The Balkan Countries are a small, esoteric region of Southeastern Europe. Thanks to a series of nasty wars in the 1990s, this amalgamation of small, mostly post-communist countries is rarely visited. For many people, the region remains shrouded in mystery. I backpacked the Balkans in November 2016, and it remains one of the most fascinating regions I have visited so far.
The Balkans are a strange place. They have a unique flavor which you won’t find elsewhere in Europe. But they have a strange, tragic beauty which makes them intimately worth visiting. Check it out, past the jump:
I was trying to come up with a list of my “Least Favorite Countries,” recently, as a bit of a contrast to my Three Favorite Countries article. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that I couldn’t honestly come up with three countries I thought belonged on that list. Every place I’ve been to has held good memories or lessons for me.
There are only two places I would say I didn’t like that much. One was Sofia, Bulgaria, where I only spent a few hours, and the other was this surprising European country — which didn’t quite meet my expectations.
Hit the jump to find out where it was!
If you read “Fake News in Former Yugoslavia” and found yourself slightly confused or wanting to know more, I was recently sent this very interesting article from the Eurasia Review, which helps to provide some extra context.
My traveling partner Ollie and I arrived in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a bus from Sarajevo, where we’d spent a few days learning the history of the Siege of Sarajevo—the longest city siege in the history of modern warfare. Our friends in Sarajevo told us NATO forces broke the Serbian siege, saved the city, and the lives of every Bosnian living there. Before that, we’d been in Belgrade, Serbia, where a huge banner flying in front of parliament memorialized fallen Serbian soldiers as “Victims of NATO Aggression.”
Same story, two sides.
2016 took me to 16 countries. I’ve written a reflection on my year in places, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In honor of that, here are 16 of my favorite pictures from this year. Hope you enjoy!