I think I can legitimately say that the last two days have been the best two days I have ever spent in Belgrade. Why? Well, let’s go on a 30km bicycle journey to find out!
So Thursday came around again, and Thursday means one thing. Sausage. Only this Thursday (do days have to have capital letters? I have no idea) meant more than one thing. It meant many things. Myself, Juan Juan the Catalan Superman and Aria the freakin’ awesome super Canadian got our lazy glutes on the way to the Novak centre where we rented bicycles. What I am quickly learning is that bicycles equal fun. Brijuni was probably the highlight of Croatia (what? Not Infernal Tramnation? Blasphemy!), and it seems like a proven formula. So we got our booties on the bikes and cycled the full 12 or so kilometres to Ada Ciganlija, which is a big lake like thingy that acts as Beograd’s seaside. To get from the Novak centre to the lake you literally just follow the bike path along the riverside, and with the sun shining I surely don’t need to explain just how pleasant that is. Not even a construction site and having to carry a bike upstairs could dampen the joy. We got to Ada, and after a brief refreshment we made a lap of the thing.
Oh, nudey beaches.
Nudey beaches really do encourage the immature child in me, as they instantly make me giggle and make terrible jokes. The truth is I’m very jealous of these people who are completely confident with their nudity. I’m by no means a hideous physical being (solidly average, 6 out of 10), but I still feel completely naked when naked. Yes, that’s obvious, but naked in every possible way. I’m sure my parents want to hear about how I feel naked, so back to the awesome day. (Hi Mum! Hi Dad! Hi Isaac! Hi Cerys! Hi Ffion! Hi Phoebe! Hi Gary Brennan!).
We completed our lap of Ada, and after some hilarious wrong turns, we made the decision to bike out to Zemun, for the main event. The ride to Zemun was another 16 or so km, so we’re around 30kilometres already thinking about it. It was pretty hot by this point, and we all had a steady sweat on, and many of the drinking establishments on the riverside looked pretty enticing. Even ‘Bollywood’, with it’s claim of ‘We Never Sleep’. Whilst this initially seems like a claim to eternal partydom, the party that never ends, I’m inclined to believe that it is actually a cry for help, and that the staff of Bollywood have genuine sleeping disorders. I plan on heading there at some point in an attempt to bring them some slumber. Don’t worry boys, I’m a coming.
Zemun is awesome. I really love it, and if I legitimately moved to Belgrade I would want to live in Zemun. And not just for the sausage, which as per usual was disgraceful in it’s awesomeness. After the hog bounty we sat by the river with our bikes, some ice cream and a beer. Does life get any better than that? If you are sitting by a beautiful river in the glorious sunshine with a Catalan Superman and a Canadian girl who has exactly the same sense of humour and is generally the cats pyjamas, sipping a cold pivo and chomping on a chocolate ice cream, how can this possibly get better? Well, if there is one thing I learnt from ‘White Pony’, its that however incredible the first 8 songs are, there will always be a Maynard James Keenan to come along and make things even more awesome. On this day, Maynard James Keenan came to our super day, and he came in the form of bumper cars.
I was never a big fan of the bumper cars as a little nipper in Welshpool, for whatever reason, but good lord this was a lot of fun. Sure, I got completely battered on a constant basis by a 7 year girl, but I spent pretty much the entire time grinning and laughing. After 3 rides on the cars and a little payback for the child, we went on the dinky rollercoaster, and continued laughing. In fact, the entire day was spent grinning and laughing, one of those days where the unfunny becomes funny. On the way back to Beograd we stopped off at a river bar for a pivo, and regaled each other with tales of love and lost love and romantic japes (Hi Helena and Charlotte, hope you are both doing well), and had a glorious sunset to boot. When we finally returned the bikes, there was a complete feeling of satisfaction among us, despite the bruised crotches and tired thighs. Word of advice for anyone, if you are ever unsure about renting bikes, my advice is to always do it. It is just always fun.
We went out for a couple of drinks that evening, and despite the amount of pivo that was drank I did not feel drunk at all. I definitely didn’t feel sober, but it was a sort of drunk on being so damn cheery, as lame as that is. Sure, we just cycled all day, ate some sausage and went on bumper cars and drank by the river, but I am genuine in saying it was one of the best days I’ve had traveling. It was so pleasant, so nice, so relaxingly beautiful that I did not want it to end. Unfortunately it did, but all things do. Aria and Juan, you two are ridiculously glorious.
How do you top a super awesome day? With Japanese experimental violinists, pljeskavica and Kalemegdan drinks of course. But more on that later.