Travels

Venice – Italy

Hi guys,

I am back. Last week was super exciting for me since I managed to visit five cities in four days.
Timisoara, Venice, Padua, Treviso and finally Skopje.

My main destination this time was Venice, so my first blog after this journey is dedicated to this unique city. For sure this is a very unique citie, you won’t find anywhere else.
Also it is a city that is sinking, so pack your bags and hurry up before it does, it is a shame not to see it.

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Venice is situated across a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges, of which there are 400. Guys I swear to you I never crossed more bridges in my whole life.  ;’) However ever single one will give you a chance to snap the stunning photo.
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City is perfect just to walk around, get lost, which you will be for sure. lol
Super confusing but in its own charming way.
I was situated in Hotel Lux, literally 50m away from Piazza San Marco.

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In this photo you can see St. Marks Basilica and St. Marks Campanile which is actually a bell tower with height of 98 m and provides truly stunning view on the city.

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Passing next to the bell and turning right you are arriving at The Piazzetta, which to me looked as a extension of Piazza San Marco but it is considered as a different area.
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This area will lead you to the Grand Canal, Bridge of Sighs, Doge’s Palace, Santa Maria della Salute.

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On the other side of the Grand Canal you will see mesmerizing Santa Maria della Salute.
Cheaper option to get there is using gondola ferry and it is 2e one way. The other way is using Vaporeto system which is basically their public transportation and one ticket is 7.5 e , but you may also buy daily pass  for vaporeto, which is 20e …

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The Doge’s Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
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The Bridge of Sighs  is a enclosed bridge, made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge’s name, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.
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Another bridge which you must include in your sightseeing is Rialto Bridge.
Truly  stunning,  the oldest bridge spanning the Grand Cannal.
Here is the view from it.

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Two of the island worth visiting are Burano and Murano.

Murano island famous for glass making. Interesting fact about this island is that all glass maker were obligated to live in this island, so that they can protect secrets of glass making, while Burano is famous for picturesque canals lined with colorful houses.
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Of course when in Venice you have to take a gondola ride. 45 minutes in gondola costs 80 e, and it is not negotiable.  You can eighter choose to pay it yourself and have a private tour or you can wait other travelers so that you can split the fee and meet new interesting folks 🙂 ….

Some of the useful tips I can provide is avoid extremely central places since it can happen that you get charge for service, tax for sitting etc …
You can find many nice restaurant in the narrow streets around the main squares with decent prices. If you are on a budget there are many pizza places where the pizza slice is just 2 e.
You can find gelatos all over the city, very delicious and from 1,5 for one scoop.
Espresso is 2e and I already said how much  I love Italian food, coffee and gelato in my blog about Rome.

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I am finishing up this blog with few pretty pics and talk to you soon guys.
I will be writing about Padua, Treviso and Skopje in my next blog.

Love,
Stefan

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Travels

6 Reason why you should visit Belgrade!

Hello guys,

I am back. This time I have decided to write about the city that has special place in my heart. It is the city that I live in for the past ten years, and the city that I have difficult time moving on from.

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            Photography by Ivan Bukvic  https://www.instagram.com/b.ivan_/

 

Like myself this is the city that survived a lot . It has been destroyed over and over again, and each time it rose from the ashes stronger and more beautiful.

Belgrade keeps not so glory record of being  the most destroyed city in the world, throughout the history. That would be more than 45 times and the biggest damage had in the Second World War when it was bombed by enemies and later by allies by mistake.

Good thing is that this days are long gone. Belgrade now stands as a stunning capital of Serbia, brighter than ever with cultural bloom, delicious food, best night life in Europe and friendly and open people who always try to welcome their guests in best way possible.

Here are the 6.  reasons why you should put Belgrade on your travel list as soon as possible.

1.Belgrade is a historical jewel

The oldest settlement in this city is from 279 BC, today known as a Kalemegdan fortress.

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Photography by Ivan Bukvic https://www.instagram.com/b.ivan_/

The first mention of the city, then called Singidunum, was in the 3rd century, when Celtics defeated Thracian and Dacian tribe and took over this exact fortress. Later on this city fort was conquered by Romans. At that point Belgrade became border between Roman Empire and Central Europe. Interesting fact is that 17 Roman emperors were born in the area of today modern Serbia.
Later on this fort got destroyed several times by the Huns. Legend even says that the Atilla’s grave is under the fortress in the confluence of the rivers, Danube and Sava, but that’s a whole different story 🙂 …
In the 5th century this city becomes border again, now between Western and Eastern Roman Empire. In the 7th century Serbs settled in and that’s the first time of mentioning the name we all know today, “Beograd” which in Serbian and most slavic languages stands for “White city” … To cut to the chase, otherwise this will turn into history lessons.
Fortress changed rulers many times after Serbs settled as well.
Bulgarians, Austro-Hungarian, Ottomans with Serbians restoring it in between, until
1867. when Turks withdraw from Belgrade and Serbia.
Today Kalemegdan fortress has a stunning view from its highest point,on the confluence of two rivers, second biggest river in Europe Danube and Sava, Great War Island and New Belgrade (modern, business and residential area of the city).

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photography by Ivan Bukvić
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https://www.instagram.com/b.ivan_/

Strolling around the fort there is a lot of things to explore such as Roman Well,Military Museum,  Two beautiful Orthodox Churches, Zindan Gate,  Jaksic’s Tower  , Despot Stefan Tower,  Stambol Gate, Gate of Charles VI, Statue of Victor, even a zoo and that is not all.

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Ruzica Church 

2. Bohemian vibe and great food

To experience proper Belgrade Bohemian vibe you will have to visit some of the local restaurants located in SKADARLIJA.

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Skadarlija – Bohemian quarter

Coble-stoned, narrow,  pedestrian area with great restaurants which offer unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.  Very traditional night out with orchestras who are playing tambourines going from table to table and singing traditional songs with locals joining. If you see someone smashing a plate or a glass do not be scared. That probably means he has emotional connections to one of te songs. 😀
It is very bohemian night out, and difference is huge plates and reasonable prices.
Trust me you will not find this sized portions anywhere else. When in this type of night out you have to try Rakija, traditional drink made out of plumb with 60% of alcohol. Usually this drink is home-made wich is much better version than industrial.
You can find different tastes as well such as honey, cherry, peach, apricot etc.
For those who like well-known beverages Kafanas have huge offers of local vines.
When speaking about food Serbian cuisine  is characterized by a mixture of Mediterranean, Central European, Ottoman Turkish, as well as ancient Slavic influences.
With Serbia being located at the crossroads between East and West, its cuisine has gathered elements from different cooking styles across the Middle East and Europe to develop its own hearty gastronomy with an intricate balance of rich meats, vegetables, cheese, fresh pastries and desserts. It has much in common with the cuisines of neighboring Balkan countries, as well as, to a smaller extent, with cuisines of countries as far north as Germany and as far east as Iran and Pakistan. Its flavours are mild, fresh and natural. Seasonings are light, while ingredients are fresh and of good quality.
Some of the dishes you should try when in Serbia are Ćevapi, Karađorđeva snicla, Pljeskavica, Sarma, Prebranac, Musaka … etc …

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Karadjorjdeva snicla 

Some of the restaurant from this streets had an opportunity to welcome famous people from all over the world.
Restaurant  called “Dva Jelena” had honor to  welcome former USA president Jimmy Carter, famous actors Pierce Brosnan and Gérard Depardieu, even the world no.1 cheff Jamie Oliver.
While restaurant “Tri Šešira” had chance of welcoming  another USA president, George W. Bush.

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Interior of a Serbian traditional restaurant “Dva Jelena” 

I am vegetarian myself and past few years this type of diet started expanding in Serbia as well, so you can find many vegan and vegetarian restaurants such as “Radost Fina Kuhinjica”, while many others offer vegan and vegeterian options.

3.  Culture 

Art scene is blooming in Belgrade and it always has been an important part of life, of people living in Belgrade.

-National museum which has over 400 000 artifacts including the cyrillic writing “Miroslavljevo Jevandjelje” from 12th century, protected by UNESCO.  National museum owns paintings of some of the biggest artists of all time such as Van Gogh, Picasso,Rubens, Renoir, while the most valuable painting of El Greko was unfortunately stolen from the Museum in Second World War.
And if you thought that is all, National Museum even has its own Mummy of Egyptian Prist Nesmin, arrived in Belgrade over 130 years ago.

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Nationa Museum 

– Museum of Contemporary Art with 35 000 work of arts. and by its self it is an architectural masterpiece.

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Museum of Contemporary arts 

– Museum of Yugoslav history that displays period of one country from Second World War until it fell apart. Former President Josip Broz Tito is berried behind this museum in his mausoleum with his wife.
-Beli Dvor is Royal House of Serbian Royal dynasty Karadjorjdevic. Inside of this stunning building you can actually see Picasso’s drawings, paintings by Nicolas Poussin and Paolo Caliari.
Beside this huge institutions, young artists organize small independent art exhibitions to represent their work very often.
One of the events that are organized each year is Mikser House which helps young artist to show their work for free.

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Photo from the Last Mikser Festival in 2017.

National Theatre, Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Belgrade Drama Theatre, Atelje 212 offer huge diversity of dramas, ballets and operas.

4. Architecture 
Belgrade has really diverse and interesting architecture because of its history.

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Photo by Ivan Bukvic https://www.instagram.com/b.ivan_/

Neoclassicism,Romanticism, Renaissance, Brutalist architecture and Religious buildings.
Almost every era has its representative. Sometimes even one next to another.

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Konak Knjeginje Ljubice

 
Maybe most interesting fact is that Belgrade has his gates. Eastern and Western gates are proper examples of Brutalist architecture.

 

Serbians are mostly of Orthodox religion. Religion has always played big part in Serbia, and that’s why religious buildings are very beautiful.  If you’re architecture fan or interested in religion you should check some of the churches and cathedrals.
Most beautiful are St Marks Church , St Sava Temple which is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world, Church of Aleksandar Nevski which was project of First Serbian female architecture called Jelisaveta Načić, small hidden church in Kalemegdan fortress, Church Ruzica and many more.

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St. Sava Temple Photo by Ivan Bukvic https://www.instagram.com/b.ivan_/

Since Belgrade has two rivers, it also has many bridges two connect Old city with the new one.  Recent one and for sure breathtaking is Adas Bridge.

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 Photo by Ivan Bukvic https://www.instagram.com/b.ivan_/


5.Nature within the city

There is just few cities out there that can provide you shelter from city noise and modern stressed life …
Well Belgrade is one of them.
Ada Lake or Avala mountain. You choose.

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Ada lake

Ada lake is a place where you can go for a swim, bike ride, walk or just a place where you can enjoy beautiful  sunset in one of the many bars.

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Avala Tower

Avala Mountai is a perfect place for a picnic with your family. And not just that but you can actually visit Avala Tower and enjoy the view from the top either from the top or from the cafe one floor down. While there you can visit the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.

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Monument of the Unknown soldier

6. Party, Party, Party!

So basically Belgrade is all about parting, and not just on the weekends. You can party any day and at any time of the day.
What Belgrade is most famous for are floating boats ( clubs on the river).

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Most of them are working from April until October, but there are some working during the whole year. There are also regular bars and clubs all over the city.
There is something for everyone. Pop, House, Rnb, 90s parties and if you want something really local there are turbo-folk parties or bohemian nights.
During the summer Belgrade has Beer Festival and many more.

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Beer fest

Compared to other parts of Europe, parting in Belgrade is much more affordable. 🙂

This was short list of reasons why you should come to my city.
I really hope some of you decide to come very soon, and if so please contact me so that I can help you explore Belgrade in best way possible. 🙂 

Talk to you soon,
Stefan :*