I’ve hit the fifty country mark, Divas!! I landed in Bucharest, Romania, tonight, and it marked my fiftieth country visited on this earth. How exciting!!! Since we last spoke, I’ve been to, sorry my Bosnian Divas, but Scare-ajevo, then Belgrade, Serbia, where I met up with my fabulous gal pal Wendee.
Now I don’t mean to be cruel. I think that in a couple years, Sarajevo will be a great place to visit in Europe, but I have to admit that traveling through alone, I did not feel comfortable but a little on edge the whole time. I could only find two or three hotels, and most of them were on the outskirts of the old city, on a bland, industrial highway of sorts. My Holiday Inn, bless its heart, strove to retain its glamour from the Olympic days, which it proudly announced on its shock of cubist, neon-colored exterior. But alas. How times have changed.
Pock-marked buildings with sharp shrapnel memories lined every street, and at every turn, Sarajevo is still reeling both physically and psychologically from its macabre title of suffering from the longest seige in modern history. I could hardly blame the burly men who shoved me out of the way at every turn, every cafe and store…they had waited long enough to for their lives to return to semi-normal…
The one glimpse of hope was a very lounge-y, super cool string of smart cafes where impossibly hip and gorgeous youth sipped drinks to the beat of dance music in the afternoon. Early twenty-somethings, this is surely the hope of the future of Sarajevo.
Belgrade? A completely different story. Danube River cruises and party barges, lots of ice cream shops to beat the heat, beautiful monuments and a nightlife to rival NYC, Belgrade totally impressed my girl Wendee and me. We managed to grab one of only 9 apartments (the Presidential Suite no less!) at the very chic Aleksandar Palas Hotel. The staff was fabulous, and although we did have trouble adjusting to "Serbian time," attempting to make city tour plans that never were (the Saturday tour decided to cancel itself as we waited in the heat for it), we laughed, grabbed iced coffees at the fort in a very cool cafe, and even watched pirated DVDs that we bought off the streets in our big ol’ penthouse.
I can’t wait to see what Romania will have in store! Let’s celebrate my fiftieth together, Divas!