What I knew about Serbia before we came here? Well, I’ve heard that it’s a beautiful country, the food is delicious, and beer is cheap. That’s all.
Previously I was reading a lot of information about the country we were going to. I was making a wish-list of the things I hoped to see, and sometimes I was preparing more detailed plan of our journey. Yes, that’s how I rolled. But nowadays I prefer to travel with a clear mind and opened heart, ready for adventures. That’s the reason why I kept my knowledge of Serbia to a minimum. And this approach made me feel like an explorer.
So, what was my first impression?
- Serbia is a land of gold; it’s covered with sunflower and corn fields
- Serbs are nice and friendly people
- Their food is not just delicious, it is mouth-watering; I would even say that Serbia is one of those rare countries where you can experience a gastronomical orgasm! It also made me realize that simplicity is the key to a tasty meal. You don’t need dozens of ingredients to create a dish that will make you cry from happiness. Less is more, as they say.
Serbian cuisine inspired me to make TOP-5 list of the countries where I had the best food (local and traditional, of course). So far it looks like this:
- Czech Republic
- Serbia is heaven for meat lovers, pastry lovers and for those who have a sweet tooth
- Local beer is indeed cheap, and it’s a great summer drink
- Popcorn and cooked corn are sold on the streets like hot dogs in NYC
It might seem that I describe Serbia as a wonderland… But don’t worry, I also found some minor flaws (I bet skeptics will feel the joy from reading this sentence). For example, they have an unusual custom: in some bars and restaurants you must pay your order straight away (mainly in Belgrade area and few places in Vršac). It can be very annoying. Especially if you want to enjoy a beautiful sunny day on the terrace over a couple of beers without disturbance.
Another negative surprise was the fact that Serbs are smokers. They smoke a lot and they smoke everywhere. That is why you’ll get an ashtray almost every place you go to, no matter you need it or not. I personally don’t smoke, neither is my husband. And as you might have guessed, smell of the cigarettes can be quite irritating.
Many years ago, Turks introduced their coffee culture to Serbian people, and Serbs started drinking coffee, lots of coffee.
Coffee itself was not a problem. Problem was finding a black tea in Bela Crkva. It turned out to be mission impossible. Local shops had only green and berry tea. Don’t get me wrong, I can easily drink any of those… but I have a craving for black tea with milk ever since I’ve read novel “A Clockwork Orange”. And that was the only thing I couldn’t get in Bela Crkva.
Belgrade vs Bela Crkva and Vršac
Would I like to visit Belgrade again? I doubt it. I liked the old town and I loved the Belgrade Fortress… but unfortunately it looks totally different outside the city center. Faceless gray high-rise houses resembling dull buildings that were built during the Soviet Union’s rule. I’ve seen similar sceneries in Russia, Latvia and Ukraine. And that kind of “landscape” is not what I’m drawn to.
Bela Crkva and Vršac on the other hand, were amazing! I would love to come here again. Maybe we could rent a car and drive all over Serbia. It’s a wonderful country with beautiful nature. And in my opinion, it is definitely worth visiting.
In the beginning of our trip I wouldn’t come up with anything if I heard word “Serbia”. But now if someone asks me what is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Serbia, I’d smile and answer: “Joyful sunflowers!”
Hope you enjoyed it!