Travelling in Europe: Highlights From two Months On The road

as of today, we are exactly two months into our Europe trip! It’s hard to believe that just two months ago we were lazing on Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches, and before that, pet-sitting in Barbados and Grenada.

Prior to arriving in Europe, we had spent the past two years travelling and living in tropical countries, including the Caribbean and Latin America. But, it was time for a change, a drastic one.

The explorers in us were craving something new.

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
We wanted old towns, instead of beach towns. We longed for mountains, not jungles. We craved architecture, rather than archipelagos.

This trip to Europe is proving to be everything that we wanted: a complete contrast to how we had spent the previous two years of our lives in the tropics.

We’ve been to seven countries in Europe so far, and despite the sun not coming out as typically as we would like, we’re really enjoying this region. the best part is that this European journey is far from over. So far, the plan is to travel around central / eastern Europe until mid June!

Here are some highlights of two months spent on the road.

Learning To Be very Aylak in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Like many of the Balkan countries, Bulgaria is a destination that we knew very little about, and even though we only spent seven nights in the country, we’re so glad that we chose to spend five of those nights in the city of Plovdiv!

Us with Vasil of Bulgaria red wine trips – thanks for a terrific day!
We learned the term “aylak” and embodied it throughout our time in the city. The art of being aylak is something that only Plovdivians know – it implies to be very chilled out / relaxed. It’s sort of like “limin’” in the Caribbean!

All of the people we met were very friendly, and the overall vibe of Plovdiv seemed very relaxed. We vonden het fantastisch.

Read much more about Bulgaria:

Plovdiv, Bulgaria: A Must-Visit Balkan City

10 things to See and do in Plovdiv, Bulgaria 

Skiing and Snowboarding at Mavrovo national Park, Macedonia

Nick and I have been together for quite a few years now (nine to be exact), and due to the fact that seven of those years have been spent travelling, side-by-side, 24/7, there simply aren’t numerous things that we haven’t done together!

When we were in Macedonia, we chose to hit the slopes, something that both of us had done in the past in Canada, but something that we had never experienced together. It had been 15 years because either of us had skied or snowboarded, and it was a lot of fun (even though we spent much of the time horizontal!)

Joepie! …don’t fall off the ski lift!
Read More: Road Tripping Macedonia: going to Lake Ohrid and Mavrovo

Attending the world tourism Forum in Istanbul, Turkey

We were invited to speak at this prestigious conference about travel blogging as a business, and how bloggers can work with brands to market their companies. The event was amazing and we had so much fun meeting up with other travel bloggers and attending some pretty amazing events!

Read more: speaking at the world tourism Forum in Istanbul

Witnessing the Epiphany celebrations at Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest lakes in Europe and it was one of the places that we were the most thrilled to visit. fortunately for us, we (randomly) arrived during the Epiphany celebrations! This is a festival that is celebrated by Christians around the world – complete with freezing cold lake swims, drinking hot homemade brandy, and feasting on conventional foods.

Lees verder:

Road Tripping Macedonia: going to Lake Ohrid and Mavrovo

The supreme guide to travelling in Macedonia

Driving the Coastal road and Llogara Pass, Albania

This is quite possibly the most beautiful drive we’ve ever been on! We rented a automobile for 10 days during our trip in Albania and for the most part, our travel days were stressful due to crazy drivers, bad roads, and lack of any good GPS / maps of the country.

Our last drive in Albania brought us from Saranda on the coast to Tirana, through the Llogara Pass. The sea, mountains and villages were breathtaking. The scenery was absolutely stunning! We stopped typically for photos, and even flew the drone over the highway.

Our final drive was the best one!

We passed by quaint little villages, and stunning countryside. We zigged and zagged up and up until reaching the pass, and descended down through a lush forest.

This drive is a should do in Albania.

Read More: Acclimatizing to Albania: A 10 Day road Trip

Walking the City walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

We’ve always loved going to old towns, and we have a love for narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets and historical sites. So far in the Balkans, we’ve been spoiled with architecture and have found ourselves in numerous ancient Greek, Roman and Ottoman towns.

A preferred experience was going to the city of Dubrovnik, and in particular, walking on the walls which surround the city. The views of the nearby St. Lawrence Fortress and the red-tiled roofs of the homes down below were incredible.

Being in the old town of Dubrovnik was like being in a fairytale. Although this is a very touristy place, it’s a must-see.

Eating and Drinking…Everything!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve certainly become foodies and self-proclaimed red wine connoisseurs!

In the countries we’ve been to so far (Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro), the food has typically revolved around seafood if on the coast, and grilled meats and Mediterranean cuisine if inland. all of these countries (except for Turkey and Bulgaria) offer Italian food as well.

Turkish food is one of our favourites, and we delighted in kebabs, lentil soup, flatbread with veggies and meat…and numerous cups of chai (tea).

In Bulgaria, we feasted on grilled meats and vegetables, and found out that we actually liked grilled duck hearts. In Macedonia, we ate Turkish inspired food, international cuisine and Mediterranean delights. The wines from both Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia are our favourites, with Mavrud, Melnik, Crljenak and Vranac grapes being our top choices.

Albania had some of the best conventional food that we’ve tried. during our stay in the country, aside from eating one pizza, we ate only local food. Vegetarian dishes were our favourites, with Nick loving some of the lamb meals as well.

The best restaurant in Albania (and possibly all of Europe so far) was certainly Magalemi hotel in Berat. If you’re ever in Berat, there’s no reason to eat anywhere else!

Read more: 10 Must-Try meals in Albania

The food in Bosnia was hearty with soup, stew, goulash, grilled meats, and dumpling-type morsels being popular choices. everything had a dolup (or two) of sour cream on top! The food in Sarajevo was delicious.

Klepe are conventional meat dumplings in Bosnia and Herzegovina – so good!

We found a incredible local restaurant in Split, Croatia called vacation home Spiza, and spent many of our days eating their soups, pastas, and seafood meals. In Dubrovnik, many restaurants were closed, however, on our second to last day there, a incredible vegetarian place opened up!

In Montenegro, as we are staying on the Bay of Kotor, many of the meals consist of seafood and fish, with lots of Italian cuisine on offer as well. To our surprise, and delight, we’ve found the most amazing Asian restaurant in the nearby town of Budva. taste of Asia serves up authentic meals from the Southeastern region.

Not only has the food and red wine been delicious here in the Balkans, but in all of the countries except for Croatia and Montenegro, we didn’t even need to look at the prices on the menu, as all meals were an affordable $2 – $5. In Croatia and Montenegro, the prices tend to be between $8 – $15 per meal.

One of my preferred meals of our entire trip!
What’s Up Next?

From here in Montenegro, we’re heading back to Split, Croatia before taking a seaplane flight with European Coastal Airlines across the Adriatic Sea to Italy! We’ll spend a couple (or a few) weeks in Italy and after that, we’ll be checking out Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Romania…and who knows where else ?

If you have any suggestions or guidance for our upcoming destinations, leave a comment below!

Het leuk vinden? Pin het! ?

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