Monday, December 24, 2007

Four Countries in One Afternoon

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Monday was a very relaxing day. We got a chance to meet with several of our Serbian friends and get to know Belgrade better. First, we met with Tijanna, a Serbian girl from Hungary (which has a significant Serbian minority). Her father is a priest in a Serbian Orthodox Church near Budapest. She is studying Greek at the University of Belgrade, and we met her here in Thessaloniki when she came to study Greek here for a few months this past spring. She’s sitting between Pelagia and Brendan in the top photo.

We were also joined by Branislav, a Serbian who completed his theological studies in Thessaloniki recently. He is now an assistant at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Belgrade. (He’s on the far right of the top photo.) In the second photo, he’s trying to teach Brendan some Serbian from our Serbian phrase book.

After having coffee and walking around Belgrade for a while, we decided to get some sushi for lunch. This may sound like a strange choice for Belgrade, but you don’t realize how hard it is to find “other” cuisines in Greece. Greek food is WONDERFUL, but there is ONLY Greek food here. Our friend Philip, when people ask him what he misses most about the US (he’s been in Greece about 5 years), says “Thai food.” ( ;

Well, for us, we miss sushi. So we took our Serbian friends for their first experience with sushi. They were very adventurous and tried everything. I wouldn’t say they were wild about it, but they didn’t dislike it either. Contrary to popular perception, there is a lot of sushi without any (raw) fish—so come on, what’s there to be scared of! ( :

After lunch, we met up with another Serbian friend, Ivana, who studies art history at the University of Belgrade. She arranged for us to visit an exhibit of reproductions of frescoes from Serbian monasteries. I don’t know how she did it, but we got in even though they are closed on Mondays. It was a very nice exhibit—unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.

On Tuesday, we drove to the airport to meet Bishop Maxim to go to Monastery Tvrdos in Bosnia & Herzegovina. We were joined by a very nice young woman, Yulia—a Serbian girl studying theology in Paris. We flew from Belgrade to Tivat in Montenegro (Country #2), where we were picked up Deacon Zoran. We took a short ferry ride with the car (photos 3 and 4 are from the ferry) and then crossed the border into the small strip of Croatia (Country #3) that borders Montenegro. We drove to Dubrovnik, and then crossed to border into Bosnia & Herzegovina (Country #4). Tvrdos Monastery is located just outside the town of Trebinje. (See the map below.)

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