Archive for the “Europe” Category

A Day at the Rila Monastery

Located about 110 km outside of Sofia, Bulgaria is the Rila Monastery. It was the highlight of my trip to Sofia and made an otherwise dull visit quite exciting. The monastery was founded by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila and was built by his students while he lived in a cave. The original Rila Monastery was destroyed but re-erected at its present place during the 14th century. The oldest buildings are the Tower of Hrelyu (1334) and a small […]

My Big Fat Greek Festival

I didn’t break any dishes or use Windex to clear up a pimple, but it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to living a real-life version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It was the festival of St. John, and I was surrounded by little Greek ladies in black shawls with wooden canes, people doing traditional dances, kids running around, lots of wine, and cooked wild goat being shoved in my face. “Eat, it’s like deer.” The owner of my […]

The Fjords of Norway

I’ve always wanted to see fjords. They are supposedly beautiful and mind numbingly stunning. Plus the word is cool. I mean just pronounce that word — f j o r d. It sounds so cool. I just like saying it. Fjord. Fjord. Fjord. And when I was planning my trip to Norway, the only thing I made the tourism board promise me was that my trip would include lots of time in the fjord area. Seeing the fjords was the […]

Forty Eight Hours in Oslo

Most budget travelers skip Norway because it is an expensive country to visit. The taxes are high, a lot of things are imported, and the currency is very strong. During my time here, I’ve found very little ways around this fact and have learned cheap can be an extremely relative term. However, flight connections can allow Oslo for a brief stopover to this incredibly beautiful city. And while Oslo isn’t cheap, you can spend two days here doing a lot […]

The Cost of Traveling Sweden

Sweden isn’t the cheapest country in the world to visit. Its high prices keep many people from visiting, which is a shame because this is one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting countries. That’s a bold statement but I’ve been to Sweden twice before and I’m constantly amazed at the beautiful landscape and cities. Moreover, the people (besides making the rest of the world look ugly) are incredibly friendly to visitors. I’ve come to realize that while the country […]

Interesting Facts About Sweden

As you know from my last post, I’m starting my last big round the world trip and I am beginning in Scandinavia, figuring I might as well get the most expensive countries out of the way with first. I’m currently in Stockholm, one of my favorite cities in the world, despite the fact it abuses my wallet. (I’ll be going to Norway next and that country is even more expensive. Luckily, I have family there I can mooch off of…I […]

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris

Paris: the city that takes too many lifetimes to see. I’ve spent weeks and weeks in Paris and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you find new attractions, new cafés, or new markets to explore. It’s impossible to try to see it all or even begin to think you can. Many travelers come for about three days and try see the highlights of this beautiful city. You need more time than that. I think […]

How Much Does Greece Really Cost?

Last week, I wrote an article called “Five Destinations to Visit for Under $30 USD.” One of the places I listed was Greece, which brought a lot of pleasantly surprised comments from readers. Most people never think of Greece as a cheap destination, lumping it in with the other Eurozone countries as overpriced. However, I’ve been to Greece twice and think it is a highly underrated budget destination, especially for Europe. One commenter didn’t agree. He wrote: “Greece is definitely […]

Three Days in Amsterdam

One of my favorite cities in the world is Amsterdam, and it has nothing to do with the colorful red lights that are so characteristic of the city. What I love about Amsterdam is that it reminds me of home with its brick buildings, open skyline, history (the Pilgrims came from Leiden before they landed on Plymouth rock!), and similar attitude towards life. Over the years, I’ve visited Amsterdam on many different times and I’ve spent countless hours walking the […]

My Own Private Budapest

Budapest. The beautiful city on the Danube. It’s a city I’ve never heard anything bad said about. “If you love Prague, you’ll love Budapest,” people would tell me. And they were right – I did like Budapest, though not nearly as much as I like Prague but that’s another story. This story is about Hungarian folk dancing. Before I went to Budapest, I called a friend of mine. “Do you still have a friend in the Tourism Budapest office? Do […]