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Day forty - a day in Belgrade

Saturday 5 October 2019

overcast 19 °C

Exploring the City

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My host Sanja advised me that there was a bus right outside that could take me into town. Looking at the map, it was probably only a 30 minute stroll so thought I’d find my way on foot. It’s also a better way for me to orientate myself in a new town. I was intrigued by the Armenian flags that were flying from lampposts together with Serbian flags. Doing some research I discovered that the Armenian Prime Minister was on a state visit.

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The buildings on Kneza Miloša were very imposing - some were embassies - statues seemed to be a popular adornment.

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To get into the Centre I had to turn left into Terazije Street - passing the famous Hotel Moskva - the most expensive place to stay in town. It certainly looks very grand. And the restaurant/cafe looked very stylish. Just along from there, Terazije Street was cordoned off for an event that seemingly involved cars. No idea what it was about, but when I passed by later, there was a row of vintage Fiat 500s lined up.

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Sugary breakfast

The centre of the City becomes pedestrianised, and is pretty easy to navigate. Terazije is the main shopping street with narrow, interesting streets leading off it. There is the obligatory Republic Square, several theatres, museums and other grand buildings. I started by getting a coffee and some breakfast at Baristocratia coffee society . Through a bit of poor communication on my part, I ended up with a croissant, Nutella and a great slab of cake that I couldn’t possibly eat.

Opposite the cafe, the Katapult Shop is an interesting store full of stalls with lots of handmade goods. I walked around, exploring side streets and independent shops. By lunch time I looked around for somewhere to eat and found that the menus were pretty 'meaty'. Pizza seems to be incredibly popular here but not something I fancied. Managed to google and find a vegetarian restaurant called Mayka which did a really good lentil dhal.

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Belgrade Fortress

I was going to do the free walking tour in the afternoon but had to go back to the apartment to pick up my power bank as my phone's battery was running low and I wanted to be able to take photos. I got the bus back, to save time. Or I should say that I got the tram back. It was extremely crowded but somehow, people manage to ram themselves on. I also went to the station to check out the cost of a train ticket to my next destination, Ljubljana, on the following day. By the time I did this, I just couldn’t get back in time for the start of the tour.

Instead, I walked to the fortress and gardens in the Stari Grad area as there are good views over where the Sava and Danube river meet. There is no admission charge and being a Saturday it was really busy. Great to see so many people enjoying themselves, particularly young people with their friends. There is a lot to see in the fortress as well as the views - definitely worth a visit. Like so many cities, Belgrade has a history of being occupied or under siege. Most recently, ethnic conflict and the fight for independence during the Yugoslav wars - 1991 to 2001 - resulted in the break up of Yugoslavia into separate states, including Serbia.

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I made my way back, picking up some food en route as there isn’t really any place to eat close to where I’m staying. I also got stuff for the train journey which was going to be another mega one. I made use of my day ticket as it was getting dark. Again, the tram was completely rammed. There were some guys with brass instruments waiting at the bus stop. As I'd walked around I'd seen several bands playing near Republic Square. I'd also seen a demonstration near the Parliament building so wondered if any of this was connected.

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After eating I relaxed with my book and had a nice quiet night in. Definitely nothing to watch on TV!

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Posted by Cath_Greig 12:57 Archived in Serbia Tagged buildings statues bus river serbia fortress Comments (0)

Day twenty - heading for the Cascades

Sunday 15 September 2019

26 °C

The Cascade Complex

I started by exploring close to the apartment. It’s within a complex of houses bordered by Mashtots, Zakyan, Khorenatsi and Grigor Lusavorich Streets. It isn’t in the heart of the tourist area so feels more local. Everything I need is within the vicinity including an excellent fruit shop two minutes away. Although I got up a bit later than planned, my first tourist destination was the Cascades, probably my favourite part of the city. On the way I found a group of statues commemorating four Armenian actors who starred in a popular comedy “The Men”. There are lots of statues in Yerevan.

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Lots of public art

I’m not sure how many steps there are in the Cascades but it’s a long way to the top with minimal shade. The views of the city, and if you are lucky, Mount Ararat, are well worth the clamber up. Within the Cascades is the Cafesjian Centre for the Arts that houses art works from a variety of artists, mainly international. For those that can’t make it up the exterior steps to the top, there is an escalator inside that takes you most of the way up. A treasure trove of Contemporary art can be seen as you travel up the escalator and can also been seen in the gardens at the bottom. All of this is completely free but the shop and internal galleries are only open Friday to Sunday.

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Healthy Lunch

Although I’d made myself a coffee in the morning at the apartment, I needed to have another and found the Kaziriok cafe serving good coffee in the cutest cups. Next stop was lunch - I had a list of ‘go to’ places recommended by my niece Elly but today I wanted to try the Eat, Fit cafe on Aram Street. It was so on trend, it even listed the amount of calories on the menu. I had buckwheat noodles with avocado which was totally delicious, together with a cooling mint lemonade.

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Running out of steam

I intended to try and get to the Children’s Railway via the underground tunnel at the end of Aram Street. The whole area looked pretty abandoned and one tunnel was blocked off. I decided to find out a bit more about it first before venturing any further. The nearby park had some public art - objects and statues covered in what looked like AstroTurf.

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As I was still recovering from the train journey and the heat, I went for a siesta and then ventured out later to get some salads from the deli at the SAS supermarket for my evening meal. I realised that it was my third day of no alcohol so promised myself that I would get some beer or have a glass of wine at the local wine bar. But not today - a catch up on my book and more sleep were top of my to do list. As I settled down a storm that had been brewing all day, erupted with rain, thunder and lightening. Didn’t disturb me when I went to bed though.

Posted by Cath_Greig 09:44 Archived in Armenia Tagged food statues coffee cascades yerevan cafesjian Comments (0)

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