The National Theatre in Belgrade was originally built in 1869 and is a protected cultural monument in Serbia.Located next to Republic Square, it’s unlikely you’ll visit Belgrade without seeing this grand building, but you should take advantage of what it has to offer inside as well!
For around $5-$10/person you can see a ballet, a drama, or even an opera within an extravagant looking theater. Between the quality and price (and therefore value), I’m surprised this isn’t recommended by more people as an activity in Belgrade. Maybe they just don’t know about it! I read somewhere that performances are subsidized to allow more people to enjoy art and culture in Serbia which makes sense because I was wondering how they could pay all the performers and theatre workers based on the admission fees and the capacity of theater.
After we arrived in Serbia we checked out what was playing and decided on Don Quixote (the ballet) because we both were familiar with the story which we felt would make it easier for us to follow. There are usually several options at any given time, though.
I believe you can purchase your tickets at the theater but we opted to get our’s online (you can get tickets here). You’ll need to create an account on the website and while we had some issues with the site at first, it’s fairly straightforward.
Unfortunately, when I asked someone to confirm the time (we used Kyle’s email to reserve the tickets), they did not read it correctly (I guess) which resulted in us arriving several hours early. At least it wasn’t a couple hours late! It was quite a long walk there so we weren’t going to walk back to our place only to return, so we went wandering. At this point I think we had already been to Republic Square and even maybe the fortress multiple times so we felt very free to explore wherever we pleased. It’s a nice area and we enjoyed checking out some lovely streets, a couple churches, and somewhere in there we opted to have dinner.
We ate at Manufaktura which was a pretty nice place and between the restaurant and the theater, it felt like a pretty classy date night!
After arriving to the theater and checking out the decor, we were directed by various people to the correct location.
This was a little slower than it could have been because the ushers/workers would talk to us in Serbian and we’d pretty much just stare blankly, occasionally squinting to attempt to understand something until they realized we didn’t understand. Then they would laugh and start speaking in English. While most people in general did not seem to know a ton of English (if any) in Serbia, most people at touristy (if you can call them that- we hardly saw any tourists there) places (like museums and such) speak English.
Anyway, while we pretty much remained in our seats, it seemed that after everyone was seated, the seats were sort of flexible because we saw other people change locations a little bit (like maybe over a few seats or down a row, something along those lines- you wouldn’t suddenly be able to get the $10 seats if you are in a $5 seat because the entrance would be different). Our seats were a bit tilted forward which made it slightly uncomfortable until you realize that in those seats you want to lean forward a bit anyway. They were fairly comfortable but I have read others report that their seats were very comfortable and I imagine they might have been in a different part of the theater.
The performance itself was professional and high-quality and we were quite happy with it. The performance (including the, I believe, 20 minute break) was around 2-3 hours.
We walked home in the rain and it was a very lovely evening.
At the confluence of the Sava and Danube, rises Belgrade – the capital and largest city of Serbia. The city has been settled, on and off, since the 6th millennium BCE, and has come under the rule of numerous empires such as the Byzantine, Frankish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires.
The city has seen 115 wars, and been razed 44 times. It was even attacked by Attila the Hun in 442. Debatably, Attila is buried beneath the Kalemagdan fort.
Today, the city is a peaceful and charming city, that offers a lot to do, at a very cheap price.
The Kalemagdan fort is a centerpiece of the city, rising above the rest of the city where the Sava and Danube meet. It’s a wonderful park, that is free to visit, and can easily keep you and a family occupied for a day or two.
The city is filled with parks, and is incredibly easy to navigate on foot, or by tram if you so wish. And astonishingly, the locals have done a phenomenal job of training their dogs. They’re everywhere, they’re off-leash, and they cause no problems.
When it comes to enjoying the more cosmopolitan aspects of life, you can head over to St. Mark’s Square. You may catch a rally happening (as we did) or you may instead check out the national theater which has shows frequently. We visited and saw the ballet “Don Quixote” at a wonderful price. As well, numerous shops ranging from clothes, to antiques, to souvenirs in the large shopping complex.
If you have the time to explore, you’ll find botanical gardens, parks, cemeteries, shops to your liking. Street art adorns the walls of buildings. The people also hold a pride for their heritage – most notably for their highly esteemed citizens such as Nikola Tesla, who you can find on the Serbian Dinar. There are numerous museums to visit and even an old concentration.
It’s easy to grab a Plejkavica, or Serbian hamburger, for what amounts to barely a dollar or two and could feed a family, along almost any street.
The soviet history also brings to the city an imposing, yet oddly charming character. In Belgrade, you’ll be surprised at just how welcoming it can be. We spent five weeks in Belgrade, and enjoyed all our time there.
Onto the coffee and desserts we tried in Belgrade, Serbia! During the five weeks we spent there we primarily got our desserts from the grocery store and bakeries, and our coffee from three-in-one packets, but we also tried out a couple cafes and a creperie. I’m going to cover them in a similar manner to my Desserts in Budapest post which has been relatively popular post for our site (in terms of traffic). Serbia definitely has less tourists, but probably partly because of that, there is less written about it on the web.
I’ll begin with the coffees and desserts we tried out:
Because they seemed fairly popular there and I hadn’t had a ton of them in my life, I decided that if I had to try only one dessert out in Belgrade, it would be a crepe. We first made them ourselves (about that later) but I also wanted to try one out. It seemed the best-rated/most popular places were Hari’s Creperie and Glumac. It was getting near the end of our stay before we decided to give it a go and ultimately chose Hari’s because it was closer to us and open late (until midnight everyday). I think we made our way there around 11pm one night (I talked about schedule we were keeping in our roundup for that time) to finally indulge.
At that point it was tempting to get a waffle because they all looked so appealing and we both enjoy a good waffle, but I had already decided- crepe. Hari’s offers both sweet and savory crepes (like omelettes, basically) but we were obviously there for dessert. We decided to share one, both because of the size, and the price. They were cash only and one item plus a small tip would take what we had left at the time (not much- we needed to go to an ATM) so it was really our only option. I read that tipping is not necessary in Serbia, but in this case we did because we felt the service was good (and it feels not to unless we’re somewhere you’re not supposed to tip). They were quick to seat us and bring our food. They also gave us water which had not been the case everywhere.
Our crepe included chocolate, strawberries, and a cream/yoghurt. Very good. And very filling. By the end we were glad we shared. So service, food, etc. all good. I will say that their television programming was rather unprofessional, though. I may send them a message advising them to change it.
Info: Located: Kraljice Marije 8, Beograd 11000, Serbia (less than a kilometer from the Church of Saint Mark) Website: Here is their Facebook page. They also have a regular site but it’s only relevant in terms of looking at their (Greek) origins and some of what they offer. The menu and prices were a little different in Serbia. Cost: The crepe we ordered cost 420 Serbian Dinar which currently equates to $3.58. There were a couple slightly cheaper options and also, obviously, more expensive items. The simpler the item, the cheaper, and the more ingredients (such as multiple fruits, candies, or whatever in your crepe or on your waffle), the more it will cost.
We also wanted some coffee experiences. Vietnam really got us into trying local coffee and with Belgrade’s heavy cafe culture (I think we saw more cafes here than anywhere else), it was almost hard not to!
At Coffee Dream, you can choose to dine in or take-away your ordered items. We did not realize this so when we went up to the counter to order, they assumed we were getting take-away. We should have begun by sitting down at a table. Flavor options for the various types of coffees include cinnamon, choco-cookie, caramel, and even pumpkin! You can see the menu here. We think (see below) we ordered a caramel freezeri which was basically like an coffee shake. It was just what we wanted. Despite accidentally ordering the coffee to go, we first sat down and enjoyed it for a few minutes before taking off to stroll around and finish it off (we shared).
Info: Located: Coffee Dream is actually a chain with several locations throughout Belgrade and even throughout Serbia. Each location is a little different. Cost: We paid 245 ($2.24), yet online it says 275 for what we think we ordered so it’s possible we got something else. Prices may also vary slightly by day or location but in generalmost are similar and you can approximate prices on the menu. Website:http://www.coffeedream.rs/
Cafe & Factory
Cafe & Factory (or one of its locations, apparently) was just down the street and around the corner from our Airbnb. We’d often pass it and enjoy the nice aroma drifting out. One day, we decided we’d skip our 3-in-1 packets and head over there to start our day. It was then that we found out that “cafe and factory” means cafe AND factory. They make fresh coffee there and inside we saw people stand in line to get it freshly ground. We thought about getting some of their ground coffee (maybe we should have) but we didn’t have a coffee machine at our Airbnb there or at our next place and still had a couple months before we’d be heading back to the US so we just ordered some coffee to enjoy in the cafe. I think we got the Latte Macchiato Caramelo and Cafe Mocha Bianca. It was something along those lines. It was as good as it looks!
On one of our first days in Belgrade, after Kyle got his first Pljeskavica (burger), I found myself hungry as well. The first thing we came to that suited my tastes was ice cream. I chose the coffee flavor and we headed over to the Church of Saint Mark and strolled around the park with our food.
Info: Located: It was somewhere between Park Manjez and the Church of Saint Mark. It looks like it might have been around Bacio Gelato but I’m not convinced that’s where I got it. Cost: $0.64 (70 Serbian Dinar) Website: not sure
There are plenty of other ice cream/gelato places that looked really delicious too, though! Just wander around and you’ll see.
We made nine bakery visits. Some visits involved the purchase of a single pastry and on others we chose multiple items. I’m going to go over costs in advance for this section as I am not including every single item we purchased. We spent a total of $8.75 at bakeries. Try that in France or Switzerland! The macaron cost 100 Serbian dinar ($0.91), one of the donut visits cost 120 Serbian dinar ($1.10), and my other visits I simply listed in my finances as “bakery” or “pastry” but those visits respectively cost $0.63 (2), $0.64, $0.89, $1, $1.43, and $1.52.
This is allegedly THE place to get burek in Belgrade (or so I have read). Every time we passed it there was a line out the door. Now, we did not get burek here because we did not feel like it when we visited but we did try some food. Kyle got something which was more of a savory snack and I chose the item you see above which basically tasted like fried dough soaked in honey.
Located: We went to this location: Nemanjina 32, Beograd, Serbia, but it looks like there is another at Dimitrija Tucovića 60, Beograd, Serbia Website: http://pekaratrpkovic.rs/
Hleb & Kifle
This is a higher-end bakery in Serbia. We saw them throughout and tried items from a couple of them. It was actually only my second time having a macaron (the first time was in Sri Lanka) that I can remember. All scrumptious! Located: There are many locations throughout Serbia. You can find them on the website. Website:http://www.hlebikifle.rs/
German lady near school
Our first attempt at visiting Park forest Zvezdara was not entirely successful but we did have a nice day exploring. On our way back to our place we were hungry and decided to make a stop at the bakery. Kyle knew he’d be able to find something (a burger) along the way but I needed something to help me along until we were home. The place was run by a friendly German woman. We spent a little time talking to her before we went on our way.
Location: There is no listing online and we can’t find it recognized anywhere, but here is the location on Googlemaps (unmarked). Website: No website
There were obviously other bakeries we visited as well but I don’t remember them. Like the previous one, many have no online presence- even on googlemaps which makes it difficult to find them. I might remember better if they had allowed photographs but the couple times I tried to take a picture they “no photos”. Interesting to me because other people taking photos and posting them on their blog or social media is basically free advertising but maybe they want privacy or the ability to more freely change items/prices, etc. Who knows. Anyway, the pastry you see above was one of my favorites from another bakery we visited a couple times. It was filled with chocolate.
Onto the desserts we tried at home:
Here are the treats we got from the grocery store.
Ice Cream Cakes
When we were in the store and saw the prices on these things (like $2), we thought, it can’t possibly taste good too. THEY WERE. As you can see, we basically tried every flavor we found.
Other Ice Cream at Home.
We were more focused on the ice cream cakes in terms of ice cream but we also tried a couple ice cream bars. This one was called Kapri.
At the store we were able to buy prepackaged crepes- similar to the way tortillas are normally packaged. We found them in a refrigerated area near produce, under the gnocchi and other pre-packaged pastas. Kyle warmed/cooked them in a pan, sometimes cooked a berry mixture, and then we added beli sir (local cheese) and/or yoghurt, etc. It was one of my FAVORITE things I ate abroad period. If only I could have it now!
Candy Bars, Chocolate Boxes, and other Grocery Store Treats
There was this area in our grocery store that would have made you think Valentine’s Day was coming up, but it was just always like that!! The candy was fairly affordable too so we treated ourselves and brought back some for our families. We tried several kinds and found everything to be really good. Because we tried to give some type of candy to everyone (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.), basically half my backpack was filled with candy on our final flight home.
Oatmeal?! Well, when you add brown sugar, fruit, and possibly yoghurt and/or nutella (yes, we found nutella there) well, it starts to taste a little like dessert!
Honorable mention: Airplane yoghurt! (Plane ride from Athens to Belgrade)
This may not count as a dessert and it’s also Greek, but it was sweet! I’m mentioning it because it was such a luscious combination of cream and honey and there’s nowhere else to put it. Greek yoghurt was also popular in Serbia though I couldn’t find this exact package at the store (I looked).
I’ll finish off with the way we’d normally start our day, with coffee.
There you go. If you had another great dessert in Belgrade feel free to comment!
It won’t take you very long to realize that Serbia takes great pride in it’s citizens. They’ve produced many great names, but there is one in particular that seems to stand a little above the rest – Nikola Tesla.
One of the great engineers, physicists, and futurists in human history, Tesla has become beloved by the Serbian people. They love him so much they even stuck his face on the 100 Dinar bill (he was also featured on the 5 and 5,000,000 Yugoslavian Dinar bill). The airport in Belgrade is the Nikola Tesla Airport. Today, he is a little less known in America due to Thomas Edison stealing the limelight, but he’s no less important or relevant than he’s ever been. His name has been attached the electric car company “Tesla” in his honor.
In the heart of Belgrade, you can find the Nikola Tesla Museum. The museum was founded on December 5, 1952 with effort from Tesla’s nephew Sava Kosanovic. The museum resides in a residential villa that was built in 1927 according to the designs of distinguished Serbian architect Dragisa Brasovan.
The museum is divided into two key exhibits: a memorial exhibit and an interactive one. Upon entering the museum, you will find yourself in the main hall of the house where you can purchase your tickets for 500 Dinar (~$2.50).
When we entered, we had about twenty minutes until the guided tour would begin. While we waited for the tour to begin, we took our time exploring the memorial exhibit. The majority of this section was comprised of his personal belongings as well as his urn.
There was not a tremendous amount of information here, though there were a few interesting plaques. Most of it was simply his possessions and a few journal writings and the such.
The real interesting part was the interactive tour. The tours run in both English and Serbian. It begins with an informative video presentation about Tesla’s life. It’s really pretty interesting, starting with his early life and working through his professional life. It briefly covers the most important Tesla’s 300+ patents, and spent a great deal of time detailing his work on wireless power and his Colorado Springs project.
He spent much of his time in the United States, working for Thomas Edison. Later, he worked on a wireless transmission tower, but when found out by his financier JP Morgan that he intended to provide free energy, his efforts were shut down. Many of his efforts did come to fruition though, such as the development of AC electrical generators and the building of the Niagara Falls power.
After the video, a tour guide went into further detail about some of the details mentioned in the video. As well, they demonstrated some of his inventions such as wireless transmission of energy.
The most interesting – and entertaining – was the demonstrations with the Tesla coil. It could shoot over 1,000,000 volts of electricity, but it was turned down to create cool little lightning bolts to shock people with.
The tour ended after about 45 minutes. The museum while a little on the small side, packs a nice punch and makes for a great short activity.
You can find it at Krunska 51, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia.
Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
After five weeks in Belgrade, it had come time for us to head to our final location for our travel: Budapest, Hungary. We had looked at a few options for how to get to our location in District VII of Budapest, and had very early on decided against taking a plane.
Our decision against the plane was quite simply due to price. We could not get the great deals in Europe that Briana was able to find in Asia, and the time cost was not going to be that significantly better – if at all.
Our initial idea was to take a train, after all, trains and Europe seem to be something that naturally goes together. What we didn’t realize was just how expensive the train was still going to be, so we looked at how to best do the train. The night train between Belgrade and Budapest is what we first found, but upon it seemed to have a bunch of horror stories. Many travelers reported scams from officials, problems at the borders, rampant theft, and the stories just went on. With our train experience in Sri Lanka still leaving a bad taste in our mouth, we desperately searched for another option that would be safer and less difficult.
We looked into the idea of taking a ferry up the Danube, but unfortunately that doesn’t exist. A bus was starting to look okay, we didn’t have any issues with our bus to Siem Reap or within Vietnam, but buses can still be a little uncomfortable.
Finally I found an option that really seemed to be our answer: AutoTurist. The company didn’t have that many reviews or much of a presence online, but I liked the basic premise. They operated transportation between Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Budapest, going each way. You would be picked up from anywhere in the city and they would take you to any address that you needed in one of the other cities.
The price itself was $30 each, a little more expensive than the train, but far cheaper than a plane or taxi. And ultimately, I think it was well worth it for the convenience, not to mention we probably did save money in the long run since we could avoid taxis to the train stations. We were picked up at about 7:15 from our AirBNB in Belgrade and were loaded into the back of a minibus. Our driver then went and picked up a few other passengers from around the city and we went on our way to Budapest by about 8:00.
The drive was smooth and easy, although uncomfortable for Briana who had to use the bathroom the whole time. We made a short stop in Novi Sad to pick up / drop off someone, and made another pit stop just before we crossed over the border. Once we got to the border, we ran into the first hiccup – though we didn’t realize it at first. We all gathered our passports (about 8 of us) and then handed them to the driver who provided them to the customs agent. We had to wait in a queue of cars for nearly an hour. It seemed to be going fine though, but the other passengers were getting alarmed as this had apparently never happened – then we, along with all the other cars were told to empty out and we were inspected.
Annoyingly, we had to unzip our packs and show everything. The border officials were nice though, they didn’t seem to be particularly suspicious or anything, just doing their jobs. The process took about fifteen minutes to get through everything. The official was most interested in my ukulele for some reason, ensuring that it actually worked and that it wasn’t filled with anything. Afterwards, we got back in the minibus and proceeded on.
At that point, one of the passengers had become a bit more talkative and was telling us that this had never happened before. Usually, it was a simple process to drive across, but for some reason on that day the officials were checking everyone (not just our car). They must have been looking for something or someone. He was yet another digital nomad we have come across in our travels. While he was Serbian, he had lived a long time in Australia, worked in Dubai, and spoke excellent English. Our conversation lasted quite a while and died off shortly before getting into Budapest. During that time, he was acting as a translator between us, the bus driver and a few others. At the end, we also spoke to another woman as we drove through the city center.
The bus made a few stops in Budapest, starting with the airport, and finally we were dropped off last at our AirBNB door in District VII, ready to explore the city.
We are happy to say that we made it to Budapest! I had been looking forward to the idea of coming here for a long time and it lives up to expectations. We had a nice time finishing out our stay in Belgrade even though we found ourselves on an unconventional sleep schedule and were stressed out wondering if we were going to need to fly back to the US at the drop of a hat for a job for Kyle. I personally have decided to mostly forget the whole thing exists so I don’t have to think about it. Fall has made itself apparent in both locations and we are relishing it. We found ourselves to be very comfortable in Belgrade and we feel similar in Budapest. The biggest downside to Budapest so far is discovering the cost of many of the popular activities but as a whole, Budapest is obviously still well-priced for a European city. We are still getting used to not standing out anymore like we did in Asia. In Asia, on account of us not being Asian, it was obvious to locals that we weren’t from the area and probably didn’t know the language well. In Serbia and Hungary locals sometimes try to talk to us in their local language- whether it’s yelling at us at the supermarket for not putting away our groceries properly (this was in Budapest), or commenting something friendly to us on the street (also seems to occur more frequently in Budapest, but has happened in both places). We must look pretty comfortable though because in Serbia we even had tourists come up to us asking if we could we give them directions and in Hungary I watched as the ticket person at a museum gave directions to the people in front of us in English and proceeded to tell me instructions in Hungarian.
Where We’ve Been this Month:
20 days in Belgrade Serbia
11 days in Budapest, Hungary
Distance Traveled by Bus: 378km
Highlights: 1. Final Outings in Belgrade. The first fun thing (October 1st) we did was go to the Ballet which was really neat. It was so grand-looking and the performance was also great. One cold, rainy evening we finally crossed the Sava in Belgrade and wandered around and saw an old concentration camp. We also visited a large cemetery, saw more street art, re-visited the fortress area, Saint Sava, and Saint Marks and went to a few other places. We also enjoyed doing some aimless exploring. 2. 3am Walks. Due to our schedules we went on several of these and even did entire activity outings in the middle of the night! My favorite was a visit to Zvezdara Park Forest (this was intentional, not aimless exploring as we tried to get here multiple times before succeeding). When we went on late-night walks in Belgrade we usually encountered a quiet city with a nice mist and streets almost entirely to ourselves. It was really quite pleasant to wander the quiet city and we actually felt quite safe. 3. OTC Birth Control. There only seem to be a couple countries which allow you to get birth control over the counter and we’ve happened to be in one each time I’ve needed to re-stock! That worked out well! I only got 3 packets even after 2 visits because we waited until the end to do this and the pharmacies weren’t well stocked but it’ll do for now. Now I am just going to take a second and compare this to the process of getting birth control in the U.S. I remember one of the times in Orlando I was trying to get more birth control I first called the doctor and looked at my busy schedule to figure out a time which worked for me which was open. Once at the appointment, I asked for birth control. No, sorry, you are due for a pap smear, I will not give it to you until you have a pap smear. Fine, schedule me for the thing. Then I ask for it again. No, sorry, we need to make sure your results are fine. Wait two weeks or whatever. You know what? It looks like it is not a perfect pap smear, you have to go to a gynecologist for further treatment and we still won’t give you birth control even though you’ve needed it for over a month. Now we are going to do an invasive procedure and never tell you the purpose or results and then we’ll think about giving you your birth control. Ok, now can I have it? Yes, but you can’t have that one. I don’t like that one so I won’t prescribe it to you. Annoying AF. Finally they do give me the prescription and I have to make time in my day to go to pharmacy and ask to get it filled, wait around, etc. Seriously, what are they doing during the 30 minutes that I have to sit and wait for them to hand over my prescription?? And I have to do the same thing every month because they won’t give me more than one at a time! Meanwhile in Korea and Serbia I just show up to the pharmacy and ask if I can have some and they *gasp* give it to me! I don’t even have to wait. And if I ask for more, they give me as much as they have! Korea is all about efficiency which we really appreciated during out time there. I was somewhat surprised that Serbia was progressive in this area but I appreciated it as well. If we’re going to talk about some of the reasons that I have read that doctors need to prescribe it- it’s like ‘they need to tell you about the side effects.’ No doctor has taken the time to tell me about any side effects and I don’t see why the pharmacy person can’t do that anyway. 4. Weather/Fall. We are loving the cool weather. We spent a good portion of the year in 100 degree temps and it’s nice to cool down a little and for fall to feel like fall. We thought we would have trouble adjusting but we are doing just fine with temperatures in the 30s-50s so long as it’s not too windy. Our heat works great here in Budapest so we get to feel super cozy. We are also enjoying watching the leaves change colors! It’s weird to think it was a year ago that we were doing the same thing in Korea! 5. Fairly Smooth Transition. I probably wouldn’t have put this under the highlights but Kyle requested it. After our last experience on a train and reading a few too many horror stories about the train ride from Belgrade to Budapest, we decided to look into other options. Buses travel faster than trains (because they stop so often) and this particular one was extra convenient because it picked us up near our Belgrade Airbnb and dropped us off at our Budapest one so we could avoid taxis and hauling our stuff around more. There was a long queue at the border which we were told was abnormal and we had to get out of the bus and have all of our things checked and I had to pee the majority of the time but other than that, it went well. 6. Our New Airbnb. I have to say, it is so worth it to have a place to ourselves and to be in the city center and that is what we have been able to do/have both in Belgrade and Budapest. We are currently staying in a loft in the Jewish Quarter and I am very pleased with it. We have a great bathroom with a shower/bath that actually plugs and reliably provides hot water! We really wanted to know what it was like to live in a loft and now we are learning what it’s like! 7. Outings in Budapest. We’ve had a fun time beginning to explore the city. Every outing could be its own highlight but then we wouldn’t have room for other highlights. We’ve been more places so far but I will only touch on where we went in October since this is the October roundup. We explored some of the Jewish quarter where we are staying including checking out a few synagogues and churches. We went to the House of Terror, visited Heroe’s Square and the City Park, saw Vajdahunyad Castle, went to Vorosmarty Square, climbed to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica, walked along the Danube and saw the Shoes on the Danube, visited the (outside of the) Parliament building, crossed the river and saw Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and Matthias Church, went to a cat cafe, walked down Andrassy a couple times, got a few desserts and a little bit of food out, and did a little bit of general wandering. 8. Groceries! I know, weird, but there are a few things to be excited about in this area. Aside from the 7/11s in the Korea, the only other time we had access to any sort of store 24/7 was in Bangkok. We have that again here, though. There are a few such places within walking distance of us and it is extremely convenient, especially for when we are keeping strange hours. In addition to the 24/7 stores, we are directly across the street from a big (though allegedly one of the smallest in the city) sort of farmer’s market with a great selection of produce and there are like 10 other little grocery type stores within walking distance of us. It’s kind of crazy because normally we are used to having to walk a mile just to get to one! 9. Food. As you will see in the budget section we tried out some local (though not necessarily all local) food. In Serbia we shared a giant delicious crepe, tried out lots of bakeries, and found a good Mexican place (we really appreciate a good Mexican place). In Budapest we enjoyed chimney cakes filled with ice cream and cake from one of the oldest bakeries in Budapest, among other things. Kyle has also begun to cook with sour cream and paprika, just like the locals (or so it appears based on what’s available and what the internet tells us). 10. The Buildings. I just love looking at all the buildings. This was true in Belgrade but it’s even moreso the case in Budapest. They are so beautiful and decorative and multi-colored. I could just wander around looking at buildings all day. Honorary Mentions: My phone can connect to the internet in Budapest (it couldn’t connect in Belgrade for some reason), I enjoyed getting up early while it was our schedule (it’s still somewhat early but probably won’t be for long), and we had a little bit of rain in both places.
I can only manage to think of five this month. I could probably make it 6 or 7 by dividing aspects of the lowlights below into multiple lowlights but five is a nice number. I will also add an honorary mention which is that the top of one of our umbrellas blew away in the wind while I was holding it. The reason we couldn’t retrieve it was because it flew into busy traffic. While Kyle didn’t seem to agree, I thought it was funny and we had another so it was fine. 1. Weird Sleep Schedule. Not sure how it happened, but we ended up having a bedtime of about 4-6am. We just stayed up a bit later every night until it came to that. We both got rather bad insomnia at times. I think it was partially stress. While we are both night owls, but I’d say it was more Kyle pushing this schedule. It’s not that we didn’t try to fix it either. Sometimes we’d try to go to bed at midnight, only to lay in bed for a few hours wide awake before getting up. Then our bus ride to Budapest was early morning which meant we did not sleep and then I couldn’t really sleep when we arrived. Kyle and I ended up on slightly different sleep schedules. Kyle was sleeping extra and I was sleeping very little. For the first few days I was trying to get on a normal schedule and ended up trying to keep myself awake as long as possible before dropping and then only sleeping for like four hours before I was wide awake again. It was all strange and eventually I got to a bed time of about 5:30pm but now it’s more normal and we’ll probably push it to a late schedule again! *sigh* For me, it’s just that I always feel I haven’t accomplished as much as I hoped during the day so I need to stay up and do more. There’s also always issues like when I am not able to sleep in the night because I’m up with a headache. One night in Belgrade I think I had a reaction to a salad Kyle made me and was sick and throwing up during the night. 2. No Daytrips. I really wanted to make some day trips outside of Belgrade using buses or trains and even spent a good bit of time creating entire itineraries for multiple places but we didn’t end up going to any of them due to a mix of 1) our sleep schedule, 2) hesitancy to spend money, and 3) the whole job thing. I was particularly looking forward to the idea of going to Novi Sad or Vukovar. Novi Sad had previously been a consideration for a location to stop for a while in between Belgrade and Budapest. 3. Which brings me to: Not Knowing. I feel like we are always living in limbo and it’s a little frustrating. There is almost always something, usually multiple somethings that are in the air for us and we are just waiting for someone to get back to us about some potentially life-direction-altering thing. Right now it is the potential job for Kyle in California. 4. Apartment Scam. Kyle hasn’t even been offered the job and we aren’t even back in the US yet and yet we are already dealing with scams! We were researching housing in the bay area in anticipation of the job when it seemed like Kyle definitely had it (though we do still think he will get it) and encountered a somewhat elaborate scam. The person even sent us their ID to verify themselves as a real person. I informed them the real person their information was being used for these purposes but they already knew. I actually did tell Kyle it was a scam early on but he didn’t believe me. 5. Joint Pain. Doesn’t really bother me compared to my headaches and I have gotten joint pain occasionally since I was like 12 so it is nothing new but it seems to sometimes get worse, such as this month (maybe the cold?) It also seems to come and go rather quickly sometimes. Example: On our way out one time in Belgrade I really struggled to walk down the stairs because my knees ached so much but by the time we came back they were fine.
First time staying in a loft.
We don’t normally put ones on here that are more like ‘duh’ or ‘okay’ but I will add a couple anyway: first time in Hungary, first time in Budapest, first time eating at a restaurant with umbrellas above us, Kyle’s first bus ride in Europe (I used to live in Europe and would take the bus to school- lol! and I took others), first time meeting a fellow self-identifying digital nomad while in transit to a new country (literally discovered each others’ status at the border).
The total cost of October was $1131.51 which seems to be a little bit better (less), but fairly on par with our usual average spendings. We spent less than that this month of course because we purchased our accommodation in advance. Now, when renting for longer periods it seems Airbnb does not charge all at once so we did have a payment (about 1 weeks worth) taken out during this month but the majority of the payment was made in August. Now, for the breakdown: Accommodation. As I said last month, our nightly cost in Belgrade came out to about $13.91/night. At 20 nights for October, this amounts to $278.20. In Budapest the cost was a little higher at $189.61 for the 11 nights we were here in October. The total cost of accommodation for the month comes out to $467.81. I spent a good bit of time finding what I determined to be the perfect place for us in each city and we have been happy with both. We did spend a tiny bit more than we wanted to in Budapest but the place is worth the price. The two primary reasons we chose to come to Budapest in late October rather than directly after Cyprus were 1) we could not find any housing which fell in our budget range for the initial time period and 2) the Christmas markets start earliest in Budapest (like out of all of Europe). Food. Now I am a bit baffled that we managed to only spend $235.83 on groceries this month but everything seems to match up! The groceries in Serbia were cheap (and in Budapest as well), but the groceries have been cheap most places we’ve been! I think it may be partly because some of the things that typically really eat into our food budget if we buy them, like cheese, was pretty cheap in Serbia. We also may have been eating cheaper things at home. For example, we started every morning with toast and coffee. A big fresh loaf of bread there is less than a dollar. Also, my favorite thing to eat which I probably ate more days than not was spaghetti with butter and beli sir (the local cheese) which was quite an affordable dish to make there. The sweets were also pretty cheap. Maybe our sleep schedule somehow played into it all as well. I’d like to keep it down there if we can, though! We did spoil ourselves a tiny bit by eating out but obviously it worked out fine. We do have to try a few things out in each country as we need to experience a little local cuisine and there is no way we could get as much food per cost out back in the U.S. as we are able to in some other countries. We spent $30.31 on desserts out. This number includes 3 pieces of cake, 5 ice creams, 1 crepe, 7 pastries (from bakeries), and 2 coffees out. This doesn’t include the pastries we got at the grocery stores which have bakeries (this goes under groceries). We spent $59.78 on food out which includes dinner at a nice traditional Serbia restaurant, lunch at a Hungarian restaurant (and tips for both of these places), a pretzel for Kyle, 5 meat things out for Kyle (burger/chicken burger/sausage burger/whatever), 4 burritos plus 1 bag of chips, a large pizza, and over-priced Indian to go (Kyle did not listen to me when I said to not get it if it was pricey- I was too tired to go with him- but whatever). The total cost of food this month for both of us was $325.92. Transportation. Our bus ride from Belgrade to Budapest cost $56.18 for both of us. We were able to minimize our transportation cost this month by 1) not having any big/major flights this month which was one of the (many) reasons we had chosen Belgrade as a destination to precede Budapest, 2) avoiding taking any taxis (which the bus made possible) 3) walking everywhere (made possible by choosing an Airbnb in a good location) and 4) not doing any day trips, even though I think they may have been worth it if we had. Activities. We spent $9.25 on activities this month which includes the cost to climb up to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica which we deemed ‘worth it’ and the cost of coffee at the Budapest cat cafe. I could have put the cat cafe cost under sweets out but I thought I’d put it under activities. Now, Budapest is a city where most things seem to cost money and many things are rather expensive (at least compared to what we’re used to and for people on a budget). We are currently trying to decide how we want to allot our activity spendings for the rest of our time here. We did manage to make it into one museum for free on a national holiday (to celebrate the 1956 revolution) but it’s unlikely we’ll be able to manage something of the sort with other activities. So far we’ve managed to see a fair bit (mostly the outsides of buildings) without spending much, though. Regular.$210.28 for storage, car insurance (twice-again Kyle pays weird), Google Drive storage, Netflix, Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and Dropbox. Miscellaneous. Kyle had to pay to use the toilet once, I got a few more months of birth control, we picked up a couple small souvenirs and some extra chocolate, and then there was a little bit of spendings recorded which we couldn’t place (no, it does not look like this was groceries, I’ll probably figure it out after I publish this article). The total was $44.33. Fees. $17.74
Work/Productivity: Kyle: Work this month for me was almost non-existent. Luckily, my large animation project I had been working on for months paid the final payment. I had no projects at the beginning of the month to work on and spent some of my time my working on personal projects, and scoping out possible living accommodations for if the California job came through. I know on the previous round-up I had said that I would know if I had got the job by now, but – I don’t. I’ve yet to receive any real feedback, other than that they were busy, various technical jargon stuff, and that they would get back to me; but they did like me apparently. So now, I’m still sitting here feeling a little anxious about whether this will go through or not, starting to feel like it won’t. Considering that I had an interview with them, they said they liked me, and they asked me to do a little extra after the interview, I would think they would get back to me to at least tell me yes or no – but today’s job market and hiring culture doesn’t seem to put much consideration to potential hires, so I won’t be surprised if I never hear back either. Towards the end of the month, I suddenly (partly due to Briana finding me jobs) managed to get a few projects on my plate and one of my old clients came back and has been keeping me busy. So coming into the new month, I should be kept busy which is good. Briana:
I am going to change it to work/productivity because I already sort of generally address not only the work we did, but also things that interfered with productivity and simply the other things we were doing with our time. I put myself second because I usually have more to say.
A little into the month one person told me they don’t need anything else from me until after the holidays which is a little unfortunate but fine (it’s not my only work but it was the easiest).
I also had this flashcard reviewer for a few of my sets that was so extremely annoying to the point that I plan to avoid sets on that subject until it becomes necessary to take them. To make the cards I am to use lessons as guides but she thought that the lessons were all wrong so my cards were wrong. She was very nit-picky about things like the location of emphasis in pronunciation guides (again I am just following the lesson and would assume this would actually vary depending on where you are from so it seems a little over-the-top to me). Additionally, the first time I created my cards in a certain manner (I had done it before- just the first time she reviewed such a set) she praised it as creative and the second time I did it she told me to delete all the cards and find a better way. I mean I understand that there would be some differences between different reviewers, but this was the same reviewer. I don’t get paid by the hour, only by the set, so when I have to spend a lot of time fixing the set, that really sort of eats into my wage. I feel like I really deal with a lack of consistent feedback in general, though. Between this and being busy with other things, I didn’t get a ton of sets done.
Other than that things have been pretty status quo. Even though I get low pay, what I enjoy about all of my work is that I am always learning new things. I feel like I am getting paid to learn random subjects which allows me to look at it with a more positive perspective. One of the interesting subjects I learned more about this month was economics. I mean I took AP macro in high school but that was the last, and probably only time I learned anything about this subject aside from now. Creating the flashcards I am able to learn and review a little bit too. If you didn’t guess from what I said above, I was mostly doing Spanish language flashcards but now I’m moving onto other subjects.
By the end of the month I had resumed looking for jobs and advertising for Kyle. He didn’t look or advertise at all for something like a month and was doing so sparingly before and wasn’t getting any new work so, of course, it became necessary that I take over for him again. He simply doesn’t have the motivation to do it though he suddenly started to look a little more himself as well when I started helping him again. I also did something I do every few months which is review his work and internet profile. I discovered that all of his reels, resume, etc. all display an email to which he no longer has access. I also advised him on a few other matters.
I would say I had as many as three full days which were basically useless due to me being immobilized by a headache and/or fatigue and sickness. Some of my headaches are very difficult to treat. In regards to the fatigue and nausea- I am usually just fine but I occasionally get hit with this extreme amount of both that I simply cannot do anything but lie down and it is truly a struggle just to get up to go to the bathroom or something along those lines. The next day I could be perfectly fine though so it is quite strange.
We have both been doing the blog but nowhere near as much as normal. I told Kyle I was no longer making the blog a priority some time ago but he wanted to develop it more. He hasn’t really been doing it, though. We are both still posting and will continue to post but we will probably continue to make less posts than we did previously. We are making posts which combine things which we normally would have separated into several different posts, though, such as the churches in Serbia post and the Paphos post. I doubt much else will actually change except that I plan to do some more general travel posts. I am using the blog as a way to learn a little more about social media, though. I have grown our twitter following to over 750 and am continuing to attempt to grow it more. I am also beginning to look into growing our Instagram following more as well. It’s currently around 170 followers. I am also learning to use Pinterest as a way to drive traffic to the blog. I occasionally advertise myself as willing to manage a company’s social media for an affordable price but haven’t gotten any takers yet. Perhaps when I have more to show for it.
Now, there were some other things taking up our time too and most of these were associated with the job for Kyle. One of these things was apartment hunting. They initially made it sound as if we would need to come over at the drop of the hat so we began looking at apartments, creating documents with price, location, features, availabilities etc., contacting some places and so on. Kyle was actually doing more of this but I spent some time checking things out as well. Well, eventually we didn’t hear back so after a while we just stopped.
The other big thing which was almost entirely me, was the making of plans. I looked at policies on changing flights, checked out flights back to the U.S. from Belgrade and Budapest, flights from other cities within a day’s train ride, and so on. Because we thought we’d be heading back to the US soon, I began planning a short trip up to Budapest since we really wanted to go and looking into Airbnbs for that time period. Obviously it was all unnecessary. Somewhat irrespective of the California plans I also made plans to other cities and did the regular activity outings planning.
Health and Fitness:
Everything is pretty standard. Bad posture while working continues to be a problem for us. We are still doing a lot of walking and mostly cooking at home. Berries were affordable in Belgrade which was nice. I do always seem to fill myself with less healthy sugar too, though!
Kyle continued reading TheIlliad and finished reading The Assassin’s Village. We didn’t really consume much media in general, though. We listened to one podcast episode by Extra Pack of Peanuts and one on Budapest by someone else. We tried the show Haters Back Off but couldn’t quite manage to finish the first episode. I thought it could have potential but it just seemed a bit too over-the-top for us. I also watched a couple episodes of a show called Good Witch on Netflix (I like it, Kyle thinks it’s boring) while I packed for Budapest. I also, of course, watched the new Gilmore Girls trailer a couple times. We intended to watch lots of Halloween movies but somehow it didn’t happen! I did also download several free books onto the Kindle and hope to read at least one this coming month. I tried to download more but suddenly Amazon knew we were in a different country and didn’t want me to download anymore. Our VPN expired recently and we don’t currently have plans to renew it since we don’t know what we’re doing with our lives after next month.
We will be spending all of November in Hungary. We are really excited to see the Christmas markets in Budapest. The first one begins November 11 and we have plans to get chimney cakes and mulled wine and stroll around and enjoy the holiday decorations. Hopefully we will get to see Jutid and Larry (family friends) sometime during the month. We also plan to explore the city more and possibly make a trip or two to areas just outside Budapest. We hope to know if Kyle has the job or not. We’ll see. We do kind of need to know so we can figure out what we’re doing with… the rest of our lives! We will be flying back back to the states (into Orlando) on December 1st, so just after the close of next month.
Christian influence into the region we know today as Serbia began in the 2nd century. Byzantine missionaries in the 9th century promoted and spread the religion across the land, with Christianity being declared the state religion.
Over the years, the march of history has brought Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism to the region, but Eastern Orthodoxy and Serbian Orthodoxy reign supreme in the region at 84% of the population.
As such, you can find numerous churches across Belgrade (and the nation). We visited a few of the more notable churches and cathedrals. And needless to say, they are quite impressive. Here I am going to go over the three big ones that should be on your tour lists.
Church of Saint Mark
This church was the first place that we visited. Sitting at the north end of Tasmajdan Park, it is a stunning and imposing church dedicated to the Apostle and Evangelist Mark. It was originally built in the 1830s, but the new church, as you see it today, was built in 1940.
The exterior is made of two colors of naturally occurring red stone. The interior is a large room that rises to 60 meters (186 feet). There is highly decorated gold throughout the church.
Though we only entered the church once, we passed by it numerous times on our way to other parts of Belgrade.
Today, the remains of Tzar Dushan, a prominent figure in medieval Serbian history is buried beneath the church.
Saint Sava Temple
We came to the Church of Saint Sava multiple times during our stay in Belgrade. The surrounding grounds are large parks and fountains as well as a large library. The church stands as a dazzling centerpiece to the area. We attempted to view the library, however you cannot simply go in as a tourist. We were limited to a very small display of old books and bibles.
In 1594, Serbs rose against the Ottoman rule, during which time they carried flags with the icon of Saint Sava. The Ottomans responded by taking the sarcophagus and relics of Saint Sava and brought them to Belgrade, where they killed anyone in their path and then burned the remains on the Vracar plateau.
Three hundred years later in 1895, it was proposed to build a temple to St. Sava at the place of the burning. Construction began in 1905, but was delayed by the first and second Balkan War as well as World War I & II. Construction began again in 1985 and progress has slowly continued.
Today, the church is nearly complete. The exterior is finished, though interior work continues as decoration of the walls and dome take form.
The church is organized in the form of a Greek Cross, with a central dome rising 80 meters, and four semi-domes at each arm. The facade is white marble and granite, and the interior will be mosaics once completed. The church is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world by volume and is the largest in Serbia.
We visited the Ruzica Church at the base of Kalemagden Fort on the Danube. The original construction is not known, but the Ottomans destroyed the original church in 1521. It was later converted to a gunpowder magazine in the 18th century and then converted to a military church in 1867.
It was heavily damaged during the first World War and underwent renovations in 1925. Today, the church is decorated by chandeliers built from the spent casings and swords from soldiers during the first World War.
The first half of the month of September was spent finishing up our housesit in Cyprus. We were a little sad to leave our quiet, pretty mountain town and all seven of those sweet little fluffballs, but we were also excited to go somewhere new. On September 15th we arrived in Belgrade, Serbia and finished out the month here. Once we arrived, we held a contest for viewers/subscribers to guess our location which was fun. We are pleased with our choice as Belgrade has been a nice city to explore so far. We (mostly I) have been a bit stressed out for the past couple weeks, though because Kyle might be getting a job in California with an unknown start date (the stressful part as I don’t know how to plan!) He should be finding out this week, though! It would definitely be nice to have some stability plus the position would be good for him, and our stuff is already out there, but we’ll also be a bit disappointed if we don’t get to spend as much time in Budapest or with friends and family as we’d hoped before heading off. We’ll see!
Where We’ve Been this Month
15 days in Dhoros, Cyprus
15 days Belgrade, Serbia
Distance Traveled by Airplane: ~1066 miles
1. My signed book! As I mentioned before, we stayed in the house of a writer and her husband. She (Faith Mortimer) is a best-selling author in several categories on Amazon (including popular ones like mystery and literature and fiction). I had read the first book in her Diana Rivers series (along with another) on the Kindle because I did not want to touch her originals which appeared to be in perfect condition and she gave me the next one and signed it “Thank you for looking after our babies.. They’ll miss you!” It was fun reading her work while staying in her house, snuggling on the couch with her kitty, etc. This first book in the series also takes place in Cyprus which made it really easy to envision it all. I am pretty sure I even met at least one (though possibly more, aside from her and her husband) of the persons who were the basis for certain characters in her book. We are wondering if there will be a book in the future about house-sitters who get murdered! haha
2. The Sunrise in Athens. We had considered Athens when looking at where to go next and flights were among the most affordable but there weren’t a ton of Airbnbs which were in our price range for the period of time we were looking at and of those, none were in great locations or looked super cozy aside from one. Of course, we also got a lot more restrictive with Airbnbs this time as I wanted something definitely to ourselves. Anyway, the sunrise we witnessed while flying in was quite beautiful. As we flew over the city which was just coming alive we really kind of wished we made a stop here, at least for a little bit. Ultimately, we have grown quite tired of lugging our packs all around and flights (and transportation in general) are/is quite a bit more expensive in Europe than in Asia. The extra stop would have meant at least two taxi rides, another flight, etc. We really hope to make it to Greece in the future, though.
3. Our Current Place. We currently have a little studio to ourselves right in the middle of Belgrade. The place has a lot of character with cute decorations and lots of art on the walls. Our host told us it’s his mother’s place and she likes to collect art. We are actually kind of enjoying being in a smaller place again as the cleaning and maintenance is less, but we still have plenty of room for our things.
4. Sites of Belgrade. Belgrade certainly has some beauty! Some of the sites we’ve seen so far include the Belgrade Fortress (though we plan to return to explore it further), the Church of Saint Sava, the Nikola Tesla Museum, the National Assembly building, the former Yugoslav Ministry of Defense, the botanical gardens, St. Mark’s Church, and various other churches. We’ve walked around various parks and the Republic Square (several times) and Knez Mihailova Street area as well. Check out Instagram for pics (and mine).
5. Food, Affordable Food. The following items each cost just over $2 or so: a tub of the local cheese, an ice cream cake, a nice little box of chocolates, a box of frozen raspberries (or other berries) or four beers. Kyle can get a big burger out for $1-$2 and I can get a variety of bakery items.
6. (On that note) Cafes and bakeries. We are a big fan of having cafes and bakeries on every corner.
7. Finally Getting Film Developed! When we were in Bali (and pre- the nice digital camera) I had thought about buying more film as all I had was part of a roll left by the time we left but Kyle convinced me that the security at the airports in Sri Lanka would ruin it. I still shot the rest of the roll anyway, trying to be quite conservative with it. There was nowhere in Sri Lanka for me to develop film and then we didn’t have time in Lebanon (where I only got a couple shots). I contacted several places and film photographers in Cyprus as well only to not get any responses except the possibility of a place or two in Nicosia (which was quite far and the places were across the border). Anyway, alas, Belgrade has a place to develop film. Some of those photos had been waiting around four months to be developed! It was not the only roll I developed but I am going to try to save some info for a post about it.
8. Communication. We Skyped my great Uncle Walt (whom Kyle and I were fortunate enough to spend a little time with on a few occasions when we were living in Orlando) on his 90th birthday and it was pretty neat because I don’t think he knew about Skype/the idea of video chat until the call and we sang to him with the people in the room and I think he enjoyed it. He seems in good shape so hopefully we can make it for his 100th! On that note, I think it is nice how the internet allows us to remain so connected to people far away. It wouldn’t have been possibly even not so long ago. I regularly Skype with my mom (and sometimes Jutid) and my dad and grandma and sometimes guests who are with them or others (other grandparents, my sister, etc.) and Kyle Skypes with his parents as well. Texting hasn’t been working great for me abroad but messenger on FB works just as well most the time for keeping up with the details good friends don’t always share to the public! I also usually enjoy sending snaps (mostly to my sister) but my phone has been having trouble connecting to the wifi here.
9. Another Big Project Finished. Kyle finally finished a project he has been working on for most of the year. He has been telling me he’ll finish it “this month” for many months but he finally did.
10. Little Things. The weather has been quite nice here. We got a little cool down very briefly but we know more is coming! There are some more options on Netflix in Serbia than in Cyprus. I took some me-time to read and draw/paint the cats at the end of our stay in Cyprus.
1. Leaving the Cats. They were soooo cuddly and sweet.
2. Transit. It was fine but we were so tired during our transition from Cyprus to Serbia as we did not get to sleep during the night. We took a nap when we arrived though and it was so nice.
3. A Few Small Things. We honestly can’t complain that much as we knew this coming, but the kitchen is obviously a little smaller than our gigantic one in Cyprus (which wasn’t much smaller than our current place overall). The bath doesn’t quite plug properly and drying laundry isn’t the easiest thing. All of these are very minor issues, though. The bed also has a sort of gap though we have had this in the past but had such bigger problems that it couldn’t even make the honorable mentions.
4. Stress from not knowing about what is happening next (like with this job and not knowing if he has it).
5. My normal pains. My back, my stomach, my (wisdom) teeth, my head, my toes, my knee, etc. Nothing too severe, though (most of the time).
It’s another good month if we can’t even manage to think of ten things!
Kyle’s first time in mainland Europe!
Our first time in mainland Europe together.
This month cost $1193.17. We spent less than this since we purchased our flight and Airbnb last month but, as normal, I will apply the costs to the month they were used. Unlike last month, we did make more than we spent this month! Yay! We also made more than the cost of the month, but the additional amount was still not as much as the loss last month from purchasing various things (Airbnbs and flights) ahead. Accommodation. The first half of the month was spent housesitting, aka no accommodation costs (yay!) The remaining fifteen nights cost $208.50. I was looking at a couple places in Belgrade and had inquired at the one we chose with a few questions. The host offered us a special price on top of the discounted monthly price for our five week booking so we decided to go with this one! We were already looking at a couple that compared a bit more with the discounted price but this one looked cozier and we were happy with the location. Before fees, this comes out to $12/night, and after, just under $14. Food. The total amount we spent on food this month was $410.39. $379.42 of this was spent on groceries and $27.32 was spent on food out which included 3 burgers (for Kyle), 3 sandwiches, a large pizza, a falafel, fries, ice cream, coffee, and a water. One of these meals was a more expensive airport sandwich, too. $3.65 was spent on four small trips to the bakery. Living large! Transportation. The total cost for our gas during our last weeks in Cyprus, our flight from Larnaca to Belgrade, and our taxi from the airport to our Airbnb was $281.01. Activities. Most of the activities we have been doing have not cost money, but the few we did added up to $19.19. The only activities which cost were the Nikola Tesla Museum, the Botanical Garden (which we hadn’t anticipated), and the ballet. I know it doesn’t follow the rules, but I am going to add in the cost for the ballet ($5.49) in September when we purchased it, even though the tickets were for October. Regular. The standard type of stuff: storage in CA, Creative Cloud subscription for Kyle, Google Storage, Dropbox, Netflix, etc. was $170.07 this month. Miscellaneous. $89.62 for a variety of things including contact solution which we could only find behind the counter of the pharmacy and which turned out to be quite a bit more expensive than we anticipated, more ibuprofen because sometimes the aspirin and other things don’t seem to be enough for me, developing a couple rolls of film and having to buy a new USB stick because they said our’s wasn’t working, more postcard credits, a treat pouch for a local cat (this is in addition to the treats we carry with us which went under groceries but they are all like $0.30), a couple items which I wrote down but can’t discern what they were, and more. Fees.$14.39
Kyle: My work for the month has been on the light side. I have finally finished my long traditional animation project. As well, I have completed a small logo animation. The majority of the my time has been sent searching for new clients, a few of which I have had to turn down due to not being the right fit unfortunately; and the rest of the time I have spent working on personal projects as a directive to improve my own skills and make myself more marketable. A big development is the possible job I am currently interviewing for with a position at a university in San Jose. I am hopeful for the position and do believe it would be a good fit. Briana: I didn’t work as much at the beginning of the month as I wanted to due to a few reasons. (1) I was stressing about the condition of the house before the homeowners’ arrival. We normally would do a major cleaning and a minor cleaning per week but before they returned I was trying to make sure any food of their’s Kyle used was replaced/refilled, deciding what meals to prepare for their arrival, making sure everything was in its place, making sure the little things were clean, etc. I spent many full days in the hot sun picking weeds and breaking off dead branches, flowers, picking up leaves that flew into the yard or fell from the trees and so on. (2) We spent quite a bit of time thinking and talking about our plans for after December. We did some research on different options and listened to podcasts and videos on different topics relating to our possible plans. Now it looks like that may not matter though we didn’t come up with any ideas we hadn’t at least considered before anyway. (3) I had made a goal to paint a picture and read another of Faith’s books before we left and so I did (though I have not quite finished my painting as I decided to expand on it).
I like the flashcards because I can watch/listen to something while I do them but I got a tiny bit annoyed because all that was left at the end of my subject was very long sets. Not all sets are created equal and to finish these, I end up working at about $2/hr. Still, no one else was taking them and I needed to finish so I could have other subjects open to me so I could then work at a better wage again. Then I get my new subjects. I choose a set I liked and began. The server went down and then when it came back up it was a different set. I don’t know if I accidentally choose a set I did not intend for or something weird happened but I cannot just send it back. This set required many many cards. So I was making very low pay again. It is okay as we are staying in places where people make low wages but if Kyle doesn’t get this job I am going to have to go back to finding work for him again because to be honest he isn’t spending as much time doing it as when I did it and his work is a better use of time as he can make far more in less time. Then perhaps I will be able to do personal projects as well. Also, as of now, the flashcard site isn’t even letting me login. I have contacted support but they haven’t gotten back to me.
I had mentioned something I did back in May (a keyword thing) which didn’t work for me after the initial test period. Well after several more emails to the people running it (I could go into it more but I just won’t as you may not understand it anyway), I finally got it settled (there was a code issue). I logged in and worked for a bit. I ended up making about $10 before I got an email saying client paused the server and no one could take more work (there is this big pool which of words which something like hundreds of people draw from). It hasn’t since resumed.
My writing/tutoring work is fine. It’s nice to learn things while getting paid. Sometimes it can be a little difficult writing about subjects of which I have no background knowledge, though.
I also was scheduled to have an interview with a job to teach english online. I thought that would be great but with Kyle having this interview I asked if I could do the interview at a later time (and they said yes). I did a bit of research and talked to current employees and think it would be best to pursue once we know what is going on/are settled. Training comes after the interview and then there are practice sessions. Schedules are made one month in advance and right now I just would not be able to tell them a schedule. The time off policy is 2 weeks during the 6 month contract but the weeks cannot be consecutive. I believe it said they must also be asked for a month in advance. I do not want to have to take off time as soon as I get it and I may need more than a week if we are flying to Florida, driving across country, finding a place, etc. I also don’t know when that would be so I could not tell them. I also will need props (like plastic fruit, a stuffed monkey, etc.), an orange shirt, and will likely want more as well.
Health and Fitness
At the beginning of the month we thought we were starting to get into Acroyoga again but we haven’t kept it up. We used to do it everyday in California for a while (months) and we definitely could use some work. We’ve been walking a lot again since we’ve been in Serbia and are eating as normal- a mix of healthy and unhealthy. Fruit and veggies, but also fries and ice cream. I hadn’t had oatmeal in a while and I am enjoying having it again. I went a bit crazy at first when we couldn’t find tofu or peanut butter but we later came across a health store farther away which contained both but we just picked up a couple containers of tofu. We eventually found peanut butter in the grocery store too but it’s expensive!
The two books I read by Faith (one of the homeowners we sat for) were the Assassin’s Village and Children of the Plantation. They are both mystery-suspense thrillers in the same series but take place in different locations (and obviously quite different stories). I had also begun reading When we Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro when I was in Cyprus but I did not finish before we left (and it was the homeowners’ paperback). I do hope to finish it, though. As I mentioned earlier we listed to podcasts and youtube videos on various subjects too. We also listened to a bit of NPR because Kyle wanted it on but I personally am tired of hearing about the election.
What’s in store for next month aside from hopefully some pleasant fall weather and the changing of the leaves? Well, we should find out if Kyle has the job in California. We should have a better idea of what is going on next year. We may or may not take a day trip or two to another city. We were originally planning on it, but we’ll see. If things go according to plan, we should arrive in Budapest later in the month.
It’s contest time again! We have been leaving a trail of clues on social media (see Facebook, Instagram, Instagram) for viewers to guess our location. We made it pretty difficult this time but we do have a winner (or two)! If you just want to know where we went and who won, scroll to the bottom.
Here are the clues we provided:
1. Our last location was Cyprus.
2. We had a 1.5 hr layover somewhere. See below. You can guess this if you want as we already have a contest winner. It looked very pretty. We had considered the location and as we flew over it during the sunrise, we sort of wished we’d made at least a short stop there.
3. There’s a fair bit of street art here.
4. The food is pretty cheap. Kyle had a large burger for about $1.50 and we had a nice lunch at a cafe for $5. Yesterday at the store we bought a nice box of chocolates for under $1.
5. There are lots of parks and playgrounds. It seems very family friendly.
6. There are lots of dogs and kids to use the parks and playgrounds.
7. There is a big cafe culture.
8. The people are very tall here, especially the women. Many people smoke as well.
9. We provided a picture inside a church which is iconic for the city.
10. We also provided various pictures around the city.
Here was our methodology for choosing the location:
Step 1: During early August the homeowners of the place we were watching let us know they would like to come back around early to mid-September. We looked at flights from Cyprus to various locations during this time frame with a preference for mid-September as we preferred to stay longer without paying for accommodation, and because we were enjoying our time there. I then narrowed these down by price. We were probably looking at somewhere around 20 countries, maybe a few more. I went farther down the list to potentially balance flight and accommodation costs (knowing some cities may be cheap to fly to but expensive to live in/visit).
Step 2: I eliminated cities we knew would be too expensive for us and scoped out the remaining options for accommodation. I eliminated locations that did have places which met our standards (we wanted a place to ourselves, internet, and a kitchen) and fall under the cost cap we had set.
Step 3: Next, we eliminated places that didn’t have at least a few options which matched our conditions (so in the case that one did not accept us or canceled on us that we would have other options). We also decided we wanted to be in a good location in relation to the major things to do in an area which helped us eliminate a few more. It’s far more convenient when you can just use your feet as transportation. This was the factor that made us eliminate quite a few cities (including ones in which we had a strong interest). We’ve definitely stayed out of city center in the past, but we just wanted things to be more relaxing and easy this time.
Step 4: I was down to just a few places at this point. The particular city we ended up choosing seemed to have more accommodation options available to us and was within reasonable train destination (~9 hours) to our next destination (Budapest). The state of accommodation is really important to us because that is where we actually spend a lot of our time living, working, eating, etc. We really liked that we would have the option to ride the train to our next location (but could still fly if we found it necessary for some reason) because we found flights to be more expensive within Europe than they were within Asia. At first we were a little hesitant about the city as some people call it “gritty” rather than “pretty” or describe it as having little to do but we also found plenty of people who judged it as underrated. We were okay with somewhere which wouldn’t overwhelm us with things to do as we thought it might make us feel more stressed (we were feeling a little burned out of doing things at the point we were choosing this destination) and we also enjoy going to places which fall a little bit under the normal radar of travelers. There were a couple other locations in the country to which we could make day trips as well. While I went back and forth between this city and a couple others for about a week, and I actually thought I wanted to go to the others more, this one really both felt right and logically seemed like a decent choice.
Where did we go?
We are in Belgrade, Serbia! So far we have found the city to be very nice and counter to some opinions on the internet, we find it to be pretty with plenty to see. It’s quite a nice place to take a stroll around and feels fairly safe as well (as much as any major city). I can explain why we eliminated other cities (various reasons ranging from Airbnb hosts didn’t message me back to we actually wanted to see too much in a particular country!) and more information if you are curious but we are happy with our choice!
And the winners are…..
They did it again! Jutid (and Larry) and Marilyn are the sleuths who figured out where we went. As Jutid is from Eastern Europe (Hungary) this may have given her a slight advantage in insight but we still made guessers, including her work hard to figure it out! Postcards will be in the mail shortly. We were quite happy to have some further engagement in our contest, with several good guesses! It was fun for us and I hope it was fun for all of you as well!