22 Photographs That Showcase the Strange Beauty of the Balkans

Why you should visit the Balkan Countries

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:

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13 Photos That Show the Not-So-Glamorous Side of Travel

Look on Instagram, or Facebook, or Youtube, and it seems like every traveler is living a life of incredible luxury, jet setting around the world and relaxing on deserted beaches. While that is part of the experience, it’s definitely not all of it.

I’ve already written about why I share embarrassing experiences, but as they say, sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words. So here are 13 photos that show the not-so-glamorous side of traveling.

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Nepal 80: Magic Morning Light

The morning after I saw the rainbow, I awoke before sunrise.

I had gone to bed early—around eight— so this wasn’t much of a surprise.

I was still shaken from my experience the day before; filled with a sense of satisfaction. I rose quietly, doing my best to let Saffron sleep. I ventured outside to relieve myself. The only toilet was occupied, so I walked a little ways off the property, and peed on the trail. It felt good; felt refreshing in the chill morning air.

I walked back to the lodge as the morning sky was beginning to fill with light. It was a clear, brisk morning. The valley was beautiful, quiet and peaceful. You could see for miles. Far off, in the distance, the distinctive silhouette of of the Fishtail poked out of the horizon. Although the real name is Machupuchre, the mountain has acquired the English nickname “Fishtail” because of its obvious resemblance, from certain angles, to a fish’s tail.

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