Archive for August, 2009

Stage 5: Zagreb – Beograd

We’re on our way to Beograd and we’ve decided to stop along the way at the

Jasenovac concentration camp

Jasenovac

This memorial site is located in southern croatia, along the border with Eastern Bosnia’ Republika Srpska. During the second world war the Ustaše regime, in charge of the Independent State of Croatia Nazi puppet state, liquidated in this camp an unknown number of people (figures range between 50.000 and 600.000). The vast majority were Serbs, followed by Roma people, Jews, uncooperating Croatians, Bosnian Muslims and Slovenes. The camp is now stripped of its original buildings and is just a big meadow with artificial hills and a lake, the centrepiece is the Jasenovac monument by Bogdan Bogdanović.

Beograd, first impressions

city gate

Beograd is a mess, but is a real city, maybe the first we’ve met on our way, the first sight of the metropolis are the brutalist Western City Gates, followed by traffic, cyrillic signage, more traffic and more cyrillic signage. While crossing the bridge on the Sava, the city looks very layered and, this time, definitely NOT tidy or well kept. But it looks very lively. We guess this is our first real glimpse of the East.

August 31, 2009 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

Zagreb

We finally got to Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Zagreb is distinctively influenced by the Austro-Hungarian empire in terms of architecture and city planning (in the centre), and by Soviet good practices (in the outskirts). The result is a small historical city centre, very well kept, and a sprawling metropolis of concrete highrise buildings all around it. The latest developments are huge shopping malls and fast-food franchises. A sort of icing on the cake.

St. Mark

Croatian people look very proud of being, well, Croatian. Everything in Zagreb is chequered white and red, people wear chequered t-shirts, sport faces chequered in red freckles and every single car has a “HR” tag on it. Like they would not recognize each other.

Tehnički muzej Zagreb

Lunokhod

The museum layout and collection clearly dates from the glory days of good old Yugoslavia. Stress is put on worker achievements, mine production, big greasy steam engines and a big lobby filled with areonautical and transportation specimens such as a P-47 Thunderbolt in Yugo livery and an old pocket submarine (under restoration). There’s also a space section with Apollo era scale models (a Saturn V, the ASTP and a couple Soyuz crafts) but also 1:1 scale replicas of a Lunokhod rover (pictured above) and a Mercury capsule complete with LES.

Clio_engine

Then you turn a corner and find our engine, the very one we’ve been cooking on the previous day, in the middle of an exhibition gallery. We know where to go for spare parts now.

DSCN5526

In the firefighting section (firefighters are held in high esteem in all of the former Yugoslav republics) we’ve found some nice Hazmat suits and equipment.

August 29, 2009 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Stage 4: Celje – Zagreb

Burek

We left Šmartinsko jezero, already missing our new friends but proud to head for our next mission: Zagreb, Croatia.

August 29, 2009 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

Celje (and Šmartinsko jezero) #2

Velenje

Tito trg

We visited Velenje, a town that sports the largest marshall Tito statue in the world. Velenje is a minerary socialist dream, it has been built to house the workers for a local lignite mine. Gorenje, a manufacturer of washing machines and armored personnel carriers has its headquarters in the area.

gorenje APCs

Back to Šmartinsko jezero

barca

We went for a nice tour of the lake on a boat that once carried Agatha Christie (on another lake). The boat has been refit with an electric engine as petrol engines are off limits on the area. Our host advised us not to dip our feet in the water, apparently there are giant carnivorous carps dwelling in the deeps. They use to eat children and small dogs.

107 Kg  Siamese Giant Carp_1

Oh, deer!

When we came back to the house a couple hunters arrived on a brand-new SUV. In the trunk they had the fresh corpse of a young deer, which they proceeded to slaughter on the dinner table. We had our daily dose of blood, gore and deer cutlets on the grill. Most of the beast went into a really tasty Gulash that we’ve been compulsively eating for the next day or two.

cerviattolo

Now, off to Zagreb, Croatia.

August 26, 2009 at 8:44 am Leave a comment

Celje (and Šmartinsko jezero) #1

Smartinsko jezero

Celje is home to a nice community of artists, they have worked together to get the city council to issue a residency program for foreign artists, and to grant studio space to local artists. We met most of them at a nice country house at the Šmartinsko lake, nearby Celje. This is a sort of camp which is part of the Splav Meduze event, curated by Marko Stamenkovic and produced by Zavod Celeia Celje – Center for Contemporary Art / Likovni salon.

IC Cuisine

IC prep

For Splav Meduze we presented the first iteration of our IC Cuisine project, and our draft Cookbook.

engine

We have found some nice trout that we cooked in our Renault Clio, with berry tomatoes, parsley, pepper and olive oil.

tasting

Our fellows appreciated the treat and deemed it good.


August 25, 2009 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Stage 3: Ljubljana – Celje

summer

We left our tidy squat for Celje, a former Roman, former Germanic, former Yugoslavian town in the east of Slovenia. Celje is the centre of an agricultural region and it’s full of sprawling shopping malls.

August 24, 2009 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

Ljubljana

graffito

Ljubljana is a very nice city and it embodies Mitteleuropa to the max, everything is tidy and everything works. Elderly people speak perfect English.We stayed in Metelkova, a very nice squat, where everything is tidy and everything works. Elderly punks, there, speak perfect English.

DSCN5058

Above: the monumental Altar of Discord.

August 24, 2009 at 11:30 am 1 comment

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