olle bergman

Belgrade architecture

I keep pointing in all directions: look there, and there, and there! Gorgeous houses beneath the soot and weariness! My Serbian company just looks and shake their heads. Apparently, they are not making any distinction between the Tito era concrete houses and the ”purebred”, prewar modernism by architects like Jan Dubovy and Dragisa Brasovan.

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Tempus fugit

Looking in the mirror, contemplating the fact that I have been here for sixteen days and still don't understand everything that has happened in this country, ever, and that I still haven't examined every cog in their civilisatory machinery, nor looked into the mind of every single individual of it’s population. I have to stay busy, and take lots of notes.

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Rain, rain, rain …

A very grumpy and ill-mannered rain weather has put its grey bottom on the Belgrade area. When the rain comes They run and hide their heads They might as well be dead When the rain comes The people on the streets bow their heads for the rain clouds above, hiding under umbrellas or inside the hoods of their jackets. But I feel defiant tonight and try to walk with my chin up and my back straight. Let the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place. Come on with your rain, I’ve got a smile on my face. Perhaps not smiling. Rather scowling. Feeling strangely odd and out of place on the slippery...

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Feeling safe in Belgrade

I sit here, watching my corner of Belgrade from my window, and try to recapitulate my time in Serbia so far. It's amazing how quickly time passes. On thing I realise is that I feel perfectly at ease in this big, foreign city. What a contrast to the nervousness I felt before I went here! I had the notion that it should be like in Ukraine and Russia where you feel that you have to be alert all the time as there are plenty of people with nothing more to to than stare at you (and my belongings, I suppose). But yesterday, when I walked home from KC Grad on Braće Krsmanović, I observed this...

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A long walk in Novi Beograd and Zemun

This Sunday, N. was my company during a long walk in Novi Beograd and Zemun. ”Nice sixties architecture!” said I, when I saw Palata Srbija. ”Terrible!” said N. Still we had a great time together. Here in Serbia, you see my Swedish friends, it's ok to disagree and still be friends. Actually, here people become curious and engaged—not embarrassed and confused—when they have different opinions. We walked on, saw the peculiar ghost ships on the bank of Danube, the summer fresh greenery and the strolling families while talking about all things Serbian. Our turning point was the Gardoš...

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At Slava in beautiful Šumadija

This very special day, the overwhelmingly generous family D. had invited me as a guest to their Slava. So me and A. took the tram to Banovo Brdo and from there we travelled by car together with his family members: from the concrete of Tito era Belgrade … … to the lovely hills of Šumadija. Now, there was a small problem: I am a teetotal. And a Serbian slava without rakija is simply not a slava. What should be done about it? Well, A. had a very simple solution: he poured me a glass … … and although I am a man of principles, it was not hard to make an exception;...

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The spring greenery of Zvezdara forest

Time to lift my heavy bottom from the chair to get some exercise! I looked at the map and decided to aim for a little forest called Zvezdara. It was uphill, uphill from Mise Vujica and along Dragoslava Srejovića I got the feeling that I left the cramped urban landscape behind for more elbow room and an open sky. The forest was a spring explosion in green of juicy, transparent foliage and the exhilarated song of horny birds. All the litter on the paths and in the shrubs made me sad, though.   (Blogged from notes 2014-04-18)

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Three Belgrade scenes

Very rough and very ad lib. 1. A man walks with a slim, light brown dog in a leash along Bulevar despota Stefana. When he crosses Vojvode Dobrnjca he notes that he no longer has only one, but two dogs. This one is sturdy and dark brown, but it seems friendly enough so he moves on. After passing Palmoticeva he has three dogs, and after Džordža Vašingtona four – one white and one black. When he reaches the National Theatre he has a whole pack of eager, barking dogs. One by one, the dogs break free from their leashes and start running across the Republic Square, over the ridge, down the bloodsoaked...

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