21 Nov 2009 - Belgrade (The Kalemegdan), Serbia
With sore heads from the night before and very little sleep, the day time was dedicated to exploring just a little bit of Belgrade before hitting the drinks hard again in the night.
A walk to the Kalemegdan, Belgrade's principal tourist attraction, took us through a few less important sites but the main intention was purely to while away a few hours before the festivities began again. For their daytime entertainment the hags did some hag like activities such as a spa and a facial thus giving us a break from watching what we said in front of them.
After the limited sight seeing and some food we retired to the hotel to prepare for the evening. Richard went missing for a short while to get a hair cut - the kind of thing everyone does on a stag do - and then we began the all male drinking action. However, Jint was under orders to be at a certain night club at a particular time, meaning that we were all under the Russian yoke. Unfortunately for the stag we arrived late and the expression on his boss' face was pure thunder. Priceless for us.
Once in, the stag proceeded to get hopelessly drunk while his missus bought £200 bottles of champagne. He was not too happy and so got even more drunk which resulted in him having to be taken back to the hotel. Jint drink too much? This really was a blast from the past. His missus and brother took him back and then she returned to continue partying. We left shortly after spotting her dancing on the bar and then took the stag back out again so we could continue the night. Again, we didn't get back till after 6AM but instead of sleeping, packed our bags and got a taxi to the airport.
Serbia - Zindan Gate Tower in the Kalemegdan
Kalemegdan is a fortress and park. It forms the core and the oldest section of the urban area of Belgrade and for centuries the city population was concentrated only within the walls of the fortress. The name 'Kalemeydan' betrays Belgrade's Ottoman history as Kalemeydan means "castle square" in Turkish. The cliff like ridge overlooks the Great War Island and the confluence of the Sava river into the Danube and makes one of the most beautiful natural lookouts in Belgrade.
Serbia - The Kalemegdan I
First mention of the city is when it was founded in the 3rd century BC as Singidunum by the Celtic tribe of the Scordisci. The city fortress was later conquered by the Romans, became known as Singidunum and became a part of 'the military frontier', where the Roman Empire bordered 'barbaric Central Europe'. Singidunum was defended by the Roman legion IV Flaviae which built a fortified camp on a hill. Between AD 378 and 441 the Roman camp was repeatedly destroyed in the invasions by the Goths and Huns.
Serbia - The Kalemegdan, Zindan Gate
The Kalemegdan has upper and lower sections, each enclosed within its own wall. This, the Zindan Gate is part of the upper section.
Serbia - The Kalemegdan, Despot's Gate
Looking out through Despot's Gate and the innermost city wall with Dizdar's Tower. It is connected via a bridge to the Zindan Gate. The gate was built in 1404-1427 and is named after Despot Stefan. He was the son and heir to Prince Lazar, who died at the Battle of Kosovo against the Turks on June 15th 1389. The Battle of Kosovo is particularly notable to Serbian concepts of history, heritage, tradition and national identity. The gate and tower are the best preserved medieval part of the fortress.
Serbia - The Kalemegdan, Panzer IV
The Kalmegdan has a display of old weapons within the grounds, this Panzer IV being one of the exhibits. The Panzer IV was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Robust and reliable, it saw service in all combat theaters, and has the distinction of being the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout the war, with over 8,500 produced between 1936 and 1945.
Serbia - Inner Stambol Gate
Inner Stambol Gate is southeastern gate in the second city wall, connected via a bridge to the Clock Gate, and via a land bridge to the outer ravelin (a triangular fortification or detached outwork in front of the bastions of a fortress. The ravelin is placed outside a castle opposite a fortification curtain. The edges are placed so that the guns there can sweep fire upon the troops that have to run along the fortification curtain), where the way forks towards the Outer Stambol Gate. The gate was built around 1750.
Serbia - The Kalemegdan, Clock Gate
Clock Gate is south eastern gate in the innermost city wall, connected via a bridge to the Inner Stambol (Istanbul) Gate. The gate got its name as it is located directly under the Clock Tower. It was built in 17th century by Venetian architect Andrea Cornaro, and is hence sometimes referred to as Cornaro's Gate.
Serbia - At the top of the Kalemegdan
At the top of the ridge on the Kalemegdan it is clear to see why this patch of land has been contested for centuries. The left is the Danube river and a number of floating bars that we visited on the first night. The fog was so intense that at the time we had no idea what surrounded us and could not see the ridge.
Serbia - Republic Square and National Theatre
The present square was formed after the demolition of the Stambol Gate (1866) and construction of the National Theatre (1869). The Gate stood between the monument to Prince Mihailo and the National Theatre building. It was the largest and most beautiful town gate at the time when Belgrade was encircled by a moat. It was named after the road which led through it to Constantinople (Istanbul). The Stambol Gate is where the Turks executed the 'raya', their non-Muslim subjects, by impaling them on stakes.
Serbia - Prince Michael Street (Knez Mihailova)
This is the main walking street in Belgrade. It is a pedestrian zone and shopping center, protected by law as one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks of the city. It has a large number of impressive buildings and mansions built at the end of the 1870s. The street follows the central grid layout of the Roman city of Singidunum. During the time of Turks, there were gardens, drinking-fountains and mosques along its lengths. The inset picture shows the same location at the end of the 19th century.
Serbia - The rarest of rare steaks
Very tasty, very tender and very raw. Actually I would have liked it to be cooked more but it was still very enjoyable. Nick thought is should be used a male device for solo pleasure.
Serbia - The coc market
A place whose name also greatly amused Nick.
Serbia - The chaps
The club in which Jint drank himself silly with about...two shots.
Serbia - Jint in familiar pose
When we retrieved Jint from his sick bed and dragged him back out he was still far from recovered. After this and a few slices of pizza he was able to carry on. I wonder if his missus knows this?