Serbia: Day 1 (Belgrade)
I arrived by night train at about 6:30 am in Belgrade from Budapest. The train ride was 8€ but I also purchased a sleeper berth from the train conductor for an additional 10€ and it was worth it because I needed to sleep. It is unusual to buy the sleeper berth from the conductor except in the Balkans I think. I selected the Belgrade City Hotel. These are economy accommodations at $43USD a night but it’s right next to the train and the bus station in Stari Grad which is the old town of Belgrade and everything you will want to see on a short trip to this area can be seen in a day or two and all of it is within walking distance.
I have very little to share on the first day in Belgrade because I had to get some work done today and stayed in the hotel to accomplish this goal but again when this happens I merely extend my stay by a day to accommodate work matters. Unfortunately, the wifi at my hotel isn’t top notch to say the least and as a result I almost missed a deadline so keep these things in mind when selecting a hotel in countries like Serbia.
As for food, you must try cepavi which is a local cuisine of minced meat and can be served by itself or in bread or as a kebab but the portions are huge so try for a half order. Usually comes with Pom frites or French fries as we Americans know it and if you get it from a non-touristy restaurant, it is quite tasty. I try, if possible, to avoid the overpriced tourist restaurants as the food is generally not as good as in the local hangouts…always follow the locals when it comes to food…that’s my motto.
As for nighttime, I’m a little hesitant to encourage women traveling alone to head out at night in the city. I myself wanted to get some take away pizza from the shop on the corner and so I braved the streets but I felt a little nervous as the homeless people and drunks yelled out to me periodically. Hold your head high, chin up, walk on, be polite and make sure to wear an air of confidence like you belong here, like you are a local. It is that simple as no one will mess with someone who isn’t afraid. Fear (or showing fear) no matter where you are (even in the US) is an invitation for trouble. The huge slice of pizza and coke cost 230 dinar ($2.00 USD) and the short walk to get it gave me the confidence I needed to be in the Balkans for the next few weeks alone and that is priceless.
Be aware of the fact that as a tourist you will be approached by many toothless and homeless people asking for money. Just carry some in a separate pocket than the rest of your money and give some to them politely. It can’t be easy to be them and that change you give is the equivalent of pennies to you and a meal for them. And trust me good karma is the most valuable asset you have out here!
I also noted that casinos are popular here. There is even one in my hotel. And Belgrade is known for its nightlife much like Budapest so if you are looking to drink, party and have a good time head out to the many discos they have here armed with the aforementioned confidence and good karma!
That’s it for now. From Belgrade Serbia with love.