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Serbia Or Bust

August 18, 2010

First things first: European women are style personified. And European men are hawt! Also? The flight attendants of Austrian Airlines all look like distant relatives of the Von Trapps. Or ABBA.

Before we even take off from Toronto for Vienna, I get a little taste – make that smell – of what’s to come when an overly ripe dude settles into the seat in front of me. I’ve bought out the dollar store, loaded up with DVDs and am overflowing with various healthy(ish) snacks, but my thorough preparation is for naught – the backpacks are ignored while my 3-year-old has a pillow fight. With her father. It’s going to be a long frigging day…

I’ve brought Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played with Fire to read on the trip. My husband bets me $100 that I won’t get past page 10. That is a best I’m willing to lose, because aside from dealing with the kids, I’m fascinated by my fellow passengers: some are wearing pajamas while others wouldn’t look out of place at a wedding.

One dude (a Beefy McMuscle-type) is reading something called Why Men Love Bitches, and he’s doing it while sitting next to his girlfriend. One poor dad is caring for his two kids, one of whom is that child – the one who freaks out the entire flight. Some jerks are giving him the stink eye. Others nod in sympathy. A few more offer a ‘better you than me, buddy’ glance. I give the greatest gift of all: children’s gravol. You’re welcome, Flight 92.

Flying into the morning, my daughter sleeps a few hours but my son is wired and refuses to miss a second of our European adventure. Until, of course, we begin our descent into Vienna. Then he goes comatose and doesn’t fully wake up until we load onto our second flight of the day. The propeller plane taking us to Belgrade looks like vintage WWII and I assume the pilot will be wearing goggles and a white scarf. Climbing the stairs from the tarmac, I notice the flight attendant giving the loo a once over with a ginormous can of Lysol. This does not bode well.

The flight is only an hour and before we know it, we’re getting our luggage and entering the cacophony of the Nicola Tesla parking lot. It only takes a few seconds for me to see my first Yugo (a putt putt car come to life!) and my father-in-law is there with a lovely driver he hired to haul all of our crap to their town (another two hours sitting – my butt is officially callused).

My seven-year-old sums up my initial thoughts: “It looks like Canada, but with funny looking signs.” (Another one I agreed with: “I sure hope these air bags work.”)

Aside from that, here are some initial impressions: there are beautiful church spires poking up through the forest, which my husband described as the marker of tiny villages (“Like that movie, Chocolat, but with more meat.”); it is no big deal to live, like my inlaws do, in a 200-year-old building with massive doors guarding the interior courtyard and communal garden; there is a tonne of construction going on along the highway, with many machines and only a few men working (and by “working”, I mean gathering around one guy and having what looks like a delightful coffee break); EVERYONE goes walking in the town centre in the late afternoon – this is a café culture and although I don’t even drink the stuff, I’m already a fervent follower.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 2:09 pm

    I love your post Lori, I feel like I am getting to go on a Serbia adventure too! Can’t wait to hear the next update.

    • August 19, 2010 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Paige – it’s so nice to know people are reading when I’m gone!

  2. lburfitt permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:14 pm

    So glad I found your blog Lori. I’m a fellow Ontarian living in the USA.

    I applaud you for giving your kids a bit of Gravol for the flight! I’m always stuck on planes with a bunch of stir-crazy and/or freaked-out kids (I live in Utah now, where people have a lot of kids), and I wish some mothers would realize that they are not going to go to hell if they give their kid a kid-dose of Gravol once in a while.

    Travel safe! Look forward to your next post!

    ~l

    • August 19, 2010 10:23 am

      I’m so happy you found me, too! I must admit I’ve been tempted to give them a dose or two at home from time to time as well 🙂

  3. Debra Kenly Troescher permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:46 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventures!! Can’t wait to hear about it ALL and see some pics. Be safe my friend and ENJOY!!

    • August 19, 2010 1:25 pm

      Pics are coming! We’re heading to a wireless cafe tonight to do some downloading…

  4. August 18, 2010 7:18 pm

    Reading this is making me very antsy now and am tempted to go to the airport and get on a plane. Can you still find a plane ticket for $50? Maybe I’ll just get in my car and pretend I’m driving through the streets of Europe.
    Can’t to wait to live vicariously through more of your vacation.

    • August 19, 2010 1:24 pm

      Glad I could oblige your vicarious travel habit, Molly! Alas, $50 plane tickets are a thing of the past…

  5. Andrea Bitner permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:12 pm

    I love it, sure you are having a great time, please start enjoying coffee, miss you all!

    • August 19, 2010 1:24 pm

      I just can’t do the coffee…but I’m all over the patio 😉

  6. The Perfectly Imperfect One permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:41 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure to me. But, what is “children’s gravol”?

    • August 19, 2010 10:21 am

      Gravol is an over-the-counter medication for travel sickness that has an added (in my opinion) benefit of making the recipient very sleepy!

      • The Perfectly Imperfect One permalink
        August 20, 2010 4:24 am

        Sounds perfect 🙂

      • August 20, 2010 9:37 am

        I couldn’t agree more…

  7. Mr. Prodg permalink
    August 19, 2010 5:51 pm

    lol. great read.

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  1. All I Want for Christmas is a Happy Serb « Lori Dyan

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