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Spreading Love from Wales to Serbia


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Back in the summer of 2013…….  I had the honor of meeting the wonderful crew from “Operation Florian” who provide donated fire equipment to Serbia and other countries around the world.  Haydn Brown, a representative from Operation Florian,  had mentioned that there was another organization from Wales that was doing some AWESOME things in Serbia too. A few weeks later I received a message from them! They had a catchy name “Blazing to Serbia“! We agreed to meet up at the mall in Belgrade, Serbia when they arrived. charWe sat for a few hours discussing our lives, our connection to Serbia and the foundation of the amazing “Blazing to Serbia” organization.   “Blazing to Serbia” has visited Serbia on 12 occasions taking various items of equipment from the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service. The equipment provided includes 93 Gas Tight Chemical suits, over 300 Breathing Apparatus sets and cylinders, approximately 30 sets of hydraulic rescue equipment, over 300 sets of protective fire kit and helmets and various other items used at road traffic collisions, lines and torches.The most amazing part is the 18 fire trucks that they have driven down here and donated to many different cities in Serbia!  It is rare to find such kind and giving folks who have no ties to Serbia, but who have such a passion to help the country and its people!!  The ONLY thing that they are asking from all of us, is to help keep this wonderful organization going by clicking “LIKE” on their Facebook page!

I sat down to interview the leader of the “Blazing to Serbia” crew, Steve Logan! Here is what I found out:
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1. What is “Blazing to Serbia?

A. Blazing to Serbia is an initiative of the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, whereby a small group of volunteers acquire Fire Service vehicles and equipment and then donate them to the Fire Services in Serbia.

 

 

2. Who does it consist of and why did they join?

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A. The Blazing to Serbia team is made up of Operational Firefighters from across South Wales, together with former Young Firefighters and friends.

 

3. Out of all the countries out there, how did you choose to assist Serbia?

A. Serbia was selected by accident. Due to my involvement with the Young Firefighters scheme, which operates all across South Wales, I decided to get myself a youth working qualification. On the course with me was a Scout leader who had recently returned from Serbiawith a group of Scouts. Whilst there they had visited a Fire Station and found that the fire engines were really old. He then asked at what age the trucks were replaced in South Wales and so the seed was sown. This was September 2006 and in March 2007 we made our first visit to Serbia.

 

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4. What did you guys know about Serbia before making your first trip here?

A. Yes I knew that Serbia was part of the former Yugoslavia and had a vague knowledge of the recent Balkan conflict. Other than that I didn’t know anything at all.

 

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5. Tell me a bit about your first impressions of Serbia when you first arrived here. How does it differ from Wales?

A. Coming from Pontypridd at the foot of the South Wales Valleys, I was used to mountains and hills all around, but the part of Serbiathat we visited was really flat, so this surprised me. But the thing that I remember most is how friendly and welcoming the people were.

 

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6. How do you guys get your funding, donated vehicles, etc?

A. In order to get the vehicles and equipment form the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, I gave presentations to the Senior Officers and the politicians who make up the Fire & Rescue Authority. After much persuasion they agreed to support Serbia for a fixed period of time. This period has now expired, so the arrangement that we had is now being reconsidered.

In order to transport the vehicles and equipment to Serbia the team carry out various fund raising events, like packing people’s bags in supermarkets, sponsored events, raffles and social functions. Without the good will and commitment of the Blazing to Serbia team, these fund raising events would not be possible.

The first convoy of 6 fire trucks that we drove to Serbia in 2011 was accompanied by a television crew from our National television station ITV Wales, who documented the journey. This documentary, called ‘Blazing to Serbia, was shown on National TV in November 2011. This documentary can still be seen on our web site www.blazingtoserbia.co.uk Because of the involvement of television, we were able to gain sponsorship for each of then trucks, which made the task of fund raising much easier.

 

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7. How do you determine which city will get a fire engine?

A. Because the Serbian Interior Ministry is best placed to see where the trucks will be most useful and where they are most needed, we donate the trucks to them and they then allocate them accordingly.

 

 

8. What is the funniest story that you could tell us about all of your times in Serbia?

A. It won’t come as too much of a surprise to know that rakija leads to lots of funny situations, but a generally good example can be found on You Tube, just search for Tom Mac Fishing joke.

 

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9. What do you see in the future of “Blazing to Serbia?

A. Fire Services across the UK are experiencing serious budgetary shortfalls and South Wales is no exception. Because of this the future of Blazing to Serbia is in the balance as Senior Officers and Politicians decide whether to sell the trucks, or continue to donate them to Serbia.

Outside of the trucks and equipment, the team has also been working with the Serbia Red Cross at Sremska Mitrovica. The team has helped with the provision of clothing, blankets, shoes and gifts for children and hygiene packs for families. We are also working with two animal rescue centres at Nis and Sremska Mitrovica.

So to answer your question, the future of Blazing to Serbia is uncertain in its current format, but if trucks & equipment is not available, then we will concentrate on other things. However, it would be a shame if we were not able to donate any more trucks, as the trucks also allow us to bring lots of donations to Serbia, at no additional cost.

In July, my future son-in-law James Randell, did an open air concert in the square in Ruma. A couple of weeks ago he did one in Sremska Mitrovica and a second one in Ruma. The concerts in Ruma have been to raise money for the Ruma Rotary Club and for a Bowel Cancer Charity. This is certainly something that we will be doing more of.

There is a saying that goes, “Charity, like its sister mercy is twice blessed, it blesses him that gives and him that takes.” The experience of driving across Europe in a fire truck and being able to make a positive difference in people’s lives has certainly made an impact on me and influences my thoughts and the way that I lead my life. This would be the same for the other team members too. Young people in theUK very often get a very bad press, so the fact that Blazing to Serbia has lots of young people who are thinking of others, often before themselves, can only be a good thing and benefit communities in Serbia and in Wales.

 

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10. I really loved to hear about your little shoe boxes for the kids. Didn’t you run into some issues with customs last time? How did the kids react to them?

A. In December 2013, we sent a lorry load of equipment, ladders and clothes to Serbia. Whilst we were collecting these goods, I thought that it would be nice if we could send some gifts out for the children. I messaged the Red Cross at Sremska Mitrovica and they agreed that this would be a great idea. The team then set about collecting and filling 268 shoe boxes, with gifts for needy children. The contents of the shoe boxes varied, but contained items such as coloured pens & pencils, felt pens, crayons, chalk, calculators, note pads,colouring books, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste and toys, puzzles and sweets of every different type.

The Serbia Customs Service is always a challenge, but thankfully we are always able to resolve things eventually.

The intention was for us to visit a couple of weeks later and then help the Red Cross to distribute the shoe boxes. However, the shoe boxes did not clear customs until we had left the country, but the photographs that we saw ensured that the effort that we made was worthwhile.

Seventeen of the team visited Serbia 4th – 8th November and brought just over 400Kg of gifts and hygiene products with us. These were made into gift bags and we spend two days with the Red Cross, distributing them to needy children. This is an experience that will not only live with us for the rest of our lives, but will also influence the way that we lead our lives. Everyone was so happy to see us and were extremely grateful for our support and concern.

 

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11. How can all of us that read this article help ensure that your awesome organization … continues? Is there something that we can do?

We really need people to visit the Blazing to Serbia Facebook page and give it a LIKE. We then need people to SHARE it with their friends and ask them to like & share it too.

Follow us on Twitter @BlazingToSerbia

On our web site we have a section for ‘Our Followers’. If there are any Serbian Celebrities, Politicians etc out there who would like to give us a photograph and some words of support to put in this section, it would be great.

We need to raise the profile of Blazing to Serbia in Wales & in Serbia, so any sort of media coverage would be great.

 

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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in Through my eyes, What others think

 

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Only in Serbia…. “F-117 Bife (Bar)” in Indjia, Serbia


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On March 27th, 1999….. The Serbian air defenses were able to blast an F-117 Stealth Nighthawk out of the sky. The only one ever to be shot down.

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The F-117 82-0806 (whose remains are exhibited at Belgrade Air Museum) was shot down by the 3rd Battalion of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade of the Army of Yugoslavia, with one of several missiles fired by an S-125 “Neva” missile system (NATO reporting name, SA-3 “Goa”) at a distance of about 8 miles.

According to Sergeant Dragan Matić, the soldier later identified as the operator who fired the missiles, the stealth plane was detected at a range of about 50 to 60 kilometres and the surface-to-air missile radar was switched on for no more than 17 seconds to prevent the site to be detected by the NATO’s SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) aircraft.

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Some pieces of the 82-0806 shot down near Novi Sad were reportedly sent to Russia, to be used in developing anti-stealth technology.

Fast forward to 2014……I was on a bus from Belgrade to Novi Sad. The bus had one stop in between, in the little city of Indjia, Serbia.  The window seat is usually my first choice. I’ve never liked to sit in the aisle and have folks bumping into me the whole time. I was gazing out the window while the bus was pulling around the back of the bus station in Indjia,

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when I noticed the words “F-117″ on the side of a little bar. I didn’t get a good look at the place, but noticed a few pictures in the window too. I had to get back over to see this place.

This afternoon,David Dautovic, contacted me for assistance. He is a young man from Pancevo who has been a Facebook friend for a long while. His sister is trying to gather a lot of pictures of people from around the world holding a sign that shows her love for her boyfriend. He asked me if I could help him out with one. I noticed that the bottom of his message said ” Indjia, Serbia”  I quickly asked him if he was anywhere close to the bus station. He was close by so I asked him to seek out this little bar and shoot me some pictures. He was kind enough to snap the following pictures:

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I’ll head over there in the next few weeks to do some videos from this location. I might wear my Canadian flag shirt ! It might be a little safer! 🙂
Everyone likes Canadians.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Serbia’s British Friend


kev4What is one thing that can be very annoying about having so many Serbian Facebook friends? Having your inbox flooded with the same info and links on anything that is going on in Serbia. That is how I first heard of Kevin Shannon, the adventurer , who was planning to march all the way across Serbia. There were over 20-30 folks who were sending me something from the local newspapers and tv stations about him and his mission. We had connected over Facebook and he asked me to join in on part of journey. I wish I had taken the opportunity to do so not only for my health, but to experience a little bit of his adventure.

We bumped into each other again the “Exit Festival Global Adventures” tourism conference. I was there to giving a presentation on my social network and blog while he was there to present  “Walk Serbia”. I decided to quiz him with some more detailed questions about his time in Serbia.

1. Where are you from and what do you do?

So: my name is Kevin Shannon and I’m from the UK. Currently I run my own small creative design studio called Chips & Gravy studios

2. How in the world did you get the idea to “walk across Serbia”?
 

I originally visited Serbia the first time in the autumn of 2010 whilst on 10,000 km cycling expedition from the UK to the far end of Turkey and then back again. On that visit to Serbia I completely fell in love with the country and made some great friends. During the 3 to 4 months that I spent in Serbia I spend most my time in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sabac and Nis. When I returned home I realised that I’d only seen a fraction of Serbia and although I had learnt about the country a little there was still Hell of a lot more to see. So I decided that one day I would return to Serbian  and walk the length of the country.kev2

3. What did you know about Serbia before you came here? 

Before I visited Serbia first time I didn’t really know that much about the country. I had simply drawn a line across Europe and Serbia happened to be on that path. I knew the region was obviously famous for conflicts and I had a they recollection of seeing the NATO bombings on television when I was younger, but that was really it. But as I was cycling through countries before I got to Serbia I was warned that Serbian people what do horrific things to me once I crossed the border. Of course I don’t believe this but when your cycling on your own across Europe these warnings do not fill you with confidence.


4. Prior to visiting Serbia for the first time, give me four words that you would used to describe it…
Unknown, War, Scary, New
5. How long did your walk take?
The walk is actually two walks. The first in February 2013 took me five weeks and during that time I walked from the border with Hungary down to the city of Nis. My second walk was in July 2013 and I walked from south west Serbia back to the north of the country, which also took five weeks.kev1
6. Biggest complication.
The biggest complication was issues from walking with such a heavy pack. My left knee became very sore during the first walk, and during the second walk I had horrific blisters on the sole of one of my feet.
7. Funniest situation.
I was in a small village about 75 km north of Nis, feeling very tired and the little homesick and out of nowhere a group of young kids came up to me with pieces of paper and pencils. The oldest had a hand written note in English which said that they were big fans and have been following my journey in the newspapers. Because they knew my route, they knew I would be passing through the village and so had taken it in turns to keep a eye out for me, just so they could get an autograph – they had been waiting for 3 days.kev5
8. Favorite part of your journey.
The end? No, i’m just kidding. It’s actually very hard to pick a favourite part of the journey because so much happened but if I had to say one thing it was the generous hospitality everybody that i met on the road.
9. How would you compare Serbian food to your normal cuisine back in England? 
Serbian food is very rich with strong flavours, and of course there’s a lot of meat. Which is really the case in England. I guess if I had to make a comparison I would say that Serbian food it’s very much like a traditional English roast dinner that is served in most households every Sunday – however in England you have that once a week  and in serbia you have it almost everyday
10. Did you ever feel threatened or in danger?

I never really felt threatened or in danger, even in small Kafanas in the middle of god knows where surrounded by big, burly Serbian guys. The biggest issue with regards to safety to me was the packs of wild dogs. They were always a concern when I was walking in the mountains or sleeping out at night.kev6

11. What 4 words would you use to describe Serbia after walking from top to bottom and back?

Beautiful, friendly, Great food, my second home 

 

12. Will you return to Serbia? What would you say to someone that is considering a visit to this part of the world?

Without shadow of a doubt I’ll be returning to Serbia – in fact I returned earlier this year for a conference where spoke about my was through Serbia. I already have plans to take my fiance to Serbia,  have my stag party there and maybe one day by small house somewhere where I can spend my summers (not walking)

 

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 13. You have decided to publish a book about this exciting adventure, right? Tell me a little about the project.

OK, So the project was quite simply to walk through Serbia to try and discover the real Serbia. In my original trip to the country i felt i’d only scratched the surface and was intrigued to see more of the country so i set up Walk Serbia. When you look around the internet looking for more info on Serbia you’re met with a lot negativity (except for a few sites included yours) and i decided that i wanted to create a document of my personal journey to not so much counteract the negativity but give a truthful view of a country. Now, don’t get me wrong, i expected it to be a positive trip due to prior experiences but i was open to negativity also – i essentially wanted to create a truthful account of spending 10 weeks tramping around the country. And this is, i hope, what i’ve done.
I’m still in the process of writing the book – i’ve rewritten some chapters 4 times – but i decided that i would set a date (in my head) for it’s release. So now i’ve set up a website – walkserbia.com – which will be the hub for all things to do with the book including, the opportunity to buy the book, perhaps some videos from the road, exclusive photos and information on speaking engagements and a potential book tour. For the moment i’ve thrown up a very simple landing page which has a small blurb about the book and an area to signup to the newsletter which will give you exclusive updates, a free chapter here or there and an exclusive discount on the final book. I set up the newsletter for the reasons i just mentioned, but something amazing happened when i did – i realised just how much interest there was in reading the book; not just from Serbia but from all over the world. Serb’s from Australia, the USA and Canada and even South Africa have sent me messages to tell me they would like to buy copies for friends, families and co-workers which is exciting…and daunting.
My plan for releasing the book was to self-publish and through friends in Serbia distribute the book there and of course here in the UK. But, with the response i’ve had so far i’m not looking at other options. I’m thinking about getting the book translated into Serbian, i’m going to start looking for distributors in the US and Australia AND if the list keeps growing i could have a great opportunity to promote the book to publishers around the world  which will then (if i’ve done my job right) help to give the world a better understanding of Serbia.
Just like the journeys themselves felt like a community – i had people tweeting, facebooking and emailing to help influence what i should visit and where during the walk – the book is starting to feel the same.

 

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in What others think

 

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Irish Gal tells about her Summer in Serbia


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This wonderful young lady met her Serbian boyfriend on the social media site, Say Serbia, that my Chicago Serb friend and I helped bring about.  Hope they name their first child after me. 😉 She contacted me on Facebook to ask for a few tips and bits of advice prior to coming here this past summer.

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We had plans of meeting up while she was here, but we never seemed to be in the same place at once. One day I was with some friends in Novi Sad and bumped right into her and her Serbian boyfriend. They told me about a ton of experiences that she had encountered. She told me about her plan to create a video diary of her Serbian vacation when she returned to Ireland. Guess what I received in my mailbox today? This beautiful 28 minute video that documents her entire trip. I wanted to grill her with a few questions before posting it and she was kind enough to respond.

1. What did you hear about Serbia before visiting?

“I had never really heard much about Serbia. The only word I would have used to describe it previously would have been Sports! I was aware of a few of their athlete e.g. Vidic, Ivanovic, Seles, Djokovic etc”

2. Did you have any fears about visiting Serbia?

“As a kid, one of the stereotypes I heard a lot was Eastern Europe is dangerous, especially if you are black, as a result I never questioned that statement and deemed it to be a no go area for me.  As I got older and began to interact and befriend more people from different nationalities I realised most stereotypes I’ve heard are extremely false and through stereotypes prejudice and discrimination are formed. I wanted to overcome that.  I became more interested in travelling and learning about different cultures .My mum visited Poland a few years ago and loved it. It really encouraged me to want to travel more and experience places for myself. That’s where my curiosity to visit the eastern part of Europe began. Naturally I researched alot about different places to visit but after randomly talking to someone from the Balkans (he didn’t want to tell me he was from Serbia at first) and seeing how friendly and pleasantly easy to talk to he was, I wanted to learn a bit more about Serbia. Which is how started reading about other people’s travel experience and also how I came across YouTube videos of this American guy who was excited and passionate about Serbia.

Initially I wasn’t scared about visiting but when I started informing people about my upcoming trip, I was really taken back by the prejudice comments I was hearing from others, who I’m certain couldn’t even point out the country on a map if asked. This did lead me to start to worry about my visit just from allowing others comments to scare me. Two weeks before I was to leave, I messaged a black girl from London who had just returned from the EXIT festival held in Novi Sad. She shared with me her observations during her time there, how she loved every minute she spent in Serbia, how friendly and courteous people were and not to allow opinions of others to dictate my decisions and said that I should go there and see for myself before passing any judgement. Today I’m glad to say I’m delighted I went.”


3.  I have heard a lot of propaganda about Serbs being racist. What are your thoughts after being here ?

“I did get alot of stares especially in Zrenjanin; people didn’t even try to hide it. I was asked to take many pictures in Guča but you realise that people are just curious about you. People were interested in my background, my hair, the type of music I like etc. I didn’t experience any hostility during my visits to different towns and cities. 

Serbia is country that is often misunderstood by the world and seems to be painted in a negative way. All i can say is that it’s a place full of rich heritage, culture diversity and truly exceptionally warm and hospitable people. It’s the people who are the true treasure of this country. I’ve been to different countries but Serbia by far is the only place where i’ve truly felt welcomed and well looked after. It is impressive how they are willing to show you their home places and share their personal stories with you. I cried days before my flight, i just didn’t want to leave. Not many places or people can make you feel that way.”

4. What are four words that you would use to describe Serbia after spending your vacation here?

 

Divini ljudi

Odlicna hrana

Hospitality

Rakija

5. What is one thing that really shocked you about Serbia?

“I wouldn’t say shocked but more touched. People don’t earn alot and yet you wouldn’t realise that from their behaviour. A friend of ours had been working almost 24hours one day and yet whenever we went out he always made sure to come and spend time with us while I was around. Everyone would always offer to pay for me, they wouldn’t accept no for an answer. What I’m trying to say is that regardless of whatever situation they are in, people were still generous, caring and humble, making sure I was well looked after and even offering me gifts before I left. . My boyfriend’s baba gave me a gift she had owned for over 30 years. I loved the fact that every meal we ate together at the dinner table or that the Sunday lunch was always at the grandparents’ house, and everyone would insist that I should eat more because baba thought I was too skinny. Ne hvala, Sita sam was a phrase I used far too often. These kinds of gestures no matter how big or small really touch my heart.”



6. Name one thing that annoyed you or something you disliked about Serbia.

“smoking indoors”

7. Favorite food and drink?

“Oh my goodness, there are too many to choose from. The food was so delicious with so many different flavours and very healthy. Most of the ingredients used were from my bf’s fruit and vegetable garden.”

Food

Gomboca

Gibanica

Cevapi

Sataraš

Domaćinski

Homemade plasma favoured ice cream

Drink

Medovača Rakija (had one too many


8. What would you tell any other women of color or women in general that were considering a trip to Serbia?

“I’d say go for it and experience Serbia for yourself. Immerse yourself in the culture, people and food of course. I highly recommend.”

Serbia has left another great impression on a first-time visitor! She will be back soon.
 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in What others think

 

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Searching for a Meal in Zemun


I had the craving for some home-cooked food today. The workers at the three little fast food stands think that I’m nuts because I am there every single night 🙂 I decided to hit up one of the boat restaurants along the quay here in Zemun.

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Today was a cruddy day here in Serbia. The city of Zemun was quiet with very few folks walking around besides a few old men fishing from the docks. This whole summer has been rainy and chilly. There are some major flooding issues down around Negotin. 😦 The people have had such a terrible year dealing with water over here. I walked down along the endless amount of boat restaurants and saw that no one was in “Sidro”.

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That was the selling feature for me. 🙂 I had been there a few times before for some beers and a quick bite to eat. Nothing freaks me out more than going into a packed place and ordering food. People tend to stare at you the minute you start in attempting to speak Serbian  . 🙂

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Nothing is better than  some alone time with my music blaring in my IPod,  some good food, and a cold beer. The song that started playing the minute that I sat down in a little corner table on the edge of the boat was “Thunder Rolls” . How ironic on a dreary, cloudy day.

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The waiter slowly sauntered over after seeing me sit there for 5 minutes. I avoided speaking English and told him that I wanted a big beer and a menu.

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There were so many  items on the menu that I had never seen before.  I didn’t know if they were some kind of fish or monkey brains. 🙂 I recognized my favorite salad, Sopska.

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Sopska salads  have some of the freshest veggies and this AMAZING cheese on top of them. What was I going to eat for the main course? I hated to ask questions to this waiter with an unsmiling face. Ummmmmmm.. I just selected the middle priced one “Bečka šnicla” in this one section because I recognized the word “snicla” but had no clue what “Bečka” meant. It reminded me of how the Serbians call the city of Vienna, Austria. It is called “Beč” over here. My selection had been made , but the waiter was no where in sight. I made some huffing noises, dropped the menu loudly, coughed a few times, and finally he sauntered over to see if I was ready to order. I ordered in Serbian and even asked him if the snicla was chicken or pork. He told  me that it was pork. That makes no difference to me as I’m a huge pork lover (sorry to my Muslim pals) 😛

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This waiter is on the typical “Serbian speed” which can be so frustrating for me. I guess it has caused me to be more of a laid back and patient guy than I ever was before. Serbia has even eliminated my need for ADHD medications that I used to take prior to living here. 🙂 The slowness and tardiness can still be very annoying for me. I’ve always been a guy that was on time or 10 minutes early for everything. That is useless over here in Serbia. The vast majority of my friends will tell me to be somewhere at 2PM so I get there at 1:50PM and they saunter in around 2:30PM without even a simple excuse or apology. 🙂 Time just doesn’t seem to have the same meaning as it does to us in the West. Well….. There is a time when Serbs seem to be extremely impatient. Behind the wheel of an automobile. I have never seen people that use their horn as much as they do over here in Serbia. It is a constant blaring of horns. Thank God that Serbia isn’t a “conceal and carry” country or there would be lots of shooting. My friend , Ivan, is a good example. He seems to always have his hand on the horn and uses it in the most ridiculous situations. You will get a ticket in the USA for “disturbing the peace” or “unlawful use of your horn” . I like that law because the sound of a car horn instantly pisses me off. 🙂

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My food finally arrived! It looked AMAZING! The veggies were glistening and the aroma of the snicla was overpowering my nostrils. I immediately recognized the  snicla . It is something like a breaded tenderloin in the USA, but this is high quality pork and 300 grams of it. 🙂 It came with some tarter sauce, a some fries and a few veggies that decorate the meal.

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It took me a good 15 minutes to shove every last bite of the salad and snicla down my throat. I even dabbed up every last drop of juice with my bread. You can’t eat a meal in Serbia without a big piece of bread. Serbs are always seeing me eat something and they say ” How can you eat it without bread?” Bread has slowly turned into a must have for me too!

I piled all my plates together and straightened up my table. A new waiter came over to collect the dishes and he remembered me from my previous visit. He was very friendly and spoke  pretty good English for a 42 year old man. He greeted me and told me that he is going to stop speaking to me in English and force me to speak Serbian. -_-  I had no time to object before he started spewing out something about how he had learned English by being forced to speak with English speaking customers in a Thai restaurant in Belgrade. 🙂 I understood a good 50% of the conversation. It is good to run into people that will force me to speak their language.  Polako, polako, polako……………………….

“Sidro” gets a big thumbs up for me. My total bill was 800 dinars which is very close to what you would spend at KFC or some other fast food joint, but here you get everything fresh!  Another day and another interesting and tasty meal here in the heart of Serbia:)

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Through my eyes

 

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My Serbian Food in Pictures


Karađorđeva šnicla

Karađorđeva šnicla with potatoes, bread, and a sopska salad

One of the reasons that I have yet to leave this country is the vast amount of delicious foods! I wanted to share some of my past food experiences with you. Hope you enjoy!

Easter dinner with colored eggs, stuffed peppers, pork and lamb soup

Easter dinner with colored eggs, stuffed peppers, pork and lamb soup

 

Homemade meal from a friend's house in Nis

Homemade meal from a friend’s house in Nis

Kafana meal with cevapi, fries, sopska salad and Zajecarsko pivo

Kafana meal with cevapi, fries, sopska salad and Zajecarsko pivo

Sarma, pickled peppers, green onion and homemade bread

Sarma, pickled peppers, green onion and homemade bread

 

Fish soup (ribala corba) bread, and Zajecarsko Pivo

Fish soup (ribala corba) bread, and Zajecarsko Pivo

 

Komplet lepinja. Specialty from Uzice, Serbia.  Grease from a roasted lamb on bread with egg and kajmak

Komplet lepinja. Specialty from Uzice, Serbia. Grease from a roasted lamb on bread with egg and kajmak

 

Fresh fish from a small village near Uzice

Fresh fish from a small village near Uzice

 

they raised these fish in a stream by the restaurant

they raised these fish in a stream by the restaurant

 

Mixed meat platter from Kod Srbe

Mixed meat platter from Kod Srbe

 

cevpai, steak, and big cuts of pork with some fries and veggies

cevapi, steak, and big cuts of pork with some fries and veggies

Sopska Salad

Sopska Salad

 

pizza with something called "beef sauce" smeared all of it

pizza with something called “beef sauce” smeared all of it

 

plate of fresh roasted lamb at Mokra Gora

plate of fresh roasted lamb at Mokra Gora

 

different meats from a restaurant at Zlatibor

different meats from a restaurant at Zlatibor

 

Gurmanska pljeskavica

Gurmanska pljeskavica

 

palacinka or Serbian pancake

palacinka or Serbian pancake

 

Eurocream and Nutella... sweet creamy hazelnut spread they put on pancakes

Eurocream and Nutella… sweet creamy hazelnut spread they put on pancakes

 

a few of the condiments you can get on your burgers

a few of the condiments you can get on your burgers

 

Sarma or stuffed sour cabbage rolls... my favorite

Sarma or stuffed sour cabbage rolls… my favorite

 

meat tray from a friend's party

meat tray from a friend’s party

 

big pljeskavica with bread, urnebes, and fries

big pljeskavica with bread, urnebes, and fries

 

little pumpkin pies

little pumpkin pies

 

cheese pies with spinach in them

cheese pies with spinach in them

 

snack tray of pavlaka, ham and fried zucchini

snack tray of pavlaka, ham and fried zucchini

 

my favorite snacks... cheese, ajvar, crackers and a big bottle of Zajecarsko Pivo

my favorite snacks… cheese, ajvar, crackers and a big bottle of Zajecarsko Pivo

 

after dinner drinks of Nescafe and boiled wine

after dinner drinks of Nescafe and boiled wine

 

Serbian traditional drink, rakija that was served in a glass of crushed ice

Serbian traditional drink, rakija that was served in a glass of crushed ice 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Through my eyes

 

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Serbia Leads the World in……?


1280-Serbia-Grunge-Flag

You might remember my other post about Serbia leading the world in highest self esteem ….https://serbiathroughamericaneyes.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/serbs-1-in-the-world-in-highest-self-esteem/….. I just found out something else that Serbia leads the planet in…….

Thank God I never started smoking. My insides would be a total loss!! 😉 Alcohol is enough for me!!  I have a lot of friends that tell me that they only smoke when they drink. Is this possible? How do you get the urge to smoke only when you drink?  I have a lot of friends that smoke and I’m not going to sit here and lecture them about their habit! I believe in the slogan ” live and let live”, but just keep your smoke away from me! I like beer and am not ashamed to say that. I don’t go around pouring beer down the throats of those that don’t drink so why should I have to breathe your cigarette smoke?

Illinois-No-Smoking-Sign-S-9448

Thanks to “http://www.mydoorsign.com” for the use of their image

The state of Illinois adopted the Smoke-Free Illinois Act on January 1st, 2008. The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities. It also prohibits smoking within 15 feet of all public entrances, doorways, windows, etc. A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited can fined between $100 and $250. A person who owns, operates or otherwise controls a public place or place of employment who violates the act can be fined not less than $250 for the first violation, not less than $500 for the second violation within one year after the first violation and not less than $2,500 for each additional violation within one year after the first violation. The only exceptions to this rule are:

  • Retail tobacco stores that derive more than 80 percent of its gross revenue from the sale of tobacco products and do not have a liquor, food or restaurant license.
  • Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes or long-term care facilities occupied by one or more persons, all of whom smoke and have requested to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted. The nursing home or long-term care facility must ensure designated smoking rooms comply with other laws and fire protection and life safety codes.
  • Up to 25 percent of hotel or motel sleeping rooms may be designated as smoking rooms, provided they are on the same floor, contiguous and smoke from these rooms does not infiltrate into 

I love Europe…….. specifically … the Balkans. One of the first things I noticed when arriving in Serbia in 2010 was the outrageous amount of smokers!! I would have to guess that more than 75% of my close friends in Serbia smoke!! No offence to this wonderful country that I have chosen to reside in, but it is hard to get away from cigarette smoke! I have heard that there are some laws about smoking in restaurants, bars, and public buildings, but I have yet to see any enforcement. Kafanas are my favorite hang out, but the amount of smoke in the air is enough to kill a bear! 🙂 Smoking in the US isn’t as common as it used to be. I am sure that cost has played a major factor in this drop. According to a study by the Wall Street Journal…. the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the USA is $6.36 and rising. Serbia has an average cost of $2.03! One other thing that I notice is the amount of young kids that are smoking over here! You can see high school kids standing out in front of their schools smoking cigarettes during their breaks. You would be kicked out of school for doing the same thing in Illinois!

cig

Russia has led the planet in cigarettes consumed per capita for many years. That streak ended in 2012 when Serbia surpassed them!! Russians smoke around 2,786 cigarettes per person per year! Serbia hit 2,861 cigarettes per person per year!!!! 😮 😮 The United States is sitting around 1.028. Russia has been pushing through some tougher laws to combat their smoking epidemic. I think it is time for Serbia to do the same!!!! Here is the entire article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443624204578058201182906048.html?mod=e2tw#articleTabs%3Dinteractive

I will probably get some death threats for posting this. 🙂 You know one sick and twisted bit of information that I learned from my time in Nis?? N.A.T.O bombed the Yugoslavian owned cigarette company during our “peace” mission in 1999. Guess who owns it now????  Phillip Morris…. -_- I guess they were aware of the smoking epidemic!!! DISGUSTING!!

Keep smoking those cigarettes if you like. I am not a saint either! 🙂 Volim vas!

Join our new Serbia website and share your passion for this great country and people….. http://www.sayserbia.com/ and for those that are interested in helping Mr. Cather with his Serbia documentary with a few dollars, go to https://www.wepay.com/donations/serbia-through-american-eyes  I need you!!! We have completed the first episode and will be showing the premier to the Ruma community the first week of August and discussing it on “ZIKINA SARENICA” on August 3rd!!! I need you!!!! Hvala puno!!!!!!!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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