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. 

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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.

Follow our adventures on Facebook to find out where we’re headed!

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 reactorIn very different ways, all three are etched in our memory as horrific examples of human suffering in the past.

Patarei Prison Hanging Room

The execution room in Patarei Prison

Roses were everywhere ast Birkenau.

Red roses are still left at Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate the lost lives

A waiting room of Pripyat Hospital

A hospital waiting room in Pripyat, the ghost town of Chernobyl

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.

Sarajevo Rose

The “Sarajevo Roses” mark the locations where people have been killed by mortar shells during the siege of the city

Bombed Building In Mostar

Just one of many ruins left behind after the war in Mostar

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!

Liam getting Whipped In Lviv Ukraine

Is this a face of pain or pleasure?

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.

Mariana Drunk In Budapest

There’s no doubt about this one: this is a face of pain!

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.

Shkoder Hike In Autumn

This was literally the backyard of our guest house

… 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.

Train To Lviv Ukraine

As if the inside of the train wasn’t cool enough, check out the view from the window!

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.

Bed Bug Inspection

Liam carrying out a code red bed bug inspection

And The Food!

Oh, and in four months, we’ve eaten more dumplings, zapiekanka and chevapchichi than most people do in a year.

Eating a Piragi (bacon roll to our Aussie friends), one of Latvias best tradional foods

The prize for best dumplings goes to Latvia and their pierogis with bacon and onion inside – yum!

Getting ready to chow down on this delicious zapiekanka in Krakow

Ćevapi or ćevapčići street food

Ćevapi or ćevapčići is traditionally served with fresh bread and sour cream (although ketchup and mustard also do the trick)

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

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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 🙂