Well it's taken a while because I hadn't figured out how to import photos for my (now ancient) digital camera into the wonderful world of MS Vista... and then Flickr and I had a BEEEEG falling out but...
So having worked my arse off on the Wednesday and procastinated said arse for most of Wednesday night - I finally got my shit together and went to bed ahead of a 5am start on Thursday... sheeeesh - this is a holiday, right?
Zoja, me and Alex had been kinda lax about sorting out anything... to the point that Zoja and Alex themselves were all "ok... so what do we do"... but anyway - Zoja was going to be meeting me at the airport, so all would be good!
First time thru Heathrow's Terminal 5 as a proper passenger - oooh it is shiny!
Anyway - waved my bag goodbye ... quite literally and headed to Starbucks for some brekkie.
Plane was late coming from somewhere else so had to hang around a bit but finally - on board and on our way!
Slept most of the way - played a bit on the PSP but found myself cursing under my breath and thought that it might be better to put that away rather than hurl it down the airplane in frustration!
Skipped through immigration no probs, but had to rescue my little suitcase from an over-enthusiastic UK businessman who obviously had the same case... yep in my procastination the night before, I'd totally forgotten to put a luggage tag on it!
Anyway - walked out to see if I could find Zoja... and... Alex was there too - Big surprise as I really wasn't expecting him, so lots of hugs all round and we headed off for a cab.
We actually passed the JJ Poster-Builidng on the way to the apartment ... heh!
We got to Zoja's parents' apartment - they have it ready for letting, but as it was empty - they very kindly let me stay there for the time I was there. It's on the outskirts of the city centre, and it was absolutely gorgeous! Kitchen, bathroom, PC with a TV card... more on that later!
We hung about and I gave the guys the Britski pressies I brought over - I couldn't resist buying Alex Patrick O'Brien's Master & Commander book and I found these 2 How to be British books of cartoons for both of them. I also invested wisely in the other British staple... Cadbury's Dairy Milk Miniatures! Result!
Getting up... lunch... EVERYTHING is pretty much later and more relaxed, certainly than it is in the UK... we ambled out to a really smart restaurant called New York New York for a HUGE pizza each and my first taste of Serbian beer.
We even had tennis showing on the big screen!
After lunch we headed round to some of the sites.
We saw the City Hall building/Gardens where they held the RG Reception for Nole, Puppy and JJ and also saw the parliament Building.
As we came up on Saint Mark's church - I realised I'd left the camera at the flat - and was kicking myself, 'cos I'd arrived on a beautiful, sunny and warm day and the rich reds and golds on the church against the blue sky was amazing.
We also strolled across Tashmajdan Park which was across the street from the flat.
After that we headed up to Kalemegdan Fortress Park - a massive structure overlooking the river - we got to see over into New Belgrade and even Alex's building. We tried to get up to the monument, but it was getting pretty windy by then, so we headed back to the flat so I could pick up my coat.
We walked through the Pedestrianised bit of the main shopping centre and even saw JJ's old stripey (bleah) dress and her current design but in black/grey in the Reebok store.
After some much needed chips (!) Alex took us to a coffee shop/bar near his university faculty - his favourite haunt...great barman and it became our "favourite"...
Had a few drinks before heading back to the apartment - hung out for a bit more before Zoja and Alex tootled off... leaving me to lock up and crash out...
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:24 PM
So... years of waking up stupidly early meant I was wide awake around 7 - I played around with the TV card and settled down in front of Eurosport 2 news - not really realising that it just rolls, and rolls, and rooooollllllllllls... so I headed into the kitchen for... ummm furry coffee (!) and an apple! OK the coffee may have been a tad ancient, but I also had other provisions left by Zoja - so certainly had enough to be going on with. There was a pack of biscuits... but I think they were more inclined to be crumbled under tyres of cars as grit for when it snows...!
Plus I took up with the PSP again - I think the neighbours were a touch startled with the barked curses... bloody suicidal Lemmings!
Alex texted me (Zoja brilliantly left me a phone with a local card and hers and Alex's numbers in it so I could text them without spending a fortune on my phone... genius!) and he was amused that Z hadn't gotten in touch - poor Rozzie... locked in a Belgrade apartment!
Anyway - once he'd arrived we headed up to a bakery - again close to his faculty where I had a decent Serbian Cheese and Spinach pit - these portions are MASSIVE - the pie was HUGE! And the prices are soooo reasonable... so a quick bit of brekkie and we headed to a coffee shop (seriously... LOADS of them!) to wait for Zoja!
Bless her - she had overslept (which was fine... we were not in any rush for anything) but she headed out without her phone so had to go back for it, and then was headed in the opposite direction when she got to where we were! We were beginning to wonder if she was coming via Zagreb at this point!
Zoja had this awesome looking Hot Chocolate the night before at the cool bar which was more like a melted chocolate pudding in a glass... so this became a bit of a mission for me!
Zoja's sister Minja also joined us at the coffee shop - and was telling me that Zoja had bought me a bottle of Acqua Viva with JJ on the front, and she's found this JJ notebook (we reckon the picture on the front was from YEC last year)... heh! We reckoned out of all of those things, the poster that Zoja snaffled when JJ was signing autographs the day before I arrived was probably the only thing that had been remotely close to the woman herself!
Minja headed off and was going to join us later, so we headed off to Skadarlija - the Bohemian Quarter to try and find a local restaurant. We'd actually gone to one much closer, but they shooed us away... phooey!
This time my quest for local beverages took us to Montenegrin beer - we seemed to be sat next to a load of spanish business men, so that seemed like the ideal time for us to relive all our Rafa US Open Out-take moments... I'm sure they appreciated it!
We headed back to the flat and put Alex in charge of figuring out how to get more channels on the PC/TV Card in the hope of watching the Ana match and cheering against her :devil:. We'd even headed to the supermarket to get in Tennis TV provisions - biscuits, more juice and ketchup flavoured crisps... just what you need!
BUT - although he got BBC World News - no Eurosport 1... so no tennis for us... and then we got the score via texts to Alex's phone... and found she'd won anyway... pffft!
So - having lounged about (all completely knackered and lazy)...we decided to head back to L'incontro - the cool bar where yet again cool barman was there. This was the start of the Serbian Brandy odyssey! OK - I did actually start with that awesome hot chocolate pudding in a mug (YUM!) and then had the first brandy... whatever the hell kind of fruit "quince" is (the phantom fruit, Zoja and I named it!) that was the first one and jesus H christ that was STRONG!!!
The 2nd one (which was on the barman) was pear and that tasted much better. These shots ... not possible to down in one so Alex and I kinda shared them.
This bar was pretty relaxed and the music was awesome - although (and I'm sure it was down to the brandy) we got our "Clubbed to Death - Rob Douggan" muddled up with Massive Attack - cue cute barman to come to our rescue again!
We also got into a bit of a musical chair thing as we shifted to the front of the place when Zoja's friends arrived, and then moved again when Alex left to go home, and Minja joined us again!
All in all much beer, and another good end to the evening...
... and yes pictures ARE coming...
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:37 PM
Day 3 - Part 1
OK - so Saturday rolls round, and I'm getting used to the later starts (yep - Serbian brandy helps LOADS with that!)...
This time it was Alex running late... he was minding his own business at the bus stop when a girl chatted him up and wanted him to call her (she'd never done this kind of thing before, apparantly... anyone believe that? No.. neither did Zoja and I :lol:)
Zoja took us to a very nice restaurant up at the Fortress again - so posh, in fact... we ended up on a table near some English folks who'd been on my plane coming over!
This was the coldest day so far - and that was a shame as I had FINALLY remembered the bloody camera!
And also - Zoja had emailed MaBaker to see if she wanted to join us later in the day.
Again we ordered different things so I could try some serbian dishes... so much sharing around of food... yum!
Decided to start snapping some photos, so... here's us outside an old watchtower, just outside the restaurant:
Also in the grounds of the Fortress is the Church - with two brass statues of Serbian soldiers at the door
We strolled down the many, many steps to the bottom of the fortress (these things often built on BEEEEG HILLS!) when Zoja realised she'd left her phone at the restaurant... so time to snap a few more photos:
Fortress and the old Turkish Bath which was turned into a planetarium
Of course all this taking photos is thirsty/hungry work so we headed down to the river to Bella Vista - for more hot chocolate and pancakes!!
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:38 PM
:D Awesome blog. Sounds like you guys had an awesome time.
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Great blog and pictures! Makes me want to visit Serbia now!
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Day 3 - Part 2
More walking - this time through the older areas of Belgrade
First up was the main church of Belgrade - the Saborna Church
Because of the change in rule - there's often a mix of architecture styles - Turkish and I guess Austrain/Hungarian architecture (Alex - feel free to correct me...)
Oldest tavern in Belgrade - again Turkish style in the middle of completely different architecture around it. The place is just knows as ?( i.e. Question Mark)
It was time to head back to the main pedestrianised area to meet up with Ana (MaBaker)...
Evening stuff coming up in Part 3...
Oct 28th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Day 3 - Part 3
OK - so... Alex had shown us a bar called the Black Turtle - which has flavoured beer. well... never one to pass up a challenge - we headed there once we met Ana and I had to try the Blackberry beer (to accompany the Montenegrin beer from lunch!)
We were going to be joined again by Minja so we headed off to find somewhere for the evening... Ana took us to this great gothic bar, called Street - with the best music... and so begins mine and Alex's demonic descent into Serbian Brandy hell....
I'd started with beer - but once we found out that they had an apple brandy - we ordered those... and they came in the COOLEST glasses. Minja reckoned that there are very few places that use those style glasses for shots/brandy - the Question Mark being one place... but they cracked me up totally as they looked like giant test tubes and just fit the gothic feel of the place! Of course ... this brought out the student in me... and I started on a mission to snaffle a couple...
This took a couple of attempts 'cos Alex and I were hitting the brandies and he ordered refills before I had a chance to adopt a glass!
So we had some more... and um... some more... I think 4 in total...!!!
Of course time for more pics!
l to r - Zoja, Alex, Ana, ME!
Pick Thread Lord God, and Deputy Master & Commander with that 4-brandies-each deal goin' on....
And just for good measure - she had to take a picture of the glasses when we got to the flat!
Day 4 coming up...
Edit: Oh yeah - Alex ended up walkinng home when his nightbus took off anywhere BUT his stop, and I apparantly dissed Lepa Brena in the cab going home. Thankfully I think the cab driver had no clue WHAT I was saying... well... neither did I... Zoja had to remind me of this!
Just Do It
Oct 28th, 2008, 11:07 PM
Awesome, great read.
Oct 28th, 2008, 11:13 PM
Strangely not hungover... but oh so tired!
Zoja arrived all bright and cheerful, while Alex and I were feeling very... tired!
We took a long bis ride to Zemun - loads of Austro-Hungarian architecture here - all very low rise and very picteresque! Even the local Maccy-D was in the same style!
We had lunch in another posh restauarant - in fact all the action in terms of food and drink was to be had at the riverside so we had our lunch and then strolled down a little further to a coffee-shop (seriously... my kind of life!)
We pissed our sides when Alex was called "sir" at the restaurant... our little Master & Commander... bless!
We actually walked past one of the Megatrend University faculties as well while heading back towards the bus...
Alex headed off and Zoja and I missed out stop - which was really fortuitous because we were able to catch the Temple of Saint Sava as it turned to dusk...
We were lucky to get the photos when we did as it turned pretty dark, pretty quickly after that - we headed to Zoja's parents' place where I was the proud recipient of my JJ label, my JJ notebook and... more brandy! Zoja's dad bought me a bottle of plum brandy to take home!
Having negotiated one very grumpy cat and chilled out in Minja's room, we headed back to the flat in order to hook up with Alex at the favourite bar... but alas, the cool barman wasn't working, so Alex joined us as we waited for the spuds to grow for chips... and then we went to a Student coffee shop/bar called The Atrium...
Not as late a night as some of the others... but as it was the last night, it was nice to just hang out and relax...
Day 5... going home...
Alex and Zoja came over to the flat just before the ordered cab arrived.. Alex couldn't come with us to the airport as he had to go to his Uni Faculty so a big hug goodbye outside the flat and then Zoja and I drove past JJ-on-a-building again - and I tried to get a picture but a bridge appeared from nowhere...
We had a final coffee at the airport before she too headed off... and so ended my 4 days in Belgrade.
The place is great, the food and drink is fab... yes even the brandy,
and a HUGE THANK YOU to Zoja (and Minja), Alex and Ana for showing me round the place! :worship: :kiss:
I'm sure I've left a few things out - and I'm sure Alex and Zoja will remind me... but there you have it... Rozzie's Belgrade Blog!
Oct 28th, 2008, 11:41 PM
Brilliant and Awesome. What a fantastic four days you all had.:D
Oct 28th, 2008, 11:54 PM
Awesome, great read.Yes it was. Thanks Roz.
Oct 29th, 2008, 07:06 AM
Thank God I got my Broadband back - looked like everyone had loads of fun.
Great read, Ros. :yeah:
Oct 29th, 2008, 08:34 AM
Heh - thanks all - glad you enjoyed it!
Oct 29th, 2008, 09:02 AM
So cool! And those pics look really good, Rozzie. Well, except for that red one in the bar, but it's actually fitting because of the music style and that nice Gothic waitress that brought us all those apple brandies...:worship:
Going back to read it again! :lol:
Oct 29th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Everytime I pass those glasses - I have to chuckle to myself!
Oct 29th, 2008, 09:52 AM
Hey, Ros, it was detailed, indeed! :worship: And the pics turned out great so I've decided to forgive you for shamelessly bashing Lepa Brena and my favourite biscuits :lol:
I had a bit of an adventure after you left to catch your plane - I had just a couple of minutes to catch the bus and I couldn't remember where the stairs to the underground level of the airport were, so I ended up running back and forth on the ground floor :rolleyes:
Oct 29th, 2008, 10:07 AM
I forgot to tell you that after that night in the bar, the next morning my head was in a complete mess, not in terms of hangover but I was incapable of having any meaningful thoughts...So when I was coming to your flat I couldn't find the exact street you were in. I was going back & forth for 5 mins thinking someone moved the street or at least the street sign...Oi vei! :lol:
Apple brandy :inlove: (but no more of it for "sir" Alex for a month or three :lol:)
Oct 29th, 2008, 10:58 AM
Heh - yeah - I think it's gonna be a while before I dare to try that plum brandy in a "test-tube"... I was sooo tired that day and I could have just slept ... well pretty much ANYWHERE we went around Zemun that day!
Oct 29th, 2008, 11:07 AM
sounds like you guys had a brilliant time! :yeah:
Oct 29th, 2008, 03:06 PM
Great blog, glad you had great time in Belgrade :D
And yeah, I love that blackberry beer in Black Turtle :lick:
Oct 29th, 2008, 03:43 PM
Oct 29th, 2008, 06:06 PM
Great blog Rozzie. It sounds like you had alot of fun, totally made me want to go :lol: And those glasses are extremely cool!
Oh and I love the pictures especially the last two they are so pretty ♥
Oct 29th, 2008, 06:24 PM
Oct 29th, 2008, 07:12 PM
Hey Tash, we'll have to meet up in Puerto Rico sometime! What's the local brew like in San Juan? ;)
Oct 29th, 2008, 07:36 PM
We do rum like no one else. Beer....not so great. We have a couple but I don't think you'd wanna trade yours for ours, :lol:. And IF you ever come to Puerto Rico be sure to ask for coquito, yuuummmyyy.;)
Oct 29th, 2008, 07:45 PM
What, the coconut-based eggnog drink known as coquito? That you can have with vanilla or ginger? :angel:
Oct 29th, 2008, 07:58 PM
:lol: Exactly, it's ridiculously good. Makes you wanna keep drinking and drinking and drinking....I mean, so I've been told, :angel:.
Jan 26th, 2009, 08:34 PM
I love reading this blog! And NOW is as good time as any to reread it and lower stress levels after JJ's AO debacle. :lol:
Makes you wanna keep drinking and drinking and drinking....I mean, so I've been told, :angel:.
Well, no wonder you became our Official Alcohol Supplier, Tash. :rolls:
Jan 26th, 2009, 10:50 PM
Whatever are you talking about Alex?! The alcohol I supply is purely for external purposes. Like when you need to rid yourself of the traces of JJ blood. That kind of stuff. [hiccup]
Jan 26th, 2009, 10:53 PM
:hearts: Looks like you guys had fun.. Belgrade sounds really exciting...:mad:It's not fair for me to be stuck in the US.. it so far from Serbia...:unsure: on second thought.. i probably don't want to see or hear any JJ drama.. i'm glad i'm far away from Serbia (j/k)