Beograd

Nowhere near as pretty as Budapest, Belgrade is a grittier, dirtier city. It has a few interesting quirks, though. 

 

Bombed out building. Possibly the former Ministry of Defense?

 
As we were biking into town we noticed the plethora of barge clubs and restaurants along the Danube. The river bank was lined not only with these interesting venues but with a pedestrian walkway and a crazy fair atmosphere. It was a challenge biking through the crowds.

 

Sidewalks are not necessarily for walking in these parts. Cars park all over them.

 
The place I most wanted to visit in the city was the Nikola Tesla Museum. Despite its small size, it didn’t disappoint. We watched an intro video and then got a tour in English, which included “experiments.” Basically, the guide demonstrated several of Tesla’s inventions. 

If you didn’t know, Tesla was a badass. He held 9 of the 13 patents for the electricity generator at Niagara Falls. He lit the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago (the WF from one of my favorite nonfiction books, Devil in the White City). He created a remote-controlled boat well before the public was ready to accept such “magic” (they actually thought he had telekinetic powers even though he tried to explain the science). He patented alternating current generators and the Tesla coil, used in many modern machines. For more on Tesla, see The Oatmeal’s comic/homage. It’s at least as good a source of info as the museum we went to.

We got to see many of the inventions demonstrated. There was a pretty large Tesla coil that the guide activated while several of the visitors held neon lightbulbs. I held one, and it glowed green like a light saber without being plugged in because the air was conducting the electricity needed. Pretty cool stuff. Then I got zapped by a smaller coil and the electric arc it put out. It was fun and educational.

The rest of our time in Beograd, we wandered about. We saw the old citadel at Kalemegdan and some cool tanks on display there. 

  
We also spent a lot of time hanging around Sveti Sava, the largest Orthodox Christian church in the world and one of the top ten largest church buildings. It’s an impressive structure from the outside, but the inside is almost entirely unfinished due to budget shortfalls. Luckily, there are some gold-gilded paintings of saints and what-not along with gift shops for buying candles to light. Therefore, the church still sees plenty of devout visitors who donate in order to finish the decor. Lots of people made the rounds, kissing each painting and crossing themselves compulsively. There was also a section of the church covered in loose grass. In this area, people were weaving little wreaths to put on all the paintings and statues. One man’s job consisted of collecting the wreaths and moving them to a pile as well as wiping the kisses off the paintings.

Mike was enjoying the people-watching but was disappointed in the costuming. You’d be surprised how many people pray to their god and saints in sweatpants or leggings and ridiculous t-shirts that say things like “Shut up and kiss me.” Just as Mike voiced his disappointment, three nuns in full nun attire walked in. Not only did their outfits make the photos better, they actually did everything in sync. Mike’s prayers were answered.

 

Sveti Sava

 
A lot of our time in Beograd was spent sitting in parks eating ice cream and people watching. We decided we were a little sick of cities, so our goal moving forward is to visit more no-name places in between the typical tourist stops. Time to get off the beaten path.

Comments
2 Responses to “Beograd”
  1. Rob B. says:

    As I have read the book, “Tesla: Man Out of Time” I found your experience of the museum exciting.
    The oatmeal comic, very entertaining.
    -Rob

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