Read, Write, Run, Roam

The 5 Stages of Reading Belgrade Travel Articles…


RHOB’s 5 stages of reading travel articles about Belgrade

  1. Pleasant surprise: “Oh, look, a travel article about Belgrade!”
  2. Curiosity: “I wonder what the author thought of the people, food, music, scenery…”
  3. Hope: “Perhaps I will learn about something new.”
  4. Disappointment: “This is…alarmingly similar to every other Belgrade article.”
  5. Frustration: “Did this person just copy the last article I read? It looks like the writer blindly followed his guidebook. This is cliched, hackneyed crap. If someone offered me money to write about travel…” Mumbling and sighing ensues.

Reading Belgrade travel articles is like Groundhog Day: it’s the same experiences/language, again and again. Sure, some repetition is necesary-there should be discussions of Kalemegdan or Ada-but the impressions are usually the same. “It’s nice. The women are pretty.” I wouldn’t mind if a writer hated Belgrade, as long as his experience wasn’t passive or totally cliche, like “There’s more to Belgrade than its war-torn image.” You get the idea.

So I’ve decided to do something about it, and I hope my BGD readers will help. Here’s the first installment of

Travel Writing Tips for Belgrade

Part 1: Dining.

I don't wanna Iguana

Readers, if I have to read about Iguana one more time, I’m going to scream. Look, I like Iguagna-it has nice food, it’s on the water and has live music. What’s not to like? But it’s one of the ONLY places mentioned in articles.

There are tons of other restaurants with a fun atmosphere and good food. Here’s my short list: Lorenzo and Kakalamba, Public Dine and Wine, Whatever @ the Corner, Restaurant 27 (though that’s a bit in the ‘burbs). Communale is also nice, and it’s even owned by the Iguana people-give it a try! There are surely other great places, but I wouldn’t know because people rarely write about them.

Skadarlija

Now, let’s talk about Serbian food. Almost every article goes to a place on Skadarlija. I don’t blame them for this; it’s a very pretty street, and the live music is nice. Personally, I think the “Big Three” Serbian restaurants there are touristy and overrated. But I can’t deny that it’s a lovely street to linger on during a warm afternoon or evening. So in addition to Skadarlija, please go to another kafana: Vuk, Srbksa Kafana, Cucina Kafana, Kalenic Kafana…the list goes on.

The chances that a travel writer will actually read this post are slim, I know. But perhaps my Serbian readers can help me out. What restaurants are writers missing out on? And what, if anything, would you change about travel writing in Belgrade?

Hajde, travel writers…you can do this…

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6 responses

  1. Andrej

    I hate to niggle, but it’s only to make your post better – the name is ‘Srpska kafana’. 🙂

    March 18, 2011 at 7:44 am

  2. Stefan Pfeuffer

    Yes, it’s true, travel articles on BG are almost always completely interchangeable. I can totally understand your frustration there. But I’m not so sure that this is such a bad thing, at least at the moment. While for someone who is familiar with the city it might not be interesting to see the same places recommended over and over again, I also think that generally speaking these places serve as a good introduction to first-time visitors. And just the fact that people are actually writing about Belgrade is a huge change from a few years ago and a very positive development. And, on a more selfish note, I wouldn’t want my favourite places to be over-run by the tourist masses (as if that’s going to happen…) 😉

    March 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

  3. Ack! Fixing it now. Thanks.

    March 20, 2011 at 8:07 am

  4. Thanks for the comment! I’m glad to see the write-ups too. But anyone doing a little research will figure out the “top 10,” you know? Financial Times had a good article on hidden bars in Belgrade-I should have linked to it in the post-and that’s the kind of thing I’d like to see more of. I was a little nervous about posting some of my favorite places, but I like sending dinars their way…

    March 20, 2011 at 8:10 am

  5. Stefan P

    Yeah, I know the FT article you mention and it was definitely cool and showed that the author went a bit further than the usual spots. And in the end I don’t really mind sending people to my favourite places (like “Srpska Kafana” or some of the others you’ve mentioned) so they can really enjoy and maybe fall in love with the town.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

  6. Pingback: Top 10 Reasons To Visit Belgrade | @stefanpfeuffer

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