Belgrade, Serbia

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August 25th 2017
Published: December 20th 2018
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Athens, Greece to Belgrade, Serbia

Back to Belgrade. I was here last year, but I was a bit under the weather, and I decided I wanted to come back to experience more of the Serbian culture. I had a very nice stay at a particular hostel (Hostel Bongo), and I wanted to personally come back and thank the Bongo girls for taking such good care of me. I had given each a fun little name that they just thought was something else. They were Dashing Daniella, Terrific Tamara, Irresistible Irena, and Sassy Sadja. I was not sure which ones would still be here, but they had emailed me a few times within the year just to say hello. Upon arrival I felt they were excited to see me as well, as my name was remembered (they called me Gorgeous Gary (go figure that one)), and Irena met me at the front door with big hugs. I also saw Tamara during my stay whose neck I really hugged, as she really cared for me while sick last year. There were also two new employees I met this year. They were Magnificent Magdalena and Jelena.

I wanted to come back here as well to go on a Communism tour to see some of the remains from that part of history. This location was under communist rule for so many years, and they have had so many wars and destruction. From my last trip here, I did walk around a little bit to see part of the city, and my plans were to further tour around to see more of what actually is a very beautiful country.

Unbeknownst to me, the Communism tour was not offered during my stay, so I just took a normal tour of the city, and I walked around viewing the sights. Belgrade is a nice city to visit and really is very inexpensive as far as food and lodging are concerned. I found the locals most friendly, and very willing to assist me when I asked questions.

Although I did not stay but just a little over one day, I was so happy I came back here to visit once again. I saw some of the same sights as last year which is still a thrill because I may see something in a particular country or location and tell myself to take it all in, for I probably will never see again. Lucky for me I was blessed to have this opportunity to see such a beautiful place once again.

Belgrade is of the greenest capitals in Europe, and this picturesque capital has been witnessing turbulent history over the years. You can still notice the war torn area in some of the places I went. I had learned the history from the tour guide, and you physically could see the war torn buildings still with the shrapnel holes from the bombardments. We go down streets where some of the buildings are modernized, but some buildings remaining are a reminder of the war times.

I walked back to Fortress Belgrade. This is really a treat to see as you walk up and you see the medieval entrance with a wooden bridge, as well as two look out towers sitting on the confluence of the River Sava and Danube. This is the oldest section in an urban area of modern Belgrade. I stop and look at the statue of the Victor (or statue of victory) which is one of the most famous landmarks in Belgrade. The statue holds a falcon, on watch for the new threats on the horizon, in one hand, and a sword of war, ready to counter these threats in the other. It’s looking forward across the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, and over the Pannonian plain, towards the distant Fruska Gora mountain, and towards what was at that time the Austro-Hungarian empire. I proceed through Kalemegdan Park, which is a very popular promenade for Belgrade citizens.

I make my way back to my hostel. I had another midnight flight to catch, and the hostel was gracious to store my backpack and just let me hang out. I just sit in the little common area and shoot the breeze with the hostel workers, as well as fellow travelers well into the afternoon and evening. This is always fun when you can start sharing travel stories and talk about different places of practically everywhere around the world.

As the time neared for me to depart, I had asked the hostel staff to set me up a cab to the airport. They graciously did so, and all to soon it was time to say goodbye. The hostel workers joked that they will see me again next year. I told them if it were at all possible I would swing by. I think we both all knew this would probably be our last time to ever see each other, and we said our goodbyes.

Well another year of travel has come to an end. Belgrade is a city that I would recommend anyone visiting the Balkans to give a look. The transit in and out currently are not the best, but they are slowly making improvements. I do think this will be a booming place for travelers in the very near future, and I am happy to be able to visit such a place not only once, but twice. If never here again, Belgrade taught me to be appreciative for what I have, and to be kind to others. This is my take from the locals, and such a life lesson to us all.

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