Sunday, September 23, 2007

Early Fall in Belgrade

As I went for a walk this morning, the fall sun performed its magic, pleasantly warming those that entered into its rays. The blue sky made the red flowers seem as if they were on fire. In the historical Topčider park, the shade of the old trees shaded out the warmth of the sun. People were walking their dogs, jogging, or walking at a slow, amiable pace. Others sat on one of the many benches, enjoying the surroundings and watching passersby.

Along the worn gravel or stone slab paths, a few fallen leaves began to gather, the first of the season. Most were a light brown, while others were more ochre in color. Chestnuts dotted the grounds, fallen from the tall chestnut trees that line many of the roads in Senjak. Those trees are the first to drop their leaves, but the color is unimpressive, changing immediately from green to brown, then dropping to the ground.

Framing the doorframe of the park’s larger gazebos were narrow bunches of white flowers, the remnants of a recent wedding. White flowers adorned the arched entrance of the park restaurant, likely the spot where a reception was held afterwards. Elsewhere, three narrow, but 2-storey buildings were being constructed in a hasty manner. The wooden materials - unusual for Serbia - and construction manner made me conclude that this was the set for some movie.
Moving onward, I crossed the road into the smaller section of the park. After passing by a small fountain, some benches, and a spring water tap (were people could fill up bottles), I was now on the edge of one of the forests in the region. The deep toll of the bells were heard, beckoning people to come to the small church. One old man in a full suit passed me, perhaps late for the service.

Once in the “business” district, I noted the number of cafés and banks so close to each other. Buildings were being remodeled and modernized. Nearer to my apartment, more large modern-style apartments were being built, also overlooking the hippodrome. I wonder what those flats will cost. Some were built on empty lots, while others have replaced old quaint homes with the hooded chimneys. Indeed, Senjak has changed even in the 4 years I’ve been here.

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