Straight up, I will tell you that Lorna and I had NO plans on ever visiting Serbia. You know, it’s not the kind of place you hear good things about on the news. The place always seems to get tied-in with bombings and crime and associated with cities like Bosnia. I’ve always lived by the words, Don’t believe anything you don’t see with you own eyes, but still . . . I believe in the words, Go with your gut, too. Let’s face it, we never hear anything good about Serbia.
A fellow Aussie never goes on an overseas trip and then comes back to you with, Hey, You know what! We went to Serbia and it’s under-rated. It’s actually a pretty frickin’ cool place!
Nup. Not gonna happen.
We had no choice though. Lorna wanted to see Montenegro, and I’m glad we did, because apart from the locals being nice and accommodation, food and alcohol being extremely cheap, we were accidentally forced into experiencing Serbia.
You see, if you go to visit Montenegro from Croatia, and pat yourself on the back for having such an awesome time for so little money, and then you want to go to Greece next, you’re in for a big surprise. You pretty-much have to fly from Montenegro to Belgrade, Serbia, if you want to get to Athens, Greece.
Trust me. We tried to look for other options. It’s your best bet.
But don’t worry. Serbia aint that bad.
It’s not the cleanest city, by any stretch of the imagination, but if you manage to spend two days there, it’s actually worth the experience. It’s like nothing you’re used to.
For starters, we caught the train from Podgorica in Montenegro to Belgrade in Serbia at 1 p.m. and arrived at 10:00 p.m. The train ride alone is a pretty cool experience. The people you mingle with on the train and the outside scenery are something you’ll never forget.
Nerving-out that we’d have difficulty finding somewhere to stay, we walked across the road from Belgrade Train Station and found a great little place called BG City Hotel. For 50 euro a night they gave us a pretty decent hotel room with wifi and breakfast. We checked in and then went searching for food around midnight.
We walked around the corner and found a pizza and beer shop open. As we waited for the pizza and necked on tallies, around sixty girls dressed up for success walked past us and entered a night club. Then ten dudes. Then twenty girls. Then five dudes.
I looked down the street and there was another club doing the same type of business. Now, here’s the thing. It wasn’t Saturday night we’re talking about here, it was a frickin’ Tuesday!
When we got back to the hotel we asked the guy behind the counter what the deal was. He told us that Serbs like to go nuts every night of the week, party as hard as they can, and then rock up to work the next day like nothing happened. I used to tour in heavy rock bands in Australia and America for like, ten years, so you can believe me when I say that the people I saw walking into these clubs at midnight on a Tuesday meant business and were professionals.
The next day I visited the local gym. The owner was friendly and let me use the place for five bucks. He asked me where I was from. He said that the week previous, two Kiwis had come to visit his gym and asked if he knew a cool place to get a drink. On his recommendation he suggested one of the many nightclubs open every night. He told me the Kiwis had only come to Belgrade because they were in Montenegro and needed to get to Greece. This seems to be a common reason to visit. Anyway, apparently, the Kiwis were meant to only spend one night in Belgrade, but met a few girls that night and ended up staying for 22 days.
Lorna and I were planning on staying only the one night, but ended up staying for two days. Just out of interest. If you walk around town there are some cool shops and cafes. Everything is reasonably priced. If you look really hard, you’ll see some bombed bridges and buildings. We saw one building, about twenty stories high, that had been bombed from the inside. It was nearly falling down but the local road wasn’t closed or blocked off and no one seemed to care.
Serbia is not the greatest place in the world, but if you’re after an experience like no other, and you’re forced to visit Belgrade if you’re travelling between Greece and Montenegro, don’t worry. It ain’t that bad. It may even be a little more exciting than saying to your friends back home, Hey, we went to Venice. You’ll get a different reaction if you say, Hey, we went to frickin’ Serbia!
Oh. And in case you’re wondering, Where’s the bloody pictures?
I didn’t take any.