Republic of Serbia · 5 Days · 24 Moments · June 2016

Al Bates

A spot of Serbia

13 June 2016

The rain arrived as we left this morning so we thought we'd leave the country! Not without snapping this lovely soviet era building - I can't decide whether I like it or not....!

12 June 2016

Most of the day was spent looking after these lovelies!
At breakfast another dog decided it would like to be owned by Cat and Chris!

11 June 2016

We merrily made our way into town on the bus and headed for the bohemian quarter (naturally). Dinner was delicious and we tried lots of Serbian dishes and carafes of wine. The atmosphere in town was brilliant with lots of live musicians coming round to play at your table. After dinner we headed to a few more bars and Jon tried to get a glimpse of the football. We then merrily caught the bus home, I fell asleep on the way back and it rained lots on the walk from the bus stop!
Cat and Chris were already set up next to us at camp when we arrived back. The campsite manager excitedly told me my sister had arrived the moment we walked through the gate. "Did you know she was coming?!!!". It seems quite the thing to meet up with your sibling in Belgrade. Naturally the magnum was cracked and we ended up having another bottle of fizz on top of it. A stray dog also decided it would quite like to be owned by Cat and Chris.
Before heading back to camp we stopped off in Zemun, a suburb of Belgrade. It's a lovely town with a picturesque viewing tower. It seems to be a popular spot for wedding photos too!
We wandered and had an ice coffee - taking in the belgradian scene. It's really quite a happening city and hard to imagine it was only in 1999 it was bombed to bits. I remember it being on the news , so strange. There appears to be some kind of rollerblading competition today too!
We kick started the day with a bit of learning in the military museum. It was an interesting overview if not a little biased and lacking in the more recent atrocities.
Before the siblings arrival this afternoon we decided to catch the bus back into town for a bit more sightseeing. The walk to the bus stop is about a km and this morning we were lucky enough that a random driver stopped to give us a lift.
This morning the famed Magnum has been (finally) put in the fridge. Sent as a gift when I left work in December from my dear friend and colleague Claire I have been saving it for a special occasion. That special occasion is the cross over of Cat and Chris's holiday with our travelling! They're due in Belgrade this afternoon, very exciting.

10 June 2016

Our last stop was to look at the parliament building which seems to have all sorts of protest banners outside...
We always seem to be looking at large religious buildings and Belgrade was no exception. This is the second largest Orthodox Church in the world - under quite a few renovations it seems.
Our (rather long!) tour ended with a story on how belgradians saved their bridge during nato bombings in 1999. Apparently thousands would run to the bridge during the raids in white tshirts to stop the bridge from becoming a target. They even held rock concerts during the bombings on the bridge! Quite an interesting story and tribute to the resilience of the people here.
This naked man is a WW1 victory statue put up as the news Yugoslavia was born. And that's why he's naked - he's not wearing Serbian or Montenegrin (or any other Yugoslavia country) uniform. He's a new neutral Yugoslavian man. I guessed this fact and got awarded a Rakija glass - oh yes!
Next was the citadel - the old castley Roman bit. We got a great 2000 year history from our guide. Although her opinion on Kosovo and the 1999 nato bombings were somewhat Serbian biased and slightly controversial!
Next we learnt about the Serbian language - and Croatian... Bosnian... Montenegrin ... It's all the same apparently. They have two alphabets in use - Latin (like us) and cyrlic (like the Russians).
Hilariously we then got to try some of her Grandfathers home made Rakija - which is a spirit made with plums. Contains 40-60% alcohol. A very famous Serbian tipple! We learnt all about Serbian cuisine which sounds pretty focused on meat wrapped in meat and sometimes with cheese. My dad would enjoy that..!
After the success of the few free walking tours this year we thought we'd start our first day with one! Our guide was brilliant, really very enthusiastic and passionate about her city. We started off by visiting the Bohemian quarter which we understand is absolutely buzzing on an evening - table dancing and all. We knew nothing about Belgrade or Serbian culture and I was surprised I see so many cool hang out and party places. Pretty too!

9 June 2016

We arrived in Belgrade in time for lunch - just needed to find the campsite. Turns out the nav didn't actually know where it was and we turned up in an industrials park . Fail. Thinking outside the box I then accidentally navigated us to a road that was 6inchs wider than the van and I had to pull in my wing mirror to get past a car. I was not in the good books. After an hour of being lost I eventually found camp and we had a good old rest.
Then the sat nav let us down and I became an idiot...
The drive along the Danube is absolutely beautiful!
The trip had us passing through at least 20 tunnels. It's like a ride at Disney world!
How many times have I said on Journi "hurrah a new country"? But as spoilt rotten as we are, hurrah a new country for us both. Reading online we were both scared into existence on crossing the border from Romania to Serbia. Forums explaining you need to show the officials all manners of things. Turns out they were all very happy to see us, smiled, checked the passports and in we went. Unfortunately another long drive to Belgrade today so not as interesting as it could be. However the landscape here is incredible and utterly worth the long drive.