Budapest To Bucharest 2014
May 12 - Belgrade And Kovacica, Serbia
We arrived in Belgrade in the middle of the night. We awoke around 6:00 to cloudy skies and light showers. After breakfast we began our city tour. It started at the Kalemegdan Fortress. The fortress sits on a hill strategically overlooking the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. It has guarded the city for centuries and has been fought over at least 115 times and razed to the ground 44 times. It is the last blockaide and gateway to armies aiming to conquer Europe from the east and south. Behind the fortress is the city of Belgrade. After exploring the fortress under drizzling skies, we boarded our bus and went on a city tour exploring some of the neighborhoods. We stopped at Sveti Sava, the second largest Orthodox Church in the world. It is still under construction. Back on the bus, we stopped again at the city center near the Opera House. Strolling the pedestrian mall, we changed some money, bought some popcorn and absorbed the atmosphere until it was time to get on the bus and go back to the ship.
After lunch we went on an optional excursion to Kovacica where we visited a violin maker and an art gallery displaying ethnic Slovac paintings. Bright and colorful, these paintings were made by amateurs and started a new movement featuring scenes of daily life.
Back at the ship, we had a lecture about the very confusing political life of this area which has been conquered and taken over by countless entities. One of our guides said that in the past 30 years she has lived in four countries and has never moved from her house.
Dinner tonight featured different ethnic food. It was buffet style set up in different sections of the ship. We chose to get our food from the galley because we wanted to see where the food was prepared. Our table mates included a civil engineer who worked on bridges and a businessman from Tennessee who was involved with growing sprouts and designing equipment for them.