I know your hearts are beating like jack hammers in anticipation. I had little internet in eastern Europe and I need to catch you up on what I was doing while Sarah was surfing couches France.
I was hostel hopping freestyle, using the last-minute approach to booking bunk beds. One of the best spots we wound up in was Belgrade, Serbia.
Dan and I were ready. Our group of new best friends from the hostel hit up a street stand, where we were able to arm ourselves with 400 dinar ($2) bottles of plum Rakija, eastern Europe’s go-to fruit-tinged grain alcohol. We scouted out a fun-looking gang of locals and followed them MacGyver-style. The goal was to find the backpacker holy grail: an insiders-only party venue.
The spot they led us to was about as well hidden as the Taj Mahal. Under the city´s central bridge, a line of flatbed boats illuminated the Sava River and competing techno beats reverberated through the water. Ballroom-size floors were swaying with young, relatively pretty people. We followed locals aboard the most nondescript ship – the only one that looked like a boat. The DJ played early ‘90s American music all night.
In the end, we felt like rock stars for knowing all the words and singing them with a perfect accent.
Not surprisingly, this was a huge pickup spot. At one point, I bent to tie my shoe strap and my hair fell in a curtain around my face. This, the most private moment of my night, was interrupted when a man lifted my hair and peeped his face in next to mine. “Helloooo!” he cooed, clearly excited to practice his English. Luckily, a language barrier is a great way to dodge stupid pick-up lines.
Our group danced until sunrise. It was Tuesday. Yes folks, there is indeed life outside NYC.
But this is where Belgrade really shines: at six a.m., shops are open and selling hamburgers the size of basketballs and beers the size of fire hydrants. What´s more, due to lenient liquor license requirements, coffee shops can liven your coffee with Amaretto, Kailua and/or our family favorite, Bailey’s Irish Crème! I drank an amazing amount of coffee.
Yes, this city facilitates a reversion to college life. But that can be ok once in awhile, right?