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Serbian hospitality, or how I ended up passing the night in a closed bar

I was not planning on writing today, but after what happened to me last night I need to post to explain one of the reasons of why I love to travel: for all the good people that I find wherever I go.

Getting to the point: I didn’t explain this in the Introduction, because in the blog I want to speak about what I see on my travels, not how I do them,  but there are two words that I like a lot mixed with backpacking: hitchhiking and wild-camping. For obvious weather reasons, lately I’ve not been doing the second one, so when I came back to Europe from Arab Emirates, I passed by the Romanian city where I lived more than two years, Arad, to pick up my tent which I had left at a friend’s house.

Once with it, I set sail to Bulgary and Macedonia, countries that I’m going to visit in the next two weeks. The plan was the following one: get out of Arad early in the morning and take cars until Nis (Serbian city less than 150km away from Sofia), camp there and get to Sofia the next afternoon.

So… It was not at all like this. The day was so bad and it couldn’t stop raining, so with a lot of effort I got to the border with Serbia, but by then it was already dark. It was hard but finally I got a car that left me in the first town after the border: Vrsac.

I had to pass the night there and the next day get to Bulgary. Being late how it was, everything was already closed and I was looking for a kind of McDonalds, so I could pay with credit car (given the fact I didn’t plan to stay in Serbia, I had no serbian cash) and to get some wifi and let my people know I got stucked there. Anyway, I was moving up and down and there was no way to find nothing. It was raining and it was so cold and I didn’t know where else I could look for. Finally I found a bar with music and people inside. My appearance was kind of out of place but I decided to get inside and ask if I could pay a coffee with the credit card. The waitress told me that she should ask it but told me to take a seat in the meantime. Only this was already glory for me, after thay many hours hitchhiking under the rain and walking up and down, I was destroyed. After 5 minutes the girl came back to told me that she was sorry but I couldn’t. I asked her if she or the other one knew any place where I could take something hot and pay with credit card. Meanwhile they were thinking about it but they were already denying with the head, a man asked them something in Serbian. They spoke during half minute, obviously with me understanding nothing there, and right after, the girl asked me what I wanted to have. I let her know again I had no cash to pay and she told me not to worry, because the man that listened my story told her that he would pay for whatever I would want. After saying him infinite times thanks, I asked a coffee with milk and sat down again.

I extended that coffee as much as I could, out there it was raining more than ever. I was looking for a place where to camp in Google Maps and I should walk a few kilometers to get outside of the town. One hour later I was still there, so I decided to stand up and go for it.

When I was about to leave, the other waitress came and we began to speak. She loved travelling as much as I do, so easily we began to speak about past and future travels of us both. At any given time she asked me if I had a place to pass the night and I answered that yes but I still didn’t know where it would be, pointing at the tent. When she understood what I meant she looked at me so surprised and called me crazy. She told me it was raining, it was cold, there were lots of street dogs, etc. She shut up few seconds and told me to sit down because she had an idea. Her plan was that I would sleep in the bar once they closed it, until the next morning when they would open it again.

Quickly she spoke with the boss and in a moment she had arranged a “bed” for me for that night. They told me to relax there with then until they left, so they could lock me inside.
Being there they asked me if I had some food with me, and I answered i had some cookies and that would be enough. They wanted to pay me for me something more but I rejected it. It would too much already. They told me they would get also for them and that that the difference of one more it was nothing, so finally I accepted. Once they brought it I saw there was food only for me and that the lie was their way to make me let them invite me. So,  I ate an awesome serbian Plescavita and we kept on talking for hours.

And here you can get to see again how small the world is: the waitress with who I spoke was from Arad, the city where I lived, and she was working there now. We kept on talking until the closing time, when they security guy came and they explained him the situation, and they locked me in from 12 until 5am where I could sleep like a sir in the sofas that they had.
Here is the result of my 5stars room:

With a so confortable “bed”, heat, music, wifi, a romantic candle and conversation until i felt asleep…  Could I ask something more?

Finally I cannot do more than thank again, now from here, these people who helped me that much when they could have just ignored it. They gave me a roof, food, drink and they made me feel like home for a few hours.

And experiences like these strengthen my idea to keep on travelling this way. Because if I would have gone to a hotel, hostel or whatever, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet these so nice serbs locals with who I spoke topics that different as the independences of Kosovo and Montenegro, how was life back in Yugoslavia and how they lived themselves the end of this. And this is priceless.

So again, Jadranka,  Alexandra and Igor, thank you very much for everything. Know that you have a roof and a friend wherever in the world I’ll be and that the next time I will pass by Vrsac will not be by accident, if not to visit you.

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