Serbian South by South-West: Exploring Uvac and Prijepolje

I often passed through Nova Varoš and Prijepolje on my way to the Montenegrin coast as a kid. While it is from Užice (or some would say Ovčar Kablar gorge) that the landscapes in Serbia turns truly majestic, I never stayed much, rushing towards the coast around Budva or towards Nikšić, where my family hails from. This year, of course, there was no trip to … Continue reading Serbian South by South-West: Exploring Uvac and Prijepolje

Picturesque: Hiking through Zagajička Hills in Banat and taking a ferry to Ram

“Does such a thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs – Donna Tartt, Secret History As a person who is largely swayed by aesthetics, it is … Continue reading Picturesque: Hiking through Zagajička Hills in Banat and taking a ferry to Ram

Yugohotel: Omorika, Tara

Built in 1978. based on the design of Miroslav Krstonošić, a Ljubljana-educated architect from Novi Sad, Omorika is named after an autochthonous spruce which grows on the slopes of Tara. Its tent-shaped design was awarded Borba prize for architecture, and its interior still looks very much in vein of other Yugohotels. Thanks to the fact that it still owned by the Serbian Military (although accessible … Continue reading Yugohotel: Omorika, Tara

The Green and Pleasant Land

On May 12, 2016 I left the UK to return to Serbia. I spent amazing time in the UK studying, working and getting to know this lovely country and its great people, taking the time to do thinks like hiking around the dramatic coast of Cornwall, roadtripping around the Cotswalds and checking out its elegant gothic village churches (and a pub or two). Anyhow, here … Continue reading The Green and Pleasant Land

Warrior Posing

Ever since the debates about current or imminent “fascism” and “antifascism” (or Antifascism™)  became popular again, I came to think about my grandad, who as a committed communist before WWII and then a partisan during it would probably have more to say than those engaging in these debates now. He was a bit of an oddity as a bourgeois lawyer/communist in Nikšić, a town in … Continue reading Warrior Posing

Semana Santa, Granada 2014

Ever since I first visited Granda in 1998, that city had a special place in my memory, alongside Rome (and later: Naples, Rio and Delhi), as a truly a magical place (to use the most rote description possible). In my memory, at least, even the worst moments I spent in those places (and also Rio and Delhi) are likely to be better than the best … Continue reading Semana Santa, Granada 2014

Where to go in Serbia in 2020?

Spring is almost here, and given the global Corona virus health scare it will probably make sense to keep travels local in the next few months. Following the tradition of my recommendations from 2019 here are a few suggestion on what to check out in Serbia in 2020. Niš appeal Serbia’s third largest city, with the second largest airport in the country, is unjustly overlooked … Continue reading Where to go in Serbia in 2020?

Dr Milutin Velimirović: A Serb in pre-WWII China

“With great interest and special pleasure I set off on a trip to that ancient and mysterious land: land of queued hair and opium, tea and silk, land of one of the oldest peoples in the world, whose existence we could have doubted due to its enormous distance and unknowability. In front of me was an entirely separate world, special, remote culture, which until recently … Continue reading Dr Milutin Velimirović: A Serb in pre-WWII China

Magic of Epiphany in Serbia

The Feast of Epiphany, which according to the Julian calendar falls on January 19, is the day with some of the most colourful rituals in Serbia as it marks the end of Christmastide. Given it is the day when, according to the New Testament, Jesus’s divine mission became apparent to the masses after his baptism in the river Jordan, most of the folk rituals surrounding … Continue reading Magic of Epiphany in Serbia

Bains des Pâquis: Public Bath for the People, by the People in Geneva

Forget the UN buildings, private banks and fancy boutiques, the best place in Geneva is the city’s beloved public lido: Bains des Pâquis. Originally founded in 1872, but reconstructed in modernist style in 1932, Bain des Pâquis are not only a great place to get a dip in Lake Geneva, but a spa centre, restaurant and a positive social experiment all rolled into one. The … Continue reading Bains des Pâquis: Public Bath for the People, by the People in Geneva

Swisstacular walk between Schönried and Rougemont

Today I went on probably the most beautiful hike of my life, between two villages in Switzerland‘s famously glitzy area around Gstaad . The walk encapsulated almost all that is great about the country: fantastic scenery dominated by Le Rubli, multiculturalism (Schönried is German-speaking, while Rougemont is French-speaking), and strong sense of local pride and history. There was also a touch of Gstaad over the … Continue reading Swisstacular walk between Schönried and Rougemont

Post Tenebras Lux? Life In One of Europe’s Richest Cities.

How do millennials fare in one of the richest cities of Europe? We interview two Genevans to find out.  After studying international relations, M. (30) works in HR for a global financial institution in Geneva. She always thought she would pursue a career in development, and even spent a gap year teaching French in an orphanage in Senegal. She remember fondly her humanitarian time. It … Continue reading Post Tenebras Lux? Life In One of Europe’s Richest Cities.

British Aisles

My first serious relationship with organised religion and an adult began while I was studying in Oxford. One of my best friends, a devout South African, mentioned he was going for a Sunday evensong at New College, and a few of decided to join him – albeit more for the aesthetics of listening to wonderful music inside a famously ornate medieval chapel, than for the … Continue reading British Aisles

Best “Made in Serbia” Gifts

“Made in Serbia” should be a much bigger thing than it is currently. The country is full of artisans and entrepreneurs, old and new, making fantastic things, but we do not give them enough credit. Indeed, due to the deprivation and harsh sanctions during 1990s  even many locals tend to look down on local produce and prefer foreign wares – but  Serbian producers are making … Continue reading Best “Made in Serbia” Gifts

Horrific Things to Do in Serbia

If you thought bad trains, crumbling roads, tacky hotels and dodgy kafans are the worst you can expect when visiting Serbia, prepare to be frightened. Serbia offers many super-natural ways to die, be abducted by paranormal forces or just suffer at the hand of the locals. It isn’t all that bad: these scary, orientalising stories inspired Marina Abamović’s interesting Balkan Erotic Epic and a group … Continue reading Horrific Things to Do in Serbia

Autumnal Road Trip Down the Drina

One of my favourite family trips was going rafting on the Tara river in the summer of 2011. Back then, I had little knowledge of how beautiful the nature is in the Balkans, and was sad that I will not get the chance to explore it at leisure as I was set to move half-way around the world (that, thankfully, did not happen, but I … Continue reading Autumnal Road Trip Down the Drina

Rediscovering the Magic of the Gusle

The first time I heard live gusle singing, a UNESCO-protected Serbian national ritual, was not fortuitous. I was fifteen, and my stern Serbian teacher took our High School class to a local library to hear poems and stories written by fellow high-schoolers. The boredom of this dreary event was somewhat lifted when one guy decided to perform his longish poem, written in traditional decasyllabic verses, … Continue reading Rediscovering the Magic of the Gusle

Going “Down South”

Apart from expressions of admiration for the beauty we were almost constantly seeing, the most common conversation topic within my group touring Serbian heritage sites in Kosovo and Metohija was hushed and almost embarrassed question: „Why did you decide to come here?“.  It was closely followed by an admission, that seemed to unite all of us : “My friends and family thought  that I was … Continue reading Going “Down South”

Morava Style: Medieval Serbia’s Majestic Swan Song

When I first laid my eyes on Ravanica’s Church of Ascension last spring, it became apparent why medieval Serbia’s first and last autochthonous architectural style inspired so many artists through the centuries, from the graceful architecture of Branko Tanazević to the subtle poetry Vasko Popa. That cold April morning, I could not peel my eyes from the intricate rosettes and writhing mythical animals, which enlivened … Continue reading Morava Style: Medieval Serbia’s Majestic Swan Song