Midnight Train to Serbia

Belgrade Travel Blog

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The seats always look comfortable for sleeping... at first
Zvonka had wanted to visit Belgrade, her former Yugoslavian capital, on the way to Bulgaria. After World War 2, Tito ruled the various Yugoslav republics from here, and it was the center of government before the breakup in the 1990s.

We took the midnight train to Belgrade to save on a hotel, scheduled to arrive mid morning. This was a clean, comfortable train- the last modern train of the trip. We staked out a compartment, successfully scaring away enough passengers to sleep across adjacent seats... The seats of ex-Yugoslav trains usually face each other and recline and slide forward so the seats nearly touch each other, making a nice bed. In this case the train was empty enough that we could sleep across seats.

Sleep is always interrupted by endless ticket takers and passport control officers at borders, but the slow clack-clack of the long-welded rails is soothing while you sleep.
A long night on the train...
Zvonka had been fretting about the boarder crossing since Croatian-Serbian relations are still a little strained since the war. It's uncommon for Croatians to vacation in Serbia these days... There were no problems other than stern looks at the American and Croatian passports, but a worried-looking group of English backpackers in their early 20s were hustled off to the border police station and left behind as the train pulled out.

Rolling into Belgrade in the morning brought views of a sprawling big city compared to the almost small town feel of Zagreb. Cornfields and horse-drawn carts began to give way to small towns, then apartments in the pre-dawn light as we approached the city. On the outskirts were several miles of industrial zones and ghettos with shacks and neighborhoods made of scrap materials. Crossing the Danube River, the capital city was revealed, with high-rise housing, domes of Orthodox churches, and federal buildings.


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The seats always look comfortable …
The seats always look comfortable…
A long night on the train...
A long night on the train...
Maybe across the seats is more com…
Maybe across the seats is more co…
Shid - the border crossing into Se…
Shid - the border crossing into S…
This is what most of western Serbi…
This is what most of western Serb…
More flat farmland
More flat farmland
Farms and farms fly by the windows…
Farms and farms fly by the window…
Corn, theres a lot of corn in Ser…
Corn, there's a lot of corn in Se…
Heres some more corn, maybe an ho…
Here's some more corn, maybe an h…
Some of the poorer areas on the ou…
Some of the poorer areas on the o…
There was about a kilometer of hou…
There was about a kilometer of ho…
Huge high-rise housing as we appro…
Huge high-rise housing as we appr…
Finally the train station at Belgr…
Finally the train station at Belg…
A long hike up the hill with heavy…
A long hike up the hill with heav…
Catching just a little more sleep …
Catching just a little more sleep…
The view out the hostel window
The view out the hostel window
Belgrade Hostels review
Hostel New Morning
Hostel New Morning is kind of an average hostel in downtown Belgrade. It's basically a large flat on the third floor (actually the 4th) of a buildin… read entire review
Belgrade
photo by: tj1777