Thanksgiving in Serbia, 2010 and 2011

These are two letters from Serbia I wrote about Thanksgiving from 2010 and 2011. 2010 (Suzi is in Egypt, I am in Belgrade, Serbia) Thanksgiving morning was the first cold, clear day of the season.  Some of the lights in the flat worked, some didn’t work.  So I called the landlord.  By 9:15 I had an electrician.  It appears a trolley bus jumped the lines … Continue reading Thanksgiving in Serbia, 2010 and 2011

Belgrade, Easter 2001 (continued from post before)

This is continuation, from the same letter I posted from yesterday.  It is early for Easter but I thought the two posts should go together. Easter, 2001 In front of St. Marko’s church are stalls selling Easter candies and beautifully painted, decorated and, in some cases, bejeweled (probably with zircon) eggs.  Nearby kids ride battery operated cars wearing their Easter wreaths.   An old woman approached … Continue reading Belgrade, Easter 2001 (continued from post before)

Lent and Easter in Belgrade

April 15, 2001(Easter Sunday) Belgrade, Yugoslavia Dear Friends, Religion in Serbia is struggling to find itself after 45 years of official atheism followed by 10 years in which being a Serb, Croat or Bosniak was defined by religion since appearance or language really didn’t separate the groups.  Religion never died under Tito.  We celebrated Easter in Croatia in 1972 with the family in whose bed … Continue reading Lent and Easter in Belgrade

Carnival Lisbon, Apres Carnival, Belgrade

Carnival is over.  In some places it continues into Lent with the funeral of Vaal (Carnival) which starts penitently enough but becomes a second bacchanal.  We experienced something different in Belgrade.  As an excerpt from this letter from May 2009 shows.   Saturday morning Suzi and I were having a late breakfast in the outdoor café Via del Gusto.  This Saturday the café music seems … Continue reading Carnival Lisbon, Apres Carnival, Belgrade

Old New Year, Serbia

This is a second look at Old New Year.  If you want more background please look at yesterday’s post. 2001, In Belgrade right after the fall of Milosevic: We’ve been dropped back into the holiday season after it has ended in the States.  The stores are still decorated with greens and Christmas balls, the kiosks have that “glass wax” type of snowflake stencil design and … Continue reading Old New Year, Serbia

Belgrade, Krajla Petra (King Peter) St, March 2013

My office was on this street for three years, but who carries a camera to work?  When I realized I was leaving I took my camera but the light was never right.  On March 30 I had a camera and good light so I took these pictures.   The buildings on the street are a mix of empire style, Austrian Secession, Art Nouveau, Art Deco … Continue reading Belgrade, Krajla Petra (King Peter) St, March 2013

Sargan 8, A railroad climbs a mountain in Serbia

This is an excerpt from a June 2009 letter:   This week we started our journalism summer school at Mokra Gora, (wet mountain) in the mountains near the Bosnian border.   As part of the program we had arranged an excursion on the narrow gauge railway. This railroad has fascinated me for more than 35 years.  Suzi and I encountered it in 1972 on a drive … Continue reading Sargan 8, A railroad climbs a mountain in Serbia

Novi Sad, Serbia

These are excerpts from an April 2009 letter.   Spring has arrived and I have spent as much time as possible overcoming vitamin D deficiency drinking espresso on sunny sidewalks and walking through Belgrade’s and Novi Sad’s parks. On Saturday Suzi and I drove to Novi Sad, Serbia’s second city, a Hapsburg town on the Danube a little over 100 kilometers north of Belgrade.   We … Continue reading Novi Sad, Serbia

Novi Pazar, Serbia

Here is an excerpt from a February 11, 2010 family letter. 7 AM:  looking out a hotel window, fog from the river, steam from tile roofs and smoke from chimneys all mingle and rise past the top of a minaret towards the snowcapped mountains carrying smells of baking bread, roasting coffee and wood smoke touched with soft coal.  Two hours earlier the muezzin’s call to … Continue reading Novi Pazar, Serbia

Serbia, Mokra Gora

(This is an excerpt from a letter from March 2009) Last week I visited a resort, Mecavnik, in the Tara Mountains near the Bosnian border just outside the town of Mokra Gora.  It was built by Emir Kusturica, the Serbian filmmaker (“Arizona Dream”, “Underground”).  We are planning to have the IREX Journalism Summer School there in June and July.  Mecavnik is an “ethno village” designed … Continue reading Serbia, Mokra Gora

Serbia, The Iron Gates of the Danube

This is an excerpt from a Feb, 2011 letter about the Iron Gates. I’ve wanted to get to the Iron Gates of the Danube since I first started coming to Serbia.  The Iron Gates are where the Danube narrows and flows between steep cliffs, marking the border between Serbia and Romania.  This gateway has been fortified by and fought over by the Celts, Romans, Dacians, … Continue reading Serbia, The Iron Gates of the Danube

Guca, The Trumpet Capital of the Balkans

This is my letter from the Guca Festival. August 14, 2011 Belgrade, Serbia Dear Friends, When we got off the bus in Guca my nose was met with the moist smell of grilling meat and the dryer smell of roasting meat. A moment later the dissonant cacophony of three different polyrhythmic bands playing at three adjacent outdoor taverns registered on my brain.  The Guca Trumpet … Continue reading Guca, The Trumpet Capital of the Balkans

Belgrade, NATO Bombing Sites.

This is from an October 2000 letter from Belgrade, on my first visit to the city after Milosevic lost power– and my first visit since the NATO bombing.   When someone asks “do you want to see the sights” he really means “sites,” the places hit during the NATO bombing.  Like in Pristina, the tour points out how accurate the bombing really was.  People mark … Continue reading Belgrade, NATO Bombing Sites.