The journey from Zagreb to Niš warrants an entry on its own; first off we found the train to Belgrade, jumped on and found a nice seat in a not too crowded compartment. The train didn?t move, 10 minutes after it is due to depart nothing has happened, at this point I am starting to get worried so I ask the girl sitting next to me if this is the train to Belgrade and she says no, pointing out the window to the train on the opposite platform.
I grab my bags and push my way all the way down to the other end of the carriage (the doors at my end aren?t working), with a really slow bunch of people sauntering down in front of me. Finally I can jump off the train I run down the stair and up onto the other platform with Rosko hot on my heels.
There is a guard talking to the platform attendant just in front of the doors; I push past them and onto the train, the guard turns to me and asks where I am going. “To Beograd” I answer him.
“No, no, that train” he says, pointing back at the train I have just jumped off.
“Hurry Up” he says, needlessly as I charge back to the other platform and jump onto the first carriage I see. It’s now 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time and the train is showing no signs of movement.
I have however lost my seat, but every cloud has a silver lining and I spent the next couple of hours (the train does eventually leave half an hour late) standing in the connection between two carriages talking to a nice Croatian girl who is studying German and History at Zagreb University.
Once she got off at her stop I went and found a seat, and relaxed until we got to Belgrade.
At Belgrade we came unstuck, there were no people, no trains and no notice boards. I went into the ticket hall to ask someone at the information desk where the train would leave from. The man was leaning right back in his chair with his feet up on counter smoking a cigarette and doing his best to ignore everyone. I asked him if he spoke English,
“oh”, I waited to see if he would call someone over who did speak English, he didn’t.
“Niš?” I asked,
“3” he said
“platform 3?” I asked, he ignored me.
I figured we had plenty of time till the train, so I sat down on platform 3 and waited for it. No trains arrived.
Eventually a train arrived on platform 1, so I went over there and asked the driver if it went to Niš, he shook his finger at me, it was now nearly an hour after the train was due to depart so I went to the ticket office and asked the woman there and she just kept saying “No” so I wasn’t sure if she meant that no there weren’t any trains or no she didn’t understand me.
So I gave up and went to the bus station, where it turned out that there are buses every 15 minutes and they only cost a tenner.