The next morning Belgrade felt like a completely different city. The clouds had lifted, and for the first time in nearly a week the sky was a beautiful blue. Despite having been out partying until dawn, this was not an opportunity I intended to miss – so by 11am I was out the door and on my way.
Unfortunately Peder needed a bit more time to recover, so before leaving we agreed that I’d return by 5pm so we could grab a quick dinner before our final night on the town.
Until then, my solo destination would be a trip to Ada Ciganlija.
My God, I could not have designed a more perfect summertime hangout.
With a massive artificial lake at its center, the Ada recreational area offers virtually anything one might desire for a Sunday under the sun. Its pebbled waterfront is encircled by both a walking promenade and a bike path, both of which are lined by countless bars, cafes, restaurants, food stalls, basketball and tennis and volleyball courts, children’s playgrounds, green grassy areas, BBQ pits, indoor and outdoor sports complexes, inflatable moon bounces, rock climbing walls, and even a tower built specifically for bungee jumping. Of course if watersports are your thing, you can always go for a dip in any of the swimming areas, or rent a paddle boat, or even strap on some water skis – they’ve got a long overhead wire that zips you back and forth along the water. The clubs and bars along the promenade play every type of music, from the latest in EuroHouse to traditional Serbian. Dozens of cyclists and rollerbladers cruise around modeling their suntanned bodies as thousands more pedestrians stroll leisurely by. There’s even nude beach area, if that’s your thing – though it’s no more isolated from the walking promenade than any of the other swimming areas. Now that takes some confidence!
I’ve read that on an average summer day, no less than 100,000 people can be seen soaking up rays throughout Ada – a number which spikes to more than 300,000 on holiday weekends. And while 300,000 may sound like an uncomfortably high number, if you saw how expansive this “recreational area” is, any hesitation would almost certainly be quelled.
Check out the Wikipedia article here.
My only issue during the day turned out to be the challenge of getting there; Ada was significantly farther downriver than the map had led me to believe. After starting the trip on foot, it didn’t take long to realize that at such a pace I never would’ve made it back to the apartment by 5pm – let alone with any time to explore. But luckily, after an hour or so of walking I happened by a bike rental kiosk – so I picked one up and continued to speed my way downriver.
Until I found myself on the wrong side of the tracks, getting pinned against the waterline with no way across to the main road. Weaving my way in and out of a few muddy train graveyards – and along some pretty mucky industrial areas – proved to be more time consuming than the entire rest of the ride there.
Ah well…at least it was interesting 🙂
After two full laps around the expansive manmade lake and a full-on recharge in spirit, I finally headed back home…arriving just one minute past 5. Peder was still in bed, but had no memory whatsoever of our agreement to meet.
I guess next time I should make sure he’s a bit more awake. I’ve gotta say, he did sound pretty convincing for a sleeptalker 😆