My European Adventure
And I’m off! I have been alluding to my big summer trip since the start of my blog, but have been vague about the details. Time for me to share a little bit about where I’m headed for the next three weeks!
Country 1: Bosnia
My friend, Azra, from college is originally from Bosnia. She and her family moved to Boston during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s, and I have learned a lot about Bosnian culture over the past 5 years. Her mom is incredibly hospitable and loves to feed me. Her meat pies are incredible, her chicken and rice moist and tender, and her coffee ever flowing. It is impossible to decline a meal when visiting her: “Oh, you just ate? I’ll make something small.” She slaves away in the kitchen while Mr. B yells loudly on the phone in Bosnian about politics; 3 courses later and barely able to move, I can feel the love she pours into her family and guests through her hospitality. Now I have my chance to go and visit their home country! My roommate from college and I leave today for an overnight flight from Boston to Sarajevo. We have very loose plans and have left most things up to our native tour guide. Whatever Azra thinks is worth to show off in her home city is okay with me! Hasn’t stopped me from reading just a bit online though… some tourism websites say to look forward to beautiful mosques and cathedrals, wartime memorials, beautiful bridges, and an interesting fusion of architecture between the original Ottoman rule and the later Austrian influences. I can’t wait to see Azra again and get to finally explore where she and her family are from!
Country 2: Croatia
After exploring Sarajevo for a few days, we are heading with Azra to Croatia to stay at her family’s vacation home. Croatia sits like a cap on Bosnia and is a more well-known tourist destination. It is known for its hilly towns and beautiful beaches, so I am so excited to see this scenery in person! Again, we have left a lot of the planning up to our more well-known friend and guide. We will be visiting Orebic, Dubrovnik and Korcula, but will play most things by ear until we get there! I am beginning to explode with excitement as I type this… Those who have heard me talk about my trip in person know that I let out a little squeal of joy when sharing about our loose plans!
Country 3: Italy
At this point, my roommate and I will leave Azra and take an overnight ferry across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. Our ferry will land first in Ancona, and then we will take a train up to Bologna to meet our friend, Miriam. Her mom, originally from Boston, met her Italian husband on vacation years ago, and has been an American-Italian ex-pat ever since! Miriam grew up in Bologna, and has invited Melissa and I to visit her since our first year as housemates. We are finally taking her up on her offer! We have a little bit more planned out for what we will do/see in Italy since some reservations were involved, with some strong guidance from Miriam! We will spend a few nights in Bologna, as well as make day trips to Venice and Florence. We are also going to spend two nights in Cinque Terre, an incredible grouping of 5 seaside towns carved into the mountain. I am so looking forward to the food and wine, to the scenery, to the art and culture, and to meeting Miriam’s family! It is hard to choose which part of my adventure I am most excited for. The whole thing? :)
Country 4: Czech Republic
This last stop in Prague was totally spur of the moment. Azra was over for dinner way back in January and we were looking at airfare to Bosnia and back from Italy. We had a map open, and she remarked how she had family friends in Czech Republic, which was so close and yet she was unsure if she’d get to go because she had no one to go with. After a few clicks around Travelocity, we saw that it would be the same price for me to fly from Bologna to Prague to home as it would to go straight home from Bologna. A host in Prague plus no added cost for airfare? I’m in! Our plans are again quite loose, as Azra’s friend has told us she will let us know where are the best places to see. We will have 5 days in Prague, so may even take a day trip to visit Dresden, Germany. (It is only 2 hours away by train!) This will depend on funds and how much we have seen in Prague – keeping my mind and itinerary open!
I am excited to be a free-spirit for the next few weeks. I am packing my suitcase lightly, leaving my laptop at home, and immersing myself in the company of my friends and the culture of other countries. If I stumble into an Internet cafe or make an occasional email check on a friend’s computer, I will post brief updates about my adventures to let my friends and family know that I am alive and enjoying exploring! I also have some pre-scheduled posts (I have cooked more than I have posted in the past few weeks and have a few treats to share!) and will also have guest posts from my mom and my sister.
All of these pictures are from tourism sites, but I will share much more of my adventures through my own pictures when I am back!
Question: Do you have any vacations planned this summer?