Thursday 31 May 2007

Trip to Belgrade (Part 2)

As I mentioned in the previous post my girlfriend just got back from Belgrade. This time I was left home alone, so the credits for these photos go to her.

Driving around the old part of the city one can still see effects of US bombings on surrounding houses. It is one of those reoccurring stories. First the US Army (still reffered to as the aggressor army by locals) buys bombs and pays its soldiers to demolish a need-to-be-liberated-country and then it needs to be rebuilt - again (at least partially) with US money.

The whole civil war thing, the bombings and the following socio-economic crisis, has left it's impact on people. They don't seem to trust each other as easily as before the war.

However in some aspects things have stayed the same. Numerous brass bands can be seen on the city streets. They try to keep the moods of passersby as high as possible. The city center remains alive late into the night. And it doesn't mater if it is just another weekday night.

In addition to all this, basketball scene is still very much alive. The locals consider it almost a national sport. Some of the players from former Yugoslavia have even left quite an impression on NBA (e.g. Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic and many more).
Many street basketball courts can be seen around the city. The ones with lighting remain crowded long after sunset every day.


Tuesday 29 May 2007

Trip to Belgrade (Part 1)

This time unfortunately I wasn't the lucky traveler. I just lent my trusty Olympus camera to my girlfriend. She went on (kind of) a business trip to Belgrade - the capital of Serbia.

The interesting thing is that the Youth Day (25th of May) was just while she was there.
Because I suspect that some of you are not familiar with the meaning of that, a history lesson follows...

/BEGIN HistoryLesson
Day of Youth is an ex holiday that used to be celebrated throughout the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On this date president Tito's birthday was celebrated. It meant that youngsters from all of the country's six republics carried six batons, which on their way to Belgrade had passed through all major cities. They contained symbolic birthday messages for the president Tito.

I can still remember celebrations when still in the first grades of primary school. I think in Slovenia after somewhere around 1988 officially this wasn't practiced any more. That was also the time of the last generation of children which had to join Young Pioneers.
/END HistoryLesson

It was interesting to hear that even this year (like all of the previous years) six batons from all six of the former republics have arrived to Belgrade. This is kind of amazing knowing the fact that the country of Yugoslavia broke apart about 15 years ago in a nasty civil war.

On the first photo you can see three of the six this year's batons.

The second photo features my girlfriend wearing my Young Pioneer's hat (she borrowed it for the trip). It was taken near the House of Flowers (Kuća Cveća), where Tito is buried.

She also told me that the showcases with Tito's uniforms were crawling with moths. I don't know if those uniforms are originals, but unfortunately I am afraid they are.
I think this could be linked to the fact that there is no entrance fee. Obviously there is a lack of interest in preserving relics from that certain period of time. I think that's at least irresponsible if nothing else.


Friday 25 May 2007

The Queen Symphony

In Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, the best time of year is approaching. It is usually around this time, when the old city center starts to bounce in the rhythm of many bands and street performers. This usually lasts till mid September, when things cool down again (this in my opinion is the best time of year to visit Ljubljana). It is a true delight just to go for an evening walk through the streets and enjoy the atmosphere with a glass of wine in one of the many street cafes.

Two days ago the Travel Photo Blogging team (that's me and my girlfriand) went to listen to the Queen Symphony performed by the University Symphonic Winds Ljubljana.
My brother was one of the performers (check out his Tuba Blog) but even if he didn't play, I would go anyway. If you didn't know, once upon the time The Queen were one of my favorite bands.

This symphony was first performed by The British Royal Orchestra. But for this adapted version it was a world premiere. It was supposed to happen somewhere in Sweden a few days ago, but for some reason it got postponed.
I really enjoyed every single minute of it. I even got myself a poster of the event.

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