We Took The Midnight Train Going To Belgrade

We awoke at student time (about lunchtime) then Blake showed us to the supermarket where we would acquire breakfast. Here I was very excited as I realised I could have bacon for breakfast (an idea that is inconceivable for those on the continent) and as Blake was Canadian he was very happy for this too. Klementina being both continental and vegetarian/wannabe vegan didn’t share my excitement.  The egg and bacon sandwich of my dreams was not to be had though, as people have a strange idea of bacon. You’d think a Canadian would be knowledgeable on the subject. I tried to explain how you have to cook bacon, but Blake and Klementina insisted some ready cooked stuff was also bacon. This might have been true as it did look like bacon, but not the kind I wanted. Blake also insisted bacon was ham, when I said this imposter was more like ham. Bacon is a subsection of ham. Anyway I eventually gave in as this wasn’t getting anywhere. Perhaps it would be okay.

[Imposter bacon]

[Real bacon]

I was given the task of cooking this bacon and Blake would do the eggs. It seemed odd and I had no clue when it was done as it didn’t change form, just temperature. I plated up and then let Blake have a go with the eggs telling him to keep the yolk runny. We then joined Klementina at the table who had brought some bread, yoghurt, fruit and Ajvar. Ajvar was a sweet pepper paste that we had when visiting Klementina’s home town in Macedonia. However she guessed it would not be the same as her mum’s home-made version, but at least Blake could semi-experience it.

[Ajvar being enjoyed]

Breakfast was alright. It was nice to have something different from bread and cereal as an option. However the bacon, I think it was dried, didn’t fall apart like it was supposed to, but the yolk did go all over my hands, as it should do, I’d give it a 6/10.

The plan for the day was to visit Zagreb’s museum of contemporary art. After some confusion in direction of the correct bus stop we made it there. We spent a good 3 hours inside, which was more than I expected. I liked it a lot as I like modern art far better than fine art. However it doesn’t quite work as well when you are unable to read the description about the piece. This is something we all agreed on. The museum, as one of the installations, had two metal slides you could go on. I have been on slides like this in the Tate Modern in London and I was very curious if these were the same. Looking it up now it is by the same artist and is similar to the “Test Site” installation he did in the Tate Modern, but the one in Zagreb is purpose-built for that museum and isn’t the same. Mystery Solved.

[Zagreb]

[Tate Modern, London]

My favourites were a well that had a projector in it that projected a film onto the ceiling above in a circle the same size as the well. I also liked a work “On Holiday”, which when it was exhibited the artists had actually gone on holiday and inside the museum was empty with just adverts on the outside.  I liked the idea.

When we left the museum we realised it was getting late and so headed into the centre so we could look at it in the light of day. We wandered around some more and played the “try to find a semi-traditional and exciting place to eat” game. We saw somewhere that served Goulash and went in. After ordering we realised everyone else was only drinking beer in this place. We were a little worried, but when the food came out it was good. I had Goulash and pasta, Blake had the same and Klementina a vegetable sauce and pasta.

For pudding we went to an ice cream shop where I had banana ice cream with a Rockie Road brownie. I asked Klementina to tell the staff to put the brownie and ice cream in separate bowls, a request they both thought was odd. The fact is I like my ice cream to be cold and my brownie warm and when you put them together, the part where they touch is neither one of these. Who wants that?

We wandered round the town some more and mentioned the shortest funicular in the world, which we knew was in one of the cities on our travels. Blake then replied it was in Zagreb so we went to check out this must-be-seen sight. It was amazing as a very short funicular could be. The pictures are bad, it was dark again.

You may have noticed that we aren’t in Belgrade yet. That is because our plan was to get the overnight train there, leaving at 23.55 and arriving at 06.15. Hence after our meal we went back to the apartment to pack and try to arrange couch surfers for Stockholm as we would be arriving there the next day. No one had accepted us yet. Luckily after a few emergency requests we had received two offers, one of which by a guy who was also hosting a boat trip in the Stockholm archipelago the next day. Find out how that went in a later post.

Maja kindly gave us a lift to the station and we said our goodbyes to Andrea and Blake at the apartment, who didn’t realise we were still planning to travel that day. Blake was also leaving for Serbia in the next few days, but we wouldn’t be able to meet up. Getting the tickets was a bit scary as many things had to be written and stamped by the lady behind the desk making us think the train might leave without us. We also used up all our Croatian Kune paying for the ticket, so it was lucky we had enough.

[Zagreb Station]

We ran to the platform and managed to get on the train. It was one of those old-fashioned ones with a corridor on one side of the carriage and cabins on the other. We had a hard time trying to find somewhere to go. Firstly the conductor said we were trying to get into the first class cabins, which wasn’t allowed. Secondly the corridors were full of people trying to do the same and thridly all the people inside the cabins were obviously trying to keep the whole thing for themselves, even if there were six seats and only two people. In the end we joined a cabin with an old couple. We later found out this was a good move as these people were obviously frequent users of this train and opened our eyes to the fact this train was the coolest train ever. When you wanted to sleep you could pull the bottom of the seat on both sides of the cabin and it made a bed! With one side slightly raised so you could have a pillow. I was very impressed, especially as these were just the basic seats. It was much more fancy than a sleeper I had caught in England and far more comfy than the floor of David’s in Venice. We were on our way to Belgrade in style.

[The picture doesn’t do it justice – I didn’t take any and the internet was limited too]

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3 thoughts on “We Took The Midnight Train Going To Belgrade

  1. What other meal do you eat bacon EXCEPT breakfast?

    Alongside sausage, fried bread, fried tomato, baked bans, mushrooms and black pudding of course. And maybe egg of some sort, if you are into that kind of thing.

      • Thank-you Nichola for more intersting rales of your travels. Pleased to see you like the St. Christopher. Bacon and Hame does get confused in some places, no doubt due to the local ways of curing/cooking pork. I hope you are joting down the local reipies of all this great food you have been tucking into. GBWY.

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