Hello Lizzy, who are you and what are you doing here?
My name is Lizzy Mae I am originally Dutch, but I grew up in paradise meaning Switzerland, then I did my studies in Rome and in London. After my studies, I got sponsored and broke the female world record of driving through the most countries with one car, my loyal MINI Cooper and my best friend as my copilot. We ended up all over European tv and the top gear magazine, which made me really proud. It was a crazy adventure we had AK47s pointed at our faces in Chechnya and almost got bride kidnapped in Dagestan. And then I told my Swiss friends that I was gonna move to Serbia and start a business. Everyone called me crazy and said that that’s not possible even Serbians said: forget it! it will never happen.
But when people tell me that it’s not possible I like to prove them wrong, so I did.
If I had to describe myself I would say that I am spontaneous, I never give up and I am slightly nuts in the mind! 😛
How long have you been living in Belgrade and what is it exactly that brought you here?
I have been here now for 8 months, I don’t really know what brought me here, it was just a feeling I had. I had a business idea and Belgrade was one of the cities where it could have worked, so I had the option between a few cities in the Balkans and I choose Belgrade, because it has something special. And I don’t regret any second of it, Because now I am the proud owner of CITYSoul Belgrade and we offer the Best Tours in town, giving tourists the local experience.
What do you like about being here, and what are the things you don’t like?
I know it sounds a bit cheesy but I really like everything here, I mean it was my choice to come here so I might love Belgrade more than a local! 😉
The only thing that I could do without is that due to my swiss number plates I get stopped by police very often. Especially in summer when all the gastarbeiters are here, sometimes I get stopped 3 times a day. Its not really a big issue, since as soon as i tell them that i moved to Serbia willingly, they laugh call me crazy and let me go. lol
What are your favorite spots / tourist attractions in Belgrade?
My own terrace, I live right next to the Sava temple and I live on the top floor on my building on my terrace I can see the whole city and the bridges it’s by far the best view in Serbia ahaha or at least I think so!
The second place is a shop called Modellina, I love to paint and do all sorts of creative things and Modellina has everything. I often go there just to get some new ideas or some inspiration.
And I love the Branko’s bridge whenever I cross it from new Belgrade to the city center I have a feeling of “f**k I really did it!”
What is your favorite local food / drink? Are there some things that you are missing from your country?
My absolute favorite it for sure palačinke, but that is because we have the exact same in holland and I grew up with them, they are like dutch plasma.
The things that I am missing?! mh I have to think… To be honest I lived in so many places, that wherever I go there are many things that I miss. I guess that I got used to it. Dutch meatballs, a real Italian pasta, swiss Spätzle, Korean barbecue, fish and chips, big American onion rings.
On the other side, if I would be in another country I would miss the čevapčići the shopska and the amazing spare ribs at the Toro grill restaurant in Zemun.
What do you think about locals?
I love them! First of all, for a foreigner, it’s super easy to get to know locals since they all have amazing English skills. Second, they are super welcoming and really make an effort to help you and make you feel at home.
The only issue that I had, is that Serbians love to show off their amazing English, so automatically it’s super hard to find someone that doesn’t speak English to practice my Serbian.
How does the cost of living compare to your country?
I hate this question to be honest. There is a saying that says: “Your neighbors grass is always greener”. The Swiss say: “omg I wish I could live in Serbia because it’s so cheap”
and the Serbians say “Brate I wish I would live in Switzerland because salaries are so high”
I always say: “same shit different toilet.”
Any other tips for fresh expats and travelers?
The only tip I could give is: go with the rhythm, keep your calm and stay focused on your goal.
Thank you for this interview Lizzy we really enjoyed it!
For those of you who are reading this, we would definitely recommend you to check out some of the different Belgrade tours that CitySOUL Belgrade offers. Here is the link!