Ultimate Adventures: What Happens in Belgrade…

By: Yolanda Clatworthy

Which of the following is not true of Belgrade?

a) A mammoth was discovered under the main shopping Boulevard of Belgrade.
b) Donating blood is very popular in highschools because kids who do get a full two days off.
c) Wives used to lose their husbands for days in the “Bermuda Triangle,” three main taverns which formed a triangle. In a similar vein, traditional taverns always have two exits so you can slip out if the wife comes looking.
d) Pizza is served with ketchup.
e) Traditionally, rich donate their houses to the poor when they die.
f) Kiev had the same urban designer, and both cities have similar layouts.
g) You can rock climb on the walls of a Medieval fortress.
h)All of the above are true

As you’ve probably already guessed, the answer is H. In Serbia, anything is possible. It was my first time visiting a city that had been a war zone within my memory, yet the reminders of it are few and far between. Instead, my few short days that I spent here were filled with exploration and fun and adventuring and learning, far beyond what I imagine the typical tourist experience to be. As usual, this was thanks to the locals I met who gave me so much insight into their lifestyles and their city.

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My first introduction into the Serbian way of life was, surprisingly, through my hostel. Hostel Zetska 5 is probably the best hostel that I’ve ever stayed in–and I’ve stayed in way too many! Part of it was probably the cleanliness, as it just opened a month ago and everything is brand spankin’ new. Part of it was the location, as it is situated on a quiet street yet just a ten second walk from the main Bohemian street of Skadarlija. Mostly, however, my stay there was defined by the family that runs the hostel. Snaezan, along with her husband, son, and daughter, have created an environment in which travelers feel more like they are in a home than an impersonal hostel. During my three day stay there, I came to think of them as my Serbian family. I had typical lunches with homemade Serbian food, went grocery shopping with 11 year old Bratsa, played darts, watched footy, went on ice cream excursions, got taught how to make instant coffee “the right way,” learned that vegetarianism in Serbia doesn’t exist, and so much more. Hostel Zetska 5 is so much more than a place to crash for the night, it’s a crash course in Serbia in Serbian culture, food, and traditions. Thanks to Student Universe for helping me find such a fantastic place!

My stay in Serbia was further enriched by my day spent with Jelena on a Viator Tour. It started out as tours do, with lots of beautiful architecture, interesting history, and scenic lookouts. Unfortunately, photography was banned in many of the most spectacular places; google Ruzica military chapel for photos of chandeliers made of bullets and swords, and google St Petka chapel for images of the interior, which is covered in the most intricate mosaics I have ever seen. For lunch we chose to go to a Serbian tavern, described by some to be to Serbs what squares were to the ancient Greeks. No surprise then, that lunch was a lively affair. There were small stools and old photographs and lots of Serbian chitchat and delicious delicious food (for videos check out Triptrotting TV). The best though, was yet to come. Jelena and I had had such a good time that she agreed to meet me again that afternoon, where we continued with the tour part 2. We strolled along the waterfront and up cobblestone streets in the old Hapsburg district, checked out the beach, tried Turkish coffee, and rode around in double-decker busses happy as school kids on vacation in London. By this time I had a fair grasp of both the geography and the history of the city, having criss-crossed it and learned about it on an intense all day one-on-one tour.

Ultimate Triptrotter (Yolanda) and her Viator tour guide (Jelena)

Yet somehow I feel like I learned even more about Serbia that night, on an unofficial tour with Jelena and her boyfriend Milan. They took me to a cafe hidden in the garden of the basement of an unmarked building, somewhere that I never would have found on my own but that I fell in love with immediately. It’s a cafe with great coffee, and an even better concept–they fill the walls with decorations and artifacts that travellers have brought them from all around the world. Good luck finding it though, those who know it love it, and hide it from the hordes of gawking tourists. I was further spoiled by them taking me to a Kafana (the typical tavern/coffeehouse again), one which was so typical that the owner still ives in the other half. When we got there, we knocked on his door and he emerged from watching TV long enough to grab us drinks from his fridge. Quite cool, especially considering that this kaffana is in the heart of the tourist district yet no one knows about it, or finds it. If you’re ever in Belgrade, shoot me an email and I’ll send you directions! Or just book a tour with Jelena or Viator, because you seriously will have one of the best days you can imagine. Jelena, (and Milan) thanks so much for such an incredible and informative experience.

Belgrade is not a city that is immediately likeable–it’s not visually striking, many buildings of historic interest were destroyed, and there’s traffic and pollution everywhere. Yet it’s a city that will suck you in, a city to live in and to experience rather than to look at. Do your best to do as the locals do. Grab an ice cream, bask in the park, check out the buskers, hang out in a kaffana. Serbians are wild and wonderful people, and if you are ready to step a little bit out of your comfort zone and enjoy life the Serbian way, you’ll be amazed at how much the city has to offer.


Posted on September 2, 2011, in TTTV, Ultimate Triptrotter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. thanks for saying so many nice things about our city 🙂

  2. Interesting artivle.. a bit curious, though – Who is this person who designed Kyiv and Belgrade? it seems quite far-fetched to me…

    • Jelena Mijalkovic

      Djordje Kovaljevski – Grigory Pavlovich Kovalevsky… Nema mnogo informacija o njemu, ali ovu informaciju o Kijevu i Beogradu sam dobila od starijih vodica koji se bave ruskim arhitektama i njihovim radom u Srbiji

    • Makalu base trek is a classic trekking holiday in Nepal. Makalu (8483m /27818ft), the world\’s fifth highest summit, is normally started from Tumlingtar 35 minutes scenic flight with the vew of Mt. Everest.You wouldn’t face quite so many obstacles getting to the base camp of Mt. Makalu, though this is a challenging difficult trail through out of the most remote and undeveloped part of Nepal. Camping is only permited at designated campsites but some tea houses offer local food on the recent days. a lovely high grazing area close to the tip of the Barun Glacier and surrounded by an awe-inspiring array of Himalayan peaks. The return trek into this remote alpine world is one of the finest in Nepal and is accessed by way of a short flight to the airstrip at Tumlingtar above the Arun River. From here, our trekking route takes us through pretty terraced farmland and a number of delightful villages, before climbing to cross the Shipton La (4229m./13871ft). At the high points of this classic trekking holiday, the views extend to Makalu and to distant Kangchenjunga. Descend down to Barun River alone with rhododendron and pine forest: dears, languor monkeys and blue sheep can be seen while they are grazing and resting on the trail sides. A flat plateau with beautiful prayer flags in Yangle kharka with water fall as its’ crown is quite picturesque. Walking through Yak grazing lands with the magnificent view of peak 7,5,3 and Mt. Chamlang make the trek more worth being here. We have a full day to explore above Sherson, gaining surprising views of the Kangshung (east) Face of Everest as well as close-up perspectives of the impressive Chamlang and Mt. Makalu\’s towering South Face. Sherpani col west pass offers a chance to connect the trek with Everest region. Retracing valley back to Tumlingtar through Arun Valley route is extra thrilling adventure of the trip.

      The reward for the hardship is the chance to trek through an unspoilded Himalayan landscapes, far from trapping of the modern age. Makalu Base Camp trek is still away of mass tourism. This trek is culturally fascinated and geographically spectacular. It’s a trek have to do once in a life for adventure madness.
      Online Itinerary

      Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)

      Day 02: Kathmandu valley sightseeing & trek preparation (1,300m/4,264 ft)

      Day 03: Fly Kathmandu – Tumlingtar (640m/1500ft) – Chichila (1840m/6100ft) 35 min flight & 4-5 hrs drive.

      Day 04: Chichila – Num (1500m/4921ft) 5-6 hrs trek

      Day 05: Num – Seduwa (1493m/4898ft) 4-5 hrs trek.

      Day 06: Seduwa – Tashi Gaun (2057m/6749ft) -4-5 hrs trek

      Day 07: Rest and acclimatizing day in Tashigaun.

      Day 08: Tashi Gaun – Khongma ( 3560m/11800ft) 5-6 hrs trek

      Day 09: Khongma – Dobate (3620m/11871ft) 5-6 hrs trek

      Day 10: Dobate – Yangle Kharka (3620m/11877) 5-6 hrs trek

      Day 11: Yangle Kharka – Yak Kharka (4400 m/14550ft) 4-5 hrs trek

      Day 12: Merek – Shersong (4660 m/155ft) 2-3 hrs trek.

      Day 13: Explore Makalu Base Cam / Everest view point ridge – Shersong: 7- 8 hrs.

      Day 14:Shersong – Yangle Kharka : 4-5 hrs trek

      Day 15: Yangle Kharka – Dobate: 4-5 hrs.

      Day 16: Dobate – Khongma : 5-6 hrs trek

      Day 17: Khongma – Seduwa : 6-7 hrs trek

      Day 18: Seduwa – Num : 4 hrs trek.

      Day 19: Num – chichila: 5 hrs trek – Tumlingtar : 3-4 hrs Jeep drive.

      Day 20: Fly Tumlingtar – Kathmandu : 35 min

  3. Great article! But watch the quiz because I think you’re saying the opposite of what you mean at the very beginning!

  4. Hi Every one, Well come to Nepal…. I am here as experienced trekking guide.. Who can give you lots information about trekking……..

  5. Annapurna base camp trek, which begins at 1,090m, climbs to 4,130m at ABC. It is fairly demanding, but is suitable for beginners or adventure trekkers: provided you are reasonably fit and walk slowly up the higher slopes. From Pokhara, a bus will take you to Nayapul from where you will walk, from ridge to river over many ridges, as the trail gradually climbs past villages and terraced farmlands or bird-filled forests of rhododendron, oak, maple and pine. Open high ground is rewarded with outstanding views of high peaks and glaciers in the area.

    There is little chance of suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) on the up route as the daily stages have been chosen to limit your altitude gain to 300 – 400m/day above 3000m; and with time to rest afterwards. Accommodation is plentiful and apart from Nepali food, many places offer Tibetan, Continental, Italian and Indian dishes: plus hot showers.

    There are two Base Camps (Machhapuchhare and Annapurna) in the huge Sanctuary amphitheater. Here, at 4,000m, you will be surrounded by an immense and breathtaking wall of rock and ice from 6500m to 8,091m.The quicker down-journey requires only two nights; with a visit to the hot springs at Jhinu Danda, on the second day. The last day’s trek takes you to the bus at Phedi and a drive to you lakeside hotel in Pokhara.

    Outline Itinerary

    Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)
    Day 02: Kathmandu valley sightseeing & trek preparation (1,300m/4,264 ft)
    Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (9,10m/2,986ft), 5-6 hrs drive
    Day 04: Drive to Nayapul and Trek to Ghandruk (1,950m/6,398ft) 1½ hrs bus 5-6 hrs. trek
    Day 05: Ghandruk – Chhomrong (2,210m/ 7,249ft) 5-6 hrs.
    Day 06: Chhomrong – Himalaya Hotel (2,920m/9,578 ft) 6-7 hrs walk
    Day 07: Himalaya Hotel – Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m/13,546ft) 6-7 hrs.
    Day 08: Annapurna Base Camp – Sinuwa (2,360m/7,740 ft) 6-7 hrs.
    Day 09: Sinuwa – Jhinu Danda (1,780m/5,859 ft) – Landruk (1,565m/5,133ft) 6-7 hrs
    Day 10: Landruk – Phedi and drive to Pokhara (9,10m/2,986ft) 5-6 hrs trek and 30 minutes drive.
    Day 11: Pokhara to Kathmandu 5-6 hrs drive. (25 min flight)

  6. The Himalayan chain rose in the last 30 – 40 million years, as the continental plate of India pushed in under Asia. It stretches for 2800km in a west-northwest to east-southeast direction forming a crescent arc from Afghanistan in the west to Burma (Myanmar) in the east. Beginning near Mount Kailash, the Indus River flows west and turns south around Nanga Parbat (8125m) Pakistan. The Yarlung Tsangpo River rises to the east of Mt Kailash and flows eastwards to Namche Barwa before turning south (and becomes the Brahmaputra River). These rivers roughly embrace the Himalayan chain: which contains all 14 of the earth’s 8000m peaks. One third of this range lies along Nepal’s northern border and includes 8 of the giants.
    Explorers, trekkers and “borderholics” have long gazed wistfully at the remote mountain valleys that border Tibet. These regions have been “off limits” for many decades as they offer easy access to the high trade passes into the land that wished to remain closed to the countries to the south. Occasional visitors returned with stories of a Shangri La steeped in the unknown Tibetan culture.
    The fabulous and varied scenery of high altitude deserts and mysterious hidden valleys in the dry western Upper Dolpo and Upper Mustang regions contrasts to the deep jungle gorges of Manaslu and the forested valleys below Kangchenjunga’s massive bulk.
    Altitude and climate has played its part in determining the mix of peoples who inhabit these regions: broadly speaking, Hindus in the lower valleys and Buddhist cultures higher up with overlaps developing with time. Trekking in the wilderness areas is as much a cultural experience as a physical and visual one.
    In October 1991 Nepal’s Home Ministry finally announced the opening of the restricted areas. The first to open were Inner Dolpo and Nupri – the region north of Manaslu. In 1993: Upper Mustang and then the western Humla region (allowing cross border treks to Tibet’s Mt. Kailash). The mysterious Nar Phu valley (and a former settlement of Khampa Tibetan armed rebels) was opened in 2002.
    Our wilderness treks follow ancient caravan and animal trails, and offer the ultimate opportunity of exploring cultures that have been largely untouched by ‘modern civilization’. The Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Ganesh Himal and Rolwaling Valley trails are particularly stimulating both in their variety of landscape, fauna and flora, as well as the rich local cultural heritage. Consider these treks as special, if rougher, alternatives to the crowded Annapurna, Langtang and parts of the Everest trai

  7. Kangchenjunga base camp trek is one of the challenging nature adventure in Nepal. Kangchenjunga (8586m) is a massive and independent mountain of rock and ice, which sits astride the Nepalese-Sikkim/Indian border. It rises on a N/S axis, roughly at right angles to the main Himalayan chain – and linked to it by ridges. Secondary ridges lie in east/west direction which together creates the four glaciers that flow from its five summits. For 15km, the southern border-ridge is nowhere less than 7500m in height. Only Everest and K2 are higher.

    The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) can be reached by either road or air. Taplejung (near the new airport at Suketar) is the most convenient place to begin a trek. From there, a two week trek to the southern base camp near Ramche on the Yalung glacier; three week trek to the northern base camp at Pang Pema on the Kangchenjunga glacier; or a four week combined trek which includes a crossing of the five-pass Mirgin La (4663m) range between Tseram and Ghunsa. From the high passes, magnificent views of such giants as Everest, Makalu, Chamlang and Kangchenjunga are possible. The mountain views beyond Ghunsa are breathtaking, even by Himalayan standards.

    Kangchenjunga is not only large enough to create its own weather, but also receives the full force of the south-west monsoon crossing the plains of Bengal. This results in an extraordinary variation of vegetation and climate within a small region. 65% of the KCA’s area is covered by rocks and ice. The region also offers a rich cultural diversity with the Limbu people living in the lower regions and Tibetans higher up. The paths between the villages lead through picturesque farmland, magnificent forests and rugged valleys.Facilities for trekkers are limited, but the welcome is always warm. Tents are essential for use towards the base camps.

    The reward for the hardship is the chance to trek through unspoiled Himalayan landscapes, far from the trappings of the modern age. The Kangchenjunga Base Camp trek has still not been touched by mass tourism. This trek is both culturally fascinating and geographically spectacular. It’s a trek you need to do once in a lifetime for adventure madness!
    Trekking Itinerary

    Day 01 Arrive Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264 ft)

    Day 02 Kathmandu valley sightseeing & trek preparation (1,300m/4,264 ft)

    Day 03: Fly Kathmandu – Biratnagar (45 minutes flight)

    Day 04: Fly Biratnagar – Suketar – Lali Kharak Kharka (2220 m/7300 ft) 3-4 hrs trek

    Day 05: Lali Kharka – Sinchewa Bhanjyang (2240 m/7400ft) 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 6: Sinchewa Bhanjyang – Phumpe (1780 m/5900ft) 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 7: Phumpe – Yamphudin (1690 m/5600 ft) 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 8: Yamphudin – Amji Khola (2340 m/7800 ft) 4-5 hrs trek

    Day 9: Amji Khola – Torontan (2990 m/9900 ft) 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 10: Torontan – Tseram (3870 m/13900 ft) 4 -5 hrs trek

    Day 11: Tseram – Ramche (4620 m/15400ft) 2-3 hrs.

    Day 12:Ramche – Visit Oktang (viewpoint) – Chukkung Pokhari (4450m/14600ft) 5-6 hrs trek.

    Day 13: Chukkung Chhuchung Pokhari – Sinelapche La (4640m/15224ft) – Mirgin La (4650m 4480?/15256ft) –

    Day 14: Rest day in Ghunsa

    Day 15: Ghunsa – Kambachen (4150m/13650ft) 3-4 hrs trek

    Day 16: Khambachen (Kambachen) – Lonak (4790m/15900ft) 4-5 hrs trek

    Day 17: Lhonak – Pangpema base camp (5160m/17200ft) 3-4 hrs trek

    Day 18: Excursion day in Pangpema Base Camp.

    Day 19: Pangpema – Kambachen: 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 20: Kambachen – Ghunsa – Phale: 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 21 Phale – Amjilosa (2140m/7100ft) 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 22: Amjilosa – Chiruwa (Chirwa) (1190m/3900 ft) 5-6 hrs trek

    Day 23: Chirwa – Linkhim (1520m/4985ft),5-6 hrs trek

    Day 24: Linkhim – Suketar (2700 m/8856ft.) 5-6 hrs trek.

    Day 25: We take the morning flight to Biratnagar and an onward flight to Kathmandu. After checking in at the group hotel, a free afternoon in Kathmandu.

  8. Mountain Mart Treks and Expedition: One of the Best trekking and Adventure Company in Nepal specialized for trekking in Nepal, Nepal tour, hiking, peak climbing, Expedition and adventure holidays.

  9. Everest Base Camp trek has drawn adventurers since Mount Everest was first surveyed in the late 19th century. Mt Everest known as ‘Sagarmatha’ in Nepal and ‘Chomolungma’ in Tibet is popular dream destination among all adventure lovers. Everest Base Camp trekking is slightly demanding and requires a fair level of fitness before you begin. Most of the trail lies at the altitude over 3 000m, it is also essential that you trek slowly to avoid the possibility of AMS.

  1. Pingback: Nice little post about Belgrade | Serbian Culture Shock

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