July 4, 2011

Not a bad time to be in Belgrade!

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to fireworks blasting, car horns blowing, vuvuzelas...vuvuzela-ing, music playing, and cheers from all around Belgrade celebrating Novak Djokovic's victory at Wimbledon. Now, I'm not much of a tennis fan and I must confess that I'd never heard of Djokovic until yesterday but it's still really exciting! There's a huge concert outside the Parliament building and everyone is wearing red, white and blue and draped in the Serbian flag.

 It's a pretty cool time to be in Belgrade if I do say so myself!

Anyway, hello friends and happy 4th of July! By this time, you're all probably gearing up for barbecues and fireworks while I'm gearing down for bed! It's my last night in Belgrade and subsequently, the last night of my program and after an exhausting 10 days gallivanting around Europe watching international law in action, I'm ready to start the next phase of my journey in Rome tomorrow evening!
Overlooking Sarajevo

So what's been going on with me since I last posted? Well, we spent our last day in Bosnia visiting Srebrenica and the Potocari Memorial to commemorate the victims of the 1995 genocide. I cannot adequately write a post giving this topic the level of respect it deserves right now, so I'm going to refrain from doing so until I can but all I can say is that being at Potocari was quite possibly one of the saddest experiences of my entire life. Within seconds of walking into the Memorial, I was sobbing...not crying, sobbing, as was nearly everyone in my group. I have never been to Auschwitz or any other similar place but I would imagine the feeling is very similar. I plan on writing a post about this in the future to really give the topic the respect it deserves.

Sunday and today, we spent in meetings in Belgrade and finally wrapped up our trip. Belgrade is a really interesting city. As Lonely Planet puts it, "Belgrade is not a beautiful city - even Belgraders agree on that - but it is an interesting city that's full of hedonism, passion and finesse. Architecturally, it's a mishmash of two centuries of grandiose buildings and ugly Soviet-style concrete blocks."

The Parliament building in Belgrade
It's insanely cheap and while hunting for authentic Serbian food, it seems that every restaurant's favorite thing on the menu is pizza. It's absolutely nothing like Sarajevo or the whole of Bosnia, for that matter, which leaves me completely boggled as to how these two completely antithetical places were the same country for nearly 50 years. But I guess that's where Communism came in. While I had always wanted to go to Sarajevo, Belgrade was never at the top of my list of places to travel but I'm really glad I got to see it and try to make sense of the dynamic between the two former Yugoslav republics but it's a little weird being in a country that doesn't even have the same alphabet as you, never mind speak the language. So, tomorrow afternoon, I'm off to Rome and so ready for my mini-holiday there!  

Let me tell you, 1 class, 3 professors, 13 students, 3 cities (and a layover), one almost-missed flight followed by a missed connection and lost luggage, a poorly planned itinerary that left no time for lunch most days and (for me) a week without running has made me more than ready for this class to be over. It really was great but it was a lot. I'm meeting-ed out and ready to continue with the rest of my summer...my plans for which have changed pretty significantly over the last few days but you'll just have to stay tuned and find out just how and why =)

Happy 4th of July everyone!


  1. That picture of you is so beautiful! What wonderful experiences too. Can't wait to hear more!!

  2. I'm glad to hear you're having a good time, despite the lost luggage and missed connections :( I'm excited to read about the rest of your summer plans!!! HAVE FUN!!!

  3. It sounds like you're having an amazing time, and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures as they continue. I have to say that I completely understand your feelings about the genocide memorial. I went to Dachau last summer, and there are no words to describe how I felt in such a place.


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