Business trip to Belgrade. What should I know?
October 23, 2013 8:37 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend is going to Belgrade in a few days for a 10 day business trip. Is there anything she should know?

Anything to keep in mind regarding customs, language, geography, etc.? Anything any everything you'd tell someone visiting Serbia/Belgrade would be great!
posted by rbf1138 to Travel & Transportation around Belgrade, Serbia (3 answers total)
Go to the first McDonald's in the communist block, and go to Tito's grave. Novi saad is nice. Its an easy going and safe place.
posted by chasles at 8:42 AM on October 23, 2013

Molim is "please." Hvala is "thank you." Always good to know anywhere you are.

She might be interested in picking up Momo Kapor's book "A Guide to the Serbian Mentality" which is pretty hilarious and full of observations which are of questionable value. But it will also give her a look into the city, and how people who live there think about it, some of the customs (coffee or rakija with slatkis) and some interesting places to think about seeing, like Skadarlija. It's probably a great plane read, since it's a collection of essays on various subjects with fanciful illustrations by the author.

There have been some interesting articles recently about Belgrade and where it is today.

And of course, she'll want to watch this little tourism-slash-food-porn video about Serbian cuisine so that she can get excited about all the wonderful things there will be to eat. Mmm.
posted by jph at 9:27 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Beer = Pivo
and Jelen is one of the skunkiest beers I've ever had... Until I had Niksicko. "Radlers"(usually 3% ABV mixed with Grapefruit juice) make it more drinkable. Though, a 1L of Jelen at a bar will only cost 80 cents USD.

The white wine will take paint off the walls and is sold in giant plastic containers. Serbs drink it 50/50 mixed with sparkling water and call it Gemišt.

The pizza is bad too, soggy crust, and ketchup sauce. Serbs also put ketchup on the pizza as well.

Shopska Salad is really good and refreshing. The coffee will almost always be Turkish style. Burek, filo dough filled with meats, is common in the Balkans, it can be good or really bad.

If you are like me and love spicy food you're kinda SOL. They have a sauce called Ajvar but if you eat Mexican food it's not spicy enough. I ended up putting it on everything I ate. The food/BBQ meats aren't spiced at all.

When I was there the currency is an easy multiple of the USD, meaning 100 Serbian dinars = $1.

Don't take pictures of the bombed out buildings. People might think you're a spy or whatever. I think it's more of a national embarrassment than anything.

Šljivovica / slivovitz (plum brandy) is really good and potent. People sometimes make it at home and it's quite like what Moonshine used to be, meaning getting so drunk you'll go blind. (The homemade stuff you'd buy at the weekend market)

The produce is ungodly more fresh and "organic" than the dreck we get in America. I've found that true in other parts of Europe but in Serbia the produce was all like it came from a garden.

It couldn't hurt to learn how to pronounce basic some Cyrillic characters. Though Serbo-Croatian can be written with either Latin or Cyrillic due to nationalism the skizm has been that the Croatians are removing all Cyrillic and the Serbs doing the opposite.

Superscription runs deep in Serbian society. For instance if a woman walks on a cold tile floor with bare-feet her ovaries will become shriveled. The worst is Promaja, (The wind/draft). Imagine being in a sweltering hot bus opening a window to let some wind in and having a 90 year old woman slam it shut and scream PROMAJA! at you.

There are wild/stray packs of dogs that roam. For the most part they aren't dangerous (I did hear rumors of small children getting attacked), but it's quite odd to be driving and then suddenly 30 dogs run out in the street and cause mayhem.
posted by wcfields at 5:52 PM on October 23, 2013

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