between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Mushrooms, Squat Blocks, and Alpine Cheese - Slovenia0

Posted by Jessica in balkans, SLOVENIA (January 14, 2008 at 7:27 pm)

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Slovenia - the last country before we re-enter Italy and complete the circle. And it is a beauty!
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First we go to Liboje (lee-bo-yay), to visit Andrew’s friend James. He’s been ‘hiding out’ in this teensy tiny town for a few years now.
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It is surrounded by mountains, green pastures, endless skies, and a few townsfolk. Very few. We took a gorgeous hike to a hilltop looking out over the valley.
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James turned out to be a GREAT cook, making home-made apple pie and an amazing mushroom soup from the fresh mushrooms his friend and neighbor had picked that day. I still dream about that soup…
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Liboje was a nice, chill spot to (more…)

Sarajevo my love…0

Posted by Andrew in balkans, BOSNIA (December 19, 2007 at 1:42 am)

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For some reason, I was especially excited about going to Bosnia. I didn’t know much, but I knew they had a nasty war pretty recently.
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Well I was right about the war being nasty, and overall Bosnia didn’t disappoint. It was my favorite Balkan country for sure.
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The recent war, and the ethnic and religious divisions were easier to understand than in Lebanon, but (more…)

mitigating sticker-shock in croatia0

Posted by Andrew in EGYPT, CROATIA (November 16, 2007 at 4:28 pm)

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Lets get the hard part out of the way—Croatia was expensive! Especially at this late point in our trip, to see prices like Western Europe in the middle of the Balkans was an unexpected and difficult shock. So If you’ve been dreaming about the out of the way 2-dollar Croatian vacation, sorry you’ve already missed the boat, cause the days of post-communism are long gone round here…
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But we are resilient, no? Por supuesto. With the help of some great couchsurfing hosts, Croatia comes alive. The best stop for sure was on the Dalmatian coast, CIMG5577 j with dalmatian.jpgwhere we stayed with Ljuba and her family in the town of Solin.
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Pomegranates off the tree for breakfast, a constant stream of Croatian porros, and an amazing once-a-year cultural event. In the nearby mountain town of Dugopolje, they were having their annual Klapa fest—Klapa is acoustic singing, sounds a bit like an American barber shop quartet, except there are 8, 10 or more people singing(either all men or all women)
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Click on these links below to listen to some Klapa—its good stuff.

The festival also featured some friendly non-musical competitions:
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Possibly the best part was when the whole town gathered at a huge underground cave, where a Klapa group performed a short song. They sang really quietly so the cave wouldn’t collapse.
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And as luck would have it, Ljuba’s good friend was both a Klapa singer, and host of the before, midway and after parties.
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Ljuba also showed us around the beautiful and historic towns of Split and Trogir.
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And best of all, we got to ride in a Yugo!!
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Slightly less exciting was the Croatian capital of Zagreb. Staying at the home of Martina, (more…)

The Land of Castles (and yummy fresh food)0

Posted by Jessica in ALBANIA, CROATIA, MONTENEGRO, MACEDONIA (October 22, 2007 at 5:19 pm)

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Entering Albania from Greece was like going back to the middle east.
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Greece has shiny new busses, and Albania has run-down minivans that serve as shared taxis to get you around (and they are cheap!). While Greece was the culmination of a long return to the ‘western’ world’, Albania was more eastern feeling, and much less developed.
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First stop in ALBANIA is Berat, an old city with an inhabited hilltop fortress. You walk up a worn shiny marble-paved road to arrive at the ‘castle’ where there are whole neighborhoods living up there within the walls.
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We checked out another ‘typical Turkish house’ displaying ottoman-style home features and furnishings, CIMG9366 thousand windows.jpg
and damned if in the yard there weren’t a LIVE TURKEY!
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For those young readers out there, and those who are geographically challanged, we are now traveling in the countries which used to be known as Yugoslavia.
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This means a few things: First of all, they used to be communist.
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Religion in this part of the world used to be either illegal or suppressed. So although we occasionally heard the call to prayer, (more…)