I don’t know about you, but planning out a trip gets me ridiculously excited. And I mean big time. After booking my transport and/or accommodation, I can barely fall asleep! I just love that feeling. Knowing there is an adventure waiting for me and that I’ll get to see another corner of big beautiful Earth just makes me insanely happy.
That’s how I felt when I booked my Belgrade trip. I have never been to Serbia before that, and I kept hearing stories from my friends about the beauty of Belgrade. I planned the trip with my friend and we decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve there.
It all seemed like a fabulous weekend ahead of us. We had about a day and a half before the party to do the sightseeing, and more than a full day afterward to chill out after the party. Impeccable plan, right?
Well, it would have been… If things had actually happened according to the plan.
See, if they did, I would now be telling you about all the incredible streets and views and foods of Belgrade. I would be telling you about all the places you should visit, restaurants you might like and things to pack and shops to spend your money at.
But things didn’t happen according to the plan, so I can only tell you about three things: the Belgrade Fortress, the New Year’s Eve party, and a hospital visit.
I wish I could tell you so much more about the Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan, because it really is amazing. Our plan to go and see it both days didn’t work for the reasons I’ll explain in a second, but it is a really beautiful, history-rich place to be at.
The New Year’s party was happening at a club with 7 different dance floors (meaning 7 different music styles and themes) and we found it incredibly fun. It was also a so-called ‘traffic light party’ where you get a bracelet in either red, yellow or green, showcasing you as taken, single or something in between. We spent most of our night on the silent disco floor and we had great fun!
However… That’s nearly all I have to say about this trip, or at least about my sightseeing part of it. And why is that, you ask?
Well, only a few hours after we left the New Year’s party, I got insanely sick. And to clarify some potential doubts: I didn’t poison myself with alcohol, food or any potential substance that might come to your mind. At this point in my life, I haven’t had a single drink in over a year, and my friend was eating the same food as I did – and she was fine.
I just got sick. Nothing spectacular about my visit to the hospital… Except that my whole trip was basically made of it. I couldn’t stand up straight from the pain I felt and I couldn’t come near food without feeling sick.
Here is an extremely unflattering hospital photo of me, with a bloated face due to getting three IV therapies:
I literally hoped it was all just a dream, because all I wanted was to lay in bed far from lights and sounds and I couldn’t believe it’s happening to me on the first day of January, while I’m in Belgrade; I wanted to see the city so badly, but I also wanted to be 600 kilometres away where my parents could take care of me.
I have spent nearly a full day in the hospital. They originally wanted to send me to another hospital across the city as I was an international patient, but after I nearly broke down after hearing it, they admitted me. The doctors and nurses that looked after me were the kindest bunch ever and I received flawless medical care.
After being released, I spend the end of the day sleeping and watching cartoons on YouTube, as it was all I was able to do, and there was still a long train ride ahead of us the following day. My friend got a chance to hang out with owners of our hostel while I was deeply asleep.
(A side note: I didn’t get any particular diagnosis apart from the assumption of food poisoning as all of my tests were fine. My immune system was slightly weakened in the following weeks, but other than that, I was fine within a week from the hospital event).
This post wouldn’t have happened if there weren’t some takeaways I wanted to share with you, so here it goes…
Travel insurance is so important
I don’t even want to think of the price I’d have to pay if I didn’t have one. Your health should always come first; you should always be willing to pay a small price for the insurance rather than wanting to ‘save’ by not buying it, but ending up with thousands of euros worth of medical bills if anything goes wrong.
Your trips won’t always go the way you want them to
Hopefully, you’ll never get sick; but it does, however, make sense to expect that the more you travel, the bigger your chances are to deal with an unexpected circumstance. Whatever it may be, make sure not to panic over it and to simply do your best to deal with it rather than expecting too much from yourself and wanting to live up to your original plans.
Be super grateful for people who help you out of a problem while you’re traveling
My friend Monika was my savior and all I remember is being too weak to do anything on my own – and she was there to help me. Now, I know many of you are badass solo travelers and I admire you for that – but please keep yourselves safe and ask for help when you need it.
That was my story of an unplanned hospital visit hundreds of miles away from home! Do you have any similar experiences? Share your stories with me in the comments and say hi on Twitter!