Day 80. After a short stop in Zagreb, I took a plane and flew over Bosnia to reach Belgrade (Београд/Beograd/the white city). I arrived during the night, and true to myself I forgot to google what the currency was before I got there. I needed to withdraw money for a taxi, and the only options the ATM offered were the following:
- 3 000
- 5 000
- 10 000
- 25 000
- 50 000
- What did I get myself into?
- PANIC MODE
I withdrew 10 000 Serbian Dinars, which turned out to be worth 115$ CAN, and after paying my taxi and my 4-night stay at the hostel, I still had more than half of the initial amount. I felt financially powerful.
Of course, I had a little freak out episode when the taxi left and I stood by the door of my hostel, at midnight, and nobody answered the door. Thankfully it was a Friday night. Belgrade is very alive on a Friday night. Everything was still open. I entered the first restaurant I saw, careful not to drag the client’s dishes with my heavy bags, and asked to make a phone call. Truth be told, this was precisely the first time I’d written down the hostel’s phone number. High-five to my clairvoyant’s powers.
Thirty minutes later, I could finally drop my stuff in my dorm and find out why there wasn’t staff at the reception on my arrival. Well it was low season. And I was the only guest of the hostel.
They let me the keys and I had the whole place to myself—kitchen, 8-bed dorm, living room, bathrooms—for four whole days, which turned out to be five. Might as well be Christmas.
On my first day I just walked around and discovered, which led me to a very nice shop (Katapult) where they kept antiques and handmade. My favorite corner was the one where a lady made jewels out of old watches. I fell in love with each one of them.
Then I directed myself toward the Free Walking Tour of 4 o’clock, only to realize it was in fact the Not-Free Walking Tour of 3 o’clock. (You know once or twice a year we have to change the time for some reason? Well of course nobody told me that time had come since I was alone at the hostel.) I did the tour anyway, and was led around the city to the Museum of Yugoslav History, where I learned a lot about Toto’s life–which is quite an interesting story, and a major figure of Serbian history.
The next days were a series of the following activities:
- Fattening myself up at this mouth-watering bakery. (I literally failed not to enter every time I saw one.)
- Visiting beautiful monuments.
- Learning more about Serbian culture: Kafanas, Rakija, and these amazingly practical shot glasses.
- Getting linguistically lost.
- And geographically lost. Thankfully, Belgrade has very specific signs, just in case you go crazy on the Rakija.
Fail Count: 6