1st day in Belgrade!

Trip Start Sep 17, 2010
Trip End Sep 19, 2010

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Flag of Serbia  ,
Saturday, September 18, 2010

We spent the rest of the trip half asleep, changing from looking through the window to capture our first images of this new country, to fighting the heavy weight we were feeling in our eyelids.

Finally at around 6:30 we realized we were arriving Belgrade. What we first noticed was the heavy contrast between these grey and brown old buildings and the very modern new ones that had just been built right next to them... that made us realize that we were where we had never been before: Eastern Europe.

The Belgrade Train Station and the neighbourhood where it is located are nothing special at all. It was very early in a saturday morning, so the city was looking quite empty and lifeless, but I tried not to jump to any conclusions and focused myself in just getting on the right tram to the hostel. And so we did.

The hostel we had picked is called "Hostelche" and it is ideally located in downtown Belgrade. The staff was beyond nice. After dropping off our bags at the hostel we left with the Lonely Planet guide in the bag.

First stop: Kalemegdan and Belgrade Fortress with great views over the confluence of the Sava into the Danube River. After this, we realized that taking the free walking tour that was suggested to us at the hostel was the best choice, so we just walked to the Republic Square and met the guide "by the horse". The tour lasted over 2 hours but was definitely worth taking as it not only allowed us to see the most important sights around Republic Square and the Belgrade Fortress, but also gave us a local's perspective of her own town along with its secrets.

When the tour ended, we had a quick lunch and crossed the river on a bus in direction to Novi Beograd. We walked around for a while trying to visit some important sights and eventually got lost trying to find a certain church. So we did what everyone does when they get lost: ask someone for the right way. And so we got lucky. This 50-something serbian lady, who spoke no english, offered to take us there, which we imediately thought was very nice of her. However, the way she chose to take us to this certain church was a bit awkward and through the midle of nothing, and some of us were starting to feel scared. With no reasons I should add. Turns out the church was really in the midle of nowhere and the way there made it seem like we were in the midle of a small village. But the view... oh the view was outstanding! The church itself was nothing special, but it's location offered probably one of the best views of Belgrade. The fatigue along with the powerful view led us to just sit there for a while enjoying the sun and view in front of us.

There was still a place to see, therefore we took a bus that led us to the Cathedral of Sain Sava: the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world, still under construction on the inside.

When we were done with the cathedral we were feeling pretty accomplished, as we had managed to see pretty much everything we wanted to, but also pretty tired. Predictably, we just head to the hostel willing to take a shower and rest for an hour or so before leaving again. Our initial plan was to go out for dinner and get lost in the famous Belgrade nighlife. But that didn't happen. We did leave the hostel again, but just to get some tradional serbian dinner at a cosy, cheap restaurant. As much as we wanted to go out for a couple of drinks, we had no strengths in ourselves to do that after a bad night of sleep in a moving train, and a long day running around Belgrade, so we just got back to the hostel and had an early night.
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