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Questionnaire for Serbians Living in Serbia


serb food

I’m 100 steps closer to getting my tour idea legal. After years and years of answering questions from foreigner after foreigner about traveling in Serbia, I decided to create my own travel association. Creating an actual tour company in Serbia is very difficult. There are tons and tons of requirements that must be met. If you want to create your own customs tours, you must have a degree in tourism and a few years of tourism experience. They also require 50K euros in an account. My lawyer here in Novi Sad, after hearing about what all I do here and my mission, suggested I create an association instead. She is going to take care of all the legal paperwork and such to get this association registered. We have a number of aspects that we need to get completed, but we are on our way! My Serbian pal from Novi Sad is a business owner here in Novi Sad. His father was kind enough to allow us FREE office space in this 3 floor, new office of his on Europe Blvd here in Novi Sad! We will just have to pay the electric, trash, etc. It will be the headquarters for our association.

We have some big plans for the organization that might include:

** Organized trips to many interesting locations in Serbia. My Gmail, Facebook and Youtube message boxes are always full of questions from foreigners who are interested in Serbia. The majority of them know about Belgrade, but know little else. This country has soooo much more to offer than just Belgrade.  We are going to be seeking advice from locals in many different places in Serbia and organizing trips to many of them. It will help expose Serbia to the large quantity of tourists who come here with money, but don’t know what to spend it on. My large following and contacts can help draw interest and tourism to many struggling communities. A few months before Exit Festival, I get a ton of messages about Serbia. This massive group of foreign visitors are looking for things to do, but can’t seem to find the info they need. This will be a way to funnel them to other parts of Serbia.
** Free conversational English courses for the underprivileged Serbs and minority groups who don’t have money for regular English courses in a private school

** Foreigner meet and greet sessions. I have a ton of friends from many different countries who live, study and visit this city. Many Serbs are interested in meeting others and learning a bit about their culture.

** Fundraisers for some of the sick Serbian kids that are in need of money for different medical conditions. This is a constant issue over here in Serbia. My Facebook is always packed with messages from Serbians who want me to post about sick kids here in Serbia. Many Westerners are interested in helping, but are unaware of their struggles and how to help.

** Helping villagers market some of their homemade products. I’ve been living over here for around four years now and have experienced many, many locations in Serbia. Many of the villages and towns that I have been to are filled with local folks who make wonderful crafts and other items that need some exposure. I’ve asked many of the folks how they market their products to folks outside of Serbia and they usually say “We don’t.” It would be a great way to assist the little man in Serbia by having a place for them to market their products to the massive diaspora and others.

And more…..

I need all of you Serbians to help me out now. Please take a minute to fill out this questionnaire. I’m seeking advice on what to see, eat, where to sleep, etc in your communities. I know there are a lot of “hidden gems” in this country, but you guys know your communities better than anyone. Please take a moment to fill out this brief questionnaire. It won’t take long, but your answers will be vital to my project.

Thanks so much for your time and stay tuned for info. We will have a beautiful website with tons of links and info to help spread the word about this awesome, unique little country.

Ready to start the questionnaire? Click here!

If you are a Serb from the diaspora or a foreigner who’s interested and have the means in assisting with  some needed cash for our project, please feel free to donate to my Paypal.  You will be listed on our website as a “friend of Serbia” for your assistance. We don’t need a lot, but furniture, website design and creation, legal fees, etc will take a big bite out of my miniscule Serbian salary. Feel free to message me for more info or throw some cash to my Paypal account at charlesserbia@gmail.com 

Volim vas!

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Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Through my eyes

 

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Spreading Love from Wales to Serbia


blaz

 

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?

teamteam2

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.

 

blaz

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.

 

blaz4

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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Irish Gal tells about her Summer in Serbia


Dara
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.

DSC_1663_1024x681

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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Serbia’s Pride…. Patriarch Pavle


Patriarch Pavle

Patriarch Pavle

I am not a religious guy. It is one subject that always seems to divide people and has caused numerous wars. My family is made up of many different religions. We have Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Catholics, Agnostics, and Atheists. I have lived and worked with Jews, Muslims, and every other type of religion you can imagine. The thing I always notice about religious people is how they tend to judge others and claim to have superiority. I am a believer in helping my neighbor, bringing people together, treating people with mutual respect, and not dividing people into little groups. If this will cause me to burn in the fiery depths of hell for eternity, so be it.

St Sava in Belgrade, Serbia

St Sava in Belgrade, Serbia

Serbia is a country that is dominated by the Orthodox faith. It is one of the most interesting things for me. Chicago is the 2nd largest Serbian city on the planet and we have a few Orthodox Churches, but I never paid that much attention to them until coming to Serbia. When I shut my eyes and think of Serbia I get visions of the ancient Orthodox churches that litter every corner of this country. Many of them are over 500 years old!!! They have that unique shape and style that you don’t see everyday. The Orthodox faith is the majority religion in many Eastern European countries including : Bulgaria, Russia, Greece, Belarus, Macedonia, Montenegro,Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

Those of us from the USA know little about the Orthodox faith. The Catholic and Orthodox churches started their division in the year 1053. It was known as ” The Great Schism”. I am not a religious scholar and will not pretend to be. There are some significant differences between the two religions. You can find some of the differences here    http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html Some of the most obvious differences are :

**the location of the “Holy City”. In the Eastern Orthodox religion it is Constantinople, Turkey and in the Roman Catholic it is Rome.
**the leader of the religion. In the Eastern Orthodox faith it is a Patriarch and in the Catholic faith it is the Pope.

** the way the make the sign of the cross. Roman Catholics tend to go left to right while Eastern Orthodox go right to left.

**the look of the church and the steeples. see pics below…

Catholic steeple

Catholic steeple

Orthodox steeple

Orthodox steeple

His Holiness Patriarch Pavle was born as Gojko Stojcevic in a small village in present day Croatia. He lost both of his parents at a young age and was raised by his aunt. He studied in Belgrade and was majoring in Theology and Medicine. He graduated from University of Belgrade in 1942. He worked as a construction worker after WWII and then took his monastic vows in Ovcar. That is when he received the monastic name Pavle. He later took post-graduate studies in Athens, Greece when he returned in 1957 he was elected as Bishop of Ras and Prizren. He held that position for 33 years before becoming Patriarch in 1990. He held that position until his death on November 15th, 2009.

Riding the bus in Belgrade

Riding the bus in Belgrade

His Holiness is known for his humility. My favorite quote of his was when he was asked why he always walked or took public transport. He replied “I will not purchase one until every Albanian and Serbian household in Kosovo and Metohija has an automobile.”

Here are a few great stories that show how humble of a man he was ……….

serb-patriarch-pavel

******Mercedes Story******

Patriarch Pavle, as he was known, continued to live a simple life even after he moved to the new residence – the Patriarchal Palace – in Belgrade. People form Belgrade often encountered him on the streets, riding the train or the bus … Once, while walking alone the hilly street of King Peter the I, towards the Patriarchate, a Mercedes – last model barely passed him, the driver – a priest from one of the well-known parish in Belgrade, stopped the car and said:
– Your Holiness, permit me to invite  you in! Just tell me where you heading …The Patriarch entered the car, and as  soon as it  started moving, asked:
– Tell me, Father, whose  car is this?
– It’s mine, your Holiness!
– Stop it! – the Patriarch replied, he then got off, made the sign of the Cross and said to the priest:
-May the Lord, watch over you!

*****The Black Automobile Story*****

The great session of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church had just ended. As it was the customary, his Holiness was heading to the vespers service at the Cathedral. When he exited the Patriarchal Palace, he saw many black limousines parked near and asked:
– So many luxury cars, who do you think they belong to?
– To our bishops, Your Holiness! They came with them to the Synod meeting-replied the priest who accompanied him. 

 Oh, God watch over them, what would they’ve traveled with, if they weren’t taken the monastic vows of  poverty?!

******The Travel Story******

In the Patriarchate building, it is often heard the story of the Patriarch dialogue with the deacon accompanying him everywhere; as they were ready to go to the church in Banovo Brdo, the deacon asked:
– So, how are we traveling? By car?
– By bus! – the Patriarch replied with determination.
– It’s crowded, it’s stuffy in the bus, and the church is not close …
– We’re going (by bus)! –
 His Holiness replied shortly.
– But … – the Deacon, following him, advance a new argument, — Your Holiness, it is summer, many people go to Ada Ciganlija [a famous pool] and buses are full of barely naked people. It is not appropriate...
– You know, Father – the Patriarch replied back – one can  see what he desires to see!

******Message to American Envoy*****

When bishop Pavle became Patriarch, (the director of BOS Museum recalls), many delegations and many foreign representatives have expressed their desire to meet him. The active American ambassador at that time in Belgrade, Warren Zimmermann, also came. The Patriarch received him in the Patriarchal Palace. The ambassador conveyed greetings and congratulations on behalf of the American people, himself and the President. At the end of the formal protocol, the ambassador had asked:
– How may we help you?
– Your Excellency, don’t intervene by setting obstacles, that is how you can help.
 (…)

*****Raising Salaries*****

 

Patriarch Pavle refused, in fact, to get paid. He only received a small pension he was entitled to as a formal bishop of Raska and Prizren. All his needs were modest, given that he sewed his mantle and repaired his shoes ... Yet, he still had some money left of that pension. What was left of it, he divided among poor or donated it to other purposes of civic good.

It remained memorable his reaction as a bishop in 1962, when a request from bishops was made to increase their salaries:

– “But why, since we are not able to spend what we already have?”.

He did, likewise with what he received as gifts. If he received mantle material, he keep it until he met a monk or a priest not been able to afford it. Then he would calculate how much they would need to sew a cassock (mantle) and give them exactly that, so he may share the rest with others.
Renowned historian Zika Stojkovich, who has worked with the bishop Pavle during his assignment in Raska and Prizren, when editing his work”Monuments of Kosovo”, complained once to the Patriarch of the difficulty of raising money to continue the print of the work-series he had started and belonging to one of the most prominent Serbian writers, Milos Crnjanski. After been listening to him, the Patriarch rose, went to his bed, raised the pillow, picked his wallet, took out three thousand marks and handed to Stojkovich:
– “Here, it’s my contribution for the printing of Crnjanski Milos’ books. May it be for your assistance. ”

funeral

funeral

Regardless of your religous philosophy, you can see why he was loved by the Serbian people. It is a shame that more religious leaders didn’t learn to lead by his example. May His Holiness Patriarch Pavle rest in peace for eternity!

 If you haven’t done so…. please join us at Say Serbia. It is a website a few friends and I created to show the world the REAL Serbia. http://www.sayserbia.com/

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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Travel Tips for Americans Visiting Serbia


Traveling to a new part of the planet is always a very exciting thing for me. I always start getting this little BUZZ feeling way down in my gut a few weeks before I leave. I try to be as prepared as possible, but there are always things I neglect to think of.

Electrical ……

One thing in Serbia that is very different for American tourists is the electrical connection. The United States uses 110 volts while Serbia uses 220 volts. Electrical wall outlets in the USA are made for three posts to enter. You have a positive, negative and a ground. Check the pictures below….

American outlet

American outlet

While Serbian outlets are round and made for two circular plugs to enter. See the picture below..

Serbian outlet

Serbian outlet

..It is very easy to find the electrical converter here in Serbia. The majority of electrical stores offer them. I bought this one

110v to 220v adapter

110v to 220v adapter

for 200 Dinars or about $2.50 in Kragujevac.

Another big difference I noticed was that the light switch was on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom!!!!

typical Serbian bathroom outlet that is on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom

typical Serbian bathroom outlet that is on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom

I still find myself walking into the bathroom and looking for the switch! I can imagine the fun I would have had if this was a normal thing in the USA. You could shut the light off on your brother while he is in the shower. I think they do it for safety reasons. It is still annoying for me after all this time in Serbia.

Water Heaters…..

small waterheater that is in a bathroom and kitchen.

small waterheater that is in a bathroom and kitchen.

You might also notice that many of the older homes still have a little water heater in the corner of the bathroom and in the kitchen. You might have to turn on the water heater 20 or 30 minutes prior to getting into the shower, BUT be careful. The water gets so hot it will burn you! Most US homes have a large water heater that heats the water for the whole house and is always running on either gas or electric. It is usually hidden in a separate room. The Serbian way is much more cost-effective and I don’t know why it isn’t used as much in the USA.

Laundry……

The worst thing for me is the lack of dryers in Serbian homes. It is very rare to walk into an American home and not see a washer and a dryer. Serbian homes almost NEVER have a dryer. The vast majority of homes have a clothes line hanging outside and dry their clothes on it to preserve energy. This is a pain for a guy like me. I am the guy that likes to decide what to wear at the last-minute and if it is dirty…. wash it and throw in the dryer to dry and take the wrinkles out. That won’t be happening here. It is also difficult to find a laundromat. They do have a few in the larger towns but the smaller towns don’t.

Passport and Visa…..

Americans DO NOT need to do anything prior to flying to Serbia. Once you arrive at the Belgrade Tesla Airport you will receive a stamp on your passport that is good for 90 days. It is free of charge  and most of the time the custom officials will ask you nothing. A few times I have been pulled to the side and asked where I was going, who I was staying with, etc. I just said that I was a tourist and didn’t have all that info. They are friendlier than American custom police. 🙂 It is always advisable to head to the American Embassy to register your stay. You don’t need to do it, but they will take your email, phone, etc and keep you up to date on any activities that might jeopardise you safety. Their address , phone number, etc can be found on their website http://serbia.usembassy.gov/hours-of-operation.html

Serbia also requires that you go to the local police station within 24 hours of your stay. If you are staying at a hotel, they do it for you. If you are staying with a friend or get an apartment, you must take the owner of the home with you. They will issue you a white registration card. You must keep it with you at all times. Serbian police can stop anyone on the street and ask for your identification. If you don’t have it you can be in trouble. They will ask for the white card if you leave the Serbian borders. Many times they haven’t even looked at mine, but better safe than sorry.

Junk Food….

Serbia doesn’t have the large selection of chips, candy bars, soda and snack food that we have. They have lots of different chocolate products, but they lack in the other fields. Maybe  that is why you don’t see lots of fat people lumbering down the streets. LOL! I really miss Doritos!!!!

Doritos... American chips

Doritos… American chips

They have their own brand that rules the market in Serbia. It is called Chipsy..

Serbian chips

Serbian chips

You will also have a hard time finding Dr Pepper, Cherry Coke, Cherry 7-UP, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I am an addict so I have looked everywhere for them. 🙂
If you must have them, bring them from home! 🙂

Serbian Women…..

Gorgeous Serbian gals

Gorgeous Serbian gals

Before visiting Serbia it would be wise to exercise your neck. You will find yourself turning in awe at the gorgeous ladies that line the streets of Serbia. The majority are tall, very well dressed, beautiful jaw lines, long legs, very confident and sweet personalities. You will very rarely find a Serbian women that will walk out of the house without first going through an hour-long make up and primping session. hahaahah…

Think ahead!!! 🙂 You will enjoy Serbia all the same. Just a few tips to help you cope !! Serbia is the jewel of the Balkans. Long live Serbia!!!!! 

 
33 Comments

Posted by on June 8, 2013 in When in Serbia

 

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Serbs Uncivilized? Think Again!


If you turn on many Hollywood movies or listen to lots of media outlets, you would think that Serbia was a barbaric, lawless country that was somehow left behind during all the advancements of modern society!! This is how governments start to demonize nations and people to get control. Once you reduce people to being less than human you can get the public on your side. This is what Adolf Hitler did to the Jews. The same has been done to the Serbians. Big powers that have a stake in Serbia intentionally do this to keep the masses from objecting to their dirty tricks.

I just heard about this tidbit of information. It is great to know Serbs from all over the world. I get lots of interesting info! Maybe I should go back to college and major in Serbian Culture. 😉

Present day Serbia was the heart of civilized culture 5500-6000 years before Jesus Christ!!!!! WOW!! Who would have thought!!???

 

Serbia was the heart of Vinca culture!

Serbia was the heart of Vinca culture!

It is currently known as Vinca culture, also known as Turdas culture or Turdas-Vinca culture. It is a Neolithic archaeological site centered in Southeastern Europe. It was discovered in 1908 by Serbian archaeologist, Miloje Vasic. He found a society that was developing advancements in farming, formed settlement patterns, and had ritualistic behaviors.  This led to some of the largest settlements in prehistoric Europe. This culture is also known for the first example of copper metallurgy on Earth!!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vin%C4%8Da_culture

strange ritualistic items found in this region of Serbia. It is 5000 years old!!!!

strange ritualistic items found in this region of Serbia. It is 5000 years old!!!!

Here is a list of present day cities that were major sites of Vinca culture:

Drenovac
Gomolava
Gornja Tuzla
Pločnik
Rudna Glava
Selevac
Tărtăria
Turdaş
Vršac

Shut off the tv and open your mind!!!!! The world has lots to offer, and your government doesn’t want you to know about it! OH…. Check out this very kind Serbian runner. He is showing his respect to the victims of the Boston terror attack! Serbs have no compassion? I don’t think so! Don’t get me wrong…. They are like any nation on Earth with good and bad…. There are a few people over here I would like to punch in the mouth, but the large majority are wonderful human beings that have been stepped on for years. 🙂

Serbian runner in Belgrade.

Serbian runner in Belgrade.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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What the Heck is a Kotlic?


Kotlic... :)

Kotlic… 🙂

I love food and it is really starting to show! I thought I would have shed a few pounds after my 20+ km trek from Ruma to Sremska Mitrovica , BUT NO!!! I am still hovering around 93kg! -__-

My buddy kept telling me about something called a kotlic. The way he pronounced it made it sound like cartilage.  UGH!

The day was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was out, the temperature was in the middle 60’s, and I spent the afternoon in a little outdoor cafe Skyping with some old friends and writing a little story in my blog. Milos was out purchasing some things for a kotlic.

I arrived back at his house around 7PM. My buddy, Aleksa, saw me walking along the street and picked up on his little motorbike. I didn’t have a jacket and he threw me one he had in the back. 🙂 We headed over to Milos’s house. We walked into the backyard and there it was!!! That was a kotlic. It is a little pot that sits on a tripod over an open flame.

The pot was already steaming. He had placed some onions, etc in there. It smelled great! A few minutes later a couple of his buddies arrived. They are all members of the Alpha Romeo Club here in Mitrovica. Here is the link to the club if you are interested http://www.facebook.com/alfisti.srem?fref=ts

 

They brought some pivo and my buddy had purchased a bottle of jabuka/apple rakija. We sat around for a few hours drinking beers, rakija, and shooting the breeze about every topic known to man. One of the guys spoke English perfectly and told me he hadn’t spoken or had classes since primary school! 😮 WOW!! How do people remember a foreign language when they never use it!? The other guy was telling about his job in the shipyard. I was assuming it was a good paying job  but he told me his salary and I about fell over. Companies are using Serbians to make huge profits while paying slave wages!!!! Where is your government??? This needs to be stopped! He told me the same thing that Serbians all over Serbia have told me about……… their paycheck is almost always weeks late! He said payday will come and they say that they don’t have the cash to pay him at this time. DAMN!!! I can’t imagine this happening in the US. I would love to see a Serbian politician get behind the workers here and do something! I am frustrated and It isn’t even happening to me!

Chilling out!

Chilling out!

When is this food going to be finished???? We have sat here for hours while this stew is brewing!! I am starving. I ask Milos about it and he hasn’t even put in the meat yet!!!!!! WTF? He throws it in and tells me it will be finished in 30 minutes! Serbian food and drinks are all about socializing! I think it is a great culture! Get a group of friends together with some great drinks and just chill! It reminds me of my younger years in Illinois. We would go out and buy a few 30 packs and get some steaks, burgers and hot dogs and have a blast!

The food is finally done! WOW!! This dish smells nice, looks great, and the taste is fantastic. Milos loves his spicy stuff! You can cook anything from beans to goulash in this pot…. Here is a quick recipe for our choice that can feed 6 people:

Serbian Goulash (Corbanjac)

  • 0.7-1kg of onion finely chopped
  • a few carrots finely chopped
  • a couple cups of water
  • (place these in the pot to simmer while you are peeling your potatoes)
  • 1.5kg of potatoes cut into 1cm X 1cm cubes
  • when your onions and carrots start getting a bit mushy, add in the potatoes.
  • let it cook. the longer you cook it the better it gets. it is all about sitting back, relaxing, drinking a few pivos, etc
  • pork… add in as much pork as you like. cut it into small cubes.
  • when the potatoes are mushy you can add the pork into the pot.
  • add  1 liter of tomato sauce
  • black pepper around 10-15 grams
  • add red pepper around 7 grams
  • add 1 or 2 tiny chopped chili peppers
  • add  3-4 grams of Caraway seeds
  • add around 10 grams of Oregano
  • if you have Vegeta in your country add around 15-20gr
  • Vegeta is a mix of spices with salt, like garlic,onion
  • if not than add regular salt

  • after you add the spices wait around 30 min then take it off the fire and serve it… PRIJATNO 🙂

 ugh…. one more thing you can add spices by your own taste..I like it spicy  and hot so my mixture of spices might be too much for some of you !

 

big chunk of bread, kajmak, green onions, apple rakija and goulash!!! Life can't get any better!

big chunk of bread, kajmak, green onions, apple rakija and goulash!!! Life can’t get any better!

 

It is always best served with a HUGE chunk of bread, kajmak, green onion and a bit of rakija!

You are guaranteed to have a great time!!! If you drink enough….. everything tastes good! 😉

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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