Belgrade, Serbia: The Semi-Nocturnal Town

Our experience of Serbia had so far been unique. Yet, we were now in the iconic former Yugoslavian capital. Despite the billing, we hadn’t expected anything from the city.

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Having arrived in Belgrade in the early evening we decided to venture out to see what food was on offer. With no map available at the hostel we first ventured aimlessly. This, fortunately, lead us to the cobbled streets of Skadarska. A street that would not look too out of place in the North Laines of Brighton. We found a very kind couple who were able to provide us with one of their well worn maps. This made the rest of our stay easier.

After having yet another Jelen beer on the bohemian Skadarska we decided to look for some food. Steering clear of the premium food we managed to find a lovely restaurant with good food on offer, food that would fill us up as well as provide us with meat.

On this occasion we were a little more sensible and decided to get a few more hours sleep than usual by retiring after a couple more Jelen.

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This meant we were fresh for the next morning. However, my hand had had other ideas. It had swelled up to about double its normal size in a reaction to a suspected spider bite. It was a little worrying as it affected my ‘thumbs-up’ pose required for hitch hiking. We got some antihistamine from a nearby chemist.

The morning was delightful, in that we got a yoghurt drink with our omelettes. I suspected that our bodies craved a bit of calcium as we hadn’t really had anything dairy since we landed.

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We toured the city on foot once more, taking in great views of the Danube as well as the crafts and history of the city. We tried some local wine from a random women, and enjoyed it greatly, but not enough to buy a bottle.

Having spent a few hours wandering around the city we decided that we needed to take more advantage of the cafes that stream into the cities streets. This also gave us the opportunity to have some much needed restbite from the sun. Naturally it resulted in a couple of Jelen.

Before the day turned into night we returned to our hostel, where the dreadlocked man we left in our room early still lay dead to the world. Was he actually dead? His lack of response to Fletch’s polite invitation to small talk indicated that he might have been.

We spent some time washing some clothes whilst we showered and had a much needed shave before heading back out onto the cities streets.

We had been warned that Belgrade is a different city at night, and we were lucky enough to find out why.

We walked into the cultural centre to grab a small bite to eat. However, my cheap meat dish turned out to be half a pig stuffed with ham and cheese and wrapped in crispy bacon. I was concerned for my stomach.

Following this hearty meal we headed out to find out what all the night time fuss was about. ‘Every day is a Friday in Belgrade’ was the tag line…and today was actually Friday. We had high expectations.

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The street we were tipped off with was Obilicev. It was already incredibly lively, with groups of beautiful women and skin headed men everywhere. We pitched ourselves in the middle of one of the busy bars spilled out into the street. Here we sat and mistakenly bought two very generous shots of local spirits. The bar girl returned to us with 2 glasses of Viljamovka and Kajsijevaca. She accompanied each with half a pint of water and hinted that we would need the water to stop us getting top drunk from the 2 shots. We decided against the water, mainly due to it being tap water. She returned to pick up our glasses before referring to us as ‘idiots’ for not drinking the water. Perhaps we were.

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We had a beer in another bar before deciding to explore the strip on the other side of the river. Once again we were mapless, but I had a fairly good idea of the direction we needed to be heading. This meant that we went down streets we would not otherwise have walked. We passed a local bar and decided that it would be great to pop in. I suspect they don’t see very many foreigners in this part of Belgrade, opposite a huge block of soviet flats. We sat at the bar and watched the people by the flats. One large man seemed to find a tv and put it in a car.

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Following this we headed over the bridge and towards the lively boat bars on the other side of the Danube. They were impressive venues with good music and pretty views of the river. It was certainly a contrast to the city in the daytime. A night out in Belgrade would be highly recommended.

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With a big hitch in the morning we eventually headed back for a rest in a sweaty room with a potentially dead Rastafarian.

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