Q: Did you know something about Belgrade before you came here?
A: Vaguely. I’ve heard that the nightlife is amazing, and I do have Serbian friends who’ve showed me travel photos and told me stories about their time in Belgrade. But overall, I did not know too much about Belgrade prior to my visit.
Q: What did you expect to find here?
A: I knew it was one of the bigger cities within the Balkans region, and that it was less affected by the wars in comparison to some of the neighboring countries. I was expecting to see more communist blocks, but the areas I frequented did not really have too many.
Q: What is the first thing you noticed in Belgrade?
A: Well I got in by bus from Sarajevo. The trip took about 6 hours, and it was actually very punctual - early, even. It was very hot that day, and I was waiting to be picked up by a friend. The first thing I noticed was how everyone spoke pretty decent English, if need be.
Q: Describe Belgrade in one emotion.
A: Warm. Mostly because everyone I met in Belgrade was very kind and left a very good impression on me.
Q: What you dislike about Belgrade?
A: Nothing, really. I don’t think I stayed long enough to start noticing things that bothered me…!
Q: Compare Belgrade to your native city. What are the advantages/disadvantages?
A: I like the geographic location of Belgrade. I love how it’s located by the intersection of the Danube and Sava river. I love how the city is accessible; all the main spots are close by and walking distance. Therefore it makes it look like there’s always people out and about, doing stuff. In Toronto, our body of water (Lake Ontario) is polluted and I’ve never wanted to swim or set foot in this lake. Our city is big and not everything is walking distance, and I don’t like the flatness of our land (we don’t have ANY mountains or even hills within view, especially looking up in the middle of downtown Toronto). Belgrade is a much prettier city in my regards.
Q: What do you think about people in Belgrade?
A: As I mentioned before, the number one thing that stuck in my mind was the warmness and kindness of everyone I met. I stayed with my friend’s cousin’s friends around Stara Karaburma and they were so hospitable. We talked for hours into the night, baking banana bread, watching movies - just simple, relaxing activities.
When I traveled around the Balkans, I also dropped into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms around each country I visited. The one I visited in Belgrade was Kimura BJJ Serbia, and the people I trained with were so welcoming and friendly. I even went to get a post-training meal with everyone! I loved the vibe and my experience in Belgrade.
Q: Could you live in Belgrade?
A: I could probably live in Belgrade as a short-term thing - maybe if I got a 1 year work contract or something. I am very open to the idea of that. However, I can’t see myself relocating permanently. Nothing personal, I just can’t see myself picking a place to settle until I see more of the world.
Q: Name one city anywhere in the world you think is similar to Belgrade (no matter if you have visited it or not, give us your impression).
A: I think by default/on a shallow end of things, I found Belgrade to be quite similar to the likings of Sofia/Budapest/Prague. And I think that’s simply by geographic influence again, because through personal experience every city is very distinct in their own ways.
Q: What was your most memorable moment in Belgrade?
A: My most memorable moment… I think that would be dropping into Kimura BJJ Serbia and training with the people there. Or when I went to Novi Sad by myself and sunbathed on the Petrovaradin Fortress in the afternoon. Or when I ate Pljeskavica by myself and realized that it very much so resembled eating an entire hamburger patty without anything on it.
Q: Would you return to Belgrade (express that probability on a scale from 1 to 10).
A: 10! I would love to return to Belgrade one day. I’d like to visit more of it.
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