Sofia

I catch myself thinking that nothing can surprise me anymore. And every now and then I get amazed. When we arrived to the biggest Bulgarian city I didn’t expect modern architecture and I was right. What I saw, I would call a “deep communism style”. It was hilarious to see a compact McDonald’s injected into the station’s landscape.

sofia station

The day we arrived to Sofia was one of the longest days. As usual, we were tired and the temperature was very high. We had a few hours before meeting our host, so we decided to devote that time to find a nice place to sit in a shadow. There was no bench, however a sidewalk worked for us perfectly.

After having some rest we decided to see what the city has to offer. We just opened the map to have a look where to head to and immediately some lady came to us asking if we need any help. That was very unexpected and nice.

We came across very strange balloon head statue. Actually, it’s Stefan Stambolov, Bulgarian politician. And opposite to him, there is a couple of deer. Cute. This kind of sculptures always make me curious about their origins. How amazing it is to be an artist, whose pieces of art are well recognized and liked. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but Mr. Stambolov’s statue is a spot point for a pub crawls. I’m not sure about deer’s role though…

stefan's head

deer

To be honest, I found Sofia very artistic. Starting from simple mosaics on the sidewalk, through the icons at the local market, to street artist selling his work. I regret I didn’t ask for a portrait.

lion mosaic

mosaic

icons

street artist

Somebody had really nice idea to decorate the city with fake, but still cute birds. We cold also noticed live animals, like homeless dogs, or a horse… The climbing cats are very common in this particular place in the world. But you know, cats are cats.

birds

horse

hello kitty

While walking around the city I noticed something really disturbing. I could really read what was that place, but I assumed it was really big deal, if the guns are not allowed there. Damn, and I wanted get inside so badly ;)

no guns

Serbia has a huge touristic potential, but we didn’t manage to see it all. But then again, we can come back some time and see the rest of it. Honestly can’t wait for it.

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Belgrade

Ah, Serbia, my love!

I would never guess that I would fall in love with Serbia so quickly and permanently, though I have no idea why this was a surprise for me. It is a beautiful country with a great culture and history.

A seed of curiosity for this country sowed with Zuzanna, an enthusiastic and cheerful Slovakian girl. We (Monika and me, still travelling together) met her in a train to Belgrade. We were exhausted and actually were planning to get some sleep in this night train, but it wasn’t meant to be. Zuzanna talked for the whole journey and I was listening with my eyes wide open, curious about every little detail of her stories. Besides well known local alcohol, she also gave us many helpful tips and even offered her company for the next day.

As soon as we arrived, we took some free maps and headed to the city centre for breakfast. I don’t remember exactly when did I realize Serbia is my favourite Balkan country (or even European.. Still haven’t been in so many places!). However, the train station was quite ugly, there was nothing really to be excited about. A few moments later I had a mini heart attack, when I saw a RAT while walking through the park. I need to mention that rats and bats are the only animals I just cant’ stand. Later that day I was trying to enjoy a nice and warm evening on a balcony. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bat flew just above my head! Brrr, another lovely encounter with the wild nature.

As you see, it was quite a ¨warm¨ welcome for me. Despite it all, Serbia has a special place in my heart.

Back to the park topic… For the first time in my life I had a nap on a bench at a park. And it was great! The evening weather was perfect, I didn’t need a blanket, not even a pillow. My purse was good enough. (Thank you Monika for looking after me while I was napping. I bet that minimized the risk of robbery to zero.)

Anyway, after breakfast (delicious burek) and coffee we said goodbye to Zuzanna and set up plans with her for the next day. We found our host and had a shower (separately!) and then some rest.

The early evening we spent on general sightseeing, only the main points of the city centre, which meant only one street, because we didn’t really have strength to go further.

Belgrade is kind of a spiritual city, I think…

god sa

We were told that there are very famous and popular boat parties there. Sounds fancy, huh? Huge yachts with skinny tanned celebrities drinking champagne? Not necessarily…

boat parties 2

I cannot deny though, it does sounds like fun! Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to check it out. But that’s ok, we will be back there! However, we could hear Goran Bregović’s songs from far away. That was a really Serbian evening!
Oh, another thing to do next time: visit Tesla’s museum!

boat parties 1

Are you into fashion? Anja Rubik is! She’s a Polish top model who married a Serbian model. Right now she’s quite popular in Poland, so it was pretty hard to avoid hearing news and gossips about her. She was travelling around Serbia at the same time as we were, and we took the same lame pictures… I don’t even know why I brag about it. Maybe because I take celebrities-alike pictures… That should make me famous too, right? Nah, better not!!!

anja rubik pic

Here it is, a Serbian exhibition presenting charming Polish cities.

If it comes to art and stuff, we found many reasons to smile. Literally. Monika spent more than an hour only on choosing a perfect cup for her family. And another hour on deciding if she should choose something else, because everything was so adorable!

souvenirs

Some other time we saw a really nice piece of street art. I think the message is obvious to everyone.

street art

In a park we admired a fountain sculpture that reminded us of something. This facial expression would be fantastic for a meme. I should focus on this perhaps. That could be a brilliant and hilarious idea…

meme

While going back home (or going out late?) we came across this peculiar clock. It’s very accurate, but the placement is a little bit unfortunate because of the tree right in the middle of the view.

clock

The next day was incredibly long and productive. We met Zuzanna and her Serbian friend Vukan and we went to a food market for fresh vegetables, bread and white cheese. It was the greatest breakfast I’ve ever had. This market had a strong mixed smell of ripe fruit and mature cheeses and bacon. Delish! Real feast for my eyes… and my nose, too!

market

bacon

After trying some local food we had a nice walk with Zuzanna’s dogs along the riverside. I need to admit though, it was slightly too hot for… moving. I didn’t get use to the high temperatures, even during the summertime. As smart as we are, we spent our holidays without any hats. I really wonder how is it possible that we never had a sun stroke. We were silly, but lucky I guess.

bridge

under the bridge

so hot!

In beautiful landscapes there is one thing that is impossible to avoid… Wedding pictures team. A happy bride and a handsome groom. And that awkward moment when you hesitate if you should just go on and pass by them or just wait until they finish the session. Anyway, congratulations guys!

couple

Ah, Belgrade, I could take a million pictures of you and none will show how beautiful you are. Hope to see you again this summer!

panorama serbia