After lunch, and a wander through the park surrounding the fortress, I headed back into town. I took a look at the inside of the Orthodox cathedral (right after a wedding and right before a Japanese tour group) and contemplated the outside of the Patriarchal residence opposite while drinking coffee. A visit to the Palace of Princess Ljubica (not very palatial, but showing the transition from Ottoman to Western interior decor) completed my sightseeing for the day.
Dinner, alas, did not live up to lunch. I made the mistake of visiting the Skadarska area, highly touted by Lonely Planet as Belgrade’s “Bohemian heartland”, and “sliced straight out of Montmartre”. Not on a Saturday night it isn’t. On a Saturday night it’s home to loud music and louder groups. Not a place for a solo traveler, as the waiters at Dva Jelena (Two Deer) made clear by ignoring me, even after I made it plain that I wasn’t waiting for anyone.
I decamped to Sesir Moj (My Hat), across the street, where the hostess adopted me, although she did try to explain (she had virtually no English) that the street was different on other nights. I concluded that Belgrade was a party town, and not really my kind of place.
Sunday morning the center of town was taken over by in-line skaters holding races down the main street – no sign of hangovers there. I checked out the Ethnographic Museum (good thing it was free on Sundays, although I enjoyed the costumes downstairs), and took a look at the Parliament building, near yet another nice park. I was more interested in the used book market behind the building, where mini-vans stacked high with books had drawn quite a crowd.
In this part of town I also discovered the very photogenic Hotel Moskva, which somewhat improved my outlook. I had an enjoyable fruit drink there in the morning, and a lovely salad of baby greens, avocado and orange followed by a mixed grill for dinner. I was not reluctant, however, to leave the next morning for Novy Sad. Three nights was plenty.