In this post I’m gonna talk about the first days in Belgrade, after arriving from Bosnia. You can read the previous post here:
After the freaking taxi driver dropped me at the apartment, I took my suitcase from the boot of the car and I went to the apartment’s door to wait for the owner. We’ve agreed to meet around 6 pm but I sent him a message letting him know I’m at the apartment’s door. He replied saying he will be here in 15 minutes, sweet!
It’s getting dark, 10 minutes have passed and no news about the guy, I’m starting to get worried. Nothing to worry about, he said 15 minutes and after 5 more minutes I see him. How do I know it’s him? I’ve never seen him. But my instinct said it was him and indeed, it was. We shake our hands and we go to see the apartment.
It’s an old building, he opens the door and we go through a corridor, there’s a door at our left but we keep walking to the door that is in front of us. We go over it and there’s a backyard but in the front of the building (is it called front yard? or maybe “the backyard in the front”?). There’s a building at the end of it and I noticed a sign saying “Clinic”.. The fuck? Am I going to sleep in a clinic? Maybe he’s gonna beat the hell out of me and leave me in the clinic to recover… I’m ready to fight back!
It was not the case. The clinic is at the bottom floor and the apartment is on the first floor, lucky me! We get there, he opens the door and explains me how everything works. It’s March 1st and it’s very cold outside but the heating is amazing. The apartment is amazing, wooden floor, a big window with not a perfect view but it’s okay, the kitchen is huge with electric stoves (something I’m still not used to) and the most important thing: the shower. It’s perfect, it has a lot of power and the water is very hot. Hell yeah, jackpot!
The travel from Sarajevo to here got me exhausted, Today I got up around 7 am and I haven’t done much but I’m feeling tired. Alright, let’s get something to eat before going to bed.
I go downstairs and proceed to take a walk looking for a place to eat something. Some fast food would be nice. 200 mts. from the apartment there’s a burger place, The signs are written in Cyrillic and I don’t understand a thing, not a damn thing. I go in the shop and ask the guys if the accept debit card since I’m holding no cash with me, sadly he doesn’t speak English, damn it!
A customer comes in and he sees I’m struggling to order and he gives me a hand. He translates for me asking the cashier if he accepts debit card but he doesn’t. I say thanks to the guy who helped me and I leave the store.
Right, I need a new plan, let’s find a supermarket at least. Right across the street I see a big sign saying “Aroma”. It looks like a supermarket but I’m not sure.
By the way, "Aroma" means "smell" or "perfume" in Spanish.
Indeed, it’s a supermarket. I’s pretty late and I have no intentions to cook, I’m going to get something easy for tonight. A sausage, cheese and bread, that would do! Alright, I have dinner now let’s head back to the apartment to eat and go to bed, tomorrow will be a new day.
First official day
I’m waking up when I look through the window and I see snow! Nice! I should go for a walk to start discovering the city. I get my snow boots on, the winter coat and it’s time to depart.
First thing I see as soon as I get out of the building, a massive church. When I say massive, I mean MASSIVE! I go there to take a deeper look and to know more about it, I wan’t to see it’s name. There’s a sign right at the entrance and the most notable words are “Svetog Save Krum”, in English would be something like “Saint Sava Church“. That’s the translation to Latin, it was written in Cyrillic “светог саве крум” (I think)
If you want to know more about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Saint_Sava
It’s super beautiful. I’ve never seen a church as big as this one. My official first day in Belgrade and I “discover” this? I can say this is a good start. I walk for an hour but I don’t see anything interesting, let’s head back “home” (of course it’s in quotes, it’s my temporary home for now).
I just came home and I should do what I do every time I go to a new city, look for Rollerblade groups on Facebook. Surfing a little bit when I find a group of around 100 people, let’s put a message there to see if they are rollerblading.
I don’t remember the exact message but it was something like: “what up dawgs, I’m gonna be in the city for around 1 month and I’d like to rollerblade with you guys, let me know when are you meeting and I’ll join you. I’m living near Saint Sava Church”. Few guys answered right away and we agreed on a date (hold on, not a date date, on a date to go out rollerblading over the city)
Fun fact: When I started rollerblading around 5 years ago I watched a lot of YoutTube videos to learn new tricks and techniques to improve my skills. There was a guy who I really liked how he skates and I watched many of his videos. Looking at picture in the Facebook group I realize that guy who I learned a lot from, is the admin of the group, and he's here in Belgrade. Holy shit, I'm gonna meet what I consider a mentor, sweet!
New wheels story, funny one!
But before all of this, there’s a funny story to tell. The wheels of my rollerblades were tiny, I tried to change them in Bosnia but couldn’t find good ones. Looking on Google Maps, I found a Rollerblade store at the other side of the city, it’s a official Rollerblade store, they have to have good wheels there.
The way there looks kind of easy, I just have to follow Google Maps and that’s it. An important thing for you to know is that the apartment is located at the highest point in the city, meaning that everywhere I go, I’m going downhill and to come back it will be all uphill. This store is behind Ada Mall, and it’s almost at river level, I have to go all the way down there. Yeyy!
I get my rollerblades on, Google Maps pin point is already set and I’m good to go. Streets are very narrow in here, I can barely go on them, should I go on the side walk? Nah, don’t be a пичка! I knew the way to the shop was going to be downhill but I never imagined it was going to be this steep, damn it! Streets are very long and way too steep! But it’s too late to regret, I need to get new wheels. I’m wasting the very last bit of the wheels by trying to brake.
I’ve finally reached the lowest point, I’m checking Google Maps and I should turn left on a big avenue. Alright, I’m on some tram tracks heading to the store. Looks like the tracks are very old and I’m constantly checking if a tram is coming but nothing, let’s keep following the map. Suddenly, I’m over a bridge and there are only tram tracks, what the hell? Is this the right path?
Anyways, I keep going over the bridge. Few minutes later, a tram is coming and a second one from other direction. They pass me by and the driver looks at me as if I am a fucking crazy idiot rollerblading on tram tracks, in fact, I am! Around 500 mts ahead of me I can see a tram station, I go there, I climb it and finally out of the tracks!
Google maps still pointing me to go on the tracks. I may look stupid but I’m not gonna follow it anymore, I just found the way out of the station and I’m heading to a highway I saw before, I hope I can find a way from there. Yes, I’ve reached the highway and I can see Ada Mall from here (The shop is behind Ada Mall), this is a good sign.
15 minutes later I’ve arrived to the shop. I start talking to the owner and he sees I’m using “Powerslide” rollerblades and he keeps mentioning no-one use this brand here (So what? Do I have to switch to “Rollerblade” because of that?). In a bad way, he shows me some wheels, the last 8 available. Not the ones that I was looking for but it’s better than nothing, I take them.
Nice, now it’s time to go back “home”, should I take the same path I took to come here? Hell no, let’s find another one. No Google Maps this time, I remember few places, I should take my chances. Crossing the highway I see a cycle path, I’m following it to see where it takes me. I’ve been following it for 15 minutes, I’m turning right on the first exist I see. Alright, now I’m at Sajam, I remember how to get home from here, finally!
Remember that going to the store it was all downhill? Well, guess what…? Now I’m coming back, that means the downhill turns into uphill and it’s freaking steep! Let’s sweat for a moment!
I just arrived home after climbing over 1 km, I did it!
Damn! That was too much text, here are some pictures:
Meeting with the rollerbladers!
Going back to meeting my “mentor”, I agreed to meet with the rollerblading group at Belgrade Two Towers (I think that’s the name), it’s by the river.
The day has arrived and it’s pretty sunny but kind of cold, not that much, I’d say between 15.6° and 17.85° (just kidding, I have no idea what the temperature is) and I’m heading to meet the guy whom I learned how to rollerblade from! I’m so exited!
They are super nice people! I’m really glad I met them! We went rollerblading around Belgrade and the day was getting better and better. We stopped at the end of Zemunski Kej to relax and we made a video:
I hope you have enjoyed it! See you in the next post!