As we’re getting ready for our next big adventure, we say goodbye to Eastern Europe and look back at some of the amazing experiences it gave us.
It’s happened again!
As always, time’s flown by and before you know it, we find ourselves packing our bags for our next big adventure.
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Eastern Europe Over
Over the past four months, we’ve backpacked from the far north of Estonia all the way down south to Bulgaria. We’ve seen the seasons as well as the people, the culture and the landscapes change.
There’s been distinct cultural differences in each country and region, but we can honestly say we’ve felt welcome everywhere we’ve been. We’ve met countless legendary locals, amazing Couchsurfing hosts and fun fellow travellers who we can’t wait to bump into again.
Remnants Of A Dark Past
Of all the places we’ve had the chance to visit, there are of course a few that stand out. Among those are Patarei Prison, a former Soviet prison in Tallinn that made us realise how little we knew about the Soviet Union. Two other eye-opening and unforgettable places were the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. In very different ways, all three are etched in our memory as horrific examples of human suffering in the past.
In Bosnia, we saw how the more recent war of the 1990s has left behind deep wounds that are still trying to heal. We’ll probably never forget the first time we saw the mortar craters in the streets of Sarajevo or the many bombed buildings in Mostar. However, in Bosnia we also met some of the most positive and strong people in Eastern Europe.
Drinking And Some Light BDSM
On a brighter note, we ended up spending our food budget on beers on more than one occasion. The by far weirdest night out was when Liam got whipped by the waitress in a BDSM bar in Ukraine. By the way, that was the same night we shot Putin in the head in a shooting range in another bar. Ah, good times!
Then there was the night we checked out the cool ruin bars of Budapest and had way too much wine and the vile-tasting Hungarian version of Jagermeister called Unicum.
Stunning Autumn Hikes
As Autumn set in, we hiked through the Albanian Alps just in time to see the mountains glow in the most beautiful hues of red and orange. To top it off, we even got to experience life in remote traditional villages where we had the best homemade börek (typical savoury pie) in the Balkans.
… And All The Other Fun Stuff
We also have to mention the Soviet-era trains in Moldova which felt like traveling back in time to when plastic flowers and rugs on the floor were a thing.
Much to Liam’s frustration (since he’s always the one who gets bit, ha) we’ve even had to bring out our bed bug guide a few times.
And The Food!
Oh, and in four months, we’ve eaten more dumplings, zapiekanka and chevapchichi than most people do in a year.
Nothing Like We Thought
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our time in Eastern Europe, it’s that Eastern Europe is not just Eastern Europe. It’s the Baltic countries, it’s Central Europe, it’s the Balkans and it’s every single country by itself.
All in all, this is an underrated, safe and great part of the world that’s only waiting to be explored.
Happy travels and be safe!
Liam & Mariana
Want to know more about the best places to visit in Eastern Europe? Keep an eye on the website as we’ll be putting up more posts soon 🙂