My Last 24 Hours in Serbia
March 6, 2016Amy Trumpeter
After getting slightly lost in Novi Sad, and receiving help from several Serbians who spoke great English, I found Novi Sad train station in the nick of time before it started to get dark. I was slightly behind schedule and probably cutting it a little fine before my flight the next morning.
I Skipped a Train Fair to Belgrade!
On the way back from Novi Sad, I proudly handed over my ticket to the conductor. He didn’t sign and handed it back. Shit. Something was wrong! He said something to me in Serbian, and I said ‘Sorry, I speak English.’ ‘Another ticket?!’ he asked.
Erm, no! The woman in the train station had only given me one, even though I’d asked for a return. I explained this to the conductor. ‘You must pay money 370 Dinars’. Oh dear, so I spent my last 300 Dinars going round the museum in Novi Sad! I thought I had a valid return, but obviously the woman in the ticket office didn’t understand me – I didn’t make myself clear enough. I explained this to the conductor, and said the classic ‘Sorry, I’m English!’ line. I pulled out my credit card! He said something in Serbian, and then, moved onto the next passenger.
I looked at the guy in front of me, possibly with a look of anxiety or shame, I can’t decide which! He said ‘no problem! It’s ok!’ I tried to go back to the ticket office when I arrived, but it was closed! So there you have it, I dodged a train fair in Serbia. I wished that the conductor who let me off could see my blog, to realise how grateful I was, and that I was here to promote tourism in his country.
If you get a return ticket in Serbia, both parts must be filled in – the left and the right side. You can see from mine that I had a one way ticket!
- Return train journeys in Serbia must be printed on the left and right side.
- Always have a cash contingency – you never know when you might need it.
Returning to Belgrade, the Capital of Serbia
We came into Belgrade at around 8pm. It was a dark and cold February evening, and there was mass exodus at what sounded like Belgrade. I thought I didn’t recognise anything, but couldn’t see properly. If in doubt, always ask. Aha, New Belgrade (Novi Beograd)- don’t get those two mixed up!
I was tired and realised that I needed to print my boarding pass. You can often only do an online check in around 24 or 36 hours before your flight. I was in Novi Sad ;-S
So it was getting later and I needed to find an internet cafe, but not much luck walking from the train station up to Knez Mihailova. Deyanna at Trip and Sleep told me about at 24 hour ‘Copy Centar’. Could I find it? Could I heck! So I walked into the trusty Hotel Moskva, which never lets you down. ‘Can I print my boarding pass please?’ I asked on reception. ‘Of course, no problem!’ I offered to pay, and explained that I was not a hotel guest, but she she said it was not an issue.
TRAVEL TIP – If in doubt, or in a boarding pass printing emergency, walk into the reception of the nearest 4* or 5* hotel and they will be happy to help.
I managed to get a few hours sleep before waking up early due to my flight back to London Heathrow. I hate the last day of every trip – it’s just a faff getting to the airport and sad saying goodbyes. But, that’s the way it goes.
Getting to Nikola Tesla Airport
So, I checked out of Trip and Sleep and walked to Zeleny Venaz (By the McDonalds) for my number 72 bus back to the airport. The 72 bus is the best bus for the airport that is closest to the main street Knez Mihailova in Belgrade.
Now, I arrived on this bus, so I knew where to go. But, you know what it’s like when you take a bus – you never get on and off in the same place! I think I waited for about half an hour in the wrong place altogether.
A strange man with a limp and a few missing teeth approached me and spoke in Serbian. He wanted a light, told I told him ‘I don’t smoke.’ I then asked about the 72 bus and he told me to stay there, but his English was very broken. I wasn’t so sure. I told him that the bus wasn’t here – I was waiting where the 72 bus alights, not boards. He made some kind of gesture that suggested to me he wanted to drive me to the airport, and ‘no money’! ‘No thank-you!’
I went to a younger looking guy who said it was the third one down. I walked down 3 stops and saw another woman with a suitcase – always a good sign. The bus arrived and got me to the airport with 2 hours before my flight remaining.
SERBIA TRAVEL TIPS
- In Serbia, ask someone young looking and relatively well-dressed – they will probably speak English. The only generation don’t speak English as much – they would have learnt Russian.
- When travelling to the airport – look for other people with backpacks and suitcases and ask them.
- On your last day of any trip, allow more than enough time to get to the airport before a flight. If you need to be there for 3 hours before, aim to get there 4 or 5 hours before incase of any travel problems or delays.
- In Nikola Tesla Airport you can get FREE wifi on SBB Wi-Fi Zona, but you need to accept the terms and conditions.
- Avoid travelling to a different city on your very last day if possible, even if you have an evening flight! It’s not worth the risk 😉
- Never accept lifts from strangers – ask in a shop if you need help with directions to the bus or taxi rank.
Maybe I tried to pack too much in during my last 24 hours in Serbia, but I had a great time! If you would like to read more about Serbia, you can read about My Day in Belgrade with my Russian friend Sergei and Petrovaradin Fortress and Novi Sad.