Europe apparently has a little bit of history, food and culture, the odd mountain and beach. It’s never been a priority travel destination for me.  Prior to Covid, I’d only visited Russia, Greece and spent four hours in Italy. A 2020 Balkans & Beyond trip got locked-down (lockdowned?) but finally happened in 2022- Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia.
You Euros have to seriously do something about the durries. Otherwise, yeah, it was OK. Saw some way cool stuff, and some other way cool stuff which all started to look the same.

KOSOVO PRISTINA street art old bazaar yugoslavia travel photography backpacking europe balkans

KOSOVO: Super-friendly country that splintered off from the splinters of Yugoslavia.

MONTENEGRO KOTOR city skyline rooftops UNESCO Bay Of Kotor yugoslavia travel photography backpacking

MONTENEGRO: Spectacular coasts with spectacular over-development, history, hearty meals, and beautiful mountains to the east.

ALBANIA GJIROKASTER bunker communist era travel balkans backpacking weird dictatorship

ALBANIA: Communism threw out some weird countries, and this is one of the best. The 20th century was unkind to Albania, but there is plenty to like about it now.

MACEDONIA BITOLA statue Nothern Macedonia FYROM Yugolsave travel balkans backpacking photography

NORTH MACEDONIA: Lots of history, good views and good food, and those peculiar Yugoslav-era monuments.

GREECE CORFU rooftops view venitian ottoman crusader castles history travel

GREECE: Like most Melbourne kids of the 1970s, I have a deep connection to Greece: my first foreign swear words were Greek. It’s also one of the first countries I was taught about in history and geography classes.

RUSSIA: A FORMER SUPERPOWER, stretching from the Baltic to Hokkaido, land of week long train rides, the greatest ballets and musicians of the world……

 ITALY: Was I there four hours, or was it six?
Time enough for two meals, a Collesium, a Forum, old churches, and those underwhelming steps. While my experience was limited to just Rome, one day maybe I can make it further.