Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In Belgrade

I decided to head to Belgrade yesterday.  I loved Sarajevo, but I need to be in Istanbul by January 29 and I'm not sure what transportation options await me past Sofia.

A house I saw walking back and forth to the laundromat.

Another house in the area.

Looking down the hill heading back to the apartment from the laundromat, which is up the hill.

Apartment building in the neighborhood.

The National Bank of BiH.

Just down the street from my apartment.

Another tram.  I think this is the street that was known as "sniper's alley".

The 1984 Winter Olympics symbol.

In the old city.

Old city.

From old city, looking across the river.

The old city.

An indoor market.

Indoor market.

I got a 6:00 AM bus out of the Sarajevo main bus station (next to the train station), and arrived in Belgrade a little after 1:00 PM; a trip of less than 300 kilometers (about 180 miles) taking more than seven hours.

The first rest stop in Bosnia.  I'm always afraid of getting left behind at one of these bus stops.

First bus stop in Serbia.

Much of the trip through Bosnia was in the mountains, and I'm sure the scenery would have been great if it had not been dark for much of the time.

I was curious to see what it would be like to go from one entity in Bosnia to another.  I looked, but I didn't see any sign announcing that we were entering the Republika Srpska.  I just noticed that the signs that show names of towns changed from showing the name first in the Latin alphabet and next in Cyrillic, to showing the Cyrillic first.  And I started seeing more signs in Cyrillic.  After crossing into Republika Srpska I still noticed a lot of towns that had mosques, some of them looking very new.

We crossed the Serbian border at Zvornik.  The border here is defined by the River Drina.  We went through a checkpoint on the Bosnian side of the river, and another on the Serbian side.  In Serbia, I noticed things moved more slowly.  The roads were bumpy and we were often stuck behind tractors and slow, old cars.

My host Damir met me at the bus station and walked with me to the apartment.  I have the whole apartment to myself because Damir just rents it out.  It's very close to Knez Mihailova, one of the main shopping / hanging out streets in Belgrade.  After getting unpacked and washing some clothes, I had a late lunch at a restaurant just down the street.  Then I went walking around Knez Mihaila.

Great Communist era clock on a building.  They did some great design back then.

Knez Mihailova

Book shop window on Knez Mihailova

Cool sign - I think it might say "Progress"

Knez Mihailova

More (presumably) Communist era architecture

Art gallery

Looking at bad paintings for sale on the street

Another art gallery

Just off Knez Mihailova

This morning, I went to the train station and bought a ticket to Sofia.  On the wall behind the woman selling me the ticket, there was a map of Europe that showed two Germanys, a whole Czechoslovakia, and a whole Yugoslavia.  The whole station looked like it hadn't had much done to it since those times.  I am taking the night train tomorrow night, and I have a couchette reservation.  The train leaves at 9:50PM tomorrow night and gets to Sofia at 8:13AM Saturday.  I have heard some horror stories about this train, so it should be interesting.  I have to check out of the apartment by 2:30PM tomorrow so I will leave my big bag at the left luggage facility at the train station, and carry around everything of value that I have in my smaller backpack the rest of the day and evening.  I'm not sure I would want to leave anything of much value at the Belgrade train station left luggage.

A street market, heading down hill towards the train station this morning.

The train station

The platforms

Inside the train station.

There are still a lot of Yugos around here.


  1. I read that the sarajevo-belgrade train was discontinued because of lack of traffic?! I find that hard to believe. What did you learn?

  2. The rail system is in such bad condition that it's faster for people to take a bus, and Serbian railways doesn't want to invest in it. That's what I heard.