The train delay was terrible, until I found out the last carriage was a mini bar. After about 30 minutes there were a few back-packers and people heading to the Exit Festivalsitting and having a drink, the barman brought out a CD player for a bit of entertainment. Unbelievably, he also played Savage Garden.I met a few locals who spoke English and chatted to them, they invited me out for joint to pass some time. (Sorry mum) I got stoned for the first time sitting on the railway tracks somewhere between Sarajevo and the Serbian border. It did pass the time; I slept most of the way into Belgrade.
I was supposed to arrive in Belgrade at about 8:30pm; I didn't get there until 1am. My first impression was not a good one. As soon as I set foot outside the station I was harassed by taxi drivers looking to rip off a tourist and verbally abused by prostitutes. I decided to try my luck walking to my hostel and was followed by a pack of about 6 'community dogs' apparently that's a friendlier term for the word 'stray'. Call them what you want, they're still feral. A car pulled over next to me and the driver pointed out the obvious fact that I was being followed by dogs. He owned a hostel in central Belgrade and asked if I needed a place to stay, I informed him I already had a booking at another hostel so he drove me there instead. That was the only pleasant experience of day one in Belgrade. Although comfortable, my hostel was mind-numbingly boring and the only other person in my room snored, but I was happy to have finally made it.
I slept pretty late the next day and just wondered down to Kalemegdan fortress and sat and read a book, then checked out the Orthodox Church. I went back to my hostel to make lunch and had an e mail from Elissa saying she was on her way to Belgrade and was considering going to the exit festival (something we'd discussed going to in Sarajevo) so I caught up with her and we got tickets for Saturday & Sunday. Back at my hostel had another roommate, just as boring as the other, he also snored, and they snored in harmony. Had it been any other noise it would have beautiful, but it was so frustrating that I actually got up and went for a walk at 2am, sat at a bar until around 4 and walked back to the hostel. By the time I got back I was so tired I would have slept through anything, and I did.
I decided to move hostels the following day; I'd had enough of the place. I moved into the Chillton Hostel a few blocks away. Elissa was staying there too, so it was going to make things easier travelling to and from Exit. We went to a restaurant for tea called Little Bay, it was mentioned in the Lonely Planet, and sounded good. There were a violinist and a guitarist playing inside; they played Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. Woo! And the food was great! We then wondered down to the Danube to a strip of floating night clubs, we got so lost on the way a local laughed at us while giving directions; he couldn't believe we were so far away, when at one point, we were so close. Anyway, we spent the rest of the night there.
Exit Festival was heaps of fun; it's in Novi Sad which is a couple of hours from Belgrade. The Festival is held inside a fortress and the stages are in different courtyards and rooms within. It also runs during the night and doesn't finish until around 7am. We checked out The Klaxons, Royksopp, Missy Elliot & David Guetta on day one. Before getting the train back to Belgrade at about 7am (after getting horribly lost once again on the way back to the station)… Slept all day, then went back to Exit… Day 2 involved Pendulum, Faith No More and Chemical Brothers. I really enjoyed Pendulum once again but the highlight for me was FNM. Mike Patton's crazy antics and rants to the crowed were hilarious. He called the Serbians Barbarians and Warmongers, and there cover of Michael Jackson's 'Ben' while Mike crowed surfed was awesome. I get the feeling he wasn't entirely sober. I would love to see them again.
After once again sleeping all day, I made the decision that I would travel with Elissa down to Kotor in Montenegro rather than go straight into Romania. The weather had been so hot in Serbia that I really wanted to get back near the coast and Montenegro had been a place I was interested in going to when first deciding to travel again. It was going to be a 14 hour bus ride that left at 4am. We went out for tea again that night; to a place called '?' apparently the name came after a fight with the church across the road. It served traditional Serbian dishes, including young bulls' sex glands. I went with the beef goulash and it was amazing!
We didn't get back until 11pm and needed to be up at 2am in order to make the bus to Montenegro. Everything went pretty smoothly until arriving at the bus station to find out we didn't quite have enough money to get 2 tickets and that the ATM at the station didn't take MasterCard. This meant me having to run the nearest ATM; which was temporarily out of order! I continued to run until finding a functioning machine and made it back to the bus station with 3 minutes until the bus left. Phew!