Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Spring Thaw in Belgrade - March 2005

Dear all,

Today I took the tram downtown, bought some watercolor paper (didn't have
the type I wanted, but I bought a sheet to see how it works anyway) and
gesso, and walked up the main walking street. It was the first nice weekend
in some time. By that, I mean that the sun was out, sky was blue, and spring
was in the air. The snow from a week ago was melting quite nicely, along
with the resulting ice which covered any sidewalks or walking areas. Lots of
other people had the same idea and were out for a stroll as well.
Young families pushing strollers, others stopping to buy ice cream from a
street vendor, teens with their shopping bags, everyone with their
cigarette, and old men leisurely walking as they chatted. I decided to join
them, grabbed a sandwich, and read from my book as I ate in the park. As I
entered the park, the initial series of park benches had crocheted doilies
of various sizes, a few handknit sweaters, and some antique toys and pins.
Some of these vendors had good faces, so I'll have to bring my camera next
time. The smell of popcorn was in the air, and you could faintly hear the
sound of the accordion coming from the street performer on the walking
street. As I read and ate my sandwich, the sun provided spring warmth and
the snow below the bench was a nice rest for my feet. The park was also
active people, talking, pushing strollers, reading, and walking. Little kids
bent over to pick up some of the wet snow, which quickly melted into a
smaller ball. After finishing my lunch and progressing in the book, I got
up and went for a little walk in the park as well. I then boarded the tram
and made my way back to Senjak, where I stopped to pick up some produce at
the green market and then back down the hill again to pick up a wool suit
jacket I had tailor-made. Also got a little drawing done, more reading,
cleaning, made granola cereal and baked some molasses cookies. Tomorrow I
hope to get some more drawing done. As it is supposed to rain, that will be
a good thing to do.

Thought I'd share one of the crafts that Serbia is famous for. The
mountainous region of Zlatibor is known for its hand-made 100% wool
sweaters. Typical ones like you see on this webpage
http://www.handmade.co.yu/ and http://www.sirogojno-co.co.yu/collection.htm
are brightly colored and contain village scenes or plant motifs. On Friday
one of the women from the village came to school with some sweaters and had
them on a table in the lobby right in front of the computer lab. I was
"obliged" to take a look and one in particular called my name. It is natural
wool-colored background with a simple village scene and a cute hood. A very
warm and unique item that will be a great momento of Serbia.

>From Melissa in Belgrade, where the sun finally came out yesterday to begin
melting the ice and snow

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