Ottoman 7: Belgrade Tour
Saturday, July 23, 2011
At each capital city, except Bratislava, we take a day break. Here in Belgrade the plans were for a walking tour in the morning, followed by a trip to Dan and Bebe Tana’s boat house on the Sava river, which joins the Danube in Belgrade. Our tour guide showed Cherie, Nels, Katharine, Jurgen, Lisa (and me) a bit around the city and the old fortress. (For actual information on Belgrade, connect with Wikipedia… this is just very brief, anecdotal stuff.)
Like all the cities along the Ottoman Empire Bike Ride route, Belgrade has been through literally dozens of wars over the past couple centuries. This area of the world, between Asia, Europe and the Middle East seems to just invite invaders looking for plunder. One other interesting tidbit… the buildings in Belgrade seem much more rundown than say Budapest. According to the guide, the units inside are often beautiful, but they are owned individually and no one wants to contribute to shared external maintenance because a) they don’t want to pay up, and b) they don’t want to draw attention to their building.
We then drove, walked, and boared over to Bezanija Island in the middle of the Sava River to experience some Bulgarian city/river living – kind of an in-town resort.
This, being a river, was declared both a ‘water feature’ and a ‘water event.’ Cherie, Katharine, Lisa and Nels all jumped in and did some synchronized swimming. Then we all gathered on Dan Tana’s houseboat and had some snacks and beer.
Here’s the scoop on Dan Tana, our generous, wonderful host in Belgrade (Lisa’s description): Dan Tana, aka: Dobrivoje Tanasijevic, was our “contact” in Belgrade thanks to our good friend Miklos Dora. Dan, born 1934, was a Yugoslavian soccer star who defected in the ‘50s, became an actor in LA, opened the L.A. landmark restaurant of the same name, Dan Tana’s in 1964, and co-founder of American Youth Soccer Organiation. Dan was also the past president of Serbia’s most successful soccer club, Red Stars Belgrade. With his beautiful wife Bebe they split thier time between London, LA and Belgrade. Both Dan and Bebe are incredibly gracious and we were lucky to find them in Belgrade and spend time with them.
That night it was every wo/man for themselves… and we all got ready for the last full day of riding through Serbia.
Bob 8/2/11 6:05p Istanbul