After I visited my friends living in Konstanz, Germany, I was off eastwards towards Bulgaria to meet my girlfriend, Karen. I still had 2 weeks left on my 2 months Global Eurail pass. So, I decided to make good use of it and take the train through Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. Afterwards, I would be taking a bus through Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and finally reaching Bulgaria. Throughout this journey, I got a chance to interact with Slovenian, Serbian, Montenegrin, and Macedonian people.
After travelling for nearly a year at this point, I have learned what my favourite things are about travel. They are:
- Talking to locals and getting to know more about what their life is like in their country
- Seeing must-see sites or monuments
- Making friends from all over the world
Clearly, I travel for people and so, during the final month of travelling around the world for one year, I focused on that: making friends and talking to locals.
As soon as I arrived in my hostel in Slovenia, I was pleasantly surprised! Slovenian people are extremely warm and friendly. Also, the capital city of Ljubljana is very nice. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there as I walked around taking pictures.
I noticed that Slovenians are quite laid back. I’m not sure if this has something to do with their proximity to Italy and Austria but they’re definitely relaxed people.
Slovenians I met outside Slovenia are very friendly and curious people. Originally, I was going to make Slovenia a checklist country. It was going to be one of those places that I check off as a place I visited and never return again. But man, because the people are so nice and the country has quite a few caves to visit, I will definitely return one day!
Hands down, one of my favourite people in the entire Europe. This was a shocking surprise! I would have never guessed how friendly Serbian people are. I remember vividly staying in a hostel in Belgrade and the lady working in the hostel asked me if I had anything to eat. When I told her “no”, she warmly asked me if I wanted to try authentic Serbian food. Of course I said “yes!” and she prepared me this delicious dish for free!
On another occasion, I met a Serbian guy in the same train car as me on my way to Montenegro. We ended up chatting for several hours about everything and I think I just made a really good friend that I will definitely visit when I return to Serbia.
Now, to be honest, when I visited Serbia, I didn’t think the country looked very nice. It kind of looks beat up and run down. Thankfully, the Serbian people are super awesome and their English is some of the best I’ve heard in Europe.
I think for anyone who is business minded, you should look into hiring Serbian people to work for you. Their English is great and they are very smart and friendly. They’re really struggling financially right now and don’t have much hope in terms of employment. I think this is sad because the people are highly skilled and would be an asset to anyone who hires them.
Once my blog takes off and I start making more income online, I will definitely look into hiring Serbian people to work for me as freelancers.
When I was in Podgorica, the Montenegrin people are quite serious. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly. It just means they aren’t as smiley and openly warm like the Slovenians or Serbians that I’ve met.
One weird thing I noticed is that there are Nazi Montenegrins. I was speaking to a British backpacker in the hostel I stayed at and he told me he was surrounded by white supremacist Nazis while he was walking around Podgorica. This is a scary thought to know there are a bunch of these Neo-Nazis living in this country.
Podgorica has the best fish I’ve ever eaten during my one year trip
While I was in Macedonia, the people I met weren’t the friendliest. I wouldn’t also say they are jerks. They just didn’t seem as warm as the Balkan countries. If I’m not mistaken, I believe Macedonians are closer to Greeks than the Balkan countries. (Which is odd because I found Greeks to be extremely warm and friendly)
Anyhow, I wasn’t able to talk to more Macedonians because I was really sick with food poisoning when I arrived in the country. The hostel owner where I stayed was an odd fellow. He was kind and let me stay in the hostel longer because I was suffering from food poisoning. At the same time, he was the biggest rules freak I have ever seen. At every corner of his hostel, there would be a sign saying “You can’t do this…you can’t do that”. Regardless, I suppose his insane rules is the reason his hostel was very clean.
The capital city of Skopje seems to be a fairly cheap travel destination but be warmed, there are quite a bit of touts all over the central bus and train station.
Future plans based on my findings
In the future, I will definitely return to Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro. Slovenia to see the caves and Montenegro to visit Kotor.
However, when I go back to Serbia, it is to visit the Serbian friend I met while taking the train to Podgorica and also to look for potential business opportunities.
This is another thing that I love about travelling. Besides getting to know the world better, I love seeing a potential win-win business opportunity. Win for those looking to get highly skilled employee without breaking the bank. And, a win for highly skilled Serbian workers who can’t get a job in their country.
I love globalism and I’m glad I took the time to travel through these former Yugoslavian countries!