Robert L. Peters

26 June 2011

Once upon a time in Yugoslavia…

Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Ljubljana, Skopje… take your pick.

I have fond memories of Yugoslavia, so I was delighted to chance upon an online collection of graphics from this former nation, here.

Yugoslavia came onto my radar when I was 10 years old (living in Switzerland at the time) as a result of a pen-pal who I corresponded with in the northerly city of Novi Sad (now Serbia) on the Danube. On boxing day the following year (I was 11, it was 1965) I boarded the Orient Express in Basel for a 32-hour epic train-ride to go visit my friend “Rosie” on the other side of the Iron Curtain (I still can’t believe how much trust my parents placed in me to do this on my own—hard to imagine in today’s over-protective context). Needless to say, I had a blast, I learned a lot (including some significant life-lessons), and I was enamored by almost everything I encountered.

During the late 1960s we would occasionally make day trips into Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) while on family camping trips in nearby Austria. During the 1980s, I visited designer friends in the Zagreb area (now Croatia) with my wife, and spent some fine holiday days in/around Bled (now Slovenia). Later on, I was invited to contribute works to and then serve on design juries of ZGRAF (including one visit in 1991 in the midst of what had become a civil war). The last time I was in (former) Yugoslavia was during the Icograda events in Zagreb, Croatia, in April 2001.

I’m looking forward to another visit to these remarkable Balkan lands some day soon… in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the vintage nostalgia here.

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