Belgrade and its formerly besieged streets invite creativity and expression. This location cradled one of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe dating back to 7,000 BC. More recently however, the city was was decimated by wars. The complexity of the cultural and religious differences that led to many of these wars and clashes is far too immense for a travel blog. Lets just say it got fu*ked up pretty badly in the 90’s and took a while to get back on its feet.
That brings us back to now. The city and people have been rebuilding and reenergizing for the better part of 2 decades. The streets are filling with artists and people are expressing themselves with art, parties and a general willingness to break free from boredom.
It’s now damn near midnight and we are sitting back with Slavko discussing elephant prices and transportation logistics of said elephant. Also more about his bar Blaznavac, the art scene and Belgrade in general. At around 12am Jeff receives the final text from the local Airbnb he was trying to secure. It basically read you guys are fu*ked and have no place to stay. Ok Cool – lets just take this night to the end.
By the time we realized Slavko wasn’t going to accept the good ol’ green back and we were going to have to take a replica of the elephant, it was already 2am. At this point, he wanted to take us next door to see his friends bar called Strogi Centar.
The building was a few hundred years old at least. Complete with leaning floors, incredible old wood detailing, and short doors. We were instantly drawn in by the sound of early 90’s Bay Area hip hop. Awesome and trippy art work covered the walls from floor to ceiling. The owner fed us plum schnapps and cold beer. Before we knew it, 4am was fast approaching and we were homeless.
It’s the car for us boys we said. We left the bar, meandered through the streets and attempted to sleep in our car. That was until the moment some college kids knocked on our window to see if we had a light for them to use. Turned out they dropped their little bag of weed and needed to find it around the street corner. They were hoping it was next to some disgusting dilapidated outdoor shower. Good news for us, a magical park happened to be a block away. More beer and portable speaker music was in our future. The local kids took us in like we were one of their own and we stayed up until sunlight. Finally too tired to care, Jason and Jeff slept on the grass next to the car while JH and Kevin huddled up inside.
“JEFF GET THE F*CK UP!” That was yelled about 30 times by Jason until finally, just as the police officer was rearing back with his baton to club him in the back, Jeff shot up like a rocket full of vigor and comprehension. Sleep deprived and delirious, the gang cruised the streets to find Jason’s friends outsourcing company.
This guy was going to donate money through his company Advanced Construction to Team Baja Llama for charity as part of the Mongol Rally. Part of the deal was Jason was going to bring Advanced Construction stickers to slap on our car for promotion. Well, Jason forgot the stickers and before showing up to Advanced Construction’s little Serbian offshoot, he took it upon himself to remedy the situation. Its about 9am at this point and Jeff and JH are happily asleep in the car while Jason and Kevin are tagging our pristine automobile in a slightly off-putting green spray paint. Bam – Advanced Construction is heavily featured across both sides of her. Not too sure how excited they were with it, because we never received our donation money to give to the Mongol Rally Charity, but in the end we were happy with it. It also started a consistent upgrade tagging plan we put in place to make sure our car never looked the same day after day.
JH and Jeff went to a bar right across the street from the office building where Kevin, Jason and Lil’G were at. They were trying to suck down as much coffee and beer in a desperate attempt to feel normal. Then Jason and Kevin joined and the great Belgrade debacle proceeded onward and upward.