Ljubljana: So Long, Sweet Road Trip

Well, it’s finally here: The eighth and final post wrapping up the fantastic road trip Guillaume and I took back in April. I’m terribly sorry it’s taken this long to share, but better late than never, right?

Our last full day began with an easy hike through Vintgar Gorge, which is just a short drive from Bled. If I’m being totally honest, neither Guillaume nor I was particularly impressed after visiting Plitvice Lakes — the gorge seemed quite small and unassuming — but it was still a relaxing way to spend the morning.

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Lake Bled: Serenity in Slovenia

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After our snowy hike around Plitvice Lakes, Guillaume and I thawed our fingers in the heated car, de-layered a bit and programmed our GPS to get us to the Slovenian border. We had read about delays crossing over — Croatia is in the EU but it is not a part of Schengen, making Slovenia a key gatekeeper to the Schengen zone — but we were still wholly unprepared for the TWO-HOUR queue that awaited us. It’s a good thing we packed snacks.

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Plitvice Lakes: Spring Snow Showers

So it turned out those weather forecasters weren’t kidding: Split was just an hour or two in our rearview mirror before snow started falling on our little rental car, not to mention the crazy winds knocking us around our lane. Looking anxiously at the street signs  warning us to put on tire chains, we simply couldn’t believe it: Was it not late April? Had we not, just days earlier, been sunning ourselves at a beach bar? What was the deal?

Gui used his Canadian prowess to navigate the snowy mountain roads and, before long, we were pulling into the nearly empty parking lot outside Plitvice Lakes National Park and piling on practically every item of clothing we had packed. For me, that meant a tank top (aka vest my British/Irish friends — I’ve been studying), two long-sleeve button-ups, a sweatshirt and the raincoat I found at Split’s mall the day before. Still shivering, I bought an extra sweatshirt from the park gift shop to add one final layer and actually felt much better afterward. We weren’t going to let a little snow stop us from seeing the waterfalls that I had been eagerly anticipating for months!

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Milano & Como: A Race Against Melting Gelato


My friends and I had our sights set on a trip to Italy’s fashion capital for several months, so we were quite excited when we found a weekend that worked with all of three of our schedules for a ladies getaway. We piled into the car early Saturday morning and less than four hours later — after my first (slightly nerve-racking) experience driving through the Mont Blanc tunnel — we were searching for a parking spot in the packed streets of downtown Milan.

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Split: Even More Croatian Beauty

I know, I know… I’ve gotten terribly behind. Thank goodness I kept a travel diary during our Balkans road trip or I wouldn’t remember what to write about anymore! The past few weeks have been a bit packed with the end of exams, the start of my summer internship and visits from some fabulous guests, but I’m ready to get back on the blogging horse (…that metaphor shows you just how out of practice I am, am I right? I’ll get the hang of it.) So without further ado, let me give you a little taste of the gorgeous Croatian city of Split:


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15-Month Anniversary

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I have to be honest: I’ve been totally wrapped up in trying to power through the 90-degree Fahrenheit/32-degree Celsius temperature inside our un-airconditioned Geneva apartment and get some studying done for exams, and did not realize I was due for an anniversary post until my trusty phone alert late last night. Thus, you’ll have to forgive that this entry is short on thoughtful expat reflections, and accept a substitute of some very wise attic apartment advice instead: When it’s 90 degrees outside, do not leave your windows open all day in the hope that a breeze will bring some fresh air into your flat. There is no breeze and your apartment will somehow stay at a sauna-like 90 degrees all week as a result — even though it’s back down to 70 degrees outside. (You’re welcome.)

Outside of studying for exams — four more to go! — Gui and I have been spending our time down by the lake relaxing between workdays and classes, and soaking in what I really do think is Geneva’s best season now that I’ve experienced them all: Summer. (I know, it’s still officially spring, but this weather says otherwise.) The city comes to life with swimmers, sailors and festivals, and it’s really a different atmosphere from the quieter winter months when downtown empties out in favor of the nearby ski slopes.  Continue reading

Lisbon: Amazing Azulejos


We just got back from a fantastic long weekend in Lisbon, so I’m going to interrupt my series of road-trip posts to bring you my thoughts on Portugal’s capital while they’re still fresh. My main takeaway? Lisbon is gorgeous. With its tile-covered facades, blooming lavender-colored trees and the sparkling ocean just steps away, I could barely contain my delight as we wandered the city’s hilly streets. We’re already determined to plan another trip to Portugal — Any recommendations? Porto? Madeira?

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Mostar: Gorgeous Bridge, Mind-Blowing Kebab


The drive from Sarajevo to Mostar took us through some pretty wild scenery, with jagged, rocky peaks poking through unchecked lush greenery. I wish I had braved the rain and asked Gui to pull the car over to take photos, but alas, I prioritized staying dry. The best comparison I have for the grandiose landscape would be the images I have seen of Machu Picchu, but as I’ve never been to Peru I suppose I don’t really know 🙂 This is all to say it was beautiful and the view out the window kept me fully occupied until we arrived in Mostar to a miraculous break in the rain.

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Travnik & Sarajevo: Welcome to BiH

Our drive from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina was pretty wild — even without stumbling across landmines leftover from the war in the 90s, per Guillaume’s alarming research. Croatia is a member of the European Union but not part of the Schengen open-border zone, and BiH is part of neither, so once we got to the border we had to pass through one booth where a Croatian official stamped our passports to leave and then a second where a Bosnian man stamped them to enter. Shortly afterward, we traded the smoothly-paved highway for a narrow mountain road that was pretty much the opposite, as we wound our way toward Travnik.

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