In September I was able to go to Serbia for a weekend to present at an Apps Events Summit. This was my first time in Serbia so I was excited to see and experience a new country. I was also super excited that I got to do that with my colleague Nargiz! We arrived Thursday night and when I got to my hotel, the Radisson Old Mill, I found out that I had been upgraded to a suite! It was super nice. Unfortunately, Nargiz was staying at another hotel so she had to go further into the city.
The Summit took place on Friday and Saturday so Nargiz and I went to the International School of Belgrade’s high school campus each day. This campus is in a lovely neighborhood area surrounded by houses. The campus is lovely and green which was nice for when we had a break because we could walk around and enjoy the grounds.
As is typical for me I managed some dance moves during the summit!
Each evening after the summit we went into the main square area of Belgrade, called Republic Square. This was sort of the main shopping and eating area it seemed. Thankfully the area was actually walking distance from our Hotel which was nice because generally during these summits we don’t move around that much so it is always good to go for a long walk. Although this summit was happening over 4 floors so we did manage to get some exercise!
My impressions of Belgrade are that it reminded me a lot of Italy. Not the tourist side of Italy, but the side where people actually live. Our hotel was not in a majorly touristy area and walking to it we walked through what seemed like a normal everyday part of the city. That is one thing that I like to do when I travel is to see how the locals live in an area. While we didn’t walk around with locals, we did see the not touristy parts of the city. Belgrade is also just super easy city to just meander around.
We were lucky that the walk into town was uphill and the walk back to our hotels was down so after walking around all day we still had enough in us to stroll back to our hotels. Another thing that I noticed on my walk back at night by myself is there were a large number of police walking around in the neighborhoods. I am not sure if it was a “lunch” time for them because I saw many of them going into and out of shops and food places but they just seemed to be on the “beat” and walking through the neighborhoods.
On Saturday afternoon we had loads of time to go and see the sites so we headed down to the Belgrade Fortress. This was built on the top of a hill overlooking the joining of the Danube and Sava Rivers. The views were amazing and it was very interesting to be somewhere that had only barely begun to experience autumn, since Moscow was already mostly done!
We then walked around the city a bit while we headed back towards our hotels. On the way back to Nargiz’s hotel we could see a very large church in the distance so we decided to head that way. We got there and found out it is called the Temple of Saint Sava, which is the largest Serbian Orthodox Church and one of the largest Orthodox Churches in the world.
When we were there the main nave was being refurbished so we went to a chapel underneath which was beautifully done in gold. It is hard to capture the decorations in an image but I did my best. If this is any indication of what the nave will look like when it is done then, wow!
We woke up on Sunday but our flight was not until later in the morning so I sat in my homemade window seat in my room read and enjoyed the sun cascading down on me! Nargiz checked out of her hotel room and came to join me for a few hours before we flew back to Moscow. This was actually a really good way to wrap up the weekend because we were able to debrief on what we had learned and what we might do with that information when we got back to work.