Aug 28:  Novi Sad to Belgrade

I was up at 8am.  I slept better, possibly because of the previous night's beer.  I know I fell asleep after 7am, before I got up.  Upon waking I had "Don't Lose My Number" stuck in my head, an obvious reference to that apotek.

We were supposed to have a 9:45am train to Belgrade, but it didn't leave till 11am.

Us, and non-us, waiting for the train.

We arrived in Belgrade around 1pm.  Our accomodation was a dorm.  My room had no window shade or shower curtain.  Outstanding quality of broads at the dorm, as expected.  Another couple of adjectives for Serb girls:  tall and jiggly.

For lunch most of us went to a fast-food stand across the street.  I had 5 cevapi on a roll with mayo.  Tasty.

We went to met our local guide downtown at the ? cafe, Belgrade's oldest.  From there we went to do a tour of Princess Ljubica's house.  Nothing special, and it was sweltering inside, so it was hard to pay attention to the guide (the guide for the house, not the local guide).  And he had a facial feature that distracted us further from what he was saying about the various rooms.

(Back) Mary Tod, Jeremy, Hiedi, Jung, me, Charles, Sue, Buz; (front) Jen, Cristy, Veronica.  Gorana was taking the photos and I don't know where Ruth disappeared to.  This is the conversation mole, I mean room, and it's usually off-limits to tourists, but the house guide made an exception.  However, he touted it as a good photo spot, which clearly it's not because of the back-lighting.

We left the house and rejoined the local guide, and walked back to the ? cafe.  Here she related the entire history of Belgrade.  She went on for a while.  Sue started to nod off.  Not that what the guide was saying wasn't interesting or important, but I for one had familiarized myself with the history before the tour, and we were all hot and weary from the day's activities (train, tram, bus, walking).  We had some beverages before continuing with the walking tour.  I had my first and only taste of rakija, which my dad had recommended from his Croatia trip.  It's a harsh brandy made from plums or some other fruit.  Mine was apricot, and didn't have much flavor.  I was not impressed, and I don't impress easy, which I didn't.  I also asked for a Coke but the guide corrected it to Cockta, the Serbian cola.  It tastes like Pathmark or RC Cola.  Much worse than Coke.  It's a local drink they should not be proud of.

The local guide produced this 500,000,000,000-dinar note from the days of hyperinflation.  Some of us took photos of what we thought was a treasured keepsake, but later I saw these for sale in the fortress.

Earlier on the train, Gorana heard some guys talking about the Red Star Belgrade-Glasgow Rangers game that night, and she drummed up interest in attending.  I was fully interested--a football game in Europe has been on my to-do list for a while.  But at the cafe she retracted the idea.  Due to the threat of Scottish hooliganism, there was a heavy police presence in the city (we saw some in riot gear at the train station), and the local guide advised not only to avoid the game but to avoid the downtown area in general.

Finally we left the ? cafe and headed up the hill to Kalemegdan Fortress.  We had some good views from up there, but the sun was setting and photos would have been bad, so I didn't take any.  And we'd just been to a fortress in Novi Sad.  Too much fortress.  Overlooking the rivers at whose junction Belgrade is located, the local guide told us the story of the rivers getting "married".  I'll refer to this later.

We descended from the fortress and headed down Knez Mihailova, the noted shopping street.  At Trg Republike (Republic Square) our walking tour ended and the local guide departed.

Despite the warning about downtown, we remained at Trg Republike and ate and drank at a cafe, and watched the game on TV.  It ended 0-0, with no extra time--apparently Glasgow moved on in the tournament based on some tiebreaker formula.  There was no sign of unrest following the game.  Gorana said the guys at the next table weren't upset at the outcome, recognizing that Belgrade overachieved and isn't ready for the world stage yet.

While at the cafe, a pleasant summer night breeze from the river made itself known to us.  Gorana said she liked the smell of the breeze, and others agreed.  I said "you know what that's the smell of two rivers making love."  Seemed like something Ron Burgundy should have said.

We got back to the hotel around 11pm.  I hadn't showered since the previous night and the hot water was supposed to be turned off from 10pm to 6am, so I intended to do a little rinse-off just to refresh.  But I found that the hot water was still on, so I took a full shower.  Also, I had a theory as to why I couldn't sleep, so I declared "I'm out!'  It was a girl on a cell phone in Trg Republike that did it.  You better be careful, buddy...she's gonna get you next.  I needed to ensure a good night of slumber, because there was some noise outside the window and a smoker was on the balcony below, so I had to close the window, which meant a hot stuffy room, and we were planning a late night the following night, so I really needed to rest.  To bed 12am.