Belgrades Parks and a Balmy January

I took this photo on Saturday during a bike ride around Ada Ciganlija. The weather in January so far has been surprisingly warm. The historical mean high temperature for the month is 4C and this weekend, temperatures will go to 15C. So far this winter it only snowed once in late November. When one sits in the sun, it is almost warm! We did have several days of thick fog and cold, but mostly it has been sunny and warm. We biked around the lake at Ada, as always spending time at the exercise park and the excursion pictured above, exploring the woods on the island. The new bike path under the bridge project saves a lot of time and makes Ada much more accessible from Senjak.

In speaking with my friend over the holiday, I said life’s pleasures change for every age. As I am getting older, going for walks or bike rides in nature is just so refreshing and re-energizing. Belgrade is blessed with many parks and easy escapes from the city life. Ocean is shown below being silly in our walk on Sunday in Košutnjak Park. With no leaves in the trees, one can see across the valley from the park into the Royal Palace grounds in Dedinje. I can see why the Košutnjak started as the King’s hunting grounds. He could probably look across from the palace and see the wooded hills on the other side of the valley. We had a nice father-daughter outing talking about all kinds of things. She was really interested in moles after seeing the many piles of dirt made by them, and I ended up having to explain the natural history of the European Mole. We even went on line after we got back so she could see their tunnels, what they looked like, and the traps used to catch them. We finished the hike by collecting sticks for our fireplace. What a great day!



Great Day in Košutnjak

Finish, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

I ran yesterday in the Košutnjak Challenge Race here in Belgrade. Košutnjak is a large park near our apartment that used to be the hunting grounds of the Serbian Royal family before World War I. Today it is still mostly forest with lots of public recreation areas.

The race was 5 kilometers with an obstacle at every kilometer. The obstacles included a narrow, deep ravine, hay stacks, ropes, even an old carnival ride we needed to climb over. I finished in 29 minutes. I didn’t feel great yesterday, but it was fun, barelling through the forest. There were about 100 runners and we had a good day with my friend Michael and my family. I would like to thank the running club of Serbia, for organizing the run and for having a calendar of runs in the area.

Owen runs down the hill at the Cafe

Later in the day we went back to Košutnjak to meet up with friends at Alexander’s Cafe and Ski Hill. It was the first time I went there, and the views of the city are spectacular. I highly recommend the place for drinks and we’ll definitely go back this winter for some skiing with the kids.

Cooling Off at the Pool

Yesterday we went over to the Košutnjak Pool which is a large sports complex owned by the city. It is located near the sledding hill in the suburb of Banovo Brdo (Ban’s Hill). It was our first time to pool and we were impressed by the facilities. There were five outdoor pools, restaurants, changing rooms, in a nice woodland setting. It looked very communist, but it was well maintained. The only problem was the 1000 other people enjoying the pool. That is one thing you get in Belgrade during the summer. Any water is just full of people. The kids enjoyed it and it was refreshing. Europeans are in so much better shape than Americans and not as body conscious. There was plenty of flesh of all ages on display. There was a baby pool and it is a nice place for families, although I recommend getting there when is opens at 10:00 AM and leaving around noon when the crowds pull in.

My bow-legs are visible as I dive into the pool

For lunch we went to restaurant nearby for some BBQ lamb and sausages which was delicious. We finished the day with some tennis at the school and saying goodbye to friends who are leaving today for the USA.