Our last day in Europe, after six weeks in search of snow was spent in Belgrade. We had been travelling on our Eurail Global Pass throughout Europe, visiting Christmas markets, enjoying a Rhine River cruise and wishing and hoping for a white Christmas. We had left behind the hot Australian summer and more than anything we wanted was to see it snow.
We had experienced some chilly weather along the way which saw us rugged up with our thermals, scarves and gloves more than once. But we had not seen any snow 🙁 Starting off in Paris in November, it was cold, but very sunny most days. We then travelled to Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt. All pretty, cold and had a few days of light rain here and there, but still no show. In Frankfurt we were greeted with a bright, sunny room and told they were having the hottest winter in 100 years, which was great, but not what we wanted to hear. The final day in Frankfurt was very foggy as we made our way with Avalon Waterways along the Rhine River to Heidelberg, Mannheim, Speyer, Strasbourg, Obernai, Breisach, a Black Forest tour and onto Colmar.
We visited some beautiful places, fortified walled towns, half timbered houses and enjoyed delicious French pastries, drank lots of warming gluewein, and ate stolen. We sipped wines in a typical Alsation wine cellar and drove through the cold but very picturesque Black Forest to visit an authentic sixth generation Cuckoo clock maker at work. There we sipped cherry wine, ate Black Forest cake and watched the wonderful craft of wood carving. Our final stop on the cruise was Basel. Finally in Switzerland we were convinced we would experience a winter wonderland. But no. From Basel we ventured to Berne and Zurich, Lucerne and Chur where we boarded the famous Bernina Express. We thought this would be a sure thing to see lots of fluffy white snow capped mountains, but even the ski slopes we passed had barely any snow and they were concerned to keep their tourism alive during the unseasonally warm winter.
From Tirano we travelled to Milan for an overnight stopover and onto Salzburg via Innsbruck. Despite the lack of snow in the hills of Austria we weren’t let down with lots of fun on a Sound of Music tour. After a few days in Salzburg it was onto Ljubljana for a few days, travelling onto Vienna where we would spend Christmas. We were told our hopes for a White Christmas were doubtful and although quite cold, there was no forecast for snow. We made our way to Prague and then Budapest via Bratislava in time for a low of -11c for New Year’s Eve. It was bitterly cold there, but you guessed it, no snow.
Our final stop was a quick stopover in Belgrade before flying back home to warm and sunny Perth. The journey from Budapest to Belgrade was an exhausting eight hour train trip, with no toilets onboard and we were not permitted to get off the train at the border checkpoint. Finally, just on dusk we arrived at Novi Beograd station tired and showing signs of forty days of travel having taken it’s toll. We had checked our phone for the forecast and were clearly not getting our hopes up, despite it showing -16c there was only a 30% chance of snow.
This was our best odds in the last six weeks. As we were approaching the station we could see what we later learnt was a very light snow flurry. We were in oblivion at first, seeing what we first thought was dust blowing about. But this soon turned to excitement, much to the locals’ amusement. We were in our element to see our closest chance of real snow before we depart Europe to return to the heat of Australian summer. I’d seen snow on the ground twice before, but I’d never seen it snow. It was so beautiful and amazing, I felt like a child exploding with excitement. After checking into the Courtyard by Marriott hotel we wandered around for an hour or so in the very light flurry, which was barely more than very light rain. But we were content. We had seen it snow. We went back to the hotel restaurant and had a wonderful meal. Was it the Beef Bourguignon warming me with each bite as we sat and watched the weather outside? No, it was that we had finally fulfilled our desire to see it snow, as light as it was, we were satisfied to have finally, on our last night, seen a little snow falling.
Next morning we were super excited, as I pulled back the curtains we were amazed at what we saw. The pavements were white, the streets covered in dirty sludge, we had woken to a snow shower. The flurry from last night continued through the night and had got a little heavier.
Quickly we made our way outside, donning our heavy winter jacket, wool lined boots, gloves, etc. It was beautiful, white fluffy snow and such a pretty sight and a moment we will never forget. The hotel staff were scattering salt to melt the snow, the snow trucks were going along the streets clearing the snow and the people were scarce. Except for us. We were in winter wonderland, mesmerized by the vision of pure white snow. It was my first time seeing the little flakes floating down. It was really cold outside, every step I took I was crunching the snow on the pavement and feeling the sharp little flakes hitting my cheeks. After six weeks, many in negative degrees, temperatures I had never experienced before, we were finally rewarded with snow.
It was a great opportunity to wander around, appreciate the beauty of snow and take some photos. Everything was covered in white flakes, it was so beautiful and definitely a highlight for us and a moment in time we will remember forever. For an Australian in my 50’s who has never seen it snow before, this trip to Belgrade will be an experience of a lifetime. Steve wandered around for about four hours, rekindling his British childhood. Belgrade was simply breathtaking and our wish had been granted, just hours before we were due to depart.
I have to say winter in Europe is beautiful, but when it snowed in Belgrade it was truly magical.
Seeing it snow for the first time was a really awesome experience. Have you seen it snow? What was your first time like?
We’d love if you would follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or click the StumbleUpon button or other social media share buttons below to share this post. Or if you enjoyed reading this post please give this page a like or subscribe to our newsletter.