All I knew about Coimbra when I got there was “university town, steep streets”. I left having been introduced to a quirky city full of history, traditions and pastries.
It’s been three months and the verdict on spontaneous travel is in: I LOVE IT. It hasn’t always been easy, but the experience has changed how I’ll travel in the future.
Visiting a Turkish Hamam in the town of Antakya was one of the most invasive, awkward and confusing experiences I’ve ever had.
In any other city it would be just a bridge. But the river in Mitrovica acts as an unofficial border between two worlds.
The Patriarchate of Peć is a beautiful Serbian Orthodox monument. It’s also a monument in danger.
Few visitors to Macedonia will pass up the chance to see Lake Ohrid, and with good reason. It’s absolutely stunning. But there’s more to this part of the Balkans than just a lovely bit of water.
Dissing popular attractions in favour or lesser-known destinations apparently makes me a travel snob. But visiting Kotor in Montenegro was a reminder of the experiences I enjoy and value when I travel. If that makes me a travel snob, so be it.
Poor public transport means hitchhiking is popular in the Balkans. For weeks I ignored the encouragement to do it. And then I got stranded at the Macedonian border.
Dogs are not usually treated well in Albania. Anyone who has lived in Albania will have a horror story you don’t want to hear. For more than a week, it broke my heart. When I had a chance to visit a dog shelter in Vlore, I took it. I wanted to see something positive.
The Blue Eye is a striking natural spring extending to a depth of about 50m. During the communist era Syri i Kalter was reserved for the party elite. Now it’s a popular attraction in southern Albania. It’s also bloody cold to swim in.