fivemack (fivemack) wrote,

Belgrade 3

I've decided my holiday plans are insufficiently Byzantine, so am heading to Thessaloniki-in-Greek-Macedonia this evening rather than to Nis; fourteen hours on a sleeper train through Skopje-in-Macedonian-Macedonia. Greek countryside ought to be quite pretty from the train window.

Today revolved around laundry and shut museums; the laundrette is forty-five minutes from the hostel down one of the main shopping streets, providing an opportunity for tea and cake at the Hotel Moskva, and then a long walk over to Zeman at the other side of the Danube to the exciting-sounding Museum of Contemporary Art, which is in an enormous wooded park but unfortunately shut down in June for an unclear period.

The Museum of the City of Belgrade and the National Museum of Yugoslavia are also shut down; I think part of this is budget cuts, though the hostel-keeper suggests that part of it a desire to twiddle the displays to focus on Serbia and cut out all evidence that Montenegro had ever been part of the federation.

The military museum in the fortress was again intriguing in its omissions - the collection stopped in 1919, apart from one room on the American bombing in 1999 which had a display of the flight-paths of different kinds of bombers from such exotic places as PAMMШTEIH and МИЛДEНХОЛ done in exactly the same style as the display of the routes by which sipahis, janissaries and bashi-bazouks attacked in the fourteen-hundreds in an earlier room. The traditional early-20th-century Serbian side-arm appears to be a filigreed-stock 45-calibre six-shooter, a revolver of truly unreasonable size; which makes one think about Serbians, in much the same way as the noncommital note 'Thai battles were often decided by the opposing generals' engaging in single combat with large scythes from elephant-back' makes one decide not to invade Thailand today.

Just before I leave Serbia, let me enthuse about the food; it is not for nothing that the Serbian for tomato is 'paradais'. Simple salads of tomato, chopped onion, cucumber and a cheese just a notch or two less sharp than feta make a gorgeous starter, and the meat, whether steak or pork-schnitzel or long-braised lamb, is copious and good and cheap - ten Euros gets a tasty two-course meal with beer. Also Belgrade is purring with feral kittens.
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