The white city has been ridden by conflict throughout most of its history. The plentitude of architectural styles hints at the many cycles of destruction and rebuilding this settlement has endured. Visiting this lively spot today makes for an exciting trip into the past, but it also unveils a people who are, albeit somewhat frustrated by the hardships of the recent decades, relying on their historical hardiness.
Coming from Croatia I merely had to pay 8 Euro to get by bus from Zagreb to Belgrade. It was a pleasant alteration to get away from the hefty prices in Croatia, especially on the coast. Serbia has been a relief to my strained budget.
I paired up with David from the Netherlands in order to take a walk to some of the city’s highlights. We got into quite a pleasant conversation about capitalism, socialism, and what the future may look like, considering the plenty of problems we are undoubtedly facing today, politically as economically. I guess one has no other option in a city that has seen most of what central Europe had to offer in terms of political experiments in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Chill House Hostel, at which I stayed turned out to be a large and modern flat by looks, and a shared student accommodation by feel. Sergen, the owner, certainly being the class-clown and entertainer of the bunch. Srdjan the surgean (as I dubbed him, for the fact that he is a medical professional) has plenty of stories to tell, even more dirty jokes, and a heart so great that it immediately encompasses everyone who shows up at his doorstep.
Srdjan and his assistant Tea are probably the most welcoming hosts I have ever experienced. And I do not only say that because he would offer me tasty Whiskeys, Raki, or Cognac, often already at eleven in the morning. I say this because he is genuinely interested in people, and their wellbeing. Everyone, I had the chance to hang out with while there said after a couple of days: “It feels like we are family now.”
The next day, taking a very recommendable free walking tour in Belgrade, I learned more about the history of this beautiful city and got the experience of many historical sites. After that, I honored the motto of the hostel I stayed in and chilled the rest of the day on the balcony with whoever cared to join Srdjan and myself.
I really left reluctantly. But if all goes well, we will see again. Maybe in Asia, let me know how it goes, Srdjan. 😊