Day 1 – First Glimpses of Belgrade and a Feast on the Sava River
Improvised trips are (almost) always the best. December 20th, 2015, 6 o’ clock in the morning. A group of six dudes and a gorgeous lady packed up in a minivan and headed to Belgrade to meet two other guys who would arrive at the Nikola Tesla Airport (Аеродром Београд – Никола Тесла) on the following day. Sofia was foggy, but our group was more than ready for the 4 and ½ drive to the Serbian capital which stands at around 450 km north-west of the Bulgarian one.
Serbia was not very welcoming either as the fog seemed to have spread all over the Balkan Peninsula. We entered into Belgrade and my brother tried to call a friend of Milan (the Serbian guy who is going to kindly host us in his apartment but is out of Serbia) who appeared to be still sleeping. Nonetheless, we put the address of his building into the GPS and headed to Novi Beograd/Нови Београд (New Belgrade). While browsing through the photos, you will notice that some names are written in Latin and others – in Cyrillic. More information can be found in this article.
After we dropped our luggage (and the treats, among which a jar of lyutenitsa, we have brought for the host) in Milan’s apartment, we decided to take a stroll along the river Sava and find a nice place to munch on Serbian delicacies.
After a glance at the menu of Стари пингвин (The Old Penguin), we quickly entered inside. Since the restaurant is cosily nestled on the river, a fish soup is a must (at least for me). Another must-try is the Serbian pljeskavica. This one came with a side dish of French fries and coarsely chopped onions and was generously topped with kajmak. I always strive to try the local beer when I am in a foreign country. This one is called Jelen and is a light lager. Jelen means deer in Serbian.
Tesla Museum – Where Electricity Literally Stuns Visitors
The afternoon was designated for a museum tour and our choice is the Tesla Museum. Its location is in the centre of Belgrade. The Nikola Tesla Archive is part of the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme Register because of its crucial role in regards to the history of the electrification of the world and the future technological developments in this area.
After an interesting video about Tesla and his experiments, the guy, who speaks flawless English, asked us some questions and after that, we were taken to the Tesla Coil. The device was invented by Nikola Tesla around 1891. It produces a high voltage (500kV), a high frequency alternated voltage, and a low current. We were shown how it accumulates power and two dudes of our group held lamps (like “lightsabres”) in their hands which were lighted as a result. You can see that in the video below my camera zoomed in automatically because of the high voltage produced in the room.
Afterwards, we moved to the telecommand and some of our group (including me) got hit by 100kV of electricity. The further you move your hand from the telecommand, the more painful it became, but at close distance, it feels like pinching.
The last part of the tour showed us some documents, history, and we also saw the urn holding Tesla’s ashes.
*The price of a ticket is 500 RSD (Serbian dinars) or around 4½ USD. The tour starts every hour and takes approximately 45-50 minutes, including the video. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Београд, волим те – Beograd, I love you
Belgrade at night
After the tour, we strolled around the city centre. Unfortunately, my camera’s battery was slowly dying so I managed to take only a few photos. Due to the fact that the trip was improvised, I had not read about any of the sights I took pictures of, but I managed, thanks to a friend of mine (hvala, Gabriela) and Google, to find information about all of them.
Day 2 – Airport Express and Carp Restaurant
After a couple of hundred ml of Serbian plum rakija (šljivovica) with propolis on the previous night, we woke up around 10:30, got our stuff out of Milan’s apartment, and went to pick up our two other friends who were supposed to arrive at the airport around noon.
15 minutes delays, some happy hugging, and we were back in the minivan on our way to visit the most famous fish restaurant in Serbia – Ресторан „Шаран“ (“Carp” Restaurant) situated not more than 20 metres away from the Danube river. As soon as we entered, two big bowls of fish soup were ordered and while waiting we were given home-made bread and caviar spreads. Saying that the soup was delectable would be an understatement. I filled my bowl three times and accompanied it with copious amounts of bread. Some of our group were even more courageous and ordered fish dishes.
After heavily stuffing ourselves with fish delicacies, we went to Kalemegdan Park which stands at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube in the urban area of Belgrade, in its Stari Grad (Old Town) municipality. Heavy fog was all over the place, but my camera was able to capture some nice, blurry images.
On our way out we got in the minivan and headed back to Sofia. Beograd is an amazing city which has so much more to offer and I cannot wait to go there again, indulge into mouth-watering rakija and explore more of its historical sights.
Have you been to Belgrade before? Which places would you recommend visiting?