The start of my trip: naming my sketchbook. Always an exciting stage as I prepare for my travels.
On the first leg of my trip to Belgrade, waiting for the big bird to fly me from Canberra to Melbourne.
At Abu Dhabi International Airport, after a 14 hour flight from Melbourne. I felt as tired as this young man looked.
What a pleasant surprise: I was upgraded to Etihad Business Class. I loved this experience: white napery; proper cutlery and glassware; absolutely delightful staff and service - thank you Etihad.
My first lunch at the Majestik Hotel, Belgrade. Built in 1936, The Majestik Hotel is considered one of the symbols of Belgrade. It is protected as one of Belgrade's historic sites. The hotel is the first art deco building of its kind in the capital, designed by architect Milan S. Minić, also the first owner of the hotel. It has specific significance for me as my parents went dancing here in the 1940s. When in Belgrade, I always stay at the Majestik: it is my office and my place of entertainment - as well as accommodation.
The Church of Saint Sava is a Serbian Orthodox church located on the Vračar plateau in Belgrade, Serbia. In Serbian it is called hram (temple), which is another name for a church in Eastern Orthodoxy.
I sketched the Hram early one morning, sitting in the lovely gardens surrounding this church and the National Library of Serbia.
Established in 1832, the National Library is in Belgrade. I sketched it early one morning, sitting in the lovely surrounding gardens waiting to meet with my library colleague, Tamara.
A quick sketch while sitting in the sun outside the National Library of Serbia
Sitting at the Majestik Hotel, Belgrade, I sketched some of the cafe patrons.
Knez Mihailova Street is the main pedestrian and shopping zone in Belgrade, and is protected by law as one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks of the city. Named after Mihailo Obrenović III, Prince of Serbia, it features a number of buildings and mansions built during the late 1870s. I - along with thousands of others - strolled up and down the Knez every evening (and morning, when I sketched this).
Kalemegdan Park (Serbian: Калемегдански парк, Kalemegdanski park) or simply Kalemegdan, is the largest park and the most important historical monument in Belgrade. It is located on a 125-metre-high (410 ft) cliff, at the junction of the River Sava and the Danube. Its name is formed from the two Turkish words: "Kale" (meaning "fortress") and an archaic word of Turkish origin "megdan”. I sketched Srdjan, this souvenir seller, early one morning.
I sat in the Kalemegdan Park to draw this vista of the Sava River as it flows into the Danube.
Belgrade Fortress (Serbian Cyrillic: Београдска тврђава / Serbian Latin: Beogradska tvrđava), consists of the old citadel (Upper and Lower Town) and Kalemegdan Park (Large and Little Kalemegdan) on the confluence of the River Sava and Danube, in an urban area of modern Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is located in Belgrade's municipality of Stari Grad. Belgrade Fortress was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and is protected by the Republic of Serbia. It is the most visited tourist attraction in Belgrade, with Skadarlija being the second. Since the admission is free, it is estimated that the total number of visitors (foreign, domestic, citizens of Belgrade) is over 2 million yearly.
One of the delights of urban and travel sketching is meeting new people. This man and I had a long chat, all about Belgrade, and then he kindly posed with my sketch of the river foreshore.
Monument of Gratitude to France (Serbian Cyrillic: Споменик захвалности Француској, Spomenik zahvalnosti Francuskoj) in Belgrade’s Veliki Kalemegdan Park was formally unveiled on 11 November 1930, the 12th anniversary of the end of the First World War, in the presence of King Alexander and Queen Maria, the royal government, the delegation of the French government, Serbian war veterans, distinguished citizens, associations, schools, and a large crowd of people.
It was noted as one of the first "public monuments on one national territory, where the perception of another (nation) is shown in positive light". It was declared a cultural monument in 1965, and a cultural monument of great significance in 1983.
I found it challenging to sketch: it’s a monumental and muscular piece of work.
St. Mark's Church or Church of St. Mark is a Serbian Orthodox church located in the Tašmajdan park in Belgrade, Serbia, near the Parliament of Serbia. It was built in the Serbo-Byzantine style by the Krstić brothers, completed in 1940, on the site of a previous church dating to 1835.
I sketched inside this church where my parents were married in 1947. I found it challenging to draw all those vaulted ceilings!
I sketched this couple early one evening as we sat outside the Majestik Hotel, enjoying the balmy weather.
I liked that this man was having such an animated conversation with his friends. Also, he was wearing a great hat. I sketched this in the Majestik Hotel lounge.
The Krušedol Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on the Fruška Gora mountain in the Syrmia region, northern Serbia, in the province of Vojvodina. The monastery is the legacy of the last Serbian despot family of Syrmia - Branković.
We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the church, so I stood and sketched the altar very quickly.
Any time of the day, at most cafes in Belgrade, people will be sitting, chatting, drinking coffee or a cold drink, smoking cigarettes - and watching the world go by. I sketched these two ladies one fine evening sitting at the outdoors Majestik Hotel cafe.
The Majestik Hotel waiters were superb: helpful, efficient, polite and - those with whom I spoke - charming. I sketched Nenad, one of them, in tribute to the great service they gave me during my stay at the Majestik Hotel.
This is ‘my’ house, where I’ve spent 4 of the 5 trips I’ve made to Montenegro.
The house was built in 1912 by a Viennese architect. It is right on the beach front, just a short step away from the beach. I rent the upstairs, which consists of three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, bathroom and balcony. This space has remained relatively unchanged since ‘gospodin Djukic’ passed away more than 15 years ago. My mother and aunt used to board there when they went to Montenegro, so the house has special significance for me. These days I enjoy the company of the Djukic family and friends.
I spent a few hours sitting on this balcony overlooking the sea in Tivat.
Every year since 2008 that I’ve been to Montenegro, I’ve caught Buda’s boat trip to Gospa od Skrpjele, Perast and Kotor
The fortifications of Kotor (Italian: Fortificazioni di Cattaro) are an integrated historical fortification system that protected the medieval town of Kotor (then called "Cattaro la veneziana") containing ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, cisterns, a castle, and ancillary buildings and structures. They incorporate military architecture mainly of Venice, but also a few of Illyria, Byzantium, and Austria. Together with the old town and its natural surroundings the fortifications were inscribed in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 labelled Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor and represent the only such site of cultural significance in Montenegro.
We trudged up 100s of stairs to get to the top of the fortifications above Kotor. The view was worth it. I sketched the cruise ship in the bay.
Miha helped me to colour in the Kotor Bay and landscape. I sketched the Princess Cruises liner from the top of the Kotor fortifications.
I sketched these girls sitting on the wall, overlooking the bay in Tivat. The sketch alongside is Rade, sitting in the garden, reading his beloved Politika newspaper - something he did every morning.
I was entertained at the Astoria Hotel in Tivat by this saxophonist, playing cool tunes on a warm Montenegrin evening.
Relaxing at the seaside, this lady nodded off while sitting in the sun.
I sketched the passing parade of people while sitting at the Porto Montenegro yacht basin.
Porto Montenegro is an exclusive marina and yachting paradise in the Mediterranean, offering waterfront residences, luxury shops and high end events.
Our pebbly beach at Tivat, just in front of our house. We spent many hours sitting there, watching the other beachgoers, swimming in the warm Adriatic, and talking for ages and ages. The biggest delight of my holidays was spending time with Rade, Danka, and their family.
Sitting at the Pine Hotel, Tivat, I sketched the patrons as we watched the passersby on a warm and balmy summer’s evening.
I sketched the front of the Pine Hotel, Tivat, as the patrons enjoyed a warm summer’s evening.
On my last day in Montenegro, I had lunch at the Ponto Veranda Restaurant in Tivat.
While having lunch at the Ponto Veranda, an almighty storm broke out. The rain splattered my sketchbook, adding to the watercolour!
All good things must pass, so here I am at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport, sketching the queues as we wait in line for our flight departure.
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport or Belgrade Airport is an international airport serving Belgrade, Serbia. It is the largest and busiest airport in Serbia, situated 18 km west of downtown Belgrade near the suburb of Surčin, surrounded by Syrmia's fertile lowlands. It is operated by French conglomerate Vinci Airports.
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system.
This man’s backpack was almost as big as him! I sketched this while waiting for my flight back to Melbourne.
I love the Serbian language: all those clashing consonants and rolling rrrrs are wonderful to pronounce. I sketched as many place names as I could remember of the beautiful and interesting places I visited.