Published: December 6th 2007
November 30th 2007
We arrived in Belgrade at pretty much six in the morning. The journey was terrible and worsened by the fact that what was a dribbly nose turned into a full blown cold. We had the name of a hostel written down called New Morning hostel which said on the website that it had a twenty four hour reception. We stood outside the main entrance knocking and ringing the bell for about half an hour until we gave in. Our next choice was over the other side of the town so we walked through the deserted centre to get there. Lonely Planet quoted prices that were not only affordable, but cheap. That wasn't the case inside the hotel Royal, we couldn't afford anything, even when he reduced the price for us. We didn't have a backup written down and it was about two hours too early for tourist information, so we needed to find the internet. We headed initially to the nearest one in our guidebook which no longer existed. We were pointed in the direction of a "24 hour" café which was closed and nobody was around. Pretty fed up, backs hurting and desperate for the toilet we went to a
café for a hot chocolate.
With new plans in order we hauled our bags onto our backs and went to find a hostel on a different side of the city. We were greeted by a friendly man who welcomed us in with great gusto. The double room was actually a cupboard with a bunk bed in which I hurridly refused. The owner understood and showed us some bunk beds that had a curtain across for some privacy. Due to our immense weariness, lack of any better ideas and the need to be somewhere warm we accepted the bunks. We then got our moneys worth and slept three hours until twelve.
We spoke to the owner a little about the city, the sights etc and then headed out to see them. The weather had changed dramatically since our early morning trek around the city, it was raining heavily. We walked up the main highstreet and bought sandwiches from a kiosk. Rob got a meaty one, but the surprise was that there were numerous vegetarian sandwiches which included the tofu one I got.
As we arrived at the fort, all the souvenir stalls were packing up because the weather
was worsening. We ran straight for the warmth of the military museum. It was a good museum and most of the displays had English descriptions on them which always helps. Interestingly for us, we have now been to most of the countries involved in wars with Serbia, so we recognised a lot of the pictures, drawings etc.
The weather was no better when we left the museum, so we decided to ignore it and go for a walk around the grounds of the fort anyway. They were pretty but unfortunately the visibility was limited so the view from the walls wasn't spectacular. We both appreciated the fact that in summer it would be a beautiful place to visit and relax in.
On the way from the fort we saw a beautiful church (St Archangel Mihail) and decided to pop our heads in. We stayed a couple of minutes, partly to look at the muriels, and partly to warm up and dry off. From the church we walked back towards the centre of town with the intention of looking around for a while. The streets were busier and the cafes were filling up. Lots of little stalls were selling
popcorn and doing a roaring tradewe would have walked around for longer, but the rain changed into sleet and we thought it time to head back to the hostel.
I had a pretty decent shower at the hostel although it is extremely difficult to have privacy in such a small place. We nipped on the internet and did mundane things such as sorting out money and checking the Boro scores. (A draw is better than a loss)
We didn't really have much of a clue about where to eat and any suggestions were for pretty expensive places with fancy food that neither of us could stomach. We had bought a map that showed an area that had a few eateries on, so we headed in that direction. We looked at a few places but they were all empty and had fancy menus. We found a mexican which neither of us particularly wanted but it was cheap, busy and had food I could eat. I ordered a salad which sounded like a good idea at the time but when it came covered in mustard I Wasn't so sure. We had a pleasant time though and a good conversation over
a tasty bottle of Serbian wine. We corked it and took it back to the hostel to enjoy later.
We found a little cinema around the corner from the hostel that was showing a film called "In The Valley Of Ilah" which was in English. It was the smallest cinema I have ever been in but the film was excellent. It was about how the American armed forces (though I expect it applies to armed forces general) breeds humans who are equipped to handle war and therefore cannot function within the normal confines of society.
After the film finished we returned to the hostel and sat in our bunks chatting and relaxing. We also had some Cadburys which I had found earlier in a shop. My first real chocolate in four monthes.
There are more photos below