In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #65: Serbia. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #65: Serbia
Blog post on Serbia
- My Complete Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia Spending Breakdown
- My Impressions of Slovenian, Serbian, Montenegrin, and Macedonian People
When I first entered Serbia and arrived in Belgrade (the capital city), at first glance, the country looks to be beaten up and miserable looking. The people working in the train station are also not friendly and are quite grumpy and unhelpful.
Walking the streets of Belgrade towards my hostel was not pleasant. There are homeless people all over the outskirts of the central train station. My first impression of the country wasn’t that good if I was being honest.
Thankfully, this first impression was completely wiped out by the chain of events that happened soon after.
Upon checking in my hostel, I was greeted warmly by the hostel staff who might also be the owner (or co-owner) of the place. I arrived pretty late in the day in Belgrade and I didn’t want to exchange my money in local currency. So I decided for that evening, I just won’t eat. The city didn’t look that nice and I was just ticking off Serbia as a country visited anyway. I was transiting from Slovenia all the way to Bulgaria at this point to meet up with my girlfriend so I didn’t care to do any sightseeing at this point.
I spent the evening sitting in the hostel lobby, starving to death, and hoping the next day would come. Suddenly, the Serbian lady from earlier came up to me and asked me if I wanted to eat some Serbian food. And of course, I gave her a resounding “yes I do!”.
She went to the kitchen and cooked me up some local dishes and gave them to me. “It’s free, don’t worry, enjoy!” she said to me with a kind smile. The food tasted really good and her kindness made me think fondly of Serbian people.
The train ride from Belgrade to Podgorica
The next day, I bid farewell to the friendly woman and prepared for the long journey from Belgrade to Podgorica.
After boarding the train, it appears that I was sharing the train car with a guy who looks pretty sketchy. After a while, he struck up a conversation with me and we instantly became friends. We ended up chatting for 8 hours straight. Our topics ranged from the USA’s mistreatment of Serbians to Serbia’s employment issues to Dragonball Z, and our dating life.
Again, I was starving to death because I only had breakfast and ate nothing for lunch. By the time he got off his train stop, he gave me his sandwich and said to contact him if I ever visit Serbia again and I can stay at his place.
The guy I spoke to on the train was unemployed at the time and didn’t even have enough money for internet access in his apartment in Belgrade. Yet, he gave me his last sandwich as he got off the train to stay with his mom for the next few days.
Last I spoke to him, he now has a good-paying job working in the finance sector. Although he said he’d rather work in the field he majored in since he has a Masters Degree in Psychology.
His kindness emotionally moved me to the core and I really think fondly of Serbians even to this day. This is why I like collecting countries because it forces me to go to countries that I have absolutely no interest in visiting. Then once in a while, I’ll have an amazing experience in one of those countries and I am so glad I visited those places, even for just a day.
I vow to return to Serbia one day and spend a lot more time there. This is a promise I am making to myself.