The blogger has been living in Belgrade for eight months.
American blogger Nwando E. has been living and working in Belgrade for a while and she often publishes stories about Serbia. This year, she also visited Zagreb and compared the two capitals.
On her blog The Amerikanka, she writes that there are some major differences, starting from the way the two cities look. She says that Zagreb is a pristine and pretty city, while Belgrade might “even be fugly.” She explained that she did not think anything bad with her remark since Belgrade has a soul and lively energy, but Zagreb immediately hits you “over the head with the charming and whimsical loveliness of Austro-Hungarian style architecture dipped in cotton candy colours. It is the kind of place that makes you want to dance through the streets.”
She was surprised that most restaurants and cafes in Zagreb close by 11 pm, while in Belgrade they were open at least until midnight, and often much later. Although Belgrade is a considerably more lively city, it does not have as many tourists as Zagreb has.
She was also delighted that Zagreb is more “bike-adjusted,” with open streets and spacious sidewalks. Zagreb also has much more minorities, she noticed. “In Belgrade, I will go months without seeing a black person. There are black students in Belgrade and a few expats, but it seems that there are fewer minorities actually settling there for a new life, which is not the case with Zagreb,” she writes.
Still, the men in Belgrade are more polite. “Men in Zagreb kind of remind me of men in Italy or even Latin American countries where they can be a bit lecherous. You might experience some catcalling, long staring, kissy faces, eye-undressing and downright stupid questions. I can honestly say that I experienced more inappropriate behaviour on a weekend in Zagreb than I did in the entire eight months I have lived in Belgrade.” She also writes that men in Belgrade are darker-skinned than those in Zagreb.
She praises restaurants in the Croatian capital. In Belgrade, there are plenty of restaurants with Greek, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Asian cuisine, but in Zagreb the selection is much larger, even with some exotic options.
Zagreb receives points for the public transportation etiquette as well. “In Zagreb, not giving up your seat for an older person is considered so rude, and you might even get a tongue-lashing if you don’t move. And I think that is the way it should be everywhere. It is also required to give up your seat for children in Zagreb, as well as Belgrade. I just think in Zagreb, you will see more people quick to volunteer, whereas in Belgrade, the person with a child might ask someone first before the person volunteers.”
When it comes to the fortresses in the city centre, Belgrade clearly wins. “Technically, Zagreb does have a fortress, but it is only accessible by car or bus. Belgrade’s fortress, however, is easy to walk to from downtown, which tends to be the case for many of these Balkan cities. I don’t think Belgrade’s fortress Kalemegdan is by any means the most impressive fortress in the Balkans, but it is still a fortress.”
Finally, she had a few words to say about the street fashion. While describing Belgrade as a sexy city, for Zagreb she writes it is “a more modest and slightly more a high fashion city. I would say Belgrade is fashionable, but Zagreb has style.”
All in all, not a bad result for the Croatian capital.