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I've never been to this city, so I need recommendations for all kinds of things: restaurants, places to go wine drinking, places for local colour, etc.

In spite of Serbia's image as a rather 'thuggish' place (no thanks to its political/military leadership), I am under the impression that Belgrade has an interesting and good city culture. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, I'd like to hear about them.
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I've been there three times, albeit 20 years ago: for five weeks in Belgrade in the summer of 1983 (weekends in Dubrovnik, Split and Sarajevo), for 4 days in Belgrade in spring 1985 and for two weeks in Dubrovnik in the fall 1986.

My advice is to forget about sightseeing in Belgrade. There's an old fort at the fork in the river, and a walking street with some atmosphereic outdoor restaurants but otherwise absolutely nothing worth seeing. If there is still a Tea Dance Orchestra at the Moskva Hotel Cafe, it's worth seeing for a trip in a time warp and a smile.

Instead, hop a flight (they are probably still very cheap) to Dubrovnik. This is perhaps the best-kept tourism secret in Europe: an almost perfectly preserved medievil fully-walled city on the sea that continues to be a thriving town with something to see at every turn. When I win the lottery, the first three places I will visit will be London, Venice and Dubrovnik.

If Dubrovnik doesn't work for any reason, Split or Sarajevo, in that order, would be next bests. After them: Trogir, anywhere on the Gulf of Kotor, or Sveti Stefan. All are an hour or so flight from Belgrade (plus a short-ish bus ride in the case of the last three). All but Sarajevo are on the coast, can be easily seen in a weekend (the last two are more seaside resorts than sightseeing destinations), and are well worth whatever hassle and expense required. Frankly, almost any place on the Dalmatian Coast is worth visiting, it has to be the most beautiful coast on earth.

And no, I'm not from there, nor or any of my ancestors! Big Grin

If you take my advice, please post links to photos, I'd love to see how these places look today.
quote:
If there is still a Tea Dance Orchestra at the Moskva Hotel Cafe, it's worth seeing for a trip in a time warp and a smile.

Some of these experiences are priceless!

I was in Moscow just after the exchange rate on the rouble went from 6 to the dollar down to 16 to the dollar (in 1998 or 2000?). Everything was in a very depressed economic mood and everyone was hunkered down waiting for the whole economy to collapse. My Russian hosts took me to dinner at a restaurant called 'Europeisky' at the Metropole Hotel. We ate in solitary splendor in a magnificent ballroom that could have seated 150-200 while the orchestra played in the balcony. There were as many musicians as diners at our table. All we were missing was a guest appearance by the tsar! These moments are real treasures to be savoured.

The next evening, we went to a bar called the 'Wet Sheep' (I think?) It was run by an expat entrepreneur from Halifax. He imported male strippers from Nigeria and charged admission to males while females got in free. What you got inside was a taste of the real Wild East. No rules, and no holds barred.

A blast from the past and a carnival of contrasts.

The Moskva Hotel sounds like a relic from the Stalinist era - one of those places where everything is made of concrete, including the furniture. The structures feel completely soul-less. But you often find the people you meet behind the concrete are kind and sometimes genuinely interesting.

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