Serbia, Belgrade, 12-15 July 2013

The ride from Zagreb to Belgrade was on a freeway all the way a little bumpier on the Serbian side. Miles long queue of trucks waiting to cross the border and a 20 min wait for cars as well, not sure what the Croatian guys were checking as everyone was leaving the country. Immigration  just looked at my passport and waved me on, short ride to the Serbian side, I took my helmet off without being asked, the Immigration officer spoke good English, he stamped my passport chatted about the bike and waved me on, next Customs and no stopping, the guy just waved me on as well all over in less than 5 minutes.

As soon as I got off the freeway in Belgrade I noticed horns being used and at the first roundabout it was a free for all with a cop trying to maintain order, lots of old Soviet era bangers still running around. Next I tried to withdraw money from an ATM and it went through the motions until the “Please take your cash” but no cash came out hahaha so I went into the bank and explained, the manager was very apologetic and said it was too late now and he would investigate on Monday and that I should also call my bank in Australia and sort it out, which I did. When I checked my account online, the money had been taken out and then refunded but the amount was $1.68 short. Anyway after that I avoided the ATM’s and did not use my cards at all, just changed the Euros I had as required. Its got me slightly worried as I do not carry a lot of cash and there are a few more countries to get through before I arrive in Greece. The other strange thing I noticed, my Windows Phone 8 apps cannot connect to the store to update but the internet works fine.

This is a big city with a population of 1.2 million, the per capita GDP in Serbia is USD $10,600 which is about a quarter that of the Netherlands.  There are lots of old buildings in dire need of some TLC, the old town has the usual outdoor cafes and tourists. There is a huge fortress and some big churches, the National Museum and the Museum of Yugoslavian History were both closed for renovation, they had small exhibitions so you would not go away completely disappointed.

English is not widely spoken, some of the people I dealt with looked at me like I was the enemy when I spoke English and others went out of their way to help. NATO was bombing this place not that long ago in 1999. The script is Cyrillic and the religion is Orthodox Christianity.

Public transport is good with frequent buses and trams that go everywhere and a flat fare of 72 dinar (less than a dollar) for a ride. You buy a card with 10 rides and swipe it every time you get on a bus, the reader shows you the balance remaining on your card, very simple.

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