Europe

Eastern Europe

Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia As the summer approaches, throngs of people will be planning their European backpacking adventures. I find that with the exception of the Czech Republic, much of Eastern Europe oddly sits far down on the list of must-see places for many people. However, having covered a fair number of countries in Europe over three trips, I personally think it should be somewhere around the top. Perhaps I'm a bit bias. With my grandfather being born in Czechoslovakia to Polish parents I have always felt linked to Eastern Europe. It is no surprise then that as soon as I stepped off of the plane in Warsaw, I immediately felt somewhat at home. So I spent the next few days exploring the city inside and out – the tomb of the unknown soldier, Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Old Town Market Square, the Monument to the Warsaw Uprising, the Royal Castle, Palace of Culture, and the Jewish Quarter and Cemetery. All amazing. The people were friendly, streets [...]

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Backpacking Europe

Beginner’s Luck At the ripe old age of 20-something and in the midst of some major life changes, I decided to do my first ever backpacking trip to Europe with a few girlfriends. I hadn’t done much traveling at that point, so I was a bit nervous but excited to my core. The next thing you know, I’m on a plane to Spain to spend a few days solo before my friends were meeting up with me. I remember that first day, sitting on the balcony at the Washington Motel in downtown Madrid, looking out at all of the terracotta rooftops in the hot sun, drenched in sweat and optimism at what the summer would hold for me, which led to some major introspection about what my life would hold for me. Thinking back on it now, this was the beginning of the end of sorts, an end to a [...]

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