We picked up our rental car in Dubrovnik and headed northwest towards Bosnia. Our plan was to visit Medugorje for a few hours and continue on and overnight in Mostar. A word of caution: Do not trust Google maps in the Balkans. Seriously, our running joke now is to point at the most impossibly inclined rock-strewn dirt roads leading to dead ends and bordered by razor wire and say “Google Maps Road.” Luckily, Martha insisted beforehand on going ultra old-school and getting a proper paper road atlas for the region. The first time Google tried to do us in, Map Lady had us going through a shortcut up a mountain that led to a “restricted” border crossing to Bosnia. Continue reading La Mordida en Bosnia
Unlike some destinations that are flush with foreign visitors, Dubrovnik is absolutely ready to accommodate the traffic. There are plenty of comfortable places to stay inside or right outside of old town, ranging from cheap hostels to high-end hotels. The place has so many densely concentrated tourist attractions, it’s easy to forget that it is a functioning city with regular residents. Continue reading Dubrovnik Has Their Tourism Game On Point
After heading west from Shkoder, the landscape begins to change a bit. The countryside gets a little rougher, the small towns a little poorer. Dark mountains begin to rim the horizon. At the Albanian border crossing, big posters are plastered everywhere condemning corruption and bribery while a border guard goes car to car not-so-subtly shaking people down . Continue reading Montenegro: Albania’s Wealthy Neighbor
According to one of our guides in Bulgaria, once you get past 50 countries visited, you’re an “intermediate” traveler. On that same scale, respectively, 100 & 200 countries make you “advanced” and “expert”. Yeah, tough scale. Well, we’ve picked up the pace on our traveling these past few years and now, by that metric, we’re no longer “beginner” travelers…. arriving in Albania by bus, we both hit the 50 mark together. It was a nice milestone for both of us. Continue reading And Albania Makes 50!
I must admit, the idea of a prominent statue of Bill Clinton and a major road named in his honor struck me at first as a little humorous or even kitschy. In the case of Kosovo, after catching up a bit on the relevant (recent) history, it does make sense though, I think. However, Kosovars’ positive outlook on Americans and American foreign policy isn’t just limited to the Clintons. Continue reading Bill Clinton Boulevard
Before visiting Macedonia, I had a rough understanding that there is a bit of an issue between them and Greece. I think I’ve got a slightly better handle on one of the main contentious topics, although I’m probably a little biased hearing it from the Macedonian perspective. Anyhow, as briefly as I’m able, here’s why Macedonia and Greece don’t play nice in the sandbox together…
Once upon a time, there was a land called Macedon. Continue reading Macedonia The Country
We touched down in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, after a couple of uneventful connections. Thus begins a tour of nine countries in a little over three weeks. The airport in Sofia is small and a short drive from the center of town. We booked a cab at the airport counter and weren’t far outside the airport before our driver got into a road-rage cursing match with a guy in an SUV through open windows. This was quickly followed by an additional taxi getting the rundown from our driver and then speeding off in pursuit of the SUV. Word on the street is you don’t want to mess with Bulgarian taxi drivers. Continue reading Soviet Army Monument Skate Park
“So where is your next trip? Iraq? Syria?”
“No, we’re taking a cruise to the Bahamas.”
Our travel has been an eclectic mix at times. In some cases that has been intentional (like following up Somalia with Seychelles), but most of the time it is just incidental to our goals. So as fun as it would be to mix things up just to keep people guessing, that isn’t the case this time. I’m not sure if I’ve really spelled out our travel plans over time, but I’ll take this opportunity to do so. Continue reading Where to Next?
On the last couple of visits to Japan, our exploration has narrowed in on a few specific stomping grounds. A week in Tokyo can blast by fast… As you’re getting ready to go, bags stuffed beyond capacity, you realize you have taken very few pictures, slept very little, and had an absolutely amazing time. You just don’t want to leave. With very little time elapsed, a place you’ve been many times feels new again. I think that is how we can keep returning and enjoying it, even when we hit up some of the same places. For us, our absolute favorite place has been the Akihabara district in Tokyo. Continue reading Some Of Our Most Favorite Places In Akihabara
Beach resorts haven’t been our usual destination, but this wasn’t our first visit to one either. Our trip to Thailand five years ago ran a circuit through Bangkok temples and included a visit to play with tigers in Kanchanaburi. This was our first visit to a Thai beach. The steps to arrive at Koh Phangan make it feel especially remote. A one-hour domestic flight from Bangkok takes you to Koh Samui, a similarly sized island in the south of Thailand that caters to foreign beachgoers. Koh Phangan is a 30-minute ferry ride from one of the piers on Samui. However, the ocean conditions around Koh Phangon typically preclude traveling to the far side of the island by boat. Once you reach Koh Phangan, you’ve got another 45-minute ride through narrow hilly passes that cut straight through the jungle and across the island to the opposite coast. When we finally touched down at our resort, I definitely thought that I wouldn’t be exploring much more than the grounds around the place on foot. Continue reading A Normal Vacation in Koh Phangan