Before our visit, the only thing I associated with Serbia was Milosevic, Karadzic and Srebrenica, so I expected a ruined country populated by swaggering thugs. The truth made me feel disorientated and embarrassingly ignorant.
We stayed in the capital, Belgrade, and it felt just like a small European City.
It lacked the piazzazz of most Western capitals, but it was clean, safe and the main public space, Kalemegdan Park, was welcoming.
Kalemegdan ParkThere was a vibrant cafe culture.
Knez Mihailova StreetThe food was delicious.
And the people? Apart from the cabby who thought gay people were mentally ill, everyone was professional, friendly, hard-working and thoughtful. They seemed tennis mad and there was a playfulness about them. Indeed, a group of giggling middle-aged men came bouncing into our restaurant one night to hide from their friend outside.
However, after being asked by the umpteenth person, whether we liked Serbia, I began to suspect a collective sense of insecurity. Our reply always elicited the same response, even by our homophobic taxi driver, relief and delight. Were my preconceptions common then? I hope not, because the Serbians were lovely. That's why I don't want to put the boot in about Belgrade Zoo, but it lets them down.
The wolf pit at Belgrade Zoo
Talking of which, were you one of those who felt that Shoreham Airport should not have allowed the Nazi flag to be flown there last week?
Filming Woman In Gold at Shoreham Airport
NEXT WEEK, Mella Punchard will share her thoughts on this year's Adur Festival and the week after, I'll return to the third in the series of, "a day in the life of."
Thanks for dropping by and see you next week.