My husband's family in Belgrade could not wait for us to make the trip to see them this weekend. I had only met half of the family when they came to Split to visit us a few months back. In preparation for the trip, I bought gifts for the family,washed endless loads of laundry and cleaned the entire house. Why? I had no idea, I just felt the need for everything to be clean upon our return. The day prior I tried packing 5 day's worth of Isabela's and my clothes in one bag. Yeah, good luck with that!But somehow we did manage to fit stroller, high chair, suitcases, food,and toys all in our small trunk of our car!
It is normally a 7 hour trip, but it does not take into account the extra stops you will be making with a child on board, never the less Isabela did quite well as grandma was seating in the backseat and keeping her company. We arrived on Thursday evening with no problems or setbacks at the border. The family was waiting anxiously to meet us. Personally between you and me, I think they really wanted to see Isabela as she is the first niece on my husband's side of the family. They had endless toys for her and they won her over right away. I was thinking and how will we fit all these toys in our car?....And if you are wondering, yes this BIG purple elephant did make the journey back home with us!
As we toasted for our safe arrival and family reuniting, it made me feel a bit sad as I thought of my parents and sisters. But every family member of my husband's family are very loving and endearing and it makes it easier to live in a foreign country.
The next morning as we discussed the plans for the day over breakfast, we joked about how little sleep we had because Isabela was constantly waking up and wondering "where am I?", as she would sit up and look around the room and point to things in the dark. Over the next couple of nights she adjusted and we were able to sleep a little bit longer.
We decided to do some sightseeing. This is Knez Mihajlova - one of the most popular pedestrian-only streets in Belgrade.
The Military Museum located in the Belgrade Fortress. Exhibits include weapons captured from the Kosovo Liberation Army, and from NATO special forces.
TheBelgrade Fortress, Zoo and Kalemegdan Park
The city still has existing buildings bombarded by NATO in 1999 and no repairs have been done. Are they left like this as a reminder of those times? This is the first time I've come face to face with the result of such conflict.
A few tid-bits I learned about Serbia. Their currency is called Dinar and 60 Dinars equals $1 dollar. Motorists drive wrecklessly! We were driving on a two lane highway, and cars were passing the passing vehicle! We called them Heroes! And then they park their cars on the sidewalk, when I asked "are you sure it is ok to park here?" the reply was "sure it's Belgrade!" Enough said.
Sunday came around and I was saddened as I thought about our departure. I had really connected with the family and their two daughters: Ana and Ines. We made plans to make another visit in the Spring. In the meantime, we promised to keep in touch via FB, Twitter and phone calls.