I just have to add one more anecdote from Bajina Basta, and with it we will end this series of the 19th-century Serbia seen through the eyes of the former British diplomat who wrote the book about his trip, and my own – almost two centuries later. Here’s how the story goes.

„Where can I find an air pump, please, for car tires?“, I asked at the gas station in the town.

We were on the road for some time now, had to check a couple of things on that small French “lion” of mine. The plan was to spend few days in Bajina Bashta town, in western Serbia. It is small but it did have all the facilities we needed. So, two or three days for resting and recharging, for me and my „lion“.

The man just looks at me, seems like he would gladly say something, but he is trying to be nice, so he just nods and says: „Not here.“

Went to a couple of more gas stations around town and was finally told (along with all those „for God’s sakes“ and curious glances at „the woman behind the wheel“), that there are „no air pumps at gas stations“, since „they usually don’t go there“?! Hm…


Getting lost in space and time… Bajina Bashta

Anyway, they advised me to go to the tire repair service „just down the road“. Went there and the moment I have stepped in, I got welcomed by a bunch of new questions and was greeted by genuine laughter because „a woman asked for tires’ air pump at the station“!

It did sound like another joke regarding women and driving, and it did seem it was funny here. They were genuinely amused, that laughter was sincere, not malicious. They didn’t even want to take any money for their services – just helped a lady with her tires, while smiling, well-intentioned. In the end, even I’ve started to laugh…

Twilight Zone anyone?

Well, such a thrilling experience from this whole journey of following in Archibald Paton’s footsteps, so many interesting anecdotes and stories! I am so glad that I have stumbled upon his book that day at the library!

The End

The full 19th-century Serbia SERIES




  • 06/02/2017

    I’m glad you finally got air for your tires! What an ordeal! Sounds like the last place you went was a good experience!

  • 07/02/2017

    Good thing someone finally steered you in the right direction and you got what you needed. Though, I don’t think they were laughing at you, just amused by what you were asking since they were probably just not used to it

  • 07/02/2017

    Hahah that is funny but Yes I can imagine it happens still in a few places around the world!

  • nomadicfoot


    its always nice to read these kind of real experience. Thanks for sharing.

  • 07/02/2017

    This sounds like a very non-touristy, off-the-grid kind of place. But they do make for the best experiences . And the people are warm-hearted.

  • 08/02/2017

    It’s funny how something so seemingly simple can be so different abroad. I am sure they were not laughing “at” you but at that in your country you did this at the petrol station.

  • 08/02/2017

    Beautiful encounter! Glad you got air for the tires and gladder that you got such an incredible moment to think about and laugh in its memory for the rest of your life!!!

  • Adriana Smith


    Wow! I think I would’ve felt embarrassed if I need some assistance and people were laughing at me. Although it’s a cultural thing, I definitely would’ve felt like in the twilight Zone.

  • rhiydwi


    This was a fun little anecdote to read, thank you for sharing! So funny how what would be a normal question to ask at a gas station more or less anywhere else caused such hilarity in this small town. In Poland I asked the lady working in a rather large drugstore if they sold plug adaptors (something which is typically sold in most big drugstore type places in my country) and she laughed in my face. Funny.

  • 13/02/2017

    I really enjoy reading posts about travel anecdotes…we can all identify with experiences like these. Your expression is very natural, conversational.


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