Everything had already started strange. First at İzmir, returning back from security check to reach the CIP room. After at Istanbul airport, walking for a very long time to reach my gate. Belgrad appears with amazing view, at the end of a comfy flight. My advise, if you will come around here, you should pick your seat from right side and front of the wing. The landscape of the city fascinated me during the last descending. The new city and the old one’s closeness and contrast presence was gorgeus.
The houses over the River Sava surprised me suddenly. I have learned later that some of these houses are being used as summer houses and some as constant residences.
After landing, first destination was passport control. The actual thing made me anxious was that i didn’t have any return ticket, hotel resevation or invitation paper with me. The custom police who saw my clean and empty passport asked my return ticket in a quite cold way. It was easy to understand by just looking his face that he was not pleasant that much when i told him i would pass to Croatia after my stay at Serbia. He was surprised at my negative answer to his hopeful question about wheater i had any invitation or not. I told him i would stay with a friend here and she was waiting for me. He asked for phone number of Dragana who invited me from CS and told me to sit and wait on a bench.
After that, it was only an ambiguous waiting at the security point with my backpack. During my waiting a man was took to a room next to me. The police who checked my passport went to that room with many papers, talked something, got outside and returned back with many papers and conversation kept going.
After waiting nearly 45 mins in anxious and not knowing what was going to happen, a civil police who was so kind came near me. He was holding my passport and its copy. He asked me if it was my first time in Serbia very kindly after a nice salute. Then i took my old passport out my bag and show him. When i told him that it was my first time in Serbia but i had already have many visas and custom stamps and i travel a lot, he suddenly started to smile and apologized from within for keeping me wait there. Apparently, when they saw my empty passport they tought that i had been traveled abroad for the first time and they wanted to search about the stuation. Consequently, both i and policemen calmed down at last, then they stamped my passport and make me take a step to Serbia.
And i lived the most special moment of my journey. I was taking steps all alone with myself at Nikola Tesla Airport. My first thing to do was exchanging money. 1 euro is nearly 102 dinars. Then i bought a MTS simcard right away and called my CS host Dragana whom i would stay with.I notified her that i had arrived, everything was on the way and i would be there in a while. The sim card is 200 dinars and it can be bought from any canteen and be used directly.
To reach the city center from Nikola Tesla Airport, we bought tickets for 60 dinars and got into the buss number 72. The last stop is the Veleni Zenac. You can access everywhere from here.
There is a strange ticket appliance on bus. You can get into the bus from each gate you wish. You should insert your ticket in a machine and out. But there’s not any control mechanism for it. I have learned that sometimes officers may get into the bus and check the tickets if they were put in that machine or not. But as a tourist, if you have an unused ticket, you can get into busses again and again without buying a new ticket untill it will be checked.
The roads of Belgrade are in order and the traffic is generally comfortable. People are really warm, friendly and ready for help.
At night we went out to meet Dragana’s friends. We were at a small underground rock bar which had friendly ambiance and i like very much. I reccomend black beer. It is affordable with its 120 dinars price. They have a strong traditional drink called Rakija which is made of fruits. It is served in tequila shot glasses with a glass of water next to it. It made me feel like a dragon suddenly when i had the first shot. 3-4 shots of that strong but tasty drink can make you spend the night drunk.
Turkish and Serbian languages have many words in common, possibly based on their common history. ‘Mermer, haydi, aman, somun, pamuk’ are a few i came across today.
Word of day: Hvala – Thanks.
Song of day: Tom Waits – Heartattack and Vine
Posted from Belgrade, Central Serbia, Serbia.