A “HIT AND RUN” THE BELGRADE WAY

SERBIAN POLICEMAN: "IT'S MADNESS OVER HERE. THIS IS A CRAZY COUNTRY, THESE ARE CRAZY PEOPLE, THEY DO CRAZY THINGS." AND IT'S ALL CONSIDERED "NORMAL", INCLUDING DOUBLE-PARKING AND BLOCKING OTHER PEOPLE'S CARS Last Thursday, I parked our car on "our" street. Milutina Bojica is "a quiet dead end," as people would describe the 100m-cul de sac. It sticks out like an appendix perpendicular to Palmoticeva St, a well known tree-lined residential street in the heart of Belgrade which runs straight down from the Serbian Parliament. Parking in this congested area is always at a premium but especially now when the vacations are over and the kids are back in school. So we were lucky to find a spot so close to our apartment. We call this "carsko mesto" (an imperial spot). 🙂 Well, three days later it turned into a pauper's spot.

BEAUTIFUL BELGRADE: A CITY ON TWO MIGHTY RIVERS SPARKLES AT NIGHT FROM KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS

It has been years since I walked along the walls of the Kalemegdan fortress. This Turkish structure built on the walls of the Roman city (Singidunum) has always symbolized the indestructibility and resilience of the Serbian nation. After a 500-year darkness under the Turkish sultans and pashas, the Serbs threw off the Ottoman yoke in early 19th century and created their own kingdom. Kalemegdan became a symbol of Serbian victories over three mighty empires – the Ottoman, the Austrian and the German. In 1928, on the 10th anniversary of that victory, a huge monument was unveiled. Dubbed the Victor, the Serbian warrior is holding a hawk in his left hand, symbolizing vigilance and watchful eye pointed toward the former Austrian empire, and a sword in the right hand, ready to defend again his country if necessary.

UTTER DISREGARD FOR BICYCLE RIDERS AND CIVILIANS

UTTER DISREGARD FOR BIKE RIDERS AND PEDESTRIANS Let's sum it up. In Belgrade, bike riders and pedestrians are like dirt. Free game for builders and drivers. The communist mindset which puts machines ahead of the individuals and nature is still present. Twenty years ago, a Serbian politician (Djindjic) tried to be different. His government built this beautiful bike path and opened the river to the citizens of Belgrade. Alas, it was all for naught. Because the current authorities are again allowing the construction companies to put machine ahead of man. And they are still allowing reckless drivers to get away with endangering the riders on bike paths. There are never any police in sight there while plenty of them are seen handing out parking tickets or wasting time on other petty offenses. Bottom line: BIKERS BEWARE! Belgrade does not want you.