Exploring The Balkans travel blog

Dragon Ilic art piece. Intrigued?

Bye Bye from Belgrade


Our tour ends in Belgrade, where we started. We fly out to Vienna at 8.10 tomorrow morning which means a 4.30 rise. Then home again with Thai via Bangkok but no stopovers this time . The snow season beckons!

Flying from Skopje to Belgrade wasn’t much fun. It’s not a very big plane that does this 1hr 10min flight and it was overbooked. Our group was informed that we were the only ones without connections (mmm not sure if that was the truth) and they asked for 10 volunteers to fly at 4am the next morning. That wasn’t hard to achieve because they offered a hotel stay and cash as well. We didn’t volunteer because it would have meant 2 early starts in a row. However as we were climbing the stairs to the plane we saw our cases being returned to the trolley and driven away. Bugger! Of the 35 of us who flew, 15 cases were offloaded. That caused a significant delay as we arrived at Belgrade as we had to all fill out paperwork/passports were photocopied etc. So we left our hotel at 11am and arrived just after 7pm. The flight was delayed by over an hour and 10 were offloaded. Strangely there were 10 empty seats. They reckon it’s standard procedure to have 10 empty seats and offload luggage. A friend Alan Pay, reckons it was probably a weight issue and they were carrying freight. All bloody day for a short flight. It’s only a distance of 420kms but they tell us that is a 9 hour drive with the poorer roads and traffic. Bit hard to believe as we can do it in 5 hours tops but the roads do need a lot of work in country areas. Anyway the luggage arrived at 6.45am this morning so it was no great hardship in the end. Just lots of angst in the group.

No-one was particularly looking forward to a day in Belgrade and the weather was as we’d left it 3 weeks ago - grey! However we have had a good day mooching around. Last time we were here on a Sunday and it was quieter and dull. Today it’s teeming with people and has much more life. We started at their newly renovated museum of Contemporary Art which was really quite interesting and fun. Then we walked and walked, checked out the shops, had one last feed of Serbian food and have had a few hours to rest, wash hair, pack, write this and prepare for an early night. And it’s nice to have had the day and feel more of an affinity with this city. The people do seem a bit dour but with a leader like Slobodan Milosevic in their recent past perhaps it’s understandable. It’ll take time++ for all these people to put the memories of their ugly past experiences behind them. And we wish them all the best with that. It’s been a blast for us. Lots of discovery, many history lessons and great experiences with the locals. We met an interesting bunch of people and made some friends and are open to do another Unconventional Convention in the future if the itinerary suits us and the treasurer permits. Now we go home for a rest!

Thanks to all for coming on this trip with us! xxxx



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