three days in belgrade: or, how we fell in love with eastern europe

theromanticSerbia wasn’t on our original RTW itins. Instead, post-Thailand, we were supposed to spend ten days in Turkey, exploring the streets of Istanbul and flying in hot air balloons over Cappadocia.

 Then, this happened.

We spent a lot of time debating where to go instead. If you read that post (or the title to this one…) you can already guess where we headed. But our quick layover in Doha had us briefly considering a stop in the Middle East–we just didn’t have enough time to research where, exactly. Though we didn’t exit the airport in Qatar this time, we did find plenty of things to make us want to return ASAP.

 Guys, this is how Doha does duty-free:

doha!If there’s a place in this world that encourages you to dip your oversized Mentos & Tic Tacs in Nutella and drink endless Tang while driving in your Lambo, chatting with your FURBY… well, then I need to know more about this place. The hubs’s look of concern is the only reason I didn’t just hunker down and camp out in the terminal for the next ten days.

Apparently, he doesn’t see the beauty of unlimited Nutella.

This was the first and only time I questioned our marriage on this trip. It was all resolved by the time we got to Serbia.

We lucked out with our last minute Airbnb pick and stayed here. The location was perfect, and our host, Srdjan, was amazing. He had homemade rakia and fresh snacks from the market waiting for us upon arrival, and he later took us on a grand tour of the neighborhood. We were pretty jet lagged, and with only three days to explore Belgrade, it was nice to have someone to kind of hold our hands through our stay.

rakia - welcome gift

After we shared a shot of rakia, Srdjan left us to unwind–but not before advising we check out Skardalija for dinner. We were both pretty exhausted from traveling for so long (Srdjan kept saying, “to think! You woke up in Bangkok! And now you sleep in Serbia! A beautiful world!” He is correct), but dinner was sounding necessary. I decided to shower and take a quick power nap, in that order, while the hubs had hit overdrive and was in strange rambling mode.

I woke up to him, eyes gleaming, telling me all about the important things he had read online and seen on Serbian TV and something about Eastern European basketball and did I know that James Bond was in town? He was talking nonsense. It was time for dinner.

skadarlija

We made our way over to Skardalija–a quick walk from our apartment–and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect setting to kick off this new leg of our RTW. Belgrade and I were going to get along just fine, and it made me wish that we had more time in Serbia. Unfortunately, our three days here went quickly, and I don’t even have much to show for it in the way of pictures.

After our first night, we started the morning with a coffee date around the corner at Koffein, which we loved.

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We took the bus out to Zemun and wandered around. There were a few highly-recommended restaurants in this neighborhood that I wish we had had time to test out, but instead we just took in the sights and enjoyed our first glimpse of red tile roofs.

And, honestly? The rest of the time we just strolled around, enjoying the extreme friendliness of the locals and picking up meals at the local markets (which were amazing). I don’t want to say Belgrade was a throw away city because we really loved our time here, but we mostly just wanted to unwind from our non-stop tour of Southeast Asia.

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We also paid a visit to the Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park. It was kind of an accident that we ended up in the Fortress at all, but as soon as we arrived, it started to rain. Big, fat raindrops… the kind you know will turn into a downpour any second.

We moved quickly through the Fortress, and were re-directed at some point because a movie was filming. Eventually, as the rain was getting worse, we found ourselves outside of Kalemegdanska Terasa. This is one of the nicest and most expensive restaurants in Belgrade, according to Srdjan, so we knew it wasn’t in the budget… but we didn’t really have any other options. We decided to split something small and hang out until the storm passed.

We were just wrapping up our small (but definitely expensive) cheese plate when the hubs got this really anxious look on his face and loudly whispered, “OMG THAT IS JAMES BOND.”

Our waiter came over a few second later to make sure that we were fully aware that Pierce Brosnan was sitting at the table next to us.

“This is so exciting! It’s my second day!”

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Hello, Pierce!

And now I’d like to be gossipy and tell you that the woman sitting across from him was a HUUUUUGE B to the waitstaff of Kalemegdanska Terasa, including our new friend! On his second day. She loudly scolded them in her American accent for not bringing her star’s meal quickly enough, and made me want to literally crawl under the table, it was so embarrassing. At one point, she told our waiter he should be an extra in the movie.

When he looked excited, she laughed and said she was just joking. Who does that?!

She was also a big part of the reason the hubs vetoed my request to go tell Pierce how much I love his work in Mrs. Doubtfire, so I might be projecting.

Unfortunately, our run-in with Mr. Bond coincided with the end of our time in Serbia. The next morning, we woke up bright and early and hopped on a bus for Montenegro.

Spoiler alert: Budva & Kotor now rank as two of my favorite places in all of Europe. Stay tuned!

xo!

the romantic

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9 Comments

  1. October 23, 2013 / 18:21

    HOLY BALLS. Serbia looks incredible. We’re sold. Btdubs- huge props on that coffee picture. You made these two caffeine addicts extremely jealous.

    Sad to hear about Mr.Bond’s ASSistant (that’s what we’ll refer to her as) being rude to the entire staff at lunch. At least you two were there to prove that we’re not all obnoxious and offensive.

    Love this post, guys. And Furbys.
    Captain and Clark recently posted..Maris Farms – Best Fall ActivitesMy Profile

    • October 25, 2013 / 06:46

      i think you guys would love it! and yes, ASSistant is correct (even though i think she was more like an executive producer, it’s fine, we can totes demote her).
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..travel announcement: st thomas!My Profile

    • November 2, 2013 / 07:30

      this is fair. i looked her up and she also seems to be a long-term business partner of his. it was just soo embarrassing and unnecessary!
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..laws to travel by – #47My Profile

  2. November 1, 2013 / 20:03

    You just reminded me of the time I sat a cpl of tables away from Rosie O’Donnell and how she rather arrogantly harassed a table of Hispanic tourists at a Miami Beach restaurant (about a dozen yrs ago). A royal B for sure.
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Love Shopping? I Have a Grand Bazaar for YouMy Profile

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