Next up was Belgrade. Having found another couchsurfing host, I was in for another treat. Over the three days that I was there, her, her flatmates and her friend, showed me their city and introduced me to Serbian food and alcohol.
I arrived in Belgrade at around 6am and my instructions were to get to her house before 7.30am as she had to head off to work at that time. With the help of some really friendly locals, I managed to get to where I was supposed to be. I had arranged to ring her from the post office in her neighbourhood, but on doing so, there was no answer. I tried about 7 times over the next half an hour, but didn't have any luck and thought I was about to have a rare bad couchsurfing experience.
At the point of giving up, the lady whose phone I had just borrowed to ring her started ringing and as it turned out, my host had slept through her alarm clock and the 7 missed calls I had made. From there it was plain sailing in Belgrade.
My first day I spend drowsing due to the night beforehand's train
ride and talking to Ina's flatmate. It was an interesting conversation that we had, as she had spent several years living in Libya and the Libyan uprising was just getting into full swing at the time. She told me some stories about living there, painting the picture of an extremely oppressed, uneducated and restricted people. It will be interesting to see what happens there over the coming months.
She also introduced to me to what was one of the more delicious new dishes that I had tried in a while, that is until she translated its Serbian name into English. The dish was meat rolled up that had been left to saturate in an oil for a while. On its inside it had a serbian milk like product that I forget the name of. The Serbian name, translated into English 'A woman's dream' - way to ruin good food!!!
After that I decided I had to go on a run and spent an hour or two running around Belgrade. I managed to get to a bridge crossing into the city's centre, somewhere that had not seemed to be so far away on the map, before turning around to
try and find my way back home. The problem being that the road signs in Serbia are written in Cryillic (Serbia's written language) and the road names on my map were written in English. Anyway luckily I had been observing while I had been running and managed without too many problems/diversions.
The next day I was taken out by Radmila, Ina's friend to see some of the sights of Belgrade. A very passionate and patriotic Serb she along with Ina later made great tour guides and I don't think I could have paid for better. They also took me to Belgrade's best Burek shop, a snack similar to a pie, that stems from Serbia that I had become happily accustomed to throughout former Yugoslavia.
The next day we took a walk around a massive park in Belgrade, which was full of facilities, such as tennis courts, obstacle courses etc. The most interesting thing for me being like a suspended network of cables over the lake that is used to fling people about the place. Looks like something I will have to try should I ever get to Belgrade in summer. After that Radmila and Ina took me to
an excellent Serbian restauraunt where I ate half of the Serbian food ever invented - no exaggeration - another excellent restauraunt.
We finished the day off with some Rakia (homemeade schnapps) and I went to bed a content man. The next day saw me walk around and check out some parts of Belgrade that I had missed with my hosts and then I was off to Sofia in Bulgaria. A great time, it was, in Belgrade....
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