27.06.2017 - 01.07.2017
We had been experiencing 34° in Hungary but with gentle breezes around the lakes; we arrived in Serbia to a heat wave of 39 °C which is 15° higher than the June average.
We drove to the nearest border crossing to Pécs and were stopped on our way out of Hungary and had to present our passports at the Serbian border hut. I took the passports over to the window and was asked some questions about our onward travel, whether we were going to Greece or Bulgaria, well we weren't, so we got a stamp, unusual these days.
The other guard went to the van and Jacqui opened side door and he was greeted by our mini garden and questioned what each plant was and when he was told they were flowers seemed surprised, what was he expecting! He then picked up the Dyson and questioned it (well I suppose it does look a bit dodgy when it has been taken apart to clean.) He then opened every cupboard, made some comment about all her clothes, he missed the shoes! Finally he got to the drinks cupboard he shouted AH WODKA, that seemed to make him happy and he left.
We were allowed then to dodge the wooden lift up barrier that didn't and 50m further on we were stopped again by a chap in civvies, no idea what that was about, Serbian secret service?
We had planned to stop en route to Belgrade but the lack of recognised stop put us off and so we pushed on, reaching the city later than we wanted to at rush hour. Our destination turned out to be the front lawn of a furniture shop on a busy main road.
The owner was very friendly and also runs a motorhome rental company and is president of the Serbian camping club so very useful with contacts for other sites on our way through the country.
The night we arrived I was so knackered from the heat, Jacqui thought I was ill, after a day of walking in Beograd it was jacqui's turn to feel the heat and need to lay down.
Belgrade, according to Lonely Planet, is not an attractive city, they are not wholly right. It is a vibrant city with lots of bars and all the boring international shops, there are the intercontinental hotels that all the spies stayed at and there is much to see.
Nikola Tesla lived here and his museum is testament to his control of electricity. There is a mighty fortress now inhabited by plastic dinosaurs and some little tanks but it in long history if you held this post overlooking the Sava and the Danube you were in charge.
We ate in the bohemian quarter, we knew it was because we followed a sign saying so, in a street that is full of live music in the evenings and a great pull for the many visitors, not many from western Europe. Our musical experience whilst eating was from a young girl no older than 8 playing an accordion and singing 3 lines, at first we thought it sweet until she held out her hand and we asked her to play a little more. She was not happy but repeated the 3 lines and when we gave her some money she shocked her head and asked for 5 times as much. Needless to say she went away without!
Outside of the city centre it looks like a city playing catch up, it's one of the places we have been where we have seen men and women collecting recyclables to make money, going down bins to add cans and bottles to there enormous piles on bikes or barrows. The other two places were Croatia and New York!
We had a pleasant couple of days but with disturbed sleep so headed to some lakes by the Romanian border for some coolth, that's a real word!