|Washington Co, Missouri||North America||200||English||37.787/-90.849||5,313 miles|
As the capital and largest city of Serbia, Belgrade means “White City.” It’s strategic position, located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, has made it a target for an amazing amount of wars over the years. Over 115 to be exact, the earliest recorded account is in 279 when it was conquered by the Celts. It has also been razed to the ground 44 times.
Belgrade also has quite a reputation as a party-til-you-drop happening city. In fact, Lonely Planet says Belgrade is The Worlds #1 Ultimate Party City. Belgradeatnight.com goes a bit further describing the distinctive allure of the city’s unique nightclub atmosphere: “Another difference between local clubs and clubs in the rest of the world is that Belgrade clubs do not have dance floors. The whole club is filled with bar tables and VIP tables, so you simply party with your friends next to yours.” They go on to say with this set-up you are less likely to have drinks spilled on you. For those looking for a cleaner nightclub atmosphere, it might be quite a selling point.
Additionally, Belgrade is media hip having their own version of such world-famous magazines as Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Elle, National Geographic, Men’s Health. (all important in their own right I’m sure).
Paul is not a big dancer (on a floor or next to a table), and I was pretty sure we could pick up all of the afore mentioned magazines at Wal-Mart. So we saved some time and a few bucks and went to Belgrade, Missouri instead.
We did a little research before we left and discovered the tiny community was founded in 1876 and oddly enough was named after Belgrade in Serbia. This surprised us. When we first started this grand experiment of comparing cities with copy-cat names, we assumed these mid-western towns were all named after their more famous counterparts. But more often than not they are named after early settlers and/or prominent families or individuals. (Or people with little imagination).
We take highway 70 east out of Columbia and within a half hour start seeing signs for Hermann, MO, our favorite wine stop. It’s July and the city is really promoting it’s annual August Grape Stomp. Purple feet aside, I can’t think of a better way to rid oneself of pent-up anxieties, so, I make a note of the dates for future reference.
But for now we keep going. About a half hour later we turn on highway 47 south.
If you like curves, you’ll love highway 47. A plethora of yellow warning signs line the side of the road which I recommend you pay attention to. But be sure to take a gander at the landscape when you can. It’s full of rolling meadows, peppered with deciduous trees. There’s also corn, which being further south, is a little higher than what we have at home. Aside from the buckle-up-for-your-life twists and turns, this is one of the prettiest drives we’ve been on, and Paul agrees.
We also feel so isolated from the world, that when we spot a house in the middle of nowhere hosting a garage sale it’s almost surreal. And to top it off, it’s packed with customers. It isn’t until we pass through Marthasville, MO that appears to be deserted, that I figure out where where the sale crowd came from.
After that, nothing really catches my eye until we turn off on highway 21 south. In passing a sign for the “Wurst Farm” , which I’m sure is a delightful place, I say to Paul “I bet the word ‘ever’ is spray painted by the local hooligans more times than that family would want.”
Eventually we turn right on C, now just four miles from Belgrade.
By this time we’re hungry and stop in at the Belgrade Country Cafe.
The food was surprisingly good, and honestly the woman serving us is one of the friendliest individuals I have ever met. So we asked if there was anything interesting to do in Belgrade. “There was a murder in the afternoon here once,” she said. And she added with a smile, that Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are only about 1/2 mile away.
We stumbled upon a pretty sweet cabin though…
…in front of an rather ostentatious house (Drake Home). There is a plaque on the side of the cabin which states it was built in 1875, but that’s about it. If anyone knows more about this, drop us a line. We’d love to update this blog post with more details.
Otherwise we came away from Belgrade knowing little more than, unlike its Serbian cousin, it’s probably not a party-all-night kind of place.
But then again, who are we to say – we left before the sun went down.
Our next destination: Sparta