In Belgrade I stayed with Marko; a Serbian architect I’d met in Sarajevo at a Couchsurfing event. He called me ‘Marshall!’ (the ‘!’ always present).
I saw some of Belgrade. I did my usual ‘wander aimlessly hoping you’ll find the tourist attractions until you discover you’ve gone the opposite direction that you should have, dig out map’ routine. I saw the fortress and the place where the Danube meets the Sava river meet (the reason for Belgrade being where it is), the Bohemian street and the National Museum.
Belgrade, though, is apparently the best place in Europe to party, and I challenged Marko to prove that to me.
We started at a small bar, completely painted red, met with a group of friends. We continued on to a club, danced around in the packed room, writhing bodies and flashing lights, downed some Jager. We went to a new place, posh, overlooking the main square, didn’t buy a drink. And from there, we decided, it would be best to just get out of the centre, away from the places trying to be trendy and full of people wearing way nicer clothes than ours, and just go to Radivoje’s club.
Radivoje and Marko are best friends. They’ve always lived across the street from each other. Radivoje mixes cocktails at an out-of-the way club that specializes in…oh god…Turbofolk.
I’d been warned about Turbofolk by Bata when I was in Mostar. He’d said if I went to Serbia I would hear it, and it would sound like the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, multiplied by 100. “It’s the WORST music EVER!” Bata had said/yelled.
Turbofolk is terrible, it’s true. According to Wikipedia, it’s been used as a bear deterrent in Macedonia. Serbians love it. It’s traditional folk music, but remixed, sort of, or something. Electronic gypsy music, if you will. But people go crazy for it, and it’s only recently come back into vogue.
And so our group ended up at Radivoje’s bar and he shook together various coloured drinks for us and the Serbians sang every awful song at the top of their lungs, and loved it.