Serbian alphabets

Prospective EVS volunteers in Belgrade:

If there is something you need to learn as soon as posible is the serbian cyrillic alphabet. It is quite unpleasant standing 1 am in the morning next to a bus stop in the middle of nowhere, with no one passing by, and not being able to call a taxi driver to pick you up wherever you are because you can’t read the name of the street. If you add snow and -16ºC that is exactly what happened to Johannes and me a couple of weeks ago :) . We were able to find our way back home but if you are coming to Serbia I highly recomend you either learning the cyrillic alphabet or at least printing it and keeping it in your wallet.

So, there it goes the alphabet, courtesy of John Dierdorf:

 

 

Christmas in Sarajevo

Johannes and me were thinking about going for a trip during our  Christmas holidays (24-27 of December) and we agreeded that Sarajevo was the perfect option. We had met a guy who lives there during a workshop in Belgrade (Nedim) so he was our man in Bosnia.
We departured from Belgrade at 22.30h on the 23rd and we arrived  to Sarajevo around 6.30am the next day. It was a long journey but we were able to sleep during most of the trip and we had a very good location: on the front of the first floor. Although it was dark most of the time we enjoyed some nice sights when we arrived to our destination during the sunrise.

Nedim had recommended us to go to Posilipo Hostel and we booked 2 nights there. The hostel has an excelent location: 1 minute from the famous Sebilj (old fountain) and 5 – 10 minutes to the Catholic Cathedral. We had told them that we would arrive around 10 am (expecting some delay crossing the border) so when we arrived 2 hours earlier the hostel was still closed and  there was nobody  from the hostel staff to open it for us. However, that gave us some time to have a coffee and see the center of Sarajevo. When the hostel was finally open, we took a short nap, a shower, and then we picked up a map from the reception desk and left the hostel around 11 am.
Our first destination was the fortress so we walked aaaaaalll the way up there thanks to Johannes, that pushed me to go to what it seemed to be too far way for me. Fortunately the walk was worth the effort. We enjoyed incredible sights of the city from the top of the fortress.

Then we went to the center and saw the Catholic Cathedral, many mosques, and ate a not-so-good kebab. Then we went to the hostel to take a nap (we were still tired because of the trip) and when we woke up we realized that we had received an invitation from a sarajevian couchsurfer to go to the Christmas Eve mass and then go out with their friends. We accepted the invitation and we had a lot of fun with these friendly bosnians.

The next day we finally could meet Nedim and he took us to the Law School (where he studies), the Jewish museum, and to eat Cebapi (the local specialty) in a restaurant. After the incredible meal he invited us to know the office of his organization (Youth Initiative for Human Rights) and the director told us what they do in order to improve the conditions of many people not only in Bosnia but all around the Balkans. Furthermore, she had organized a farewell party and she invited us to join them. Of course, we did not want to be unpolite and we accepted the invitation :)   We met many interesting people and we also stablished some connections for future trips in Bosnia and Croatia.

It had been a long day so we went to the hostel and slept for 9 hours. When we woke up (later than we expected) we rushed to go to the supermarket, the bakery and were just on time in the bus station (which is not the central station but one located in East Sarajevo– you need to take a taxi to go from/to there, 10 euros). After another 8 hours we arrived to Belgrade with four new stamps on our passports, new friends, new experiences, and 300 pictures to remember these 60 hours in Bosnia.

(My) first days of EVS in Belgrade

Hello! For my first post I will explain how were my first days since I arrived in Belgrade.

14 hours after taking a train from Seville to Madrid, then a plane to Frankfurt and then another one I finally arrived to Belgrade. Our menthor (Dragan) was there waiting for me and  on the way home he explained me some aspects about the flat, our projects, our working days, …. We got off in Slavija Square and in less than 5 minutes I was meeting my flatmates (Sonia – from Austria, Lana- from Holland and Johannes- from Germany) who are also EVS volunteers in the Media Education Center. We will have another EVS volunteer living with us, Maciej – from Poland, who will join us from January 2010. The flat is fully equiped, big enough for all of us, and in a very good location. It takes a 15 minutes walk (or 10 minutes if you use the tram) to get to the offices of the MEC, which are located just beside the Parliament.

We all had prepared an envelope with a copy of the keys of the house, a public transport pass valid to use all the local trams and buses for one year, two maps of Belgrade, 1 newspaper in English, and several touristic brochures. All of it resulted to be very helpful for our first days in a new city.

All the other volunteers had arrived several days before me and when I arrived to Belgrade they were doing a workshop at the Arkabarka hostel. You can see a picture of all the participants under this paragraph. I was able to visit them and meet very friendly and interesting people from Serbia, Bosnia, Italy, Portugal, Georgia…

 

When I was not in the workshop with them I walked around the city and started to get used to the new city. I took my first pictures and enjoyed the sights of where I will live for 9 months.

We have had some meetings with the MEC staff (Miomir, Suncica, Dragan, all of them friendly and helpful). We have also started to know how to animate with the animation boxes and started to learn serbian with Sonia (a different “Sonia”)  and in two lessons we learned the alphabets (both latin and cirylic) and some useful words and expressions. All of us are very motivated about learning serbian and having a good teacher helps a lot.

 

On my fifth day it started to snow and now the city looks completely different. I’ll post some pictures during the next days.

Well, I have to get ready for my Serbian class now so… write to you soon!