My Europe tour continued as we have covered Western Balkans running from Serbia to Croatia. I may have not prepared for this trip properly and yet, this trip exuded so much fun and enjoyment. My travel buddies in this trip were Annie and Angel and when we three were together, our craziness and playfulness couldn’t just stop. Addition to that were our other friends who went with us in this adventure. Western Balkans had the most happening cities and everyone, most especially me, was excited.
Our first stop was at Belgrade. It was nothing but pure environment connectedness and a lot of walking. A tour around Belgrade Fortress let us experience the remnants of the past and contemplative park. From the top, we saw the sapphire waters of Sava River flowing through Danube. It was the perfect way to jumpstart our trip. We spent our latter day strolling along the Knez Mihailove Street, city promenade and epicenter of culture & history, where popular brands were seen. Do check out their collection in Zara! One thing I have noticed when we were there was that locals were exceptionally friendly. They offered food and drinks and not a single time a local said no to us when we asked for a photo with them.
Off to Bulgaria we went on our second day. Sofia was such a laid-back city. Home to the finest museums and galleries, Sofia emphasized an east-meets-west atmosphere. We weren’t able to fully roam around the city, but we were able to experience the nightlife. We went to the Club Mascara and our night truly came out alive with prevailing music and overflowing drinks. Every person was dancing and became interesting which carried on through out the night. Our table was filled with laughter and drinking games which resulted to more intoxication. After 8-10 shots, everything became blurred and the rest was history.
A small nation that was rich in Greek, Roman, and Ottoman history, Macedonia was our third destination in this trip. We spent our day in Macedonia Square people watching, visiting the sightseeing, and going in and out of the shops. This city sure did give us a glimpse of the past and while we were taking photos, we saw the adoration and appreciation for their fallen heroes through statues. This city reminded me of Turkey a lot. The next day, we toured around and chanced upon some soccer players on the street. Of course, with their friendly personality, we took a photo with them as a souvenir.
Our next stop was Albania. With its natural beauty and picturesque view, we were left in awe the whole trip despite being a sleeper hit. Roaming around Tirana, Angel and I bought a traditional white hat called qeleshe that was originated in Northern Albania. We strolled through colorful structures and quaint shops that sell traditional and local goods. While writing this, I regret not buying that vintage camera I found at one of the shops. My favorite part of visiting Albania was going up the hill and sunset watching. What a way to cap our day off!
Montenegro was our second to the last destination and behind those mountains and a marina filled with yacht, an appealing and dramatic landscape left us wanting for more. We first visited the small alleyways and marble lanes of Kotor. We toured around the bay and were able to witness two majestic islets, Sveti Dorde, found off the coast of Perast.
Croatia is known for having an island-speckled coastline, but before going to Dubrovnik, we passed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and took a view of an explicit landscape and toured around Diocletian’s Palace. Home to some epic scenery, Bosnia and Herzegovina truly was worth the one day.
The following day, as we journeyed to Dubrovnik, a stunning vision of the old town welcomed us. No matter how many times I blinked, the sense of awe never failed to descend. The Pearl of Adriatic was an inspiration for preserving the ancient city walls and Mediterranean style. The next day, we were off to the boundaries of Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is famous for its lakes arranged in cascades and interconnected waterfalls. It was also known for being in the list of one of the UNESCO World Heritages. The sound of the pristine waters flowing made the whole park serene and enjoyable to walk around in. My friends and I, as usual, took a bunch of photos as souvenir.
To end our Western Balkans trip, we side-tripped to the culturally appealing city of Zagreb. This was where we spent our gastronomic day and just wandering the medieval streets. Their plaza was filled with tourists like us and surrounded by restaurants and museums. It was how we imagined our trip to end- laidback and culture enriched.