National Museum of Serbia, preview

On this rainy day, I had the privilege of being allowed to see a preview of the National Museum’s new permanent display. As the old one was removed 15 years ago, the Museum for me is a vague memory, conspicuous by its absence. It was a place where I can’t take my visiting friends, it contained artworks that I, alas, cannot see, and was proof … Continue reading National Museum of Serbia, preview

Pokretači #31 Donald Niebyl – Spomenik Database / Illinois, USA

Donald Niebyl founded and manages Spomenik Database, a website dedicated to monumental Yugoslav WWII memorials. Donald not only travelled up and down former Yugoslavia visiting monuments (or ‘spomeniks’ as they are called in local languages), but he also researched and wrote detailed history of many of them, soon to be published as a book – ‘Spomenik Monument Database’ (pre-order on Amazon). Notes Spomenik database on … Continue reading Pokretači #31 Donald Niebyl – Spomenik Database / Illinois, USA

Zagreb: a Belgrader’s take

Despite being named as the best destination in Europe by travel guide publisher Lonely Planet in 2017, Zagreb was the target of a scathing and, at points, hilarious review in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel last July. The review not only claimed that Zagreb is the most boring capital in Europe, but also said that its highway to Croatia’s famed Adriatic coast was the best thing … Continue reading Zagreb: a Belgrader’s take

Finding Count Vronsky in Serbia

In 1878 Leo Tolstoy somewhat abruptly ended the story of desperate and broken Count Vronsky in Anna Karenina by sending him to Serbia to fight in the Serbo-Turkish War of 1876-1878, where he sought adventure, or even death, as penance for his famously ill-fated affair. A century and a bit later, this slightly inelegant end to the story of one of the protagonists of this … Continue reading Finding Count Vronsky in Serbia

Why are Serbians not outdoorsy?

As we were climbing around the ruins of Machu Picchu, feathery clouds clung to peaks covered with thick emerald forest. Rain, which pounded from the morning, stopped and allowed sunlight to shyly caress the sheer black cliffs above the foaming river. Around us, hundreds of tourists were jostling with selfie sticks to capture these magical scenes. My chain-smoking Belgrade-born-and-bred mother slowly moved uphill, panting. Once … Continue reading Why are Serbians not outdoorsy?

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

Sarma, Testicles and Kid-roasts: Rural Serbia’s Real Foodies

The global foodie trend made urbanites in Serbia more conscious about their consumption, and even inspired some of them to try their hand at making healthier, or at least, tastier food. In Belgrade, there are now numerous events devoted to producers of anything from Serbian truffles to Serbian tabasco. Although there are some misfires, Belgrade’s Cheese festival, Night Market and Wine Jam constantly deliver a … Continue reading Sarma, Testicles and Kid-roasts: Rural Serbia’s Real Foodies

The Nutshell Guide to Nicaragua: Leon to San Juan Del Sur

Nicargua is a fantastic country to visit, especially if you are looking to escape the winter in the Northern Hemisphere: it has wonderful colonial towns, great beaches and wonderful landscapes, from active volcanoes to Central America’s largest lake.   We did a short, 10-day version of the “Gringo trail” through Nicaragua, sticking to the Pacific coast from Leon to San Juan Del Sur.  As we … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to Nicaragua: Leon to San Juan Del Sur

Bocas del Toro, Panama

After a day of intense rain in Bocas del Toro, normally a picture-perfect spot in the Caribbean, K and I bagged a reservation in a hostel that Lonely Planet insisted you should “beg, borrow or steal” to get.We moved from a small hostel dive-shop in the main city of the archipelago. Although the weather did not serve us well, Bocas town, a charming mix of … Continue reading Bocas del Toro, Panama

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Our move from Nicaragua to Costa Rica was a matter of much trepidation. Our phones were constantly warning us of the bad weather over the whole country, that we even considred changing our plans and going to Honduras or El Salvador, or even cutting our trip short.  Nevertheless we decided to press on, ignored the Weather Channel and as soon as we crossed the very … Continue reading Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Granada, Nicaragua 

“I hate to say it, but I think you will really regret not going to the volcano.” K. seemed genuinely concrened, as if the fate of my soul was in question. I looked at the looped video showing the mesmerising infernal depths of Massaya on the hostel’s TV. For a moment I felt sinful for even doubting the majesty of the night tour of a … Continue reading Granada, Nicaragua 

Leon/Las Penitas, Nicaragua

This is my attempt at writing a travelogue from my current trip around Central America – hopefully it continues regularly, but no guarantees. I’ll do a few posts with just the ususa where to go what to do stuff later “Manny, we will suck your dick for a beer!”  This cry of desperation came from one of the Canadian Bros on our truck, as it … Continue reading Leon/Las Penitas, Nicaragua

Serbian New Year: the perfect time to start appreciating Turbofolk

The extended holiday season in Serbia finally ends with a bang and a hangover on Serbian New Year’s day, on January 14. Like our belated Christmas, it is a consequence of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s continued adherence to the old Julian calendar, which lags 13 days behind the predominantly used Gregorian calendar. Unlike Christmas, Serbian New Year’s eve is a very raucous affair and a … Continue reading Serbian New Year: the perfect time to start appreciating Turbofolk

Westsplaining the Balkans

Twenty years ago, while the embers of war in Bosnia and Croatia were still smouldering, Bulgarian historian Maria Todorova published “Imagining the Balkans”. In this seminal work, she detailed the ways in which the Balkans have been perceived and documented for centuries both home and aboard – most often as a somewhat brutal and uncivilised forecourt of Europe. Todorova called this discourse “Balkanism” as homage … Continue reading Westsplaining the Balkans

Serbia’s Magic Mountain

Rising majestically above the rolling hills of Eastern Serbia, Rtanj mountain has long captured the imagination because of the strange, pyramidal shape of its highest peak, Siljak (1560m). The mountain’s reputation for the otherworldly goes way back, as a local legend says the mountain was the site of a castle of a powerful (and bling-loving) wizard who decked it out with gold and diamonds, before … Continue reading Serbia’s Magic Mountain

Pokretači 1.12 Biciklom od Beograda do Manhajma – Ana Novaković i Aleksandra Cvetković

Zamišljate da ostavite sve i samo odete na dugu avanturu? Posle pobede na konkursu Ciklomotive, Ana (koju znate iz prve epizode) i Aleksandra su 21 dan vozile bicikl od Beograda do Manhajma u Nemačkoj. Pričali smo o pripremama, peripetijama, i, naravno, promenama koje su se desile tokom ove avanture. Ana i Aleksandra su takođe podelile i svoju top listu sa puta (veoma kosrisno ako idete … Continue reading Pokretači 1.12 Biciklom od Beograda do Manhajma – Ana Novaković i Aleksandra Cvetković

Tirana Transformed

My first impressions of Tirana in 2008, were that the city did not look like anything I’ve ever seen before. Outside of the planned central core, buildings, new and old, were shooting up randomly, making the drive around the outskirts a vertiginous experience. The whole city was marked by almost five decades of Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist isolationism and its chaotic aftermath. There were bunkers, grand … Continue reading Tirana Transformed

Slava: Hygge, Serbian-Style

In the past few years, many have started looking for advice up north in Scandinavia, especially Denmark, in order to help us cope with gloomy winters. Denmark has a well-deserved reputation for great design and high quality of life, but it is hygge, a famously untranslatable lifestyle concept, roughly meaning something like cosiness, that makes many trendy Europeans scour lifestyle websites and coffee table books … Continue reading Slava: Hygge, Serbian-Style

Zašto planinarim?

Autor: Jelena Gatalica Možda za nekoga planina predstavlja samo gomilu kamenja, preveliki napor, ludost i rizik da bi se stiglo do vrha, ali za mene je mnogo više. Ne mogu da kažem, nažalost, da imam dugačak staž kada je planinarenje u pitanju, ali ponosna sam što je moj prvi uspon bio na Prokletije. Krenula sam na taj put, ne znajući ni zašto, ni kako. To … Continue reading Zašto planinarim?