is not particularly beautiful and interesting but it has a nice Mall with high old palaces, style austro-hungarian empire with the Town Hall and Theatre and particularly beautififul is Unirii Square, very large and with some old churches and palaces recently restored and painted with soft colours.
The following day I took the train to reach ARAD, a big city closed to the border with Hungary.
I have remained impressed only by the white and elegant Town Hall and by the caotic bazar.
At 5.50 am I took the train to reach the capital of Serbia, Belgrade from Timisoara.
This is really a beautiful and elegant city. The highlights are: the Kalemegdan fortress at the confluence of river Donau and Sava and at the end of the pedestrian main street Knez Mihailova that presents nice buildings, a lot of shops and street artists.
Another interesting central street is Terazije with its promenade, bars and the old and pittoresc Hotel Moskva
One important prince or king of Karadjeorgevic royal family is represented in a nice bronze statue, riding a horse in this important central square and not far from it, going southbound you can reach Skandarija, the belgradese Montmartre, with stone pavement, old and houses painted with romantic subjects and a lot of restaurants and bars where you can eat the traditional serbian cuisine, listening to the serbian folk and rom music played alive by little groups in their traditional costumes.
At the end of Skandarija, another very busy street called Silicon Valley as around midnight arrive to spend the night in the luxury clubs, bar and restaurants sexy girls of the capital who have tried to improve their look by using botox and other chemistry stuff.
And I thind that they do not need it as the Serbian girls are very sexy as they are naturally.
There are a lot of orthodox churches, particularly interesting is the new big one still in construction and Sveti Mark not far from the Parliament House, the Presidential Residence and the big Palace of the Post, a particularly elegant area with some beautiful parks and gardens all around.
I have visited the interesting museum dedicated to the Serbian genious Nikola Tezla who gave the name to the Belgrade airport too.
This museum is in an elegant residential district of Belgrade, not far from the centre and it contains the story and photos of his life, the explanations of his creativity and discoveries and you can partecipate to some experiments with the help of the young guide.
I could not visit the elegant Palace of Princesse Ljubica and in general Belgrade is poor of museums and exbitions available except for some galleries of modern paintings.
The Belgrades love to stay at the various bars in the open air and drink coffee chatting friendly or to reach the Kalemegdan fortress and admire the amazing green sight of the rivers and the astonishing sunset that I have not unfortunately photographed.
The Serbians look elegant, friendly and tall people and Belgrade has become one the hottest city in Europe for night life.
I reached NOVI SAD by train the second day of my journey in Serbia.
It is a nice city on the river with a large pedestrian area, nice gardens, palaces and a precious church.
But the highligh of Novi Sad is the fortress of Petrovaradin, just in front of the city, on the other side of the river. It was built by the Austrians in order to protect the city from the Turkisk invasion. It took 90 years to build it and thousands of prisoners who worked for its construction died during the years.
For some years it has becomed very famous among the youngs as it hosts the famos EXIT Festival during July or August when thousand of youngs come from all over Europe to enjoy the concerts of the world rock stars.
I am very happy to have visited Serbia and hope that Serbia will soon enter into E.C. and have good relationships with the other former yougoslav republics.
But I can not avoid to remember that
climbing the boulevard from the Railway Station to my cosy Manga Hostel (in front of Sveti Mark church) I have noticed some high buildings still damaged by the bombing of NATO in Belgrade dating 1999 or later
I hope that peace and love is winning and unfortunately I have seen in this journey around most of the former yougoslav republics, many signs of the recent civil war, photos of cities totally destroyed as Mostar, or seriously damaged as Sarajevo and Prizren, Peia, even Dubrovnik.
I saw the photos of about 300 missing people exposed in the central main street of Pristhina, lot of epigraphs in the many Sarajevo cemeteries with date of death 1993, a celebration in the memory of the young croatian soldiers at the Dubrovnik city museum, many palaces destroyed in Mostar, a lot of orthodox churches damaged in Kosovo and many holes in the facades of the palaces in Sarajevo.
In the same time I have noticed that except for the Serbians, many of the former yougoslav citizens miss the era of Tito when Yugoslavia was a united country, it was easier to find a job and have social security and people lived in peace all together. I visited his grave in Belgrade that is not considered a highlight for tourists, any indication, any visitors except two men of my age, any honour guards for a man who just 20 years ago was considered like a God, incredible how the history goes on!
Anyway peace and love for everybody and visit the beautiful Serbia! ,