I’ve been racking my mind trying to think of something exceptional to share with you about Belgrade, Serbia, and I haven’t had much luck. The truth is, we were not really enamoured with this city, but we didn’t dislike it either. It just kind of was.
It was the place I celebrated my 30th birthday. That’s probably part of the problem. For some reason, I felt the need to feed my craving for baked goods, and gorged on far too many pastries. As much fun as it was at the time, I can’t help but feel a bit sick in my stomach when I think back on Belgrade.
It was the first place where we experienced temperatures in excess of 40° Celsius. This was compounded by a lengthy walk from the bus station to our hostel at midday, with an even lengthier wait while we purchased a city map (first time we’ve had to do that) and figured out where the heck the bus had dropped us off. It felt hot, but not as hot as I expected having never before been in temperatures so high.
The Olympics had just started, attracting a steady crowd of spectators in front of the hostel television. We spent pretty much the extent of our time in Belgrade visiting with that very same crowd, drinking beer, and soaking up the air conditioning.
We did go out a few times.
We walked through the Belgrade Fortress. Meandered into some Christian orthodox churches where we learned that there are no chairs. Seriously, a service can take up to two hours, and everyone just has to stand there. And on my birthday, we went swimming at Ada Ciganlija, a man made sheltered swimming hole alongside the Danube River.
One of my favourite things about Belgrade was this building that was blown up by NATO in 1999. We were told that it’s the last example of the bombing left in the city – whether that’s true or not ,I have no idea. Even though Canada was responsible for about 10% of the bombs that were dropped during that time, none of the locals held it against us personally. The people we met in Belgrade were some of the friendliest we’ve met anywhere, and the bakeries were kind enough to give me a few bonus pastries on my birthday.
So that was Belgrade. Just a reminder, there’s plenty more photos where these came from in our Photo Album.