Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Balkan Trip Summary

I made it back from my latest Balkan adventure. I traveled well over 1,200 km (745 miles) and I managed to do it all by bus.

Sofia was my starting and ending point. Bulgaria was fine except for that confusing head nod thing that they do. The next time I fly to Sofia it will be to visit Plovdiv, about 150 km (~93 miles) away. On the east side of the country, on the Black Sea, I still want to see Bourgas and Varna.

Macedonia was fine and Skopje made a good one-day visit. I'll wait and see what the capital looks like after all of the construction is completed.

I wasn't that impressed with Kosovo. Prishtina wasn't what I expected. I can see going back to Kosovo to visit Prizren. But that would be the only reason why.

Albania was interesting because I really didn't know too much about it before. Tirana was fine, except for having to dodge cars. I'll go back one day to visit Shkodër, Krujë and Berat. And of course, to see the completed museum exhibition. But, if Durrës is any indication then I can guarantee I won't be planning any beach holidays in Albania.

For me, the best part of the whole week was the brief time I spent at Lake Ohrid. For some reason it took me a while to get the name right. I kept saying Orhid or Orchid. But it is pronounced "Oxh-rid". You can bet that now that I've got the name down, I'll be back there for sure.

Overall, this was a good little adventure. Four new countries (again, all by bus), four currencies, and three languages (none of which I know). It was worth it. But it felt so good to sleep in my own bed last night. At least I'll be able to do that for a few more days. Then I'm headed back to Slovenia for a couple of days and then a road trip to Italy and San Marino.

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