It feels like just yesterday I was summing up my first twenty days in Lisbon but here I am again, almost twenty days into my second month of Remote Year. This month I’m coming to you from Belgrade, Serbia, which has proven to be a friendly and vibrant city, full of culture, history and lots and lots of meat.
I’ll admit I didn’t know anything about Serbia, or its capital city Belgrade, before traveling here. Since it feels like I learn something new about the city, and myself, every day, I compiled a list of some discoveries I’ve made during my time here.
Serbia has the best sunrises and sunsets I've ever seen.
I didn’t have much of a common area in my Lisbon apartment last month. It wasn’t until I got to this apartment, which has a huge kitchen and living area, that I realized how much I missed having an area to just hang out in and chat with my roommates.
All doors here are push to open from the outside and pull to open from the inside. Based on the number of times I’ve gotten stuck, I am fairly certain it is the opposite in the US.
Serbians are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Everyone from my landlord to the people working in the Shop N Go below my apartment to Car:Go drivers (Serbia’s Uber equivalent) have offered recommendations on things to do, asked about where I’m from and what I’m doing here, how I like it so far and more. I’ve had so many genuine conversations and felt so welcome from day 1.
While Serbian is a Cyrillic language, many signs are written in the Latin alphabet with more easily recognizable letters. In case you ever travel to Serbia, know that the letter S is pronounced “sh” and C is pronounced “ch”. The only other Serbian I can confidently pass along is “Hvala”, which means thank you.
The cost of living is quite low here, making it easy to justify eating out. I’ve not only tried Serbian food but also found a favorite in Wok Republic, a local Chinese/Thai take-out spot, and the local farmer’s market, Bajlonijeva pijaca. Though most vendors at the farmer’s market don’t speak English, you can get fresh food for low prices, plus a great experience. Pro tip: visit the butcher around the corner and they’ll grill any meat for you right there. My favorites are the bacon-wrapped chicken and burgers.
On the subject of food, take caution when ordering kobasica, a common sausage dish, because portion sizes can vary greatly. I tried it out during my first lunch here and, while it was delicious, it also consisted of 12+ pieces of sausage.
Belgrade is located at the intersection of the Sava and Danube rivers. The river offers tons of great walking and biking paths, watersports, parks, and waterfront restaurants and bars. Crossing the river from Old Belgrade to New Belgrade gives you an amazing view of the city and you can check out the many communist-era buildings of the new part of the city.
Animated movies are some of the only movies here dubbed into Serbian, rather than running in English with Serbian subtitles. I know this because a group of us accidentally went to a showing of The Incredibles 2 that was completely in Serbian.
I stop to pet dogs I see on the street in most places I go but it’s been an especially fun experience here. The people are, as usual, always friendly and the dogs here are incredibly well-behaved. It’s common for most dogs to roam without a leash.
Belgrade has a ton of underground tunnels. It’s fascinating but also makes commutes, and following Google Maps, a challenge. Belgrade has confirmed, once and for all, that I do not have a good sense of direction
That’s it for now! Check back next month for thoughts from our next destination: Split, Croatia. In the meantime, stay up-to-date on all things social media right here on the blog!
Story by: Kelsey Thompson