I had a really good first night in Belgrade! There are two layers of windows, so once they were shut, the apartment was surprisingly quiet, except for when other tenants would clomp up the stairs. I woke up around six, answered a few emails, then went back to sleep until about eight.
This was my first morning since I left Haven that I wasn’t feeling rushed to do something. I’m here long enough that I don’t feel an immense pressure to go explore right this second and I don’t have dogs whining for their walk. So needless to say, I took it slooooow.
It took a while to get coffee since I had to boil water on an electric stove… and didn’t notice I’d put the pot on the wrong element. No wonder that took a long while. *sheepish grin* My bun (still fresh) with peanut butter was the perfect breakfast and I was happy I would be able to head out in search of groceries on a full stomach.
I was surprised to find tons of info on Belgrade, like the low-down on where to get groceries, in English. I found that such info, usually written by expats, was sorely lacking in Bulgaria. Moreover, the expats I had contact with were surprisingly useless for that sort of knowledge. They live in small towns and don’t go to Sofia much. Max, who lives in Sofia, seems to eat a very clean diet and doesn’t appear to shop in proper supermarkets, so he didn’t even seem to know there are Billas and such right downtown. My limited contact with the expat community in Bulgaria made it seem very insular, rather like how I perceive a good part of the Gringo population in Mexico, choosing to be in that country for the better climate and cost of living, but not being really present or immersed. So it was refreshing this morning to have all this great information on hand as it would make it much easier to settled into my life in Belgrade, however short my stay might be.
Since I live a block from Republic Square, I did a search for grocery stores in its vicinity and found a Maxi right behind it. That was twice as close as the nearest grocery store Siri found. I located the store without any issues and it was great! The produce was better and more varied than what I found in Bulgarian grocery stores (hence why I preferred to buy at the markets!) and I found more international items, including a few Canadian Patak sauces (not my favourite one, sadly), and came home with a tub of HUMMUS! 😀 I was realistic as far as how much I expect to cook and focused on just breakfasty and snack stuff and some pasta for a quick dinner the night I know will come when I don’t feel like going out. Prices seemed comparable to Bulgaria (ie. very low by Canadian standards). Like in Bulgaria and some US states, beer is mixed in with all the other groceries rather than being in a separate area. I didn’t get any because I had too much to carry as it was!
It’s now 11:30 and there is a walking tour at 2:00. I’ll probably go amble around for a bit and grab lunch. Once I’ve done the walking tour, I’ll be ready to visit museums and sites as I’ll be better orientated. I’m thus far finding Belgrade very confusing and street signage isn’t obviously so it will be good to get a few landmarks. Being so close to Republic Square is a huge help as I know I can always get there and then find my way home.
I still can’t believe I’m in Belgrade of all places!