Sunday, October 23, 2016

Zemun, Serbia: Lunch on the Stari Slep Boat

Not too far away from Belgrade city is the seaside town of Zemun. The town is officially part of the greater Belgrade area and is about 15 minutes drive with the car.

I was here in Zemun on my last day in Serbia. I planned on having lunch on the boulevard before driving off to the airport which is located nearby as well. It would be a nice change after leaving the busy city of the capital.

Arriving in town was easy. My old Nokia Mini GPS wasn’t working on street level but it brought me to the heart of the town. Parking was difficult to find so I had to drive a bit further down the road. When you are travelling in a strange city with a rental car, and especially on your last day in the country, the last thing you want is to have a rift with the local police. I do not want to miss my flight! So I made sure I find a safe place to park the car. I got lucky because I found a free parking space the minute I entered this block full of parked cars. The place wasn’t very far from the waterfront boulevard as well.

My initial plan was to have lunch at a restaurant along the boulevard. The pictures on the website of this particular restaurant looked good, but for some reason, I could not find it. But I did not want to waste my time searching for it.

However though, whilst walking on the boulevard, I spotted this blue and white boat which looked more like a recycled junk boat really, docked on the water halfway across the boulevard. It has a small bridge, and I saw people walking on it, getting inside the boat and going inside as well. I got intrigued naturally. I have to admit that I do not understand Serbian Cyrillic language but I guessed that it must be a restaurant.

Well, my hunch was indeed correct. It is a restaurant—And I now know where I will eat for lunch!

The name of the boat restaurant is Stari Slep (Restoran Stari šlep). I found out when I asked the waiter who barely spoke English if they have internet. You see everyone knows WIFI and it says Stari šlep Wifi =)

So I was the only tourist on board and it was very obvious that the boat restaurant caters 99% to the locals and local tourists. They only have 1 menu in 1 language so I had to do some guessing game. But I gave up and asked the waiter again for some assistance. But he was not much of a help, not being familiar with English, so he summoned another colleague who he says speaks English.

Well I found out that my new waiter is the only waiter in the boat who speaks English. He saved the day for me.

After a little bit of scanning the menu and discussing my options, I have made my choice and ordered a traditional food specialty from the area – stuffed fish with potatoes. I cannot remember the name in the local language though. A bit heavy but the wait staff promised it is the best choice for me. I paired it with a small bottle of the local brew, a Jelen beer. The bottle reminds me of San Miguel beer in the Philippines.

The kitchen was rather quick and before I knew it the food was served on my table. I could not contain my surprise though on the manner of presentation of the dish, in particular the fish. I was quite not sure if it was theatrical or too raw. And if it was appetising at all? You be the judge. Scroll down below for the picture.

The fish however was delicious; it was fresh, meaty and juicy and the filling of rice, tomatoes and paprika were very tasty. The potatoes that accompanied it were also cooked very well. This was rather redundant, carbo on carbo, but this is Eastern Europe, they love their carbs. The bread, another carbo added into the meal that came too late was nice—warm and nicely done, but yes it came when I was finishing the fish. I enjoyed the Jelen beer too, if that was a consolation.

To sum this up: This was an interesting lunch amidst the locals in quite peculiar setting. Definitely not something that I can easily forget.

Walking the plank to the boat restaurant.

It was a bit cold to be sitting outside the outdoor boat terrace.

The boat is divided into a cafe with the outdoor terrace and a proper restaurant. I chose to sit at the restaurant. You can see the menu in Serbian.

The local brew -- Jelen.

This lunch was quite heavy I must admit. I do not think I ate dinner later in the evening when I arrived back in the Netherlands.

This is how I learned the name of the restaurant, haha.

The view from the boat. You can see Belgrade city in the far distance.

Travel Period: March 2016
Destination: Zemun (Belgrade), Serbia

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All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or iPhone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Netherlands: Let “The Hague” Pictures Do The Talking

These pictures were taken last August during a warm summer day.

The Hague (Den Haag) is the political capital, the seat of government of the Netherlands. The city enjoys an international albeit very European and stately allure compared to super touristy Amsterdam. That said I cannot really say if I like Den Haag more than Amsterdam though.

Dutchman and I were here last August enroute to seaside Scheveningen where we spent a lazy afternoon and evening. In Den Haag we visited the Dutch Houses of Parliament aka the Binnenhof and managed as well to walk around the Hofvijver (the lake in front of the parliament) and enjoy the beautiful views.

Since this visit I have been to Den Haag 2 more times. I hope to see more of the city in the coming months.

Check this out: The Hague Tourism

I will stop blabbering for now and let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

This is the Turfmarkt.

The modern twin towers on Turkmarkt are home to 2 ministry offices: the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Pink tram passing through a building. 

Loving it that the old trams are still running in Den Haag.

Great way to discover the city through these step bikes.

Street art sculpture in the city.

The Dutch Houses of Parliaments.

The vintage trams have become an important part, a landmark that will hopefully stay the city.

The Plein - the living room of The Hague and the statue of William of Orange in the middle of the square.

If you come to The Hague you must visit this square and take a picture of the city skyline.

Travel Period: August 2016
Destination: The Hague (South Holland), the Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or iPhone.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Netherlands: The New Den Haag Centraal Station

Continuing the blog post inspiration on architecture and design, this entry is about the new and futuristic Den Haag Centraal Station (The Hague Central Station).

The newly renovated central station just opened its doors last July. So much has changed! The last time I was here before this August visit was last year 2015 when the renovation was still in full swing. I have since been in The Hague twice after taking these pictures, although I took the car coming here which meant I didn’t pass through the train station.

What I love about the new Den Haag Centraal Station are the spacious and sophisticated in design interior and the impressive elevated tram tracks slicing through the railway station. It reminds me of sky/airport trains in some international airports around the world. And its all glass everywhere including the walls and ceiling, the whole design somewhat invokes a welcoming feeling of being both indoors and outdoors. Really cool.

The Dutch government has invested on a massive scale of renewing the infrastructure of major cities of the Netherlands with top priority given on renovating the main railway stations of the country—Amsterdam Centraal, Rotterdam Centraal, Den Haag Centraal and Utrecht Centraal.

Here in Den Haag, the surrounding areas of the central station are still going through a big face lift process.

I tell you, the 4 main railway stations in the Netherlands are great architecture and design attractions! I highly recommend checking them all out one at a time.

Just a bit of background information of the other railway stations:

All major renovations at good ole and iconic Amsterdam Centraal Station have been carried out but the station is still going through a lot of sub projects. Once these are done I will take pictures of its interior. You can find my entry of Rotterdam here: The new Rotterdam Centraal Station which I visited last June. Utrecht Centraal Station on the other hand, the biggest central station in the country and home to the NS (National Dutch Railways) is due to be unveiled soon. I cannot wait to take pictures of the newly renovated station and share to you!

Lots of light going through the station.

The upper tramway tracks slices through the railway station.

The NS (Dutch National Railways) train. Yellow and midnight blue are its official colours. This is an intercity doubledecker train.

One of the railway tracks and platforms.

Visit Period: August 2016
Destination: Den Haag (South Holland), the Netherlands

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or iPhone.

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