Visiting Belgrade for a geeky conference

I have arrived in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. The reason I drove straight trough Croatia is to get here in time for the Hackaday Belgrade Conference. In the same time I will also try to get some grasp of the Belgrade lifestyle. The Hackaday Belgrade Conference is a one day event on hardware and software applications and the hacking involved to get there. It’s organised by the website Hackaday, which I like quite a lot for my daily dose of hard-core technology. I liked to attend this conference during my trip to at least stay a little bit connected to my field of work.

Belgrade is located along the riverbanks of the Danube river and the Sava river which joins the Danube here. The Sava river actually finds its source in Lake Bohinj where I was a couple of weeks ago with Johannes.

I checked in at Hostel M where I booked a private room, the bare minimum is provided, but one gets what one pays for, and it offers free parking which comes in handy in my case. On the first evening in Belgrade I joined a Couchsurfing group for dinner and drinks afterwards. I met some great folks, some of which I would meet later again.

The next day I took the bicycle to cycle around Belgrade. I also got my hands on a cheap data simcard, as Serbia is not part of the EU and thus roaming is very expensive. However, not with a local data simcard from Telenor. For only 550 Dinars, less than € 5, you can get 10 Gigabytes of data to be used within 2 weeks.

I spend some lazy time in the park surrounding the Belgrade Fortress and had some nice lunch along the waterfront. I also met Oliviera which I got in contact with trough social media. We had a drink and some smalltalk, but she was also in a hurry to catch a movie. Later I joined a bunch of the Couchsurfing group from the previous evening for dinner and some more drinks overlooking the Sava river and the opposite side of the riverbank “New Belgrade”, quite a pleasant way to end the day.

On Friday I visited the Belgrade Fortress more extensively, got myself a good lunch and in the evening a pre-conference socialising event was organised but first I met some fellow conference attendees at a local food market trying to get some dinner. The food market turned up to be more some sort of a local produces market, and not the eating bonanza I was hoping for, so except for tasting some local produced beers we ended up with an empty stomach at the pre-conference event. At least I had a proper lunch earlier that day. The event basically ment lots of drinks with geeks and like minded people and talking about hardware and software projects everyone was working on. Afterwards we went with some of the group to get a last drink at a more quiet terrace.

On Saturday I turned up on time at the conference, which was quite an achievement after almost 2 months with hardly any obligations, and all the drinks the night before. The conference started with a breakfast and then some interesting talks were given. A talk about using 3D printers in stem-cell research and one about levitation using ultrasonic sound were the ones who appealed to me the most. At the end of the event a hard- and software hacking session was organised, but I didn’t feel the need to participate. It was interesting though to see what people came up with.

Hackaday Conference hacking session

After all this geekiness it was time to get back into traveler mode. Oliviera asked me if I liked to joint her at the Belgrade city beach, which is about a half hour bike ride up the Sava river, so I did. Later we went to the Belgrade Manifest festival at the Belgrade Fortress where we met friends of her. A joyful ending of my visit to Belgrade, the next morning I checked out at the hostel and moved on to explore Serbia further.