Things you need to do when visiting Serbia
A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk with one Spanish lady who is apparently a big fan of Belgrade and generally our culture. After few routinely generated questions like where have you been, which place you visited and rest, I noticed that most of her answers are focused on things, not on places. Finishing my 3rd glass of wine I start wondering what will be the things which make the best impressions on foreigners.
Let’s face it, our cities are beautiful but you cannot really compare them with the biggest European capitals. So, it can’t be the landscape which drives them spending their yearly vacations in our place. It is something else. She mentioned that only reason for visiting Belgrade was because her friend invited her, otherwise she will never come. From here I realize the main thing – they come because of PEOPLE.
I know that folks in homeland have different thoughts about “gastarbeiters”, but we are big advertisers of our culture and country. Every single Serb in Dubai I met, who is surround with foreigner colleagues or friends educate them about Tesla, Djokovic or Rakija. Better than Western propaganda I would say. It is clear to see that once you infect them with Serbian customs they start using them. (example: My Filipino colleague on every single sneeze in office say “Pis Maco ” even when I am not there).
I asked her also how do you find kafana and her answer amazed me. She said I reached the premium level in kafana, I was dancing on the table. To us these things are probably normal but look, that thing left an impression on her. Having this in mind I will try to create a top 10 things you need to do when you are in Serbia! For fun, I will add points for every item so you can collect them and find your score.
- Having rakija in the morning (noon, afternoon, night) with the host family. A good day starts and finishes with Rakija. Every single shot is followed by a plate of meze and gibanica and ascertainment how our home rakija is the best one in the city. It’s developed to connect and correct people and this is the thing you need to maintain from the first day.
This is safe 10 points. If grandmother offers you more food and you accept that’s extra 2 points.
2. Discussing with host grandfather about politics and military situations around the globe.
This is something you cannot escape from especially after number 1. So, brace yourself and check the latest videos from Miroslav Lazanski to be prepared. Tip for escaping this: THERE IS NO ONE.
Withstanding ratios of points (0-1h ->5 points, 1-3h ->10 points, 3h< -> 15 points)
- Visiting eternal derby or the biggest match in Serbia. Partizan – Red Star. It is easy to notice when the game day is. The whole country is transforming to a big siege. Your friends and family are not close anymore if they are from opposite club. Everything is separated on Black and Red. If you are not an adventurist type of person I suggest to take a position on a West stand of the stadium. (you will see). Tickets for this match are not expensive but it will be a good idea to book them a few days ago. Football is not the best but the atmosphere is 10+. It is also ranked as a top derby in the word by the atmosphere by copa90 famous Youtube football channel.
This is big 10 points but if you cheer for Partizan that’s extra 5 points.
- Playing basketball in local hood. Serbs are sporty nation and every single sunny day we use for different activities. One is the mother of all of them. Basketball. Your host will probably take you to closest court and don’t embarrass yourself. If you are not good at it, just say you have problem with knee of krsta, they will understand. Learn about Divac, Stojakovic, Jokic. (Just for the record Serbia is the World champion in 3×3 basketball)
Showing descent amount of knowledge about our Golds from The World and European cups will allow you to sit on the side and get 10 points without a sweat.
- Visit Serbian slava. I write before about slava and you can find it here. Slava is the event which gather all hosts distant cousins to one place. If some of them look at you weirdly do not worry, in the end of the day everyone will offer you something to bring back to your home (Jar of ajvar , gibanica or some other food/drink). It is whole day event. Make an extra button on your belt and enjoy the fiesta.
Avoiding kissing 3 times with every grandmother make you Bear Grills of Slava and that’s big 10 points.
- Dancing on kafana’s table or breaking rakija glass. Kafana is traditional Serbian restaurant/bar which allows everything if you are behaving well. Since you are foreigner, singer will expect some tips so Red color bill glued on his forehead will be enough. If song touch your hearth you might want to break some glasses. In some kafana that’s allowed ( they have special wall for that) but in any case talk with owner so bouncers do not make a mash from you.
Dancing 5 points, breaking glass 5 points, tip more than 1000 dinars make you king of the place so that’s extra 5 points.
- Doing pre-drinking part at Studentski park. This park is center of gathering for every single clubber from 8-11PM. It’s in center of Belgrade and it’s very easy to commute to everywhere from here. You will meet a lot of cool people and some of them will become your new Instagram followers. Location of the park is here and beer you can buy on small stand shop next to trolleys.
Coming to park with more than 10 cans of Zajecarsko + kikiriki will give you GRAND 10 points.
- Driving Yugo. Some western spies are saying that Yugo is the worst car ever. It might be true but that is one more challenge for you. Trying to change gears in Yugo and reach destination further than 100 km will make you ultimate driver and people will call you Fangio. Every family has or know someone who has one, so bring your license and try to turn on the engine.
How do you double the value of a Yugo?
Fill the tank!
How can you get a Yugo to do 60 miles an hour?
Push it over a cliff.
Why do Yugo’s have a heater for the back window?
To keep your hands warm when pushing.
What is found on the last two pages of every Yugo owner’s manual?
The bus schedule.
Starting the engine from the first try is 10 points and everything after that is not imaginable.
- Doing barbecue. Every summer Sunday parks in Serbia are filled with people who are spending their free time with families and friends. No one main goal is to eat, it is more about bonding time. Its starting from early morning hours and finishing with the first signs of night. There is always repetitive flow you need to follow. Eat, play sport, eat play sport, eat play sport. No matter if you are male or female bonding trough sport activities is healthy way of maintaining fit figure. Contrary to other place air in Serbia is not very polluted and its good chance to spend time in nature.
Grilling skills will give you 5 points, not hurting yourself in sports time extra 5 points.
- Morning burek. The best part of clubbing-night. You are tired, tipsy and broke but the smell of morning bakeries is spreading through the air. Your host knows that burek + jogurt is best refresher you can have in these mornings. Every taste is like the paradise, every moment with friends is priceless. It is crucial to buy more because host’s father will not let you in house without fresh pastry. It is already 6 AM. People are going to work. Life is beautiful.
Burek is only from meat-> Bosnians say. So, if you have this pre-knowledge that’s easy 10 points for you.
Please calculate your points and find out your score, If you are in the range of:
0-50 You are just a new visitor and you need to come again
50-100 Good job, your host is great and hir mother sarma is obviously very good.
100+ you are awarded the premium title of Honorary Serb. Wait in line so our president can give a medal of honor.