We’ve been in Belgrade for almost 4 weeks now and the time has flown by. We have a really nice Airbnb apartment that looks like an Ikea floor model. There is a memory foam bed and my back feels great. The internet is fast and we have a comfortable place to work and play games. But the best thing about this loft is the view! Being able to overlook the city while comfortably wrapped in a blanket in front of my laptop has been really nice. In the evenings we watch the lights come on in different windows and make up stories about who might live there. I can even see a little of the Danube River from my side of our work table. Why would we ever go outside?
We need to eat so of course we have to leave the apartment. Our loft is on the forth floor and there is an elevator up to the third floor. In reality, the loft is on the fifth floor because they call the first floor the ground floor here. There are two flights of stairs between each floor, plus the half flight when you come in the front door, that makes ten and a half flights of stairs to our loft. It’s good exercise! If we have groceries we’ll ride up the super sketchy elevator, if it’s working, otherwise we take the stairs. Coming back from the market by myself one evening, an older woman was getting in the elevator right as I came into the building. Despite having two heavy bags, I thought I would see if I could beat the elevator up the stairs. I matched pace at least and the woman got out on the forth floor just as I hit that landing. By now I was out of breath but there were just two flights left. Why not jog up them? It’s good exercise, right? It was just my luck that a neighbor was sitting on the very top step smoking a cigarette. I managed to say Hi as I gasped in smoke filled air and rushed in our apartment with a cloud of smoke around me. For the rest of the night I felt like I had cigarette smoke way, way down in my lungs. I feel like that negated my attempt at exercise.
Some restaurants have non smoking sections, which is nice and something we didn’t find in Lisbon or Heraklion, but we still come home reeking of cigarettes. Good thing we have a washing machine here. I did find a Febreeze fabric refresher type product here. It doesn’t have that fresh clean scent though. It smells really chemically with hints of urinal cake and that blue stuff they put in porta potties.
We have really enjoyed the days we have gotten out of the apartment. Belgrade is a great city to walk around it. Even in the old section of town where we are, they have nice wide roads and sidewalks. Cars stop for crosswalks. Howard did witness a fender bender on his way into a grocery store, but by the time he came out of the store it looked like it had turned into a date. Even the cab ride from the airport was rather uneventful. The driver took us safely straight to our apartment while telling us some interesting facts about the city. He over charged us, but that was our fault. We were tired from traveling plus excited and overwhelmed at being in a new country. We’ll negotiate the price first next time.
Belgrade seems to be doing really well right now. There is a big walking street with shops and restaurants just a block from us. Any building without a business on the bottom floor either has renovations going on or a coming soon sign in the window. They are even extending the area and new stone pavers are being laid on some of the side streets.
Despite all this, Belgrade is still really affordable, plus it’s an easy conversion from USD to RSD (Serbian Dinar). One dinar equals close to one penny, so one hundred dinar is a dollar. We can go out and have a nice dinner, including drinks, for about 2000 din, or $20. A beer is usually less than 200 din and they have a lot of local and craft brews. We are getting closer to the beer loving area of the world.
Serbia is proving to be a great place to reset our Schengen visas and get some work done. The educational game we made in Lisbon came back with great teacher reviews and we are hoping to do more of these games soon. We have updates to our existing games to make, we really want to get a new game or two out, plus any contract work we can pick up. We chose a perfect place to try accomplish all this and play some games too. So far this digital nomad thing is working out for us.