Belgrade in April...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

... is shyly allowing spring to creep in and cover the bleakness of the concrete with every shade of green. 
 It was freezing cold when we arrived early this morning. I had to "borrow" a pair of socks, which now has taken its rightful place as the newest addition to my Box of Stolen Socks, from a friend. 

Having sorted the feet heating problem, we set of for a traditional Beogradski breakfast: Hemendex! Mmmm it sounds so exotic, seriously intriguing! I cannot wait. I'm salivating and imagining cuts of smoked pork with vegetables and toasted bread and, and, and what I get is 2 fried eggs sunny side up and a couple of  wafer thin ham slices! 
You see Hemendex is actually Ham-and-Eggs written as it's pronounced! Genious! And it was not half bad either! The chef in charge of the breakfast buffet informed us of the pedigree of his eggs. These are no ordinary eggs. They are organic from free range chickens that roam the back yards of his home village. I'm sold. From now on, Hemendex is my breakfast of choice when in Belgrade.

We did not have a lot of time to roam around the city this time. Our friend/driver had to visit her father at the hospital so she dropped us off at  Ušće  Tower Mall. The Ušće Tower was built in 1964 and served as headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist League in former Yugoslavia. The original building was 105 meters tall but during the 1999 NATO air strikes the building was hit setting the upper flours on fire. Between 2003 and 2005 it was reconstructed and in 2009, a shopping mall opened at the south side of the tower. For me this building represents the inevitable but still quite ironic change in the character of former communists countries: during the "golden years" of Yugoslavia the lights were left turned on in the building so at night it would spell out "TITO" nowadays the lights stay on to advertise clothing brands!

After we paid our respects to the altar of consumerism (3 new nail polishes for my ever expanding collection), we set off again for the centre and Skadarska Street. The sun had come out, bringing with him hundreds of Sunday church-goers who decided to ignore the cold northerly wind and enjoy their coffee after Mass in this cobblestoned little street. Skadarska is in the centre of the tourist trail. Here you can find a few really good restaurants offering traditional Serbian cuisine. And they are not very expensive either. We had a wonderful meal at Ima Dana. The tall, white haired, regal looking manager of the restaurant Mr. Vezilić informed us that it was one of the oldest restaurants on the street and there was actually a song written about it! 

As for our meal it was a carnivore's paradise! Cevapi, ustipsi, pjeskavica, kajmak, pork chops, turkey with prosciutto yummy and double yummy... and for dessert... tufahija. A baked apple in light syrup stuffed with walnuts and honey! Simply divine, the perfect dessert to finish off a meat lovers feast. 

Sadly we had to leave and head back to Zagreb. Not to worry thought. We will go back soon, at the end of May for a Pink Martini concert! So next time I will tell you how is Belgrade in May...
Until then....