According To Walter
Its too bad this blog doesn't have an extra-LOUD setting

I like Belgrade (or Beograd or Београд).

But in a different way from the rest of the Balkans.

Its a really neat, giant city. The streets are big and there are tons of shoddy buses blazing around everywhere and the buildings are big. Its like a Rome that agrees with me (but with less awesome food). This place feels less different from home. Something about how its set up I guess.

To be honest, however, Ive gotten tired of the see-this-see-that-go-to-this-museum spirit of traveling so I spent most of my only full day here lounging. Drinking various coffees or sitting in various shades. Because otherwise your time gets sucked up in the maelstrom of looking at buildings and things.

Look! Some statues or whatever!

See? Not amazing. I wish I had an infinite amount of time at my disposal so that, in each of these wonderful cities, I could stay as long as the sponge of my mind needed to soak up the city and culture around it. I was fine with the whirlwind tour of western Europe I took last year because it was more or less a go-to-these-cool-cities-TO-SEE-these-cool-things trip. Whereas here it is more about the culture and the people and the food. Thats not really fair to Spain, Germany, and Italy but its largely because Ive fallen madly in love with the Balkans. And there are less amazing landmarks and whatnot to see here. But the allure is that much more for me because of this. These are excellent places to be.

One thing Ive noticed, I mean, its difficult not to as its so overt, is that the ladies of Belgrade are on the whole very very attractive, not in a beautiful way, but more like hot, you know, like hawt. And they dress like they know it. Interesting, but not my cup of tea.

Seriously, I spent a monstrous amount of time people watching. And the above fact was made abundantly clear to me.

In my non-running-around time, Ive also become wildly fond of the Cyrillic alphabet. Its quite fantastic. Ive gotten a pretty good grip on it (which honestly surprises me) as its relatively simple once you overcome the initial what the hell fear of the letters.

For instance:

says “ulica skadarska” which means “skadarska street.” Eh? Not bad, right?

And this sign is awesome:

For being a warning sign, it seems oddly threatening. Gah I love eastern Europe!

Ive taken the liberty of scribing my name in Cyrillic as well, which is available to you now:

(But to be entirely fair, its Valter Lengel. They dont do much of the W in these languages)

I met a guy in my hostel here (fascinating individual named Martin) who has been traveling for the past 8 weeks from his hometown Innsbruck, Austria. His final destination is Jerusalem. But heres the kicker: hes walking the entire distance. I dont know if you caught that. Hes WALKING. Thats over 1000 km so far and hes got 5 months to go. I asked him if he had some kickass huge maps to plan his trip and he said no, he just follows the water. WHAT?!? Yeah, hes just following the Danube from his hometown to where it hits the Black Sea and then hes going south to Jerusalem. Hes a really interesting guy. I wish I had snapped a picture of him before he left but he kind of looks like this:

but Austrian and with longer hair and glasses…so I guess not really like that. But close!

The point is, I had a flash of the future and became enlightened to the fact that I may very well look like him. Future me now has a second possibility. Which means my options are the above (roughly) or this guy:

Honestly, I dont know which Im pulling for. Both are glorious in their own rights.

Ive got a bit more time in Belgrade and then Ill take the night train tomorrow to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Hooray!

Only a handful of days until I return to good ol’ ‘Merica.

Here are some more pictures Im pleased with:

Im loving the night photography.

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One Response to “”

  1. You’re going to Sofia! (I’ve been reading your blog while bored at work, because it lets me live vicariously through you and still be in Europe). OK, you need to see the obvious things like the Alexander Nevsky cathedral and the fun market next to it, and you should try to get to the “Palace of Culture” – a terrifying building that used to be the largest Communist center outside of Moscow, and looks like it, and also happens to be very near a fun sculpture garden and big trashy park with great beer gardens all over. BUT what you really, really NEED to do is find a way up Vitosha – there’s this old old old ski lift with creepy drunk men who speak no english working it, and it’s definitely not up to any kind of code, but you pay like 5 lev or something and it takes you all the way up to the peak, it’s the most beautiful view, the whole thing might have been the coolest thing I did the entire time in Europe.
    Also, I know it’s weird, but if you happen to pass the Czech cultural center – there’s actually a sign out front that says Prague – go in and see what’s happening, I saw an awesome 40s-ish swingy jazz band there.
    I’m glad you’re having fun. Keep updating so I have reading material at work please.


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