Business Travel: Belgrade, Serbia

business-travel-belgrade-serbiaSerbia lies at the crossroads of Europe, connecting the East and West, with a diverse mix of cultures. Its landscape is sprinkled with medieval churches and fortresses, and the capital city, Belgrade, rests on the banks of the Danube. I am a firm believer in the idea of adding fun to a business trip. Whether this is your first business trip to Belgrade or you travel here often, Belgrade always reveals a little piece of its heart and soul through its food, fortresses and friendly hospitality. I have been to Belgrade, Serbia, before with the family, but being alone changes your experience.

Cool Hotels

If a small hotel with a sophisticated feel and a superb location appeals to you while you travel, Vila Terazije is a great choice. Overlooking the Terazije Square, this hotel is housed in a cultural heritage building and offers free WiFi and a flat screen TV in every room. Breakfast is served only in rooms, and you can choose what you want delivered for breakfast in bed. I recommend the burek and local coffee, a classic Serbian breakfast.TerazijeBreakfastKalemegdan and Knez Mihailova are only 500 meters away from Vila Terazije. After walking around Belgrade and sitting in a conference room all day, I collapsed in the comfortable bed. Vila Terazije is an excellent value for money considering the location and the friendly atmosphere. If you prefer to save more money, we highly recommend Cricket 2 Hostel, which is close to some of our favorite restaurants and cafes in Belgrade.cricket2hostel

Hip Restaurants

Bright yellow cranes frame the entrance to the Beton Hala, a port-side warehouse now filled with hip new art studios and restaurants. At starkly decorated Italian restaurant Comunale, you see posh businesswomen enjoying pizza, risotto and antipasti with a view of the Sava River through its double-height windows. Founder Aleksandar Rodić created an exciting and trendy space with clear design and big wooden tables and benches. As the name suggests, the idea is to encourage community gatherings or group interactions, while enjoying delicious meals.comunalepizzaMarukoshi Japanese restaurant opened in 2015 in lower part of Belgrade in the Dorćol area. It’s an authentic Japanese restaurant offering tasty Japanese dishes such as Ramen noodles, salads, gyoza, Udon noodles, curry dishes and interesting desserts. It’s a very comfy place where you can relax and enjoy Asian specialties in the heart of Belgrade.Marukoshi

Getting There

Belgrade is well served with scheduled flights from AirSerbia, Etihad Airways, Alitalia, airberlin and Aeroflot.

Getting Downtown

There are lots of different options. – The A1 mini-bus leaves every 30 minutes in front of the Arrivals area. The charge is 300 RSD (2.50 EUR). Taxis are also available from outside the airport terminal.

Must-See Sights

Walk around the Old Town, see the Kalemegdan Fortress and stroll along Knez Mihailova Street  – Belgrade’s main shopping street. Before it was turned into the peaceful green oasis that it is today, Kalemegdan was part of Belgrade’s fortress. The park gradually started to come into existence after Serbia’s liberation from Ottoman rule: trees were planted, paths were cleared and monuments were erected, including the Statue of the Victor (Pobednik) and the Monument of Gratitude to France. Come here for a break from work and go for a stroll on the promenade lining the Sava River.

First Coworking Space in Belgrade

Traveling on business and need a place to work? It’s the sharing economy to the rescue! Coworking could be just the answer you’ve been looking for, and I HIGHLY recommend checking out Smart Office, the first coworking space in Belgrade. Located right off of Knez Mihailova street, you walk through a hall and up the stairs to Smart Office, founded by Miroslav Mijatov. You’ll be greeted by Mira, who will make you feel like you are in your home office. With light jazz music playing in the background, you will have no problem getting to work or skyping with others in one of their conference rooms.SmartOfficeThank you, Smart Office, for making me feel a part of your community and get stuff done while I worked away from my office.

7 Amazing Things To Eat In Brussels

Brussels has a bamboozling mix of restaurants, food markets and fine dining haunts that are dotted around this amazing city. With so many choices, I asked locals like my friend Pierre Pevée, whom I meet through European Creative Hubs Network and Jean-Alexis Spitz, a fellow blogger from Spark.Me, and found some favorite things that are worthy of eating while you are in Brussels, Belgium.

#1. Belgian Frites from Maison Antoine. I had heard a lot about Belgium fries, but are they really different from French fries? YES! Belgium frites are made with Bintje potatoes that are double fried. This makes them  crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Why we love Maison Antoine is that they offer many sauces to dip your fries in AND the pubs around this friterie allow the fries to be eaten on their premises.

#2. Stoverij from Le Clan des BelgesAt first glance, you may mistake this hearty beef casserole for French staple boeuf bourguignon, but it’s beer, rather than wine, that the Belgians use—giving it an earthier taste. Stoverij usually comes with frites for dipping.

#3. Belgian Chocolate from Pierre MarcoliniPierre Marcolini costs a little more than other chocolaterie because he buys unprocessed cocoa beans directly from the local producers and transforms it into chocolate in his own workshop. This chocolate is worth every bite!

#4. Sirop de Liège from Chez Franz. A sweet, sticky brown jelly made from evaporated fruit juices—dates, apples, and pears are stock ingredients—Sirop de Liège trumps even European’s favorite Nutella when it comes to spreads. Smear it on a baguette for breakfast, or pair it with cheeses at lunch. Chez Franz has an amazing brunch menu, so we highly recommend that you try Sirop de Liège here.

#5. Belgian Waffles + Speculoos from Maison Dandoy
Did you know that there are two types of waffles available in Belgium? Brussels waffles are made from batter leavened with beaten eggs. It is served with powdered sugar, and Liège waffles are made from yeast-leavened dough with pearl sugar. How best to eat a waffle in Belgium is hotly contested. Locals swear waffles should be topping-free. I, however, enjoyed mine with fruit and ice cream. Belgium has an (unofficial) national cookie. These flat, spiced shortbreads are so beloved you can even get speculoos-flavored spread (what America’s call “cookie butter”)—as well as ice cream or gelato. Originally baked to celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6), you’ll now find them year-round, and Maison Dandoy offers the best.

#6. Paling in’t Groen from Belga Queen. Luckily, “eel in green sauce” is more appetizing than it sounds. Chunks of white, meaty eel (which has the consistency of chicken, only with a slight gamey taste) are stewed in a thick, herby sauce of sorrel and chervil—hence its bright green color. Belga Queen is a former bank, and it is the perfect backdrop while you enjoy eating this delicious green dish.

#7. Stoemp from Royal Brasserie. A staple of Brussels cuisine, stoemp blends mashed potatoes and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, onion and kale. YUMMY! It’s usually served either as a side dish or as main dish with sausage or another type of meat or seafood.

Have we missed any dish from Brussels that everyone should try? Please comment below!

Can’t Stop the Feeling: Prepare for Spark.Me

Spark.me is less than a month away! And today, Justin Timberlake drops a new song that expresses how I feel. I may have modified some of the lyrics ;), but turn up the volume and dance with me.

“I got this feeling inside my bones. It goes electric, wavey when I turn it on. All through BUDVA, all through MONTENEGRO. We’re flying up, no ceiling, when we in our zone. I got that sunshine in my pocket. Got THIS good song in my feet. I feel that SPARK in my body when it drops. I can’t WAIT FOR END OF MAY, moving so phenomenally WELL. You gon’ like the way THIS CONFERENCE rocks it, so don’t stop. Under the lights when everything STARTS. Nowhere to hide when CONFERENCE getting you close. When SPARK.ME STARTS, well, you already know. So just imagine, just imagine, just imagine…SPARK.ME WILL MAKE you dance, dance, dance. Feeling good, good, SPARKING up on you. So just dance, dance, dance, come on. All those things I should do to PREPARE, but you dance, dance, dance. And YOU ARE leaving soon, so keep dancing…”

I CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! How about you? 😉

10-Tips-for-Spark-MeHere’s my TOP 10 checklist to help you prepare for Spark.Me, so you can continue to dance your way to Budva, Montenegro, on May 28-29, 2016.

  1. Search Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for anyone talking about #SparkMe. You can then determine if you want to follow them and start conversations ahead of Spark.Me. This works amazingly well for people who might be a bit shy. Make sure you are also using #SparkMe hashtag, so can people can also find and engage with you.
  2. Visit the speakers blogs or youtube channels for ideas of how things are going in their lives or in their businesses. Before meeting them, maybe you’ll read that they just closed a B round of funding, and thus might have budget for a project with you. It’s free intelligence before a conversation.
  3. Check out the partners for Spark.Me. Visit their web pages. What do you know about them? Are they a prospective vendor for you? A client? Do you see some business value in meeting any of them?
  4. Write some of your best work in the days leading up to Spark.Me and have a great post launch on the day of the event. The likelihood of people checking out your blog during or just before an event is high. JUST DO IT! 🙂
  5. Consider writing posts that might help you form conversations at Spark.Me. For instance, if you’re looking to work with startups, write a blog post about how you’d help startups get funding. Thus, people who might investigate your blog ahead of time might also know what you’re thinking about and will engage you.
  6. Consider making a video about something and posting it to your blog. Videos will give people an even better opportunity to observe you and see what you’re about. It might also help with the people recognition factor, as seeing you in motion might improve their chance of seeing you at an event. 😉
  7. If you’re going to take lots of photos or videos at Spark.Me, check your gear to make sure you’ve got everything (charger, media transfer tools, spare things, etc.). Consider any extra batteries or power supplies you might need to bring with you.
  8. Backup your laptop before you travel. You might not think about it, but there are many chances to destroy your data once you’re on the road. Make sure that’s not going to happen.
  9. Pack business casual clothes and comfortable shoes for two days and a nice black dress or button-down shirt & nice pants for the cocktail party! And, DON’T FORGET YOUR SWIMSUIT to wear while you enjoy the Bečići beach. 🙂
  10. Practice, practice, practice your elevator pitch explaining who you are and what you do. Be crisp. Make it easy to say. Be very clear. If you’re looking for work, be clear that you’re available for a few extra projects. It seems that lots of folks beat around the bush or don’t exactly know how to have a beginning, middle and end to a conversation. REMEMBER, YOU ARE AWESOME! TI SI SJAJAN/SJAJNA!

Look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. For now, make sure that we are connected on all these social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Pinterest.

#SparkMe // Where to Stay in Budva, Montenegro

Spark-Me-HotelsFrom 28th to 29th of May, #SparkMe digital community will be taking over the breathtakingly beautiful coast of Montenegro in Bečići // Budva. Read my previous post on WHY YOU NEED TO ATTEND spark.me. I am excited that this year I am one of their official bloggers. Join me on my journey up the coast, as I will be live blogging about what will SPARK me into action from smart women like Veronica Belmont, Danica Kombol and many more. As people will be gathering from near and far, here are all the hotel information that you will need to plan your travel to Budva, Montenegro.

Hotels

Hotel Mediteran – Spark.Me HQhotel-mediteranDistance to event: 0 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort – 5-Star Resort + Real Posh Favorite
Refined accommodations in a high-end lodging featuring 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a spa & a casino.splendid-spa-resortDistance to event: 7 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Sentido Tara
Polished hotel with an outdoor pool, a spa & an international restaurant, plus 3 bars.sentido-tara-hotelDistance to event: 1 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Montenegro
Casual beach resort offering rooms with balconies, & 6 restaurants, plus a spa, 2 saunas & pools.
Distance to event: 2 min walk
Boreti, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Anitahotel-anita
Distance to event: 5 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Iberostar Bellevue
Modest rooms in a beachside property with free breakfast, plus relaxed dining, pools & a spa.iberostar-bellevueDistance to event: 6 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Slovenska Plažahotel-slovenska-plazaDistance to event: 23 min walk
Budva, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Bracera
Distance to event: 27 min walk
Budva, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Why I Want to Attend Spark.me // Zašto bi trebalo da učestvujete

Why-I-Want-To-Attend-Spark-MeHosted by Domain.ME since 2013, Spark.Me brings stories on the front lines of technology, innovative business models, engaging branding strategies and world-changing initiatives.This two-day interactive conference is designed to inspire you, ignite your creativity and allow your to find your SPARK that will propel you toward the future in business and technology. Here are my top 10 reasons that you want to attend Spark.Me on May 28-29, 2016.

10. Refresh & Recharge // Osvežite se
Take a weekend off your busy work schedule to recharge. Through the provocative sessions, you will uncover some ways to refresh, re-energize and return to work reinvigorated.refresh-and-recharge-budva

9. Biggest Business & Digital Innovation Conference in Montenegro // Najveća konferencija biznisa i digitalne inovacije u Crnoj Gori
Learn the latest techniques, tools and strategies in business and digital innovation to be able to address your company’s challenge in a new improved way. Because Spark.Me is one of the biggest professional conferences in the Balkans, it is truly the best way to access innovative and disruptive content with lots of like-minded people.

8. Rub Elbows with Other Industry Professionals + More // Upoznajte se sa drugim profesionalcima industrije + više
This is the best part of the conference experience. You’ll be in touch with other professionals and experts to share your concerns, experiences and solutions.

7. Network, Connect and Reconnect with Colleagues // Poslovno umrežavanje sa kolegama
Life-long connections have evolved conferences like Spark.Me. Bring your business cards, your smile and an open-mind to Spark.Me, and you will not be disappointed in the people that you meet.

6. Learn from Each Other and Develop Professionally // Učite jedni od drugih i razvite profesionalno
We always have something new to learn from one another, and take the knowledge that you learned back to your company and to those who were not able to attend.

5. The Price is Right // Cena je prava
Spark.Me is very affordable! They offer a student rate and early-bird discounts (until March 11, 2016) between €60 – €120 for registration. As the conference gets closer, the price will get higher, so buy your tickets now.

4. Showcase Your Innovation through Startup Competition // Pokažite inovaciju kroz “Startup Competition”
Spark.me brings together successful startups in its Startup Competition. They focused on innovation, the power of ideas, the startup’s potential to grow and team diversity. Participating in the competition enables you to have access to advisors, mentors and a network of investors, industry experts and serial entrepreneurs. In order to participate, you need to apply by May 4, 2016 here.

3. Great, Dynamic Speakers // Sjajni i energični govornici
Last year, I had the honor to speak at Spark.Me, and I was blown away on the speaker lineup that Vanja and his team brought to Montenegro. The speakers and topics are as diverse as the Spark.Me attendees, which is why this conference stands above the rest in the region…and even in Europe. So far, the speakers for 2016 include Jon Bradford, Annie Machon, Everywhere Agency’s CEO Danica Kombol and my new friend Marvin Liao. Below is my talk with Real Geek Dad about Content Marketing vs. SEO called “Beauty and the Beast.”

2. Not Only Talks…A Lot of Fun // Proveselite se
During Spark.Me, you can have fun at their cocktail party, walking along the beautiful beach, eating along the breathtakingly beautiful Montenegrin coast with others from the conference or do other informal gatherings that will surely add fun during your Spark.Me weekend.

1. Experience the Breathtaking Beauty of Budva // Putujete u najlepšu Budvu
Speaking of Budva’s breathtaking beauty, Budva Old Town lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of culture heritage and a short walk from the conference. Crossed with narrow streets and squares, you can also visit many shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries in Old Town. The Budva coast is 21 km long with 17 beaches. It is among the most beautiful coasts in the world. Also, you can find a wide range of accommodation, from very affordable to exclusive and luxury.

budvabeach

Buy Your Ticket Now! Kupite kartu sada!