Make sure to catch up on my first and second week in Belgrade!
My last week in Belgrade went by really quick. Guess that’s what happens when you start feeling comfortable in a place and the routine. So perfect timing to move on.
This week it got warmer. It made everyone think it was spring, but unfortunately, next week the cold is supposed to come back- Winter is… returning. During the last few days in Belgrade, I was walking around with a light jacket and on Sunday, the warmest day, I was wearing capri pants.
Due to the warmth, the snow melted pretty quickly. I’ve been running by the river and during my first week here, I took a picture to send to a friend in Argentina (since it’s summer there) and then this week, I stopped and took another photo. It’s crazy. I was running on ice and snow for a bit with a headband to keep my forehead and ears warm and gloves and now I was running with capris and no jacket!
Also, due to the warmth, it was raining instead of snowing, but I don’t like the rain. I rather have it snow. Which, many find weird, but whatever. Enough of the weather….but I just can’t believe how warm it has been!!!
One day, I went to the Ethnographic museum. It was very interesting. It was a bit bigger than the Tesla museum and quite a bit cheaper. It has displays on traditional folk dresses from around the Balkan area and how the people lived and survived through the years. I actually quite enjoyed the museum.
I found it also interesting that I had never seen the square/park near the museum prior. This is partly why I wanted to stay in a place for several weeks- to get to know the area. If I was just here for a few days, I might not have ever saw that park nor the museum, which I’m so glad I did.
Interesting Local Tidbits
As I was walking back to the hostel from the museum/through the park, I came upon a street. There was a sign with hooks that had P (for parking) and a picture of a dog. Underneath was a dog, whose leash was attached to the sign. I had never seen dog parking before and it made me smile and laugh a bit. People probably thought I was a bit crazy.
This week, I met someone from Slovenia. He was quite interesting and kept leaving the hostel to stay with a Couchsurfer, but would always return for whatever reason. It became a running joke when saying goodbye,
“See you soon!”
During my first week, I talked about a set group of people that were at the hostel that all hung out together- F, A, C, S, me, etc. Well, along with the Slovenia guy, one of the new receptionists also hung out with us. It was another set group if you will. J is pretty awesome. She is always smiling and her laugh brings a smile to my face. She’s a musician and though I have not heard her play, I have seen her dance and she is wonderful! There is a Cuban salsa teacher staying here and they danced to one song in the lobby- they were fantastic and it made me miss Latin America more.
And speaking of Latin America, another Cuban checked in and didn’t speak much English so, much to my happiness, I had to translate. I miss speaking in Spanish. And yes, I have picked up a few words in Serbian, but not enough for a conversation (J asked me about this after my translation session), which F finds so funny.
“You are speaking in English then all of a sudden you say hvala (thank you in Serbian- ha-va-la). It’s funny and nice.”
“Well, yeah, it’s nice to say something in the native language…” I would respond.
I also know basic numbers so when asked by the cashier at the grocery store if I had 10 dinars to make change easier, I responded no, but it turned out that neither F nor the cashier heard me and they thought I was not paying attention. But, I swear I said it twice.
I looked for more tourist things to do around the city throughout the week, but came up short. There were two museums I was a bit interested in, but I was informed there were no English panels so I wouldn’t be able to understand anything.
F and I returned to O’s apartment for another get together and then ended up staying up to watch the sunrise. We went to Kalemegdan because that’s where people go to watch the sunset. However, it’s not the best to see the sunrise. It was still beautiful and I’m glad I stayed up, I don’t know how much F enjoyed it as he was complaining to me that he was cold the whole time. I was too, near the end, but it was my idea so I put up with it. On my run the next day, I realized that seeing the sunrise from across the river or on the bridge would have been better. So, for those looking to see the sunrise in Belgrade, I recommend there.
The end of this week also brought the hostel’s next volunteer. He’s from Singapore and he has been traveling for five years and is looking to travel for another five years. He is gradually making his way around the world. That is so cool! He does a combination of things- like has volunteered at other hostels before. Actually, our conversation was so interesting that I was late in meeting F, which he enjoyed since he was late last weekend.
It was really crazy this week too as I was asked for directions by several locals- in Serbian. I always answered with “English?” And then they would sigh and walk away, but I guess I appear to fit in enough that they think I know what’s up. One was a taxi driver!
On the taxi driver asking for directions day, was the same day I walked to the New Cemetery. F told me it was a tourist thing to see and that it was very nice. It was beautiful, but it is similar to other cemeteries I have seen already. They were also doing some grounds work so it wasn’t in the most beautiful shape. But they had some cool gravestones and monuments.
Tonight is my last night in Belgrade. I’m planning on catching an early-ish bus to Nis tomorrow and then go into Bulgaria then Macedonia. I’m planning on meeting two people in Montenegro at the end of the month.
One is a friend from the United States that I met in Argentina on study abroad and the other is the Spanish guy, A, I met from my first week here. I am super excited to see both of them again!
Thank you to the Belgrade Modern Hostel/Hostel 21 for hosting me :)
More pictures here.
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