Read, Write, Run, Roam

There’s a new Sherriff in town, er, coming soon.

You keep an eye on that closet, partner

Before we left the U.S., we went to restaurants we thought we’d miss. We had dinners and drinks and brunches with friends. We spent a lot of free time planning for the trip and generally enjoying life at home. I think you know what happened next: by the time we left, indulgence became corpulence.

When we got here, we discovered bakeries, cevapcici, and cheeses we’d never heard of. Some of Muz’s colleagues—svelte Belgrade women—invited us to eat cake for lunch. Not wanting to jeopardize international relations, we readily agreed. Oh, the sacrifices we make here…like giving up on tight jeans for a little while…

Last week, I declared that there was a new sheriff in town. I would restart my running regimen.

Except people don’t run here.  There are a couple of trails that people use in the summer, but no one runs in the streets. Plus, the streets are pretty hard to run on if you’re not on a boulevard, and even then you have to dodge people unaccustomed to a runner flying by. Well, jogging by. Sometimes walking. This city is hilly, people.

I said to the Muz, “I have to get over feeling so self-conscious running outside,” and he said, “Nah. Just don’t run.”

With that kind of moral support, I knew I had to get outside help. Time to find a gym. How hard could it be to find a gym?

Harder than you’d think.

Armed with a list of gyms in the area, we walked to each one on Sunday. One was closed. Permanently. Another was only open from 2-6pm. The third was in a school.  The fourth reminded me of my high school gym: uninspiring and smelly. The final one seemed the most promising because there were two (!) women there, compared to the zero elsewhere.  Still, we weren’t sure. Membership was more expensive than we thought it would be.

Maybe I’ll open a gym while I’m here. One that has more than one shower and isn’t in a basement. One that’s open after 6pm. That offers classes for people with non-European metabolism. I’ll start a running program in Kalemegdan Park. I’ll figure out why people never walk around in gym clothing. I’ll be the Jack LaLane of Belgrade!

Or maybe I’ll just hit a new bakery instead. That Sheriff might want cake for lunch.


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