yes, it's early, but I just got into Belgrade (Serbia) on a night train from Ljubljana (Slovenia) and of course the hostel is full until someone wakes up and checks out...it's 8am and not a single person is awake! Such is life in Belgrade.
The cool, rainy weather was a welcome change when I got to Salzburg after a month's scorching heat, but managed to hamper some of my outdoorsy-type activity plans (once I managed to get feeling back in my legs, which I very much did after a day of pampering them), and when I got to Ljubljana in the cold rain, I tried to console myself with thoughts of how sunny the whole trip had been and how much lighter my pack was since I was wearing my jeans and hiking boots...but when the weather reports informed me of cold rain for the rest of the week in Slovenia, I was bummed. Most of the draw of Slovenia was the beautiful mountain and lake areas surrounding the cute but bite-sized capital.
After a day of dragging around in the rain and wandering off of my soggy map and finding my way back again (and going to the WORST art museum possibly in the entire world, with polaroids tacked onto the wall and an entire wing devoted to some architect who designed some blocky communist concrete buildings of the type that have been offending my eyes for more than 2 years now, except she added a slanty roof to one and a splash of color to another--now that's art), I decided that without my rain jacket, my planned trip to the reportedly gorgeous mountain/lake town of Bled would be either boring or miserable. I thought to leave on the night train the next evening, though the decision to skip an adventure bugged me all day and, later, leafing through pamphlets, I decided that I would brave the weather and, forgoing boating and hiking activities I'd been excited for, do a bike tour of the lake regions. The tour company arranged transport and everything...a few hours of biking in the rain with a group of fellow drenched adventurers would be ok...well the next morning I woke up at 7 and excitedly packed my backpack with a dry change of clothes in a plastic bag...but when I went outside to the breakfast room and, incidentally, got wet, I realized that I hadn't even looked out the window. It was pouring. And, yes, thundering. And lightning. And really, really wet.
I ate breakfast slowly, telling myself that if the rain let up even a little by the time I had to go to the pick-up spot, I was still up for the day trip, if they were even still doing it, but, breakfast finished, the sky was still uncompromisingly, miserably, falling in big wet chunks. I cancelled that night's hostel reservation, packed up my bags, and headed out into the city with my little red umbrella.
I didn't feel like the hike to the castle at the city center (seen way too many, and they're all on top of big hills) and didn't feel like going to any of the other "museums," so after some wandering and taking an hour in a restaurant to eat a hot bowl of potato, bean, and sour cabbage soup with my book for company and then a long, warm sit in a cafe with my book and a cappuccino, and no sign of the rain letting up, I happened across a movie theater.
The only movie playing was Pirates of the Carribean, the sequel, and though I'd heard it was awful, so was the weather, and I'd loved the first one. Plus, Johnny Depp. So into the theater (surprisingly nice and huge for a one-screen place) I went...and the movie was awful. But entertaining. (And, Johnny Depp. Though even he was not at his best, for which I fault the flatness of the script.) And by the time it was over it had stopped raining! But there was just enough time to leisurely make my way back to the hostel to grab my things, and catch a train, and sit on a train all night, and here I am in still-gray but warmer Belgrade, babbling babbling, with no place to take a little nap...I'm going to go explore the city then. The hostel has a nice little ancient computer which I'll try to get on some time again before I leave to fill in some more juicy stuff that's managed to escape my harshly reductive (is that a word? I'm thinking in too many languages now, I actually thought I wasn't making it up when I wrote it but now not so sure) summaries.