the last recap in this series is a mashup of the last two countries we visited during our week around the balkans. due to the extremely short amount of time we spent in macedonia, and the reasonable amount of time we spent in serbia it seemed easier to combine the two.
belgrade, serbia was much different to me than the other areas we visited throughout the week. belgrade had a vibe much more of a modern city than any of the others. belgrade was booming with busy streets, towering buildings, and the overall feel of a busy city. while other areas, namely albania and montenegro, had a much different feel of a more calm and relaxed city, almost from a different time, serbia was much the same but also much different.
our first night in the city of belgrade was spent exploring. we found a mcdonalds and embraced our true american-ness by having it for supper. the next day was much more of an event. we departed early the next morning to visit the House of Flowers, along with its accompanying museums. this memorial to the late Josip Broz Tito, former leader of Yugoslavia, was brilliant. it was absolutely beautiful and gave a comprehensive history of the former Yugoslavic nation.
in the middle of the memorial lies tito’s tomb, while off to the side, and scattered throughout the house and museum, are all of the batons from the relay of youth. this event was carried out in yugoslavia annually. for the relay, an original baton would be carried from town to town throughout the town before it was finally given to tito on the day of his birthday, may 25. this event became incredibly popular throughout the nation and even became a national holiday. a large number of these batons are showcased at the house of flowers and they are all incredibly unique. we also made a nice furry friend outside of the house. of course, pictures. 🙂
we next met with artist vladimir miladinovic of belgrade. we spent time in his studio where he informed us of his yugoslav based projects, in an attempt to showcase a history that had the possibility of dying out if not preserved. vladimir’s studio was incredible and there were numerous different projects going on all throughout the building.
we went out for dinner that night at a nice restaurant and had the absolute best time. the band played throughout the entire meal, giving us lots of laughs and serenading some of us more than others (Isabella). after the meal we went out to the zone club on the barge. having never been to a club in the states before, this place was wild for me to say the least. we got back to the hotel incredibly late from this club, but rose again bright and early the next morning to make our way to macedonia!
due to some difficulties, being a sharp stop that led to Dr. Dan having to visit the hospital for stitches, our trip to skopje, macedonia largely consisted of eating lunch, walking around a bit, and getting back on the bus to finally end an incredible but tiring week back in prishtina! the city was beautiful and if not for the unfortunate events of the day we’d have gotten to do a bit more exploring, but i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t so ready to go back to kosovo for a rest and to start classes the next day!
getting the experience the balkans region through the course of a week was an incredibly unforgettable experience. never before had the balkans been on my radar as an area where i wished to visit, but is not one that i am so thankful that i got to experience. each country was so unique in its history and its culture. i learned so much from this week that i could never get from a textbook. i almost feel guilty for the amount that i gained out of this first week alone, because it really is unparalleled. i met life long friends, saw the most incredible places, delved into new and interesting history, and got to experience growth in a new and fascinating way that i have been yearning to feel again since i got back to the states. my newfound travelers heart is sure to find new adventure soon, but for now, my first year at UNI has begun! i am studying psychology and political science (an area i found passion in due to my experiences in the balkans) and i am making strides towards my future career!