Cloaked hoods scurry around, attempting to dodge the raindrops that beat incessantly on the awning above our heads and grey clouds signal the end of the summer’s dream. The announcer announces but we know it’s not for us as we still have hours to kill, watching the rain, the trains and the people who run from platform to platform. Belgrade had greeted us with gloom and sent us off in much the same way. It felt appropriate. From here we would be taking the night train to Budapest. I was flying back to England for a friend’s wedding and Ania was continuing on to Vienna before heading back to Poland to spend some time with family and friends before we would reconvene in Barcelona.
The hitch-hike from Niš to Belgrade had been easy. One guy who worked for Philip Morris Tobacco and spoke great English picked us up from the edge of Niš and drove us all the way to the Serbian capital. In Belgrade we had managed to organise Couchsurfing with an English ex-pat called Zac, in a place called Pančevo, 30 mins by train outside the city. Unfortunately we didn’t really get on with Zac, which didn’t help to lighten the mood. We found that he had absolutely no interest in us and we merely served as antennas to pick up his broadcasts about what a great and wonderful person he was. After talking to him for one day he still couldn’t even remember Ania’s name.
Few would argue that Belgrade is a beautiful city, with its practical rather than aesthetically pleasing architecture, with its roots firmly in the communist period. However, Belgrade or White City, is not completely without charm with a variety of monuments and museums to keep even the most demanding happy. The city is famed for its bustling café culture and night-life which seems rather at odds with its surroundings but I suppose people make the best of what they’ve got.
This was of little consolation to us, however, as we sat on the train station drinking a strangely unsatisfying beer. We didn’t want the trip to end, back to the stresses of finding a flat and starting work. The worries of separating and bearing our journeys alone. But what is to be done? Trips end and real life starts, the unavoidable fact for all those without bottomless pockets.
We order another beer, unable to focus on our books, stared at the puddles accumulating on the platform and listen as the rain beats a march like the ticking of a clock.
written by: Jon
Follow our 2 month hitch-hiking trip across the north of Italy and the Balkan Peninsula:‘The Balkan Peninsula by Thumb 2013′. It’s happening now!
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
|Hitchhiking through Kosovo & Macedonia to industrial and grimy Niš in Serbia||Our first experience of hitch-hiking in Kosovo, drinking rakija with the locals and attending the Prizren film festival|