Across Continents

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Bustling Belgrade

I’ve fallen in love with Belgrade. More intrigue than a passing infatuation. An inviting rawness, drawing you in. The traffic’s chaotic, there’s a few bomb-damaged buildings in the Government district, standing derelict. And you probably wouldn’t want to ask about the air quality.

Defence Ministry

It hadn’t been love at first sight. That’d be asking too much. It had taken a few days, wandering about the place. I’d popped into the British Consulate for tea and a chat. Made me very welcome, busy people who’d taken time out to share thoughts and advice about the country. Got me thinking.

The following day I went along to the Remembrance Day Service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery, across the city from the hostel. I probably stood out a bit in my bright yellow jacket, but I’d at least found a poppy to wear. Unexpectedly introduced to our Ambassador and his wife, I kicked myself for not knowing the correct terms of address. Left my copy of Debrett’s at home. They didn’t seem to mind, or at least didn’t let on. Another warm welcome.

But it was on the way back into the city centre that things began to gel. I’d stopped at a small petrol station, on the pretext of buying something to eat, but really with an eye on their toilet. I’d ended up chatting for a while. Unexpectedly found myself invited over for lunch in a couple of days. Enough time to check the local customs. That was it. Forget the politics, the recent turbulent history, the grime, the occasional child rooting around in the bins for scraps. Instead, see a nation endeavouring to pull itself towards greater prosperity, a friendly, hospitable people who seem genuinely pleased that you’ve chosen to visit their country.

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3 responses to “Bustling Belgrade”

  1. In case you meet any more Ambassadors, you’d just say (From Debrett’s) “Ambassador” or (apparently) their name, and that applies to female Ambassadors too. Their spouse is entitled to no special form of address.

    Your blog is a very enjoyable and inspiring read. I wish you well on your amazing journey, and of course will continue taking an interest.

  2. Ivan K says:

    http://blog.b92.net/text/13380/Diplomata%20od%20bicikliste%20u%C4%8Di%20%C5%A1ta%20je%20prava%20oprema/

    Mr. Sean Moran, UK Consul, has just published a blog about your jurney on the one of the most popular webportals in Serbia.

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