The flight from Athens to Belgrade was relatively uneventful which I really appreciated. There is nothing worse than having a bad flight to really make your travel adventures unpleasant. I landed in Belgrade and went through customs and passport control. Tip: If you want those stamps in your passport, it’s good to alternate between Schengen countries and non-Schengen countries. Since you can travel freely between the Schengen countries as soon as you get into the EU, you won’t get stamps for each country. But if you alternate between Schengen and non-Schengen you can get stamps which is really awesome. I didn’t plan my trip like that on purpose but it was definitely awesome to consistently get different stamps throughout my various excursions.
Once I went through passport control and customs, I went outside to meet my driver. Yes, I sound cool and fancy because I had a driver but it was a nice littler service provided by the hotel that I could get for relatively cheap and to be honest, it made me feel safer. Since I was going to a country that is not your typical tourist destination and their public transportation is a little lacking, I definitely felt a bit safer going with a hired driver rather than dealing with a taxi. I just wasn’t sure if taxi’s were the best way to go in Serbia, especially with all the possible taxi scams that do happen all around Europe. Maybe it is wrong of me to assume that I would have had more issues in Serbia as compared to other places, but I haven’t done a lot of research on Serbia and for places that I don’t have a lot of knowledge of, I have a tendency to be more cautious and apprehensiveness. I think it has less to do with the country’s reputation and more to do with the fact that I just don’t know enough about that place. Especially if the country I am going to does not speak English.
I got into the car with my driver and unfortunately, I had landed around rush hour so it was definitely a fun little experience driving to the city center since we had to deal with all the traffic. I think that my driver was making up his own rules about what was considered legal vs illegal and what was considered a lane. I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe where I was and I didn’t feel unsafe in the car, but it was definitely a bit like I was in a street racing movie.
Eventually we ended up at my hotel which was located in city center. I got out of the and headed in to the lobby of my hotel. The front desk team was super awesome and checked me into the hotel. I asked if they did currency exchange and unfortunately they didn’t, but there was a local place just around the corner that closed in about an hour. They offered to take my money for me to go and get it exchanged for me, then bring it to my room. Looking back, I probably should have been a little weirded out by giving someone a decent chunk of my money, and having them deliver something to my room but I went with it. About 20 minutes later, they called me to let me know they were coming up to my room (which was a nice courtesy) and they brought me my Serbian currency.
After, that I was set for the Serbian adventure and I decided it was time to go get food.