Bordeaux city is the central hub of the wine region of Bordeaux and France’s sixth largest city. The region is packed with thousands of vineyards of all different sizes and production levels. The city itself offers a chance to dive into the wine culture and sample selections from wineries throughout the region in one of the many wine bars. The city is centered around wine, but there are still plenty of non-wine related activities. I didn’t do any of them, but I’m sure they’re great.
Just under an hour Northwest from Paris in the small town of Giverny is the home of one of the greatest artists of all time, Claude Monet. I’ve been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. My parents hung prints of his work in my nursery and I’ve made a point to see his work in every country I visit. After seeing everything I wanted to see in Paris, I escaped the city for a day to discover more about the father of impressionism.
Italy is known for it’s food. Pizza, pasta, and wine all seem to taste better in Italy. Maybe it’s the ingredients, maybe it’s the tradition, or maybe it’s just the placebo. The great thing about Italian food is that you can get great food for pretty cheap. Enjoying all Italy has to offer on a budget is quite easy, but there are some things that are worth splurging on, depending on where you are.
Every region of Italy is known for something different. Something special. Although you can find margarita pizza or pesto pasta anywhere, it’ll be even better (and usually cheaper) if you get it where it originated.
Ljubljana is one of those cities where you can spend a day, a month, or a year and still find things to do. It’s a small city without much to see, but plenty to experience. It has all of the benefits of being in a big city like great food, nightlife, and culture, but is small enough to be walkable and welcoming. Plus, there is lots of green space inside and outside the city.
The best thing about the Balkans is the people. I have yet to meet someone who isn’t incredibly welcoming with a genuine desire to show me the best of their country. In the Balkans, a lot that welcome revolves around sampling “the best beer in the world.” Every country has its own “best beer in the world.” The States beer market is quite large so there may be more debate on what exactly is “the best beer in the world,” (it’s Free State Brewing Yakamaniac IPA). Balkan countries have a smaller beer market, therefore there is usually a pretty strong consensus on the “best beer in the world.” I didn’t expect every Balkan country to have its own beer as the countries histories are all so intertwined. It surprised me that each country has its unique beer, but it didn’t surprise me that every light lager tasted approximately the same.
Kotor is situated on bay in northern Montenegro close to the Croatian border. It reminded me of a mini Dubrovnik. The Old Town was smaller, the walls were shorter, and instead of water as far as the eye can see, there are mountains towering above the city. It’s a small place, but get outside the city and discover miles of hiking trails, breathtaking sights, and friendly locals. I went during the low season, so I missed out on some of the awesome nature-related things Kotor is known for, but I still found plenty to do in this small city.
After the tranquil lakeside days I spent in Ohrid, Tirana was a little overwhelming. It’s a big city packed with crazy drivers. Seriously these drivers will not stop for you unless you are staring them down the entire time you cross the road. While it’s terrifying, it adds to how vibrant and full of life Tirana is. Post-communism, they covered all of the drab buildings in colors and patterns. You can’t walk five feet without seeing some street art. Tirana isn’t packed with “must-see” museums or monuments, it’s more about walking down the street and experiencing the vibrant culture.