Kalemegdan is where the Danube and Sava Rivers meet. It is a fortified site that has been held by the Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Serbs, Turks, Austrians, Germans, Yugoslavs and the Serbs again. It is a park, fort, and the place where Belgrade spends weekend afternoons. The pictures are from Kalemegdan and other places mentioned in the letter. These are excerpts from an March 2009 letter.
On Sunday in Belgrade the parks came alive. Today Belgrade’s walking street was full of strollers eating ice cream and popcorn, stopping for an iced coffee at one of the cafes and strolling on to Kalemegdan Park at the juncture of the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Kalemegdan was alive. We heard accordion music and came on two different players, each surrounded by a circle of dancers. This was not an organized dance, but people joining hands in a big circle celebrating spring. One of the accordion players had a stand up bass partner who plucked the strings while holding a small tambourine which jangled with each bass thump. One older woman was having trouble keeping up. The crowd seemed to carry her along in the circle.
Along the river bank old men played chess, each with a crowd of kibitzers. We walked out of Kalemegdan down the walking street. At dusk a juggler twirled a flaming baton and a Roma trumpet band played traditional Gypsy music, Hava Nagila and La Bamba.