“Serbsplaining” the West

From the early days of modern Serbia, and arguably before, Serbian perceptions and expectations of ‘the West’ were in many ways inextricable from how Serbians perceived themselves. Serbian uprisings against the Ottomans were from the outset imagined as a way for Serbia to re-join and catch-up with its Christian brethren from the West, who were expected to embrace it with open hands. After the last … Continue reading “Serbsplaining” the West

Hidden Belgrade (27): Old headquarters of women’s movement in Belgrade

Although women were not barred from pursuing education in early 19th Century Serbia, in line with the global mores of the day, there was a lot of debate whether education will make them leave the family hearth and neglect their traditional roles, and of course whether mixing with men is at all appropriate. However, in the beginning of modern Serbia, when it achieved an autonomy … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (27): Old headquarters of women’s movement in Belgrade

Poverty and Politics in Serbia

I only became aware of inequality and class division once I moved to a country which is almost synonymous with them: the UK. At both university and work, my British friends frequently dissected levels of “posh-ness” in themselves and others, assessing how appropriate it was to play rugby or vote Conservative, given their background. I was, of course, dumbfounded. In Serbia, discussing “class” and inequality … Continue reading Poverty and Politics in Serbia

Hidden Belgrade (26): Slavija’s strange history, from MacKenzie to McDonald’s

Hated by drivers, and considered the ugliest square in Belgrade, Slavija’s riveting history ironically started off as an attempt to introduce British-style urban planning to Belgrade. The development of the square began with Francis Mackenzie, an enterprising Scottish missionary who moved to the city in 1876 in hope of making Belgraders devote more time to the Bible, rather than smoking and drinking. In 1879 he … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (26): Slavija’s strange history, from MacKenzie to McDonald’s

Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review

A Serbian low-budget sci-fi film  featuring a renowned adult entertainer in the role of an android designed to help (and pleasure) her astronaut/operator on the trip to Alpha Centauri, sounds like something that could, at best, aspire to be a cult-classic taken apart by trash-movie enthusiasts like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, or, at worst, languish in the depths of IMDB’s Bottom 100, only occasionally drawing … Continue reading Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review

Belgrade snobs – a guide

“Local Belgradism, we are all snobs here” drawls Serbian rapping sensation Sajsi MC. Born Ivana Rasic in Vracar, Belgrade’s original “posh” neighbourhood, Sajsi often plays with themes of snobbery and class, and has even developed an alter-ego called Tiffany, a nouveau-riche teen obsessed with expensive tacky clothes, unnecessarily dropping English words into her affected Serbian. If you stroll down Vracar’s unofficial main drag, Njegoseva, on … Continue reading Belgrade snobs – a guide

Hidden Belgrade (25): Belgrade’s lost public baths

Despite the city’s long periods under Roman and Ottoman rule, Belgrade currently does not have a single open public bath probably for the first time in the past 19th centuries. Although neither of them were opulent marble-clad pleasure palaces that can still be enjoyed in Budapest or Istanbul, they would certainly come in handy as atmospheric places to warm up in long winter months and … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (25): Belgrade’s lost public baths

Serbia’s paradoxical affair with history

When pundits look for a culprit for instability in the Balkans, their fingers often point to history, or rather the great fondness the people here have for it. Visitors to Serbia are often baffled by Serbians’ tendency to explain contemporary actions and attitudes by referencing events that happened several centuries ago. For example, it is not uncommon for somebody to explain Serbia’s awkward teetering between … Continue reading Serbia’s paradoxical affair with history

The Nutshell Guide to Costa Rica and Panama

Costa Rica and Panama are both wonderful in very different ways.   Costa Rica’s lush nature, as well as Ticos’ relaxed attitude create an overall sense of contentment and good life (Pura vida!), for which the country is famous. Nature-lovers and adrenaline junkies will love the opportunity to see all sorts of animals, white-water-raft, zip line and hike. Despite Panama City being the most cosmopolitan … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to Costa Rica and Panama

Hidden Belgrade (24): Bežanija airport

2017 marked the 90th anniversary of the opening of the now mostly forgotten, Belgrade International Airport, which was located next to the old Austro-Hungarian village of Bežanija, in what is now New Belgrade. This airport, however, was not the first airfield serving the city. The first airplane to fly from Belgrade took off in Banjica in 1910, close to where VMA, the military hospital complex, … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (24): Bežanija airport