Sorry readers, I meant to post every day this week. Fortunately, Orthodox Christmas isn’t until January 7th, so posts about holiday gifts are still timely! Which leads to the day three of what do get your favorite Serb: Slippers.
For most Americans, slippers are an…unusual gift. Something that a distant, elderly relative might give you. That they bought at a gas station. The night before Christmas.
But for most Serbians, they are an essential item. Serbians generally don’t wear shoes inside the home. Walk around a Serbian home barefoot and risk being told you’ll become infertile or have kidney problems. Walk around a Serbian house barefoot and sneeze, and expect to be yelled at by someone’s grandmother and swaddled with rakija-soaked towels. Which doesn’t sound so bad, really.
Slippers are easily acquired in and outside of Serbia. In Belgrade, hand-knit slippers are often found around the outdoor markets, at stalls in Kalemegdan, and in the passages below major intersections in town. In America, there are a couple of places to find great slippers I’ve listed below.
If you’re feeling flush, Anthropologie has some cute options like these for $78:
Not in the mood to spend that kind of dough on slippers? Try Ann Taylor Loft’s ballet slipper versions, now on sale under $20:
Or you can try my favorite source for slippers now that I am a convert to the shoeless life: Target.
They have the best selection (for men AND women), and offer ones with rubber soles. Because while I don’t want to catch an illness from bare feet, I also don’t want to slip on tile and crack my head open. Even rakija won’t cure a concussion. I think.
Looking for a gift for a certain special Serbian? Here are two options for anyone missing, or curious to see, a bit of Belgrade.
The first is from fellow Belgrade blogger Andy Townend, who published a book this year featuring his gorgeous shots of the White City.
Unfortunately, the book is currently only available in Serbian bookstores. There’s an option to order it through the Delfi website, but a bit of Serbian is needed to order, and I’m not sure that the book will ship internationally. Check out his blog, http://www.belgradestreets.com, for a free fix until your next visit to a knjižara.
For those without access to Belgrade bookstores, there’s another photography book that’s easily accessible for Americans. Streetartlove.rs/belgrade by Marko Todorovic features Belgrade street art from 2005-2010. It’s a different vibe from Belgrade streets, but just as beautiful. When used with a smart phone, the book also reveals interviews and videos. Best of all, it’s available on Amazon.com
These books should tide your special someone over until they receive the ultimate gift: a plane ticket back to Belgrade. (Save that ticket for springtime, though. Looks like the Balkans are in for another rough winter.)