Introducing Dušan Lopušina, one of our Spotters for the Belgrade city blog. What hides beneath Dušan’s mysterious grin? Read on in this interview to find out!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a 32-year-old, passionate about a broad array of forms of expression and topics – from writing and music to public relations and human rights issues. I was born in Belgrade, where I finished studying journalism and communications at the Faculty of Political Sciences. Living in Serbia and the Balkans got me interested in activism, learning about and facing the recent wars legacy. Besides being a journalist for magazines and radio, I’ve spent more than four years working in the communications for a human rights NGO. At the moment, I work at a communications agency and write for a couple of portals. I enjoy playing in different kinds of bands, from hardcore punk to alternative pop. I’m also showing Belgrade to its visitors on the bike tours I guide for the iBikeBelgrade company.
How do you like being a Spotter?
Actually, I found out about Spotted by Locals through a guy who used to be a Spotter. I liked the idea of the website, a simple and great concept. I enjoy writing about places I like, communicating with newcomers to Belgrade and showing them around. As a journalist, I also used to write about differents spots in Belgrade’s cultural life, so it came kinda naturally ☺.
Why Belgrade? What is a must when you’re visiting, what is not?
Belgrade is heavily influenced by its turbulent history and stories of different people and cultures that resided here. You just can’t detach it from that. So learning about the city, not just the buildings and places but the culture, spirit and the influence of recent history on today’s life is very interesting and important in order to understand the current reality. However, history is so easily forgotten here. A great deal of historic points in Belgrade are not marked at all, names of the streets are frequently changed with the switch of the government and the ideology.
A must? The early morning stroll through Knez Mihailova and Kalemegdan – peaceful and serene, with the background music of the street musicians. Bike ride on Dorćol quay, beneath Kalemegdan. Getting lost at Kalenić, Zeleni venac or pretty much any green market. Or enjoying the out-of-town feel at Radecki restaurant at the end of Zemun quay.
On the other hand, what I wouldn’t suggest doing is going to some of the most popular places, recommended for tourists – namely splavs, boat-clubs. For some, it can be exotic to see half naked people dancing drunk on tables to hideous turbo folk music, kids losing themselves, getting in fights and so on. For me, it’s just plain horrible. There are much better things to do and see in Belgrade. Of course, there are pretty cool boat-clubs, but not as outspoken as the bad ones.
Which prejudices about Belgrade are true? Which ones are not?
It is actually true that Belgrade is kind of a party town. People here tend to spend their last money on going out, and then survive ten days cashless until their next salary, which also may be a bit late that month. You can see folks still dancing on one of the splavs on a working day at 08:00. However, Belgrade is often called the party capital of Europe, which is a bit exaggerated, to say the least. Everybody who’s been to, say Berlin or Istanbul, would know that ☺.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in at this moment?
One of the most popular ones is in the vicinity of a now long defunct Hotel Yugoslavia. The river and the quay are near, the city center and most parts of town are reachable in ten minutes, the space is more humane than in the center – way more public spaces, playgrounds etc. You can get on a bike and go to work to the center easily, because the New Belgrade part is totally flat. You can enjoy the morning jogging or the evening breeze at Zemun quay, where it’s some 10 degrees colder than in the center, during the summer. You can also go out on various boats on the quaye.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
Getting up and enjoying a morning bike ride, when the traffic is still quiet and there are not many people on the street. Getting a bowl of raspberries and yoghurt breakfast at one of the green markets. Eat it in one of the parks or on the quay across Kalemegdan. Meeting up with friends for a coffee at Bašta jazz bar. Having a perfect spicy lunch at Diwalli Palace, then biking to Ada for some beach volleyball and swimming. And in the end having a band practice at BIGZ building.