In our column Meet a local we present interesting individuals from different professional fields living in Belgrade. The idea is to get to know some locals and their favorite neighborhoods and venues in the city.

  1. Please introduce yourself to our readers:

Hello! My name is Deric Lima, but everybody calls me by my nickname: Zuka. I am a 31 years old Brazilian living in Belgrade since 2015, working as a software developer for international clients worldwide. It’s a great job that allows me to move around without concerns about where to work. Everything I need is a good internet connection and my laptop.

The sports life is very appealing to me. I regularly work out and practice yoga during the week, combined with a balanced diet that gives me plenty of energy. I became a vegetarian three years ago.

During the weekends, I change my activities based on the season: I like to go kayaking and ride my bicycle in the summertime. I recently discovered kitesurfing, which proved to be a great sport to learn more and improve my skills. During the winter, my main activity is snowboarding. Besides that, I love running and hiking, so I constantly do these activities throughout the year, depending on the weather conditions.

I’m adept at the minimalism concept, so I only buy things necessary for my life and well-being. The main activity I invest most of my money is traveling. Yes, traveling is the best investment you can make for yourself. It gives you great opportunities to experience new cultures and expand your understanding of the world we live. On top of that, it helps me to open my mind and be more empathetic about everything around me.

I love to read as well!!! I created the habit of reading at least 30 mins per day. It helps me to improve my knowledge and learn new subjects constantly. I like playing video games and watching TV shows and documentaries when I am in chill mode.

Since I started living in Serbia, I have entered full exploration mode in these eight years here. Many Serbian friends joke that I have explored their country more than they do. Being spontaneous is my motto, so I was saying yes to every opportunity I had to go to a different place and immerse myself in the Serbian culture, even going to tiny places like Kikinda, Mionica, and Prijepolje.

2. Has there been a new project lately?

Yes, I started the travel blog Adventurous2 with my girlfriend a couple of months ago. The blog became our passion and main project after our regular jobs!! It’s where we share our experiences, give travel tips and show destinations to motivate people to go outside and experience the world as much as possible.

We love to visit off-the-track places and escape a bit from mainstream destinations. In our experience here in the Balkans, we realized that several places we visited were unknown by our friends, another reason that gave us more motivation to work on this project.

3. What do you like about Belgrade?

The Serbian hospitality towards me was enormous when I first arrived in Belgrade. Coming from Brazil, I was concerned about the cultural differences between Serbia and Brazil related to friendships and social life. It turned out that I was very, very wrong. Serbs are lovely people, and they received me so well that it was impossible to think about not staying here for a while.

I like that Serbs love to be outside and have a wonderful social life, and they love to meet for a coffee and hang out. The mentality matches perfectly with mine, so the adaptation process was relatively easy.

Besides that, I enjoy how dynamic Belgrade is. There is always something happening if you know where to look. When my friends ask me about the best time to visit Belgrade, my answer is simple: Anytime!! Of course, the number of options increases during the summer, but you will find plenty of options even during the winter.

As a black person, I also had concerns about racism and problems I could potentially face in Serbia. Again I was wrong! People often stop to talk to me on the streets or in some public spaces because they are legit interested to know who I am. You need to understand that it is a predominantly white country, so, logically, people would be curious if they see a person of color in their country. My experience here related to that is very positive!!

4. Where do you like to go out?

Eight years is quite some time. It’s hard to give a simple answer to this question because I also had different phases during all these years. In the beginning, I visited a lot of Kafanas!! A lot of them! I was in full integration mode to see everything about what the Serbian culture has to offer. My favorite kafana is called Gradimir, in Crveni Krst. A real kafana with awesome local vibes.

For nightlife, my favorite spots are Cetinjska and Savamala. For each spot, I also have a preferred place. In Cetinjska, Zaokret takes the spotlight. I have been there so many times that I can’t even count. It was the easiest place to find me during the weekends. In Savamala, I often go to Ben Akiba. Great vibes and music there. My only wish is that it was bigger. Sometimes it is so crowded that you might have issues enjoying the music performing some moves.

Nowadays, I’m going out for nightlife less often. As I got older, cigarettes started to bother me, and I’m enjoying being in nature and taking care of my health more. I spend my weekends doing physical activities or traveling somewhere. It’s easy to find me running in Usce or Tasmajdan parks or riding my bicycle around Ada Ciganlja and New Belgrade.

My favorite activity during the weekends now is hiking somewhere. I’m often outside of Belgrade, so don’t be surprised if you see me around some mountain :).

5. Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?

Bad Sushi is my favorite. I’m a huge fan, and I have been on a quest to find the best sushi in Belgrade, so I tried a lot of sushi places, and so far, no restaurant could beat BadSushi, in my opinion.

Miamiam is also a great restaurant that I go often. They have great vegetarian options.

My third place is Durmitor in New Belgrade. Huge portion sizes and good service, and they have hidden options that are not on the menu. Next time you visit, ask the waiter/waitress about them.

6. Where do you drink coffee?

Anywhere my friends call me to go. I don’t have a favorite place for coffee in Belgrade. I only drink one black coffee before my workouts to boost my metabolism, so coffee is more of a mechanism to improve my fitness level. I know that coffee is super essential for Serbs, and the fun fact is that I started drinking more coffee only here in Serbia. That happened because of the countless times that I met friends at some kafici, and I ended up ordering one for myself to try it out. My friends were always surprised that I am Brazilian that doesn’t drink much coffee. Honestly, I’m glad to break this stereotype about us.

7. Where do you spend your leisure time?

I am mostly traveling. It’s my main activity, I have been to 38+ countries so far, and I want to continue exploring the world as much as possible. Our planet is vast, and I won’t be able to see everything in it, but I will try. Being able to understand this is what gives me the motivation to wake up and start my day.

I spend a lot of time in nature, mainly in the mountains, and hiking is one of my main activities. Besides that, I love cycling, so I have done some cycling tours in Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania, and I hope to add more countries and destinations soon. During the winter, my main activity is snowboarding, so I go as much as possible to the mountains and feel the fresh snow while going downhill.

My friends and I are either doing some activity together somewhere or just sitting at home, playing games and talking.

8. Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice.

Ada Ciganlja is my favorite place because I like running or cycling around on my bicycle. It’s also a place where I often meet with my friends to hang out.

Kalemegdan is my favorite place for a walk. I go there often during the week, it’s a nice walk from my home, so I enjoy seeing the fortress and the Danube while walking.

My third place is park Usce. It’s the place where I like to go running and walk with people. There are also several splavs in the area that I have been to several times with friends. It’s a very cool area where you can find different things to do.