Београд (Belgrade)

I left the UK on the 17th for Serbia, a nice evening flight meant no early mornings. Setting off at half four I found my self a little underwhelmed as though I didn’t really grasp the excitement of my first (kinda) I’ll trip. Though what I did find is that I’m terrible with jackets having forgotten it quater of an hour into the journey and having to turn back.

The flight was rather cramped with no leg room (and I’m 5’6!) But once landing at half 11 it hit me I’m somewhere I’ve never been far away from my little island…this is going to be amazing. This displayed itself as being overly smiley and talkative.

That evening was quiet, I find flying sucks it out of me, and with Alice already in PJs the exploring would wait.

The next day we unsuccessfully navigated our way to a lebbonese resteraunt instead settling for “Big Pizzza” and a salad. After that a twenty minute walk through the cloudy pedestrian zone to the Belgrade Fortress. Where it decided to chuck it down with semi fine rain that soaked through my jeans and airy shoes. But us Brits *posh accent* carry on. Exploring the old fort, climbing up a small tower and looking out over what I can only assume was once a moat. Walking through the eerie cold war bunker, listening to an Amy Whinehouse cover band, and sitting on the walls of the fort looking out on to the rivers Sava and Danube.

After we got lost carried on back tracked and found our way we stopped at a great cafe and got cake and tea…it was so nice we returned later. After drying off a bit we walked passed then in the Tesla museum. It was great, my favourites: getting zapped and the lightning from the magnifying transmitter.

The next day was the train to Zagreb, where I’m currently writing from. Long trip of 8 hour in a hot car (nearly windows open why I have no idea), though you could escape to the car behind which had the individual compartments and lots of windows! Woo! But all suffering comes to an end and we finally made it.

So onwards to explore a land I have never touched before. And try to put aside the world cup from a few years back when they knocked us out….grr.

Preparations

Sorry it’s taken such a long time, what with exams and sorting everything for a two month extravaganza around Europe. My inner perfectionist has come out planning the train routes, the directions from the train station to the hostel, the hostels, the flights and the stuff I’m going to do there.

But more importantly it’s been one massive drain on all the savings I spent so hard to get (working 7 days a week occasionally last summer) both so worth the money, but yet there’s a little part of me that dies inside each time I forked out a load of cash for accommodation, bags, and ironically cash. One thing that is great about preparing for my trip, a part from everything, is that there is so much I can buy from Lush: bars of shampoo and conditioner, really nice soap and so much more, swear I spent about £40-odd in there.

Money was also a bit of a worry, with so many different currencies: Euros, Croatian Kuna, Swiss Franc, Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone, Swedish Krona, and Serbian Dinar. A lot to get. With the Caxton card I got most of the currencies, its great you can get multiple currencies on one card, they don’t charge you for withdrawals at ATMs, and great exchange rates…can’t go wrong. Now just need to make sure I don’t loose this card.

On the topic of gear though, I managed to land myself a good bag, unlike my last foray into Europe, where the first bag broke a week in and then the second by the end of the third week. Never been more inconvenienced. But this time due to the longer stint I’ve decided against taking enough for each day I’m taking the bear minimum. But the Osprey Farpoint 70 is great, got a detachable day bag, opens at the front so I can get to the bottom of the bag without  taking everything out. Thought the main bag is still crammed full so I’ve resorted to taking a picture of everything specifically packed away so that I can remember what goes where. That way I can avoid the last minute panic of trying to stuff different organisers in different arrangements, resulting in me carrying one on the train as I can’t tell where the bloody thing is meant to go. Stressful.

But everything is packed and ready to go everything booked and paid for (or at the very least all the money is there) now I play the waiting game until Saturday night when I get to fly out to Belgrade, Serbia.

Can’t wait. 20170615_134011.gif

Pilot: bumpy starts.

With the broken right arm (my dominant hand) I haven’t been able to do much, and at times its really frustrating. Before the “incident” my plan had been to drive down to Monkey World and collect data on their four Chimp groups.

Unfortunately I can no longer drive with a cast that stops centimetres from my arm pit. So my mum had to assist in the recording if the observations. With my dad drawing the tables for the recordings with my strict instructions.

The journey down was a series of never ending traffic jams and roadwork pile-up, but we finally made it there. Even if I was getting heat stroke from not being able to shade my arm, or any of me really. As well as the fans being as useful as someone coughing on you: detrimental and slightly warm. But we made it on Friday evening.

Saturday and Sunday morning we sett off nice and early to make it to monkey world, nice sunny day. I even caught the sun. Whilst we were there we collected quite a bit of data, and I got good experience. The pilot study went well I think though I need better card for identification as mine got all mixed up and took an age to sort through most of the time.

What I did realise though is that my ethogram is a mess so I’ve just finished editing it to make more sense to me and a third party. And of course typing the data up from a note book into a clearer table.

I’m still in the early stages however so its likely I’m gonna have to head down Dorset way again and try and observe some more chimps doing their thing. Maybe the next time I won’t be incapacitated

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: we can only hope.