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.
Lively lakeside city in the summer, sleepy, laid-back town in the winter, Ohrid is home to Europe’s oldest and deepest lake. In the summer it becomes the place to be for boating, fishing, and swimming. I went during the winter and found that although I couldn’t really experience the lake, the city itself still has a lot to offer.
Officially “born” in February of 2008, Kosovo is still a relatively new country. After the wars in 1999, it was governed under transitional UN leadership until it formally declared independence. It is now recognized by 112 countries including most of its neighbors, but not Serbia. Things are still a bit tense between Kosovo and Serbia, at the border and within the country. Not everyone in Kosovo supported independence and groups of ethnic Serbs still remain in the country. Although tensions remain, all the people I met were friendly, helpful, and excited to have tourists in their country. Kosovo is safe and primed for tourism, as long as know what to expect.
Belgrade rests at the former border between the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. Thanks to its position, it changed hands regularly and is heavily influenced by both empires. Serbia’s history can be divisive and I will admit I still do not fully understand the Yugoslav wars. I did not learn about the wars in school, only through first hand accounts in my travels. History changes based on who is telling it, and I heard many different variations. In Bosnia, the Serbs were making a land grab. In Kosovo they wanted independence. In Serbia, no one talked about anything but the NATO bombing of 1999. Although the history is hard to get a grasp on, the city itself is not. Belgrade is a very welcoming and friendly city despite its tumultuous past. It is one of those cities where you go for the sites and end up staying for the nightlife.
Dublin is known for its vibrant pub culture. At the heart of this culture are two things: beer and whisky. Some of the world’s most popular beer and whisky finds its home in Dublin, Jameson Irish Whisky and Guinness. Although Jameson is now distilled elsewhere in Ireland, both alcohols originated in Dublin and have spaces in the city for fans to tour. We did the Guinness tour and Jameson tour on the same day, and were somehow still able to stand after.
Every year, the World’s 50 Best Bars puts out a list of the top bars across the globe. Drink experts around the world rank their top choices to determine the best of the best. Several of these top bars are scattered across Europe and we want to make it to as many as possible, our first stop was Tales and Spirits in Amsterdam.
Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and therefore, packed with tourists. After studying abroad in Paris, I’ve spent my fair share of time at all the top sights, waited in plenty of lines, and battled my way through selfie sticks. I’ve also spent my fair share of times at the lesser known sights, where I walk right in and have space to enjoy the city. We only had two days in Paris, so I wanted to create the perfect plan for my friends to see the best of Paris, without getting smacked in the face by a selfie stick.