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Our Bosnia-bound man hits Belgrade

 
Created on 25/04/2012 @ 22:06
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Welshpool man John Bills is on his way to Bosnia to work in a hostel and is keeping us in touch with his journey.

Look at me! A good little tourist!

 

I am standing outside the  Cathedral of Saint Sava, the largest church in the Balkans and one of the 10 biggest in the world. It is pretty darn massive, and pretty darn glorious.

Today is the Orthodox Easter, and my personal second Easter of the year after the catholic one last week. Good times! Well, not massively good times, as it means everything is quiet and everything is closed, but at least that means no money spent. I also worked my first night shift last night (10pm-8am), so I’m a little spaced out.

 

But anyway, travel stuff. I’m in Belgrade/Beograd, and I really love this place. Belgrade is a city with such a ludicrously eventful history, it really is impossible to get bored of it. It was the capital of Yugoslavia, and is the capital of Serbia today.

Serbia itself is an incredibly varied country, I never really do it justice when chatting about it. You want religious history? You have countless orthodox landmarks, including the afore-pictured (that isn’t a word) Sveti Sava.

You want military history? You have Kalemegdan Fortress, the citadel that straddles the 2 rivers of Belgrade that has seen 2 millennia of battles and used to be the entire city itself. You want technology? Well, Nikola freakin’ Tesla. If you don’t know who Tesla is, you have him to thank for the 20th century.

AC Current? Tesla. Wireless technology? Tesla. Remote control? Tesla. Nu metal? Tesla. Okay, that one is a lie, but if he had been around he certainly would have had a say in it.

If that isn’t enough, you have Zemun, a former town but now suburb of Beograd, that used to be the starting point of the Hapsburg empire in these parts, which leads it to having a different feel to central Beograd. I’ll do more on all of these individually over the next few weeks, but today I want to talk about sausage.

 

Yes, sausages. As well as boasting a ludicrously high percentage of ridiculously beautiful women, Belgrade (well, Zemun to be exact) also has a restaurant that serves the best sausages I have ever eaten in my 26 years.

The restaurant is called ‘Rusmir’, and oh my lord. It was recommended to me by my workmate Mina (hvala Mina!), and as I was heading out to Zemun I thought I might as well check them out. It’s a 6 kilometre walk out there, which is a little daunting but as it is completely along the river it actually turns into a very scenic walk, and guarantees that by the time you arrive in Zemun you will hungry.

‘Rusmir’ was a godsend, in this regard, as my belly was rumbling like the tanks that squashed Belgrade in the 40s. The sausages at Rusmir aren’t just any sausages though, and have almost certainly ruined bog standard sausages for me.

 

These sausages are 100% natural (i.e. no artificial substances or additives), they are made without using any industrial machines and equipment. They are made by hand, and you can practically taste the love in them.

The recipes used are the same ones that the Rusmir ancestry have used for centuries, and the pigs used are free of any hormonal interference. Basically, it’s what meat eating should be. No pig younger than 18 months old is used, the meat is free of membranes and tendons etc., and at no single point in the process are they frozen. This is fresh, quality, home made, love infested sausage, and wow is it good. You can’t buy them in shops, butcher shops or supermarkets.

To taste this, you have to go to the restaurant.

 

I had absolutely no idea what to order, other than sausage. Luckily for me, the Serbs are insanely friendly, and when the waitress could see my obvious uncertainty she said she would bring me a selection of the best they have, as well as a beer. Whilst my meal was cooking, the owner of the restaurant Predrag came over and gave me something of a history lesson regarding the recipes and preparation.

This is a guy who is up to his neck in a to do list, running one of the most popular restaurants in all of Belgrade, and yet he still finds the time to sit next to the foreign guy and explain everything. You could tell that this guy was incredibly passionate about what they are doing, and again you could taste that in my the food. Which, as I’ve said on a number of occasions already, was mind blowing.

I’m by no means a food person, I think my teenage years were spent living exclusively on ham sandwiches, so for me to come away gushing must tell you something. Add to the sausages some wonderful caramelised onions, baked potatoes and mustard, and you have a meal that I will most certainly eat on a weekly basis.

 

Those three paragraphs do not do these sausages justice.

 

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