After our late night with L and T, we both needed a walk to clear our heads, so we set out straight after coffee and did - in the end - a pretty long walk up to the Danube, around via the confluence of the Danube and the Sava and back across the old town to the flat. It was probably around 10kms. My head was well and truly cleared at the end.
We had a notion to go to a place we went for coffee when we were here together in 2010 (pre blip). We found it, but it was abandoned, apart from two surly looking dogs in cages at the door. Something strange is going on with that part of the waterfront. Just a little further on we came upon more renovations and building works, with some sort of ambitious path linking the fortress and the waterfront under construction. It's probably more of the controversial Belgrade Waterfront nonsense. There's no doubt that there's quite a lot of disquiet amongst the sorts of citizens of the city that I hang out with about the building works going on (e.g. the digging up and "refurbishment" of Republic Square which had originally been the focus for anti-government civic parades until the building works forcibly started earlier this year). One advantage of such public works, of course, is that it allows the government then to divert more taxes to public works contracts (at inflated prices) for the companies of their mates. There's a worse spirit in the city right now than at any other time when I've visited. There's a significant emigration problem at the moment, continuing the brain drain that has been going on for decades in this region, but also now affecting people who I previously thought were ready to stay and fight for a better society and state. A government that took this seriously must eventually see that its own actions are a large part of the problem.
Later on I met with AZ to talk about these and other matters. Good background and context. It morphed into dinner at an excellent restaurant.