In our new column Meet a local we present interesting individuals from different professional fields living in Belgrade. The idea is to get to know some locals and their favorite neighborhoods and venues in the city.
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
Hi, my name is Aleksandra Golubovic. I was born here in Belgrade, but spent most of my life living in Vancouver, Canada. I came back to Belgrade last year to open Avani Yoga.
Has there been a new project lately?
I’ve been busy trying to grow the yoga studio into a vibrant community space. Lately, we’ve been hosting lots of workshops – for beginners as well as for more experienced students – and dinner events combining yoga with holistic nutrition. It’s been really cool meeting all the wonderful people that make this city what it is, and practicing with them.
What do you like about Belgrade?
I think I might be a little biased when it comes to Belgrade! I am completely in love with this city. For me, it has a strange charm that is completely beguiling. I’ve never found a place that is such a pleasure to simply walk around in. What I think makes Belgrade really special is that, despite municipal rule that often seems at odds with the desires of the inhabitants, this is a city that nonetheless belongs to itself. It’s a city in which you can see people take pride and ownership. Yes, everyone laments the garbage on the streets and the crumbling facades, but there is still this fierce sense among Belgradians that the city somehow rightfully belongs to them. One small hint of this is how avidly people use public space here – parks and promenades are always full. On a nice day, it can be hard to get a seat on a bench. I have not had this problem in any other city I’ve lived in!
Where do you like to go out?
Anywhere people invite me! I seem to start a lot of nights out in Cetinjska bar district.
Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?
Proleće if I’m craving good old-fashioned Serbian food; Mala Fabrika Ukusa is lovely for a new take on local classics; and when it’s late and I’m hungry, the good folks at La Taqueria have never let me down. Their margaritas are pretty tasty, too.
Where do you drink coffee?
Since moving back here, I have really been trying to hone my domaća kafa making skills. Let’s just say I am still working on them! If it’s a sunny day, I like to pop down to the Kafeteria beside Studentski Park. There are usually some cute dogs there to pet.
Where do you spend your leisure time?
I like to be outside as much as possible. I’m lucky to have Kalemegdan right beside the studio, so I can always sneak out there, and it’s beautiful in every season. However, after a long winter, I am itching to get out of the city and into a forest!
Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice.
Kalemegdan– Its beauty aside, what I find really great about Kalemegdan is that it is a historical place in contemporary use. With Kalemegdan, the past is not something sequestered away in a museum; it’s a living, breathing thing. When you come here and see kids playing, lovers meeting, cafes buzzing, people enjoying the view, it makes for a sense of continuity with the past. Although the ways in which the space is used have changed, the space itself is still in use. It’s not barricaded behind a fence like, say, Stonehenge. Kalemegdan is not an artifact, something we can only look at from a temporal distance, but something that STILL EXISTS.
Kalenić Pijaca – My maternal grandparents had an apartment right beside the pijaca, so I spent a lot of summers in this area when I was a child. As an adult, I began to appreciate how incredible the market is – it’s a great place to be even if you’re not shopping for anything. The colours, the energy, the smells and the sounds – it’s a feast for the senses in the most literal of terms.
Kosančićev Venac – This is one of the oldest parts of the city and some really beautiful buildings are located around here, like the Saborna Crkva. Stroll along the cobblestones, peek at the ruins of the National Library destroyed in WWII, and stop for a drink overlooking the river. I’ll have a rosé, please!