21 August 2008
I finally made it to Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia. Ideally, I would have gotten enough rest on the train in order to hit the ground running...but that didn't happen.
Ideal Situation: You jump on an overnight train, get a good nights rest, arrive at the new destination feeling refreshed and ready to hit the new city running.
Reality: Couldn't find seats....finally found one with 3 seats across so I could lie across the carriage....however there were 3 individual seats so it wasn't flat and couldn't get comfy enough to sleep. Finally pass out, yet the conductor comes in, turns on the lights and checks my tickets twice. Croatian customs comes to wake me up in order to give me an exit stamp. Serbian customs comes in to give me an entry stamp - questions what I am doing in Serbia. UGH. Train arrives 1 hour late and I am EXHAUSTED!
On the plus side, I met a really nice Serbian guy on the train who was living in Ljubljana, Slovenia and gave me some pointers on stuff to do in Belgrade. Although there aren't typical touristy sights to see, it is just a fun city to walk around to get a feel of. It is a lot more of a gritty city than Zagreb, but it is also twice as big.
Walking towards the hostel, I was able to see some of the office buildings that were bombed out by NATO in the 1990s. It was a grim site, but certainly very interesting. I can't wait to get to Bosnia to really understand what happened during the war more. Since I got to the hostel at like 7.30, my bed wasn't available until the afternoon - so I wandered around the city with a Germany guy who was also on the train from Zagreb.
We went to Belgrade's most famous site - the citadel which is a fort overlooking the entire city on a cliff where the Danube and the Sava rivers meet. The views were amazing, and the fort itself was pretty cool (pictured above). Back in the hostel, I met a cool group of Aussies and Brits. The Brits happened to be staying in my hostel in Zagreb. We plan a big night tonite.