Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sarajevo to Belgrade Train

A round-trip train ticket from Belgrade to Sarajevo is €31 (~$45). The route re-opened in 2009 after being closed for 17 years. The route was damaged during the war and it now takes a couple of hours longer than before.

The trip to Sarajevo should take 9.5 hours (but it took an extra hour when I went on Monday). The ride back to Belgrade was on time and took 8.5 hours.

There is a lot of pretty scenery in Bosnia and Herzegovina but it is a long ride. Thank goodness for my Kindle. This route is very basic; no refreshments on the train. It was a good thing I had some water, juice and rolls in my backpack. The train is still better than the bus since you can at least stand up and walk around on a train.

I definitely knew I wasn't in the Schengen zone any longer. Leaving Serbia, a couple of Serbian customs officers came on board and checked passports but no exit stamp. Since the train goes through Croatia, you get checked entering the country and again before the trains approaches the Bosnian border. As soon as you cross the border it's time to show your passport to the Bosnian official. On the way back you do it all over again. It's a good thing that I had extra pages added to my passport last year. This round-trip ride added 7 stamps to my passport. Four stamps for Croatia, 2 for Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1 for Serbia.

EDIT: I mentioned before about the difficulty of entering Serbia from Kosovo. Serbia seems to be more concerned with people entering the country than with leaving it. On the train, they didn't stamp my passport when I left but they did when I came back. And when I left Serbia on Sunday, Serbian immigration at the airport didn't stamp my passport. Instead they put the exit stamp on my boarding pass which I've never seen before.

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