Put Bucharest on Your List

Bucharest, like many capital cities in Eastern Europe, is often overlooked. When I told people I was going to Bucharest, they asked me, “Why would you go there?”. Even in Romania, passing travelers told me to skip it. I didn’t have a choice, I was flying out from Bucharest and ending my three-month long Balkan adventure.

I loved it. In fact, I wish I’d had more time there.

Bucharest at first looks like a post-apocalyptic Paris but is very much alive. This inexpensive city is a great weekend getaway or the beginning of a trip through Romania.

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Weekends in the West Bank (Part 1)

While studying abroad in Israel, I’ve taken a few weekends to visit the West Bank.

The West Bank is a Palestinian territory that has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. But let’s put politics aside and focus on some of the great cities and sights in this misrepresented area of the world!

On my first visit, my friends and I were greeted with warm hospitality by two truly genuine people: a local artist, and the former Mayor of Taybeh, at an annual beer festival. It was a good first impression.

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Best of the Balkans

Growing up, I remember learning European geography: England, France, Spain, Germany, and all those little countries in the East. This summer, I realized that ‘those little countries’, the Balkans, are some of the most enchanting (an inexpensive) places in Europe.

I spent three months in the Balkans and fell in love with the cultures of this small but dense European region. I already want to go back and see everything I missed!

Based on criteria of natural beauty, architecture, food, friendliness/accessibility, and history, these towns are the Best of the Balkans.* (For more in-depth Balkan Backpacking check-out “Three Months in the Balkans” coming soon).

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Istanbul’s Must-See Mosques

Istanbul is an ancient city, where many empires have reigned throughout the centuries, each leaving their mark. The Romans built aqueducts, the Byzantines built churches, and the Ottomans built mosques.

The Sultans of the Ottoman Empire sought to raise the largest and most impressive mosques the world had ever seen, and they succeeded. Today, the minarets of the Ottoman mosques still pierce the skies, as the call-to-prayer reverberates through the city.

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