To sum up so far what has been best about travelling; I would say it is the constant surprises I get, mainly good, but some bad involving a big red faced man with a grey moustache and...a rat!
Arrived in Belgrade, Serbia last night. In the dark. Was worried, a little. The hostel was at the top of a grimy dark stairwell. Yet, on opening the day I discovered it was a cheerful, sunny yellow painted place, with a big sitting area. Couches, chairs, low tables, free beer, people chatting, on the internet. And a friendly group of Scottish girls.
Had been on a Hungarian train all day long and it was nice to hear native British speakers and swap travel stories. I was begining to think I was the only female British backpacker in Eastern Europe at this point.
Second surprise. Woke up early and was out of the door in good time, looking forward to exploring a new city. I love these fresh, mornings, when you do not know what is around the corner.
Ten minutes later I was rather disgruntled and had come to the conclusion that Belgrade was a smelly, grey, depressing, dirty place and I'd better leave asap.
First, I needed breakfast and is always the way, when I'm ravenous, could not for the life of me find anywhere, a coffee shop, to sit down in.
Half an hour came across a cafe called Mama's Biscuit House, with outdoor seating; all those nice seats and cushions.
And...some of the best cakes I have ever seen in my life. So colourful, so original and exquisitely decorated without being overly fussy and ridiculous. I think there is a fine line with cakes and decorating. Effort and attractive presentation is important, but as it will soon disappear, there's not much point in over egging the custard.
I tried some of the most appealing cake - never had anything like it before.
It was a sort of fudgey/cake bottom. Tried to work out what it was. Thought it may have been biscuit and nut, but it was soft. Then there was a light chocolate mousse, then a thick layer of meringue, topped by more milk chocolate mousse, and decorated with a layer of bananas covered in dark chocolate.
It may sound a bit vile or sickly. But it was fantastic, like a friend's mum might make a pudding, for a dinner party or get together. Not synthetic or processed.
Tasted like a sumptuous homemade pud.
These cakes, I decided were better than in Vienna and Paris. I do think in Vienna especially there is too much of the thin slices of dried out, dry cake sandwiched together with not particularly nice cream. Sacher torte is good though and Mozart cake.
Snapped out of my vile mood at the weekend by going to the Gellert baths in Budapest. Wonderful. If ever I'm in a strop like that again, I will try to remember that swimming, sitting in a hot bath that never goes cold, jumping in the water when the wave machine is turned on and smiling in the sun is the best cure.