I've just arrived back 'home' in Vienna after a 16 hour train ride from Split, Croatia, it's about 5pm and I'm feeling surprisingly good. I've discovered that years of bizarre sleep patterns have enabled me to function quite normally on relatively small doses of pretty uncomfortable sleep. If it wasn't for that ability, I don't think I would have survived this past week. Not to say that I slept badly or uncomfortably while staying with people that is, but in the last week I've spent just under 50 hours in transit, mostly on trains but partially wandering strange cities after midnight while waiting for yet another train. Over the next few days, I'll try and make a post for every place I stayed, in order, so keep an eye out. Do yourself a favour and click the photos for the full-sized ones, it's worth it.
First off, Serbia. I left Vienna at about 10am last Thursday, for a fairly mild introduction to all the travel that was yet to come. For most of the morning, the train was in a dense fog, and I couldn't see much more than 50, maybe 100 metres out of the window. After midday, that cleared to reveal a beautiful countryside dotted with small towns and farms. I have to say, if you're going on a long journey, bring an mp3 player, and load it with a few audiobooks. They're great for starving off boredom, and have the added benefit of allowing you to look out the window while 'reading'. I've been listening to Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, they're very good, as well as being extremely well voiced. But I digress...
Went past this on the train, looked interesting.
Did I mention the sunset?
I was greeted at the train station by Bojan (pronounced a little like 'boy-an' - I think the letter J is pronounced like a Y in Serbian), someone I'd known only as 'Xenon' up until recently. We went back to his house, ate, and I was reassured there wouldn't be any raping =). I wasn't that tired, so I was shown around Belgrade. It's a really interesting city to visit, and if you're ever in the area I definately recommend stopping by for a few days. I was shown around an old fort used in the war which has since been converted into a park, as well as St Mark's Church and St Sava Temple, both very impressive buildings, especially when lit up at night.
After lunch we got in the car and picked up a friend of Bojan and Anja's - Ivan - and together we drove to New Belgrade, a newer part of the city that consists mostly of ugly identical buildings. There is a nice riverfront however, and we walked up a hill that overlooks the whole city. Unfortunately it was a bit foggy, but a good view nevertheless. I've used my camera to get footage of various areas I've been to, and when I get home (I don't want to mess around with it here) I'll try and put some of it up on YouTube. It was starting to get dark, so we finished up the day walking along the river - strangely, the area looked a lot like parts of the Swan River in Perth - before visiting a place called Pinnochio's (I think - it had paintings of him on the building) for what were quite possibly the most filling pancakes I've ever had. Next time any of you are in Serbia, look out for it =D.
House *on* the river