Have you traveled in Eastern Europe? What did you know about the region before visiting? If you haven’t been to Eastern Europe, what country or city appeals to you most as a place to visit? How much does knowing about the history of a place inspire your future travels?
If you’ve read any of my blog posts or Indie Travel Challenge posts, you know that I LOVE CROATIA!
My first trip out of the country was to eastern Europe. I’ve never actually been to western Europe. And I would love to move to Split, Croatia. Its gorgeous. The old roman architecture, mixed with Middle Eastern and Slavic buildings and culture. Eastern Europe is the true melting pot of cultures, ideals, food, people…and its just kind of fucking awesome!
I spent 5 weeks in the Balkans – Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Bulgaria. It is amazing. hearing the morning calls to prayer while people in their Sunday bests walk down the street to go to the local Catholic church next door to the mosque. There was no religious tension in the Balkans. I would see a school girl in modern tank top and shorts laughing over the cute boys with her best friend in full Muslim dress and head-covering.
The food was a culinary eclecticism of middle-eastern kebabs, rich desserts, stews, fresh fish, ripe, pungent fruits, fresh herbs, and clear, jet-powering libations (me amo Rakia).
Eastern Europe still has much mystery about it because of its long history of being owned by various civilizations and regimes, the communism that shrouded the area in danger and spy stories, and its recent release into freedom. Although this area has been famous for its beautiful coastlines, and great getaways for centuries…the political strife of the area has kept many westerns out, and makes this a relatively ‘new’ are for travel. I was lucky enough to visit Croatia a few months before Lonely Planet named it ‘The Most Beautiful Country In the World’” , so there was many travelers, but it was by no means overflowing…and I would love to return to see if this ‘new status’ has changed my beloved Balkans in any ways.
Before heading to Eastern Europe, I read as much as I could about the history, political, cultural, economical, of this region…and it was not just informative…it helped me understand people there. It also helped when talking with people, they appreciated that I knew some of there history…and had tried to learn there view of prior events (and the wars) …and they opened up to me more in describing their own personal experiences. I know that I am definitely at a disadvantage here in South America…because I didn’t have time to study the history here more…because I didn’t know I was coming here until 3 weeks before I arrived.
Knowing a bit about the history of a place definitely inspires travel. People go to Rome to see its historic ruins, I want to go to Cambodia and southern India to see its beautiful temples. I would love to go to the middle East because it is the birthplace of civilization. It really is the history of a place that defines everything about a place….culture, food, why certain things exist today, animal species, environment and geography (its not just human history people) so history sort of governs everything about a place that makes people want to travel to it.
It is definitely nice to learn a bit about the history of a place before you arrive. The locals greet you more warmly when you have taken the time to learn about their history, culture, and life.
This is part of Boots n All 2012 Indie Travel Challenge. I’m doing this in hopes of becoming a more consistent and better travel-blogger. And because I really can’t wait until I can go back to see Croatia again (and the rest of Eastern Europe.)
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com. I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I've flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion. I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.