I never planned to go to Krakow, only Warsaw. The flight to Warsaw was cheaper, the hostels were cheaper, and it was on my path north to the Baltics. As Poland started growing closer and closer, people I met along the way telling me that no trip to Poland is complete without a visit to Krakow. They were so right. I haven’t been to any other city that size that balances the hip and the historic as well as Krakow does.
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.
The Chartreuse mountain region of France during the winter is the definition of a wonderland. It’s one of those places where you take a picture and then you keep taking pictures because every angle is stunning, but you can never capture the beauty. It’s a great area for skiing and hiking, but if like me, you’re not so athletically inclined, it’s a great place relax, enjoy the holiday spirit, and of course, sip on some Chartreuse.
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.
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.