Day 3-4: The Balkans, Veliko Tarnovo and Zheravna

From Sofia we drove north-east towards the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo and its impressive UNESCO-protected citadel Tsarevets. We were going deeper into the Stara Planina (Old Mountain) and the scenery was lovely. It was this mountain range’s Turkish name, Balkan, meaning “a wooded mountain”, that gave our peculiar region its name. In the early 19th century a German geographer Zeune, wanted to find … Continue reading Day 3-4: The Balkans, Veliko Tarnovo and Zheravna

Guča: Serbia’s Dionysian spectacle of trumpets, cabbage and beer

Originally conceived as a festival to promote the fledgling institution of a brass band 1961, Guča Trumpet Festival (aka Dragačevo Fair) evolved in the past two decades into one of the most popular festivals in Serbia and a somewhat divisive cultural institution. For all but the musical purists, Guča is much much more than an ethno-music festival. Although the festival is devoted to preserving this … Continue reading Guča: Serbia’s Dionysian spectacle of trumpets, cabbage and beer

The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (2): Budva, Lake Skadar, Podgorica and Cetinje

This is the second part of my guide to the Montenegrin coast aimed at visitors planning to spend a weekend or a week in Montenegro. The first part suggested places to visit in the Bay of Kotor.  Budva Both metaphorically and physically, Budva is at the heart of the Montenegrin riviera and concentrates all of its best and worst features in its wonderful bay. On … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (2): Budva, Lake Skadar, Podgorica and Cetinje

The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (1): The Bay of Kotor

Despite its great natural beauty and diversity, until relatively recently Montenegro was under the radar of tourists outside the Balkans, Italy and Russia. Tourism in Montenegro started in the times of Yugoslavia, from the opening of the luxury peninsular fishing village/ resort of Sveti Stefan in 1955, which has since hosted glitterati like Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Bobbi Fisher, to the nudist camp at … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (1): The Bay of Kotor

Best day trips from Belgrade (so far)

When I moved back to Serbia I decided to make the best use of my free time and actually get to know the country. Thankfully, as I have a few friends with some spare time we teamed up in an for day-trips and managed to see some great scenery, learn some history, eat great food and just have fun. We focused on places that are … Continue reading Best day trips from Belgrade (so far)

9 must-sees in Slovenia, Europe’s fairytale country

If you are in doubt as to where to go this summer (or ever): go to Slovenia  I love Slovenia. It is easily one of the prettiest countries in Europe and one of the most pleasant to explore. Although it has been on the interrail trail for a while, it still feels like a hidden gem. It even has an instagram-crazed president and it gave … Continue reading 9 must-sees in Slovenia, Europe’s fairytale country

Ljubljana + Postojna: Wandering among castles and dragons

The magic of Slovenia can transform even a crappy solo trip into a pleasant experience In 2013, work led me to Ljubljana. I spent four very intense months there, during which I had little opportunity to explore the rest of the country, as I was working 24/7. Due to the frantic pace of work, the city, even though it only had around 300,000 souls and … Continue reading Ljubljana + Postojna: Wandering among castles and dragons

Trieste: Italy’s hidden gem

While I was growing up in Milošević’s rump Yugoslavia, Trieste was to me a mythical city of my parents’ stories. In them, Trieste figured not only as a thriving market for Western wares for Yugoslavs – jeans, toys and appliances – but was also as a stage where some of the funniest family stories, petty arguments and mishaps, played out and conjured those lost care-free days. … Continue reading Trieste: Italy’s hidden gem