Railway stations are the stuff of romantic dreams, assignations and intrigue.
Countless films have revolved around journeys by train, the destinations, the lives of those who travel, or simply sit drinking coffee, waiting…
There is something about the atmosphere of anticipation that lifts the spirit.
Carriages lined up, waiting to be hauled off to far away places.
For me the the prospect of a journey by train conjures up a sense of adventure that a wait in an airport lounge fails to do.
Belgrade’s central station shares space with the city’s main bus station. For many this is the first time they see belgradestreets.
Like many buildings and streets in the city it has a faded charm, a sense of a glorious past and times gone by.
The trains that fill its platforms are now, as are belgradestreets, the canvas for the artists who are never seen but whose work is ever present.
I will write more about that another time.
The site on which the station sits was once, I feel optimistically, named “bara venecija” a comparison with the lagoon of Venice which most would consider a challenging association.
Built in 1884, the station was badly damaged in both the First and Second World Wars. My Komshe guidebook “Belgrade in your hands” explains that the station was designed by Dragutin Milutinović, the son of classicist poet, Sima Milutinović Sarajlija.
The Orient Express once passed this way.
During my visit the trains were leaving for Novi Sad, although one set of carriages with sleeper cabins and a cage for motor vehicles hinted at more far flung destinations.
A quick check in Wikipedia tells a tale of a new station to be built at Prokop, although as far as I can tell that plan remains just that, a plan?
For me, however neglected, the station calls out to the explorer in me…the siren call of far away places waiting to be discovered…