Хало, Serbia and (accidentally) Merhaba, Turkey!

THE ITINERARY

Day 1: [Jakarta] Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [Singapore] Changi International Airport
Day 2: [Istanbul, Turkey] Istanbul Atatürk International Airport and Klassis Resort Hotel
Day 3: [Belgrade, Serbia] Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Hostelche, Kalemegdan Park, KFC – Studenski Square, Usce Shopping Center, Mikser Festival 2012, Ada Ciganlija, ‘?’ Restaurant
Day 4: Belgrade Fortress, Military Museum, Gyropolis – Knez Mihajlova, Nikola Tesla Museum, Danube Riverside
Day 5: Zemun, Danube and Belgrade Fortress ‘Crazy’ Walkside, Pizzeria Trg – Republic Square
Day 6: IGSC Day 1, Glumac Food Shop, Red Bar – Skadarlija
Day 7: IGSC Day 2
Day 8: IGSC Day 3, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport
Day 9: [Istanbul, Turkey] Istanbul Atatürk International Airport [Singapore] Changi International Airport [Jakarta] Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This is the time for 3rd AAPG/SEG/EAPE International Geosciences Student Conference in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia. I’ve been invited by the committee through my scientific paper “Geophysical magnetic method for detecting intrusion body and lithology ucomplex in Parang Mountain, Karangsambung, Central Java, Indonesia” which also composed with Dimmas Ramadhan (@dimramad).

For any Indonesian citizen who planned to go to Serbia, I’ve got some tips for tourist visa application:

  1. Prepare all documents needed to support your application. There will be application form (asked through email:embjakarta@serbian-embassy.org) attached with a 3.5 x 4.5 cm photograph, proof of sufficient funds (bank statement, credit cards, etc), invitation or sponsor letter from recognized institution or organization in Serbia if any, hotel booking, and flight ticket.
  2. Send all the requirements through email. It actually already ease your job without having to submit it directly to the embassy in Jakarta.
  3. Pay the nonrefundable visa fee (Type C €60 paid to the embassy’s bank account). For you whose live in Jakarta and nearby, I suggest to debit your Rupiah cash directly through the Deutsche Bank in Jl. Imam Bonjol, not far from Bunderan HI. Don’t bring original money (euro) to the bank or else you should pay service fee ($10 or €10).
  4. Send the bank payment proof also to the embassy’s email.
  5. Make sure you are having sufficient time before your departure to Serbia at least 3 weeks after applying visa. They need to send the documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affair in Serbia, got authorization, then come your visa is accepted. Don’t take a risk applying visa in a short time before departure, it may caused visa rejection.
  6. Visa approval or rejection. If your visa is granted, you may directly take your visa sticker to the embassy after paying (€2) through the bank, or you may send additional fee together with the sticker fee(€30) so the embassy send it to you by DHL.
  7. Have your trip to Serbia!

Flight Turkish Airlines from Jakarta – Singapore – Istanbul

This trip would be my first Europe Solo Trip. Turkish Airlines TK067 plans to depart on 19.50, but there were 30 minutes late, may be caused by the heavy traffic in Jakarta’s airport. The flight to Singapore were about 1:20h and leaving the aircraft for an hour in transit room. Singapore to Istanbul were taking 10:30h with one time inflight snacks, one time dinner, and one time breakfast. 13:00h total. The flight attendants were not really helpful, since they comment too much on anything that they was not supposed to. The meals, so so.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Istanbul Atatürk International Airport

After arriving in Istanbul Airport, I was checked the gate number for connecting flight to Belgrade in the giant screen. Second check, third check, later I asked the information officer. My flight was not on display. He told me to go to the transit desk. Officer in transit desk told me that the 07.45 flight to Belgrade was cancelled, so I transferred to the next flight in 18.45. I heard a man beside my line, he was delayed until next 2 days. This was my first time having a cancelled flight. The airlines told me that they were gonna give me a hotel until my next boarding. But, the weird part is that I have to pay the Visa on Arrival ($25) on my own. It may caused of my passport. Indonesian passport needs to pay the visa on arrival fee. After getting the visa, I went to the passport control, stamped, and moved to the Turkish Airlines Hotel Desk. Again, they kept us waiting for about 30 minutes after they made the reservation for the hotel. There were about 20 persons whose flight was cancelled and brought to the hotel with me.

Klassis Resort Hotel

The trip to the hotel was an hour and a half, long trip. I was hoping that the hotel in the central town, so, I can make a short explore around the city. But, what I got was different, the hotel was having their own beach and like nowhere-to-go. Yet, the hotel was incredibly huge, but old-designed. I have never been in such a huge hotel like this. I also having my lunch here, buffet. Thanks to Turkish Airlines, at least, I got a chance to taste expensive food before many days ahead which has been planned to be in a very tight outcome. Using a van, they dropped us to the airport whose got a boarding time in the afternoon.

Klassis Hotel Resort, Istanbul

Klassis Hotel’s beach

Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, again

I still have 2,5 hours before my boarding time. I looked around duty shop, bought some Turkish Delights and collectible items, and grabbed some early dinner in food court. I thought the price in Turkey a little bit pricey. But, I don’t know about the outside’s condition. I continued my flight using TK1083 to Belgrade in 18.35. It delayed for about 20 minutes. The flight to Belgrade were about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport

Finally, after a long trip, I landed in Belgrade! The airport was not really big, many parts of it still under renovation. Most of Serbian people was tall, if its compared to me, and they walked really fast. Most of the girls and boys were good-looking, so, what are you waiting for? HAHA. For you who first come to Serbia, they got tourist information desk near the baggage claim area. The officer was very nice and helpful.

Some important info might be useful from me:

  1. Make sure you have a valid visa to enter Serbia.
  2. In the airport, you might a little confuse of queue line in passport control. They have the line special for crew, for EU and not requiring visa passport, and other passport. But they were not really into it, just in line which the officer existed. Doesn’t matter.
  3. Currency in Serbia is Serbian Dinar (RSD), make sure you have it. The rate in airport and city is almost equal.
  4. For cheapest travel to the city, I used bus no. 72 from airport. They come every 30 minutes, and fortunately, I just need to wait about 15 minutes. You need to have the BusPlus card, the topup card for paying fees, or else just pay cash to the driver. The fare is RSD150 (about €1.3 or IDR15,000). I met a very friendly driver and asked him to drop me in the area which I point from the map given in the airport. You may use taxi, a little bit expensive, but, make sure you ride the authorized taxi from the taxi counter near the baggage claim also. The taxi to the central will be around RSD2000
  5. Around end of May, daily temperature was 8 C – 28 C. So, bring your jacket.

Hostelche

I finally used the bus no. 72 and dropped of at the last stop, Zeleni Venac. Took a walk, and a litlle lost. Most people I met around there ever heard the name of the street, but they forgot which street it is. Because, finally I recognise, the Kralja Petra street is connected with the famous pedestrian area, Knez Mihajlova, which many of another street were also parallel connected just like Kralja Petra does. But, at last, I found the street. The thing you must take note, is “Ulica” is Serbian language for “Street”, and they did not write the street’s name in latin alphabetical. So, very careful.

The girl at receptionist were very nice, Bojana was her name. She asked me whether I’m going to take a rest or grab some meal, but I choose to sleep, yeah, because you know, it took almost 2 days trip from Jakarta until i finally arrived at Belgrade’s hostel.

Kalemegdan Park

This famous and must visit park is located very close to my hostel. Only about 5-10 minutes walk. In the morning, most of the people used to take a walk with their dog, while the others may sit down to relax and chat, or read the newspaper. At some border, you may find the famous Belgrade Fortress, but I haven’t planned to enter it, so, next day would be okay. The fortress from the outside actually making me goosebumps. An old historical building, as the part of Serbian’s history is in front of me. I must go inside. At another border, there was also many bench right to see the beautiful scenery of New Belgrade and also the junction of Sava and Danube River. This was amazing, I shouted many times, “This is amazing! I love this city!”

So, ended up, I took around, the Belgrade Fortress from the outside, Monument of Gratitude to France, Great Staircases, Belgrade Cathedral, walk along Knez Mihajlova to find a food, and finally went to the KFC.

National Bank of Serbia

Belgrade Fortress

View of Danube River and New Belgrade from the Kalemegdan Park

KFC Studenski Trg (Students Square)

The menu was totally different with another KFC I have ever met. There were mostly chicken wings, chicken strips, and another specialties. I ordered chicken fillet burger RSD220 (Filet sendvic), a mixed-berry pie RSD150 (Tortica), and a cup of hot chocolate RSD105 (Topla cokolada). Total of RSD475 for my breakfast. The pie was so delicious.

Usce Shopping Center

It’s actually quiet far from the Students Square, but I took a walk from there. In the map, it may look like only 1 or 2 bus stop, but if you really walk, it may took almost 30 minutes to get to Usce area. So, this shopping mall is one of the biggest and most modern shopping mall in Belgrade. Yea, shopping time! The way back, I took the bus. Oh, I almost forgot, if you pay using BusPlus card, it only cost RSD60, for all trip, half cheaper than pay cash.

Mikser Festival 2012

It a long walk since the morning I left the hostel. I went back to the hostel, took a rest, and not long after, my roommate was came back and ask me to join him and another friends. So, there are five of us. Two of my roommates coming from Germany and Hungary, and there are also another two Scottish brothers Rob Huntley (Canada) and Seoras Speirs (Ireland).

So, we were going to Savamala, to see the festival. It is the Biggest Regional Festival of Creativity. So, there were an almost-demolished-and-old building filled with an art materials, there were also “recycle” area just to remind us to always be care with these things, also creativity workshops by Chevrolet, etc. They had like 38 buildings which joining the festival showing their own creativity of each building.

My Hungarian friend came back to the hostel, while me and the rest continued to the lake, like the plan at the first time.

Remake Recycle Rethink Recreate Reset

Mikser Festival 2012. Find the yellow in Savamala, Belgrade

Ada Cigalinja

Stephen was right to took a cab to Ada Ciganlija. It was cheaper and much faster. We paid the cab RSD408, divided by 4 persons, so per person wouldn’t be more expensive than took a bus.

It is an artificial lake in the middle of the city. City’s people called it Belgrade’s Sea. The river was dammed so it looks like a lake. The beach from the far, it may looks like sands, but after you see in closer, it was gravels, actually.

We had a chat in the lakeside bar, talked almost about everything, social, religion, damn-politics, in our own country. Nice time, actually.

I drank water for RSD260, while the others’ beers just RSD180. Yeah, beers are just cheaper than mineral water. We went back to the Republic Square, so we can split easily to the nearest point back to our hostel. Stephen and me were heading back to the hostel. Taxi from Ada Ciganlija to Republic Square was RSD560.

Ada Ciganlija

‘?’ Restaurant

Yes, blame me to be too lazy to walked out the hostel. Today was very tiring. This famous ‘?’ Restaurant was fortunately located just next to my building (Kralja Petra Street 6).

I ordered ‘Serbian Beans with sausage’ and water. Aaannddd, it’s my another bad not to rechecked it, I forgot about most of the sausage were pork, while I don’t eat pork. The waiter was very nice so they change my meal to Beef stewed goulash. The taste was delicious, and worthy. It all costs RSD750.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Residence of Princess Ljubica

Bajrakli Mosque

Serbian National Assembly

Belgrade City Assembly – Old Court

Belgrade Fortress

As I noted in the previous day, I must get in to the fortress. This a free of charge entry. All I can say is Amazing! Just like fortress in movies, with double gates, tanks, and friends. You will be in the Upper City, if you entered from Kalemegdan Park, and obviously, you would be able to stare the beautiful panorama of Lower City and the junction of Sava and Danube River, as I previously mentioned. The pictures will tell you more.

Belgrade Fortress 2nd gate

Belgrade Fortress (Upper town’s view from Lower town)

Monument of Gratitude to the France

Military Museum

This museum is located just in the area of the fortress. Pay RSD150 and explore the history of previous Serbian war, since they were with Yugoslavia, Turkish invasion, Montenegro separated, etc. A total complete of piece of history you could find in ordered number and sign. It was also good to see the silent witness of the Serbian history.

Military Museum

Gyropolis – Knez Mihajlova

Not really far from the Kalemegdan Park, and very close to Kralja Petra Street, i found the food shop. The meal was named Gyros, I thought it were originally come from Greece, yeah, let me say it was a Greek Wrap or Kebap. The price was only RSD250, why I said it ‘only’? It is a perfect fast food lunch. With much fries and chicken meat, it’s worthy. You can pick the mayonnaise, while the man offered me the traditional one because I was confused of many options, you can asked whether you like tomatoes, onions, etc, and you can also pick the meat, pork, chicken, or mixed. Just asked them!

Chicken gyros

Nikola Tesla Museum

I was told by Stephan from Germany that I should visit the Nikola Tesla Museum. From the very beginning, I was wondering, Tesla should be very important to the country, besides, yes, I know, Tesla was a world’s great scientist and inventor. So, I got to the Tourist Information Center in Knez Mihajlova, and fortunately the officer was really nice and helpful. He’s speaking english very well. He told me to go straight on to the museum, and for easiness, he suggested me to take a walk instead of having bus. I walked about 30 mins to the museum.

I got to the museum around 1 pm, the ticket officer told that in that time, they had guide with Serbian language, while the English-guided tour will be on 2 pm. I was waiting in the park not far from the museum, until it’s rain, I wait in the lobby. The museum fee was RSD500 with or without the guide, included the movie.

The guide was explained it very well, attractive, and informative. The most important inventions made by Nikola Tesla was the motor (stator and rotor) which generate the magnetic field from inducing metal, if I’m not mistaken.

There were also an attraction which also the part of the invention. So, some people in the groups were holding the neon bulbs, standing around the appliances which generate 250,000 watt of electricity and also great lightning. Without touching the bulb to the appliances, the bulb will lighted on, because of the magnetic field happened by the rotating metals around the generator.

Another show, the lightning which could generate wireless electricity for the model so the model could moved, was not conducted through our body, but our skin. This called ‘skin effect’. I felt it, a little shocked, but not killing or hurting at all.

They also got the bed, drawers, and room-stuff which occupied by Nikola Tesla together with his personal belongings. This things is regularly moving around the worldwide. So, we were lucky to having seen it today in our trip. What a great experience, the worthy one.

The bulb is on!

Nikola Tesla’s room

Danube Riverside

I met with this nice Albanian-Croatian friend, was lived in Serbia also Montenegro, now used to live in Netherlands, named Goran Zekaj Tarik (www.goranzekaj.com). He is an graphic designer, photographer, web designer also his cat was also a moviestar. He was organizing his exhibition in one of the building in Mikser Festival which I attend yesterday. Yeah, finally I got someone to asked many things about the country. We talked alot, exchange the information about both country. We went to the cafe in the side of Danube River. Goran was taking me through the shortcut from Kralja Petra street, using stairs downwards, and voila, here we are in the riverside of Danube River.

I just knew that most of the building in the riverside are clubs, cafes, and restaurants. But, I haven’t took any pictures, so sorry😉 Anyway, thanks Goran!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Today, I was almost running out of plan. So, let anything happened as it could be. I first planned to go inside the National Bank of Serbia which located near my hostel. They told has a visitor center and modern gallery which opens Mon-Fri from 10-16h. When I was about to leave the hostel, XXXX from the hostel suggest me to go to Zemun. I was thought ‘How could I did not ask her how to there. I already planned to go there, but too lazy to ask. So, she explained me a little history and the way to get there. It’s not really far, so I just let my feet took me there. I grabbed my lunch in Usce Shopping Center, in New Belgrade (Novi Beograd), so I don’t think you guys want to read about it anymore.😀

Zemun

I took the bus no. 84 from Brankova Bridge down the Glavina Street in Zemun. Once again, the bus fare was flat everywhere RSD60 if you’re using your BusPlus card. Less than 15 minutes by bus, I got there. On the way, just seen the Palace of Serbia on the left, the old Hotel Jugoslavija which is not operated anymore, I thought some part of the hotel were changed to be a Grand Casinoe, but the rest of the hotel seems never been touched, kinda spooky anyway.

So, hop off in Glavina street, I felt the different atmosphere of the city. Yeah, Zemun was the only city which existed in the war time, while the other part of New Belgrade was swamps. So, you can imagine, while the Old Belgrade occupied by Turkish, then Zemun was the only area of Yugoslavia to fight the Turkish directly.

I walked down along the Danube River, found a group of iBikeBelgrade (www.ibikebelgrade.com), pictured some churches (Church Sv. Nikola, Haris’s Chapel of St. Demetrius, Roman Catholic Church of Blazene device Marije), Remnants of the Medieval Fortress and Millennium Tower on Gardos Hill, Zemun Cemetery.

Actually this was a small town, which still occupies by the the people. Most of them are not English speaker, even a young man. The area somehow complicated even you with a map, so, be really well prepared with enough information or guide.

Zemun

Gardoš Tower, Old Zemun

Danube and Belgrade Fortress ‘crazy’ Walkside

View of Danube River and New Belgrade (Novi Beograd)

So, at night, Goran was made his promise to accompany me on the other night, so tonight was the other night. We chatted alot, talking almost about everything, up and down the hills, walked through railway, went to the ship factory, trashes’ final station, and many other part which wouldn’t be seen by tourist. Another thank to you, Goran. We walked like about 3 hours, yeah, three hours. That’s somehow amazingly a long time to walk and chat nonstop. I thought the way Goran chosed was almost equal to my orientation time in campus, just for you who understand the situation. *Right, TERRA?*

Until I gave up and hunger to the fullest, finally we went to Pizzeria Trg, a pizza and pancake store around Republic Square. I went to eat the pancake with Nutella and Banana’s topping. But, the pancake here was more like crepes in Indonesia, but the crepes itself was thicker and softer, not crispy that way. It costs only RSD130, and somehow, because I miss the sweet meals, it was like the best meal I ever eat, so far, here, in Belgrade. *too much*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Belgrade Cathedral

I thought the conference would be started on 9. I came to the hotel before 9, and everybody just like don’t know about the conference. Until, the very kind Prof. Snezana came to me. She was very warm and gladful to welcome me to the city. She also already knew my name! So, she explained about the schedule and took my poster which would be my presentation’s media for tomorrow.

I went back to the hostel for awhile. I grabbed my lunch in Gyropolis, yes, it also one of my favorite.

(I will make separate post regarding on the 3rd International Geosciences Student Conference)

After the conference, I, again, met Goran in Republic Square. He was just watching a theater play with his family in National Theater. I asked him to eat yesterday’s pancake, because I really like it. We went to another food stall, and I tried different toppings. Now, with traditional chocolate cream, banana, and cherry. Btw, thanks Goran for the treat!

Republic Square (Surrounded by National Museum, National Theater, and National Art Museum)

Skadarlija

Like he always ‘did’, he took me around like don’t-know-where-to-go. He supposed to find his favorite bar, but he didn’t remember the place since he always went there by car. Finally, we went to Skadarlija Street, which acclaimed as the oldest street in Belgrade. This street was another atmosphere of the street side cafes. Along the street, and area, you would easily find restaurants, cafes, or bars. People like to spend their time here. Just get here if you’d like to feel different atmosphere. People here until the late of night. We went to Red Bar, nice bar. Quiet full of people, but still nice.

Skadarlija

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today is the second day of IGSC. As I have mentioned before, i will make another post about it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just grabbed a quick dessert in a building’s cafe, in Milentija Popovica 5B, Smokvica, and ordered Cheese Cake RSD260 and Orange Juice RSD230.

After the halfday-skipped’s conference, I went back to take my luggage at hostel. Yeah, Hostelche was very nice to let me put my luggage even I have checked out. I met Bojana, the nice girl who received me at the first day, and then it’s her shift when I left the hostel for the last time. I like Bojana very much, because she is very nice, informative, and I thought we have something in common, right, Bojana?😉 See you, when I see you. Thanks Hostelche, for giving me such an experience, the very new one. Now, I understand why do people love to stay in a hostel, the one like Hostelche. Full of kind people, we can have roommates from all over the world to share everything, and that’s worth more than the price you have paid for the room. Priceless.

Brankova Street. Old building.

Friday, June 1, 2012

So, just for anyone information, I got a kinda long trip back to Jakarta. Belgrade – Istanbul for 1:45h, transit 0:30h, Istanbul – Singapore for 10:15h, transit 0:45h, and finally Singapore – Jakarta for 1:30h. Fiiiuuhh, looonnnng waaay. But, finally, I’m hooome from my first solo trip!

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