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August 11, 2010 5:44 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Serbia for a week... what should I definitely see? (also - any Mefites going to the Guca brass festival?)

I just turned thirty, and in the grip of a "one-third-life" crisis, I bought a trumpet and and a ticket to Belgrade to attend the annual Guca brass festival.

I've been to Serbia once before, but it was only for half a day in Belgrade, in which I saw the main downtown area and the war museum (man that museum is intense!).

I'm flying to Belgrade tomorrow, where I'll spend about three days. I'm particular excited to go to the clubs and restaurants along the Danube, but I'd appreciate any recommendations on specific places and things to see in and around Belgrade.

Also, are there interesting places to see around Guca? Day trips? I'll be at Guca for most of next week, although I may leave early to go to Kosovo.

posted by mammary16 to Travel & Transportation around Serbia (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've always wanted to see Kalemegdan.
posted by tangerine at 7:21 PM on August 11, 2010

raised-in-Serbia husband recommends Novi Sad more than Belgrade, as it is apparently the cultural capital. Also says Belgrade is more a Baltimore-like city than a DC-like one (more crime, more pollution).

Apparently it is really close, too.
posted by Tarumba at 8:13 PM on August 11, 2010

I would have to visit the following to see the only Nighthawk shot down in combat:
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:50 PM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I suggest you check out Kuća cveća (House of Flowers) where former Yugoslav dictator Tito is buried. It's free.
posted by Dragonness at 7:43 AM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: Guca's amazing. Try to get there during the day, because at night it's a zoo. If you need a place to sleep, you can either camp for free up in the hills, or try to find a house. Personally, I'd recommend Slobodan's house-- the best kept secret in town. After you enter the town and get to the main street (brass trumpet), walk to the end where there's a gas station, make a right and walk across the bridge. At the next street, find the biggest house (2 stories, a few houses toward the right, I think-- if this is hard to understand, it's a street parallel to the main street, away from the stadium). Slobodan is an awesome, warm host with a big and friendly family. He'll sell you a bed for 10 euros and a place to camp for 5 euros, with coffee and lots of homemade treats throughout the day. Best of all, most nights he hires a band to play in the backyard, so you get a bit of a private party. And the homemade raki is free-flowing. A lot of people return to his house year after year. Lots of international types and friendly locals. They're all really hyped up this year, because last year they wrote a letter inviting Obama to come-- last I heard, they're expecting him any day now.

There should also be a couchsurfing meetup-- last year I met about 30-40 people through CS. There are a few hikes around Guca. Prepare to feel a bit sick after days of eating Serbian hamburgers drenched in salty goodness.

For Belgrade, if you want to go clubbing on the Sava or Danube, make sure you're well-dressed. They take dress code ("face control") somewhat seriously-- shorts, sandals, and tattoos were all frowned upon when I visited last summer. If you've seen the Military Museum, you've already seen the Nighthawk and Kalmedegan. You could also search for the few major buildings that haven't been rebuilt since the NATO bombings-- can't remember what they're called, but they were marked on a map I saw somewhere.

Careful on the bus ride to Kosovo. Mine was at about 200% capacity, so I had a few kids on my lap. Pay attention to your passport, as it will be handled by several people, and sit near the front as it's a confusing and interesting ride. Kosovo is an interesting experience, particularly if you know the history, but there's not a lot to do and it's very oriented towards NGO workers. If you haven't been yet, I'd recommend Sarajevo as a counterpoint to Guca, where you will inevitably see some mild Serbian nationalism (some of it ironic or kitschy). It's an easy bus ride from Cacak, the major city near Guca.
posted by acidic at 7:47 AM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: If you possibly can spare the time, consider the short/easy bus trip north from Belgrade to the next major city, Novi Sad. It's one of my favorite cities in the world. Beautiful, very walkable, filled with culture of all kinds, cosmopolitan yet peaceful.
posted by kalapierson at 1:59 PM on August 12, 2010

Response by poster: Oops, I should have given an update.

Spent a day in Belgrade, visited a friend in Valjevo, then was in Guca four days. I camped by the river until the water became too gross (think Ganges), then moved up by the school. Free camping, just great.

Planning to go again next year, but will definitely stay at a house like acidic suggested.

Also made it to Novi Sad, kalapierson. Absolutely gorgeous city! The monasteries nearly brought me to tears.

Thanks everyone!
posted by mammary16 at 12:41 PM on September 11, 2010

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