I’m not sure if Marija and Vladimir really exist. Because I’m pretty sure they were angels sent down by the travel gods to remind us why we are doing this epic trip around the world. I mean, obviously they are real people. They are real, wonderful, lovely, hospitable Serbians that were a breath (of very much needed) fresh air. We woke up to a home-cooked Serbian breakfast and more enjoyable conversation. So enjoyable in fact, that they lit’rally had to remind us that we were there to see their city, not to hang out in their apartment the entire time! And off we went, to walk around town and see the Belgrade Fortress.
We walked through the main street in town, enjoying the relaxed nature of the city. Granted, it was a Sunday, but it was so calm and enjoyable! People were out and about walking their dogs, playing with their kids, having coffee (or beer) with friends. It was lovely. Andrew and I agreed that it was the city (so far) in the Balkans that we would pick to live in. Nothing against the others, there was just a more gentle, relaxed vibe here that we both noticed immediately.
We headed to the Fortress and sat people watching most of the time. The weather was beautiful right up until we timed it perfectly to sit down and have a coffee. And, then it rained. We used the weather as a good excuse to look for new shorts for Andrew (ok, I’ll admit it, and to look at the sale prices in Zara for me) and then, when we couldn’t figure out where the movie theater was in town (to see if Despicable Me 2 was playing), we headed back to Marija and Vladimir’s.
If you missed Day 299, you should know that it was a rough day, nearing the end of a bit of a difficult month of travel. Not the month specifically, nor the wonderful places we visited, but more like the length of this trip hitting me hard. Staying with Marija and Vladimir could not have come at a better time. Whenever we tell people (especially Americans) unfamiliar with this network, they usually gape and question our level of crazy for showing up to a STRANGER’S(!) house in a foreign country to spend the night. We’re familiar with this response. Pretty much everyone who is on couchsurfing is also familiar with this response, and we all laugh about it together. But the truth is, we’ve had a really wonderful experience with it and staying with Marija and Vladimir is no different. We went out for dinner, and again, stayed up later than we (at least Andrew and myself) usually do chatting. We tried to express how grateful we were to have met them, but they shrugged it off, not taking us seriously at all. Later, I had to restrain myself from giving them a big (huge) hug goodnight.
I went to bed thinking not of how hard Month 10 has been, but how wonderful this opportunity (and MANY opportunities along the way) to meet them has been. Sometimes on this trip, our emotions get crazy. They swing back and forth from one extreme to the other, and I have to remind myself of that before I inform Andrew that I’m ready to jump ship. Or maybe, I have to remind myself to thank him for not taking me too seriously.