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The Best of the Balkans

The Best of the Balkans

Spring break is over and I have some mixed feelings about it. I am sad that I am ending my beautiful travels in Eastern Europe but also surprisingly happy to be back in Rome and on campus. The everyday hustle and bustle of Rome can be a monotonous and overwhelming at times and this goes for every city, not just Rome. I was happy to leave to get a change of scenery for a bit! I went on a Loyola facilitated study trip with the wonderful SLA Chandni and because we went to so many different places I thought I would write a little snippet about every place we went.

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade November Man Park
Belgrade Fortress. FUN FACT: This is where one of the last scene of November Man was filmed.

Belgrade was the first stop on our spring break trip and I loved being in this city! I had no expectations going into this trip and Belgrade set the bar very high for all the other places we went. There is an incredible amount of history, war, sadness and resilience in the Balkans, and I got my first taste of that in Belgrade. Our tour guide Jelena was very young when the Kosovo War occurred and she shared some fascinating stories of her life. It is crazy to think that when I was four years old, people in a different country were living through war. You read about war in history books but when you hear first hand stories, the information is more impactful.

Belgrade Graffiti

Belgrade is a young city that has a vibrant art/graffiti scene and nightlife. Each building has beautiful pieces of art, some next to bullet hole remnants from the war. I do not know how to put this in a more eloquent way, but people in Belgrade are just so exceptionally cool. There is a sense of life and happiness that is refreshing! We also met with these Serbian exchange students that did a year of high school in America. After hearing all the history and the death that has happened in this city, they were interesting to talk to because they talked about everyday life in Belgrade. The things that they missed about America, (Mainly Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) simply showed that love of culture has no boundaries.

Novi Sad, Serbia

Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia.
Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia.

Novi Sad is a small town about an hour away from Belgrade. We took a day trip and walked around seeing various churches, mosques and historical buildings. One of the important monuments in Novi Sad is this clock tower and I will not lie, it was a hike to get up here! This tested my lack of athletic skills a lot, but the view was breathtaking. Jelena was telling us that during the summer there is a music festival that is well known in Europe. How cool would it be to have a music festival in a fortress? Sure puts Lollapalooza to shame!

Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina 

Sarajevo Mountain View

Sarajevo is the definition of a beautiful ski town, it is about four hours away from Belgrade by car and the whole ride looked like a fantasy. Snow capped mountains and trees is always breathtaking. We went to an old military tank fortress on top of a mountain, it was all quite surreal, something you do not see on a normal tour. Sarajevo too was plagued with war in 1993 and our tour guide Skender was young when the war was occurring. When we live in this “modern world” it can be baffeling to think that ethnic cleansing occurred just 20 some years ago.

Sarajevo Mountain Selfie

In Sarajevo I also met my current new baked good obsession, Burek. Burek is this beautiful meat, croissant swirl and just thinking about not having it in Rome is making me feel some kind of way. Oh the memories of my love, Burek!

Delicious Burek

Split, Croatia

Marjan Split Croatia
Marjan, Split, Croatia.

Our last stop was Split, Croatia and it was perfect weather up until the day we left! For most of the trip it was cold, snowy and rainy but in Split, as you can see from this photo, it was nice and sunny out. The people in this city are incredibly dressed and I think it is because there is one main street that everyone walks down and you are bound to run into someone you know. A big thing to do here is island hopping, but we were advised to come back during the summer and do that then instead. Split is a popular beach town but is also a popular stop for backpackers. I would love to come back and see what this city is like during the summer!

That is all for now!


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