• Bulgaria!

    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    Bulgaria
    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Portugal!

    Portugal: Palace of Pena. Go Now!

    Portugal
    Although next to the seas and made famous by trade, Portugal boasts dynamic landscapes and architecture, including the Palace of Pena (pictured) near the town of Sintra. Go to Portugal!

  • Denmark!

    Denmark: Landscape. Go Now!

    Denmark
    From cities like Copenhagen to islands, beaches, and vast fields (pictured), Denmark offers incredible history, architecture, scenery, and more. Begin Your Journey!

  • Czech Republic!

    Czech Republic: Astronomical Clock in Prague. Go Now!

    Czech Republic
    The Astronomical Clock in Prague (pictured) makes every tourist list, but the towns, including Cesky Krumlov, and the mountains offer a change of pace. Go Now!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

Serbia

Subotica, Serbia

Subotica

March 11, 2005
Interesting Companion before Arrival

I took the train from Budapest to Subotica and shared my car with a German guy who had a slightly bushy, poorly manicured mullet. He spoke a little English and kept saying "we are going slow, is this train being pulled by horses or something?" He was headed to Novi Sad in order to buy things at the illegal market. I didn't understand very well, but I believe he had four days off of work and spent two and a half of them getting to and from Novi Sad and the other two at some illegal goods market.

I made it to Subotica, Serbia and quickly found my way into town and got to the city hall, which was quite impressive and a part of the research for an art history paper I'm writing. I then had the hardest time trying to find the Synagogue, so asked a couple of young girls who spoke some English. They were very nice and showed me the Synagogue, however it's falling apart and the gates are locked up. I then caught a train to Belgrade in the afternoon.

I found a train car with a young student and a middle-aged man with a mullet, who gave the police a hard time as they walked around the train. As soon as we took off, the police came around and checked everyone's ID and asked for our addresses (if it was present on the ID) to verify our identities. This guy refused to give his address and the police decided they had time to wait so they did, but only for about 15 minutes at which point he somehow checked out and they left. The rest of the trip consisted of the mullet-wearer chain smoking in the non-smoking cabin... but it's Serbia and I was warned that there's no such thing as a non-smoking section in this country.

Belgrade

March 10, 2005
I'm Sorry, You're Youth Hostel has been Replaced by this Casino

Our train pulled into the Belgrade train station at which point I went under the bridge with two others from the train and caught a tram into town. The mullet-wearer, who had already been harassed by the police on the train decided to "help" me by asking me questions about where I was going and then started following me around, until I eventually out-maneuvered him... or he just got sick of me, probably the latter.

I found my hotel and realized the man I reserved my room with on the phone had not made a reservation for me, so I went in search of the hostel mentioned in the guide book. Unfortunately, to get there I had to skate across the sidewalks. It took much longer than it should have and I got to the hostel only to find out it has been turned into a casino and hotel, the prices had jumped about three times, yet this place retained its old name.

I headed back to the other hotel, stopping at about four other hotels along the way, asking each for a room, none of which had a room for cheaper than the first hotel's price.

More than not finding a hotel at a reasonable price, I had a bad string of luck with the people I encountered. I've heard great things about Belgrade, but it seemed I wasn't meeting any of those people. After one bad encounter too many, I decided to try to get out of town immediately so headed to the train station.

I found the train station to be quiet, but the police officer there, about 20 years old, was holding his semi-automatic and was quite proud of himself when he understood the word schedule when I asked for it. He responded "I understand" with a big smile, then used his gun to point to it; he made me laugh. The train departure times were poor and I headed to the bus station, where the times weren't much better.

I headed back to the first hotel and got a room for the night.

March 11, 2005

The next morning, I got my free breakfast, served with less enthusiasm than a hibernating snail, but she cracked the music, which was playing Criss-Cross's "Jump, Jump" and other 1980s classics. After breakfast I headed into town and again ran into all the wrong people. One of my good friends loves this city, but my experience was not as positive; I was ready to leave.

I arrived to the bus station for a bus to Montenegro, but as I tried to get on the bus, the driver told me something that I didn't understand so another guy said they weren't going to Zabljak (my destination), but were going to the town just short of it. I bought a ticket to Zabljak though, so I asked how I could get there and he said there are plenty of shuttles between the town we're stopping in and Zabljak so I got on the bus. Unfortunately, my bad luck here in Serbia continued as I got stranded in this mountain town as there were no shuttles to Zabljak. I pulled out my emergency $50 and got a taxi to Zabljak, leaving Serbia behind, trying to recall only the great experience I had in Subotica.

Continue the above trip to: Montenegro

Learn more about Serbia Return to Justin's Travel Blog