Superlatives: The Sequel

The best (and worst) of everything (since last time) When we compiled a list of the best and worst of everything on our trip to date, 1000 days of travel seemed like an extraordinary amount of time, a milestone we never imagined possible when we set out. Well now we’ve doubled...

Favorite Dumb Pictures

In celebration of 2000 days as digital nomads, here’s a bunch of our favorite embarrassing photos. We also wrote a companion piece/update to our 1000 day celebration the best (and worst) of everything on our trip to date, both of which are far more meaningful and you should read them before...

Tallinn

August 19 – October 16, 2020 (Fall) Before COVID hit, our well-laid plans for 2020 had culminated in a triumphant return to Tallinn, Estonia. That had been our first brush with the Baltic states, and we fell in love so thoroughly that visiting them has become an annual tradition for...

Edinburgh

July 24 – August 19, 2020 (Summer) Scotland’s capital is a city of celebrations, famous for wild and popular festivals like Fringe and Hogmanay. The summer of 2020 was Edinburgh at its most desolate. Covid lockdowns collapsed the tourism industry, driving arrivals (and prices) to historic lows. Infections also hit...

London

July 10 – 24, 2020 (Summer) London was not a place we expected to find ourselves in 2020. But with Covid cases declining across the continent, the UK sought to open “travel corridors” between “safe” destinations. Serbia was one of those destinations. On July 10 the corridors went into effect,...

Belgrade

June 1 – 15 & June 26 – July 10, 2020 (Summer) The pandemic scared most nations into refusing entry to all but their own citizens. Serbia went a different direction, being one of the first to reopen their borders to everyone. And as American passport holders started to become...

Novi Sad

June 15 – 26, 2020 (Summer) With Serbia keeping restrictions light, we decided to relocate to Novi Sad to celebrate our tenth anniversary. The vibe on our first visit was relaxed, the center walkable. It has a river with shore paths and a giant fortress looming over the Danube. What...

Yerevan

February 10 – March 8 & March 26 – June 1, 2020 (Winter-Spring-Summer) It seems like every time we visit Yerevan, a decade of history happens all at once. Our first visit coincided with the Velvet Revolution, incredible to witness but not ideal for sightseeing. We looked forward to a...

Etchmiadzin

March 8 – 26, 2020 (Spring) Where were you when the world became a plague state? We were in Etchmiadzin, Armenia. Which, it turned out, was about to become the epicenter of Armenia’s first Covid outbreak. All we wanted was a quiet stay as spring started. A chance to wander...

Corfu

February 2-9, 2020 (Winter) Corfu was where we finally got our first taste of Greece. It’s a light appetizer if there ever was one. There’s no Acropolis looming over the population, nor whitewashed towns so popular on Santorini or Mykonos. The vibe here was more unassuming than that. An island...

Saranda

January 29 – February 2, 2020 (Winter) Never have we turned against a place as quickly as Sarandë. But in fairness, Albania turned against us first. Thirteen hours of bus travel from Kotor was punctuated by a torrential downpour that centered entirely on our frantic transfer between distant bus stations...

Kotor

January 1 – 29, 2020 (Winter) Of all the towns we’ve lived in while on the road, Kotor, Montenegro may be the most picturesque. It nestles into a mountainside, deep in a protected bay. The fortified old city sits on a narrow ledge next to the water. Perched on a...

Zagreb

November 20 – December 18, 2019 (Winter) Cue the season for Christmas markets! Zagreb’s consistently rank as the best in Europe – this year they weren’t even allowed in the contest because they’d won too many times. During our first visit to Zagreb two years ago, we watched with great...

Rijeka

October 23 – November 20, 2019 (Fall) Rijeka is not a usual tourist stay. It has none of the big hotels and fancy beaches found further down shore in Dalmatia. This is the port city, the working-class corner of the coast. But that image belies a fascinating history (in general...

Trieste

Trieste is in many ways the sister city of Rijeka. Separated by national borders and a sliver of Slovenia, the cities’ histories are remarkable mirrors of each other. Both are port cities that were vital to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Both had diverse populaces that suffered lots of heartache and fighting...

days on the road

We are Kevin and Danielle Tarchenski, a pair of introverts that travel the world. Why? To save money, have fun, maybe learn a thing or two. We love to work from the road and write about our adventures. Most of all, we enjoy living simply: peaceful walks, homecooked meals, quiet nights in – wherever we make our home this month.

More Places

Chiang Mai
 
Chiang Mai
December 8, 2015 – January 5, 2016 (Height of “cool” season) Contemplating our first stop as digital nomads, we had no idea where to begin. But after peeking around other travel blogs and online resources, one name quickly rose to the top of the pile: Chiang Mai. This mid-sized city in Northern Thailand is cheaper and more laid-back…
Penang
 
Penang
January 5 – February 2, 2016 (Height of dry season) The island of Penang sits in the Strait of Malacca west of Peninsular Malaysia, surrounded on all sides by water (as islands so often are). Only 600 km from the Equator, the climate is best classified as “sauna.” Because of its favorable location and history…
Lisbon
 
Lisbon
February 3 – March 2, 2016 (End of winter) We’re still not sure whether Lisbon’s temperate winter beckoned us, or Penang’s sweltering one pushed us away. But this charming city on the edge of the European continent captivated us instantly. Old buildings and narrow streets felt cozy even on damp days, while warm food and rich…
Sintra and Mafra
 
Sintra and Mafra
Lisbon is a beautiful city of landmarks, and we would have been happy spending the whole month there without leaving. That would have been a mistake. Two of Portugal’s must-see attractions are within easy reach of the capital, so see them we did. Sintra is a small spot jam-packed with palaces. Mafra has just a…
Barcelona
 
Barcelona
March 2 – 29, 2016 (Spring) Expensive, demanding, and oh-so-crowded, Barcelona is hardly an ideal nomad destination. But one of the most overtouristed places on the continent is popular for a reason – there is simply too much to see and do in this outsize coastal city. Its popularity makes it well-connected and cheap to fly…
Split
 
Split
March 29 – April 28, 2016 (Spring shoulder season) Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and sits squarely in the center of the Dalmatian coast on the shores of the Adriatic. The city sprang from the bones of a massive ancient Roman palace. To visit the palace today, it doesn’t make sense to ask where…
Plitvice Lakes
 
Plitvice Lakes
Nestled in the Dinaric Alps, a unique hydrology of rivers and karst rock create the incredible lakes of Plitvice. Turquoise pools, verdant canopies, stony gray cliffs and glimmering white waterfalls are all hallmarks of Croatia’s premier national park. The process that created them is dynamic, constantly eroding and rebuilding in shifting transient configurations. It was…
Dubrovnik
 
Dubrovnik
April 28 – May 26, 2016 (Spring) Dubrovnik is not a town for introverts. Cramped streets within the medieval fortress walls force crowds together and aggressive salespeople bark at tourists with tangible desperation. Since most visitors are cruise ship day-trippers, there’s no incentive to be nice and every incentive to sell, hard. But past the gauntlet…
Bucharest
 
Bucharest
May 26 – June 23, 2016 (Early summer) The capital of Romania is perhaps the most populous “hidden gem” in Europe. Bucharest exists on a grander scale than we imagined: massive neoclassical facades and wide boulevards reminded us of Paris, though the brutalist remnants of Ceaușescu’s communist regime are quick to interrupt any daydreams. Romania…
Dublin
 
Dublin
June 23 – 30, 2016 (Summer) After 12 weeks bouncing around the greater Balkan Peninsula, we still needed one more to put us over the finish line and fully “reset” our Schengen time. Rather than tacking on an extra week here or there, we took advantage of cheap flights to take a bucket-list vacation in Dublin. The…
Budapest
 
Budapest
June 30 – July 28, 2016 (Summer) Could we have picked a more confusing place to follow Bucharest? Maybe jumping back and forth between the Balkans and Baltics would work. But beautiful Budapest was worth the trouble. It rivals Prague as the most glamorous former Eastern Bloc capital, and without even the international ambassador that is Czech…
Warsaw
 
Warsaw
July 28 – August 11, 2016 (Summer) We didn’t know what to expect from Poland, just that we wanted to go and see if there was some sort of a personal connection. The name Tarchenski is a bit of a mouthful for folks in Northern Illinois, despite the sizable Polish population. So it was nothing short…
Krakow
 
Krakow
August 11 – 25, 2016 (Summer) Kraków is by far the top tourist destination in Poland. Its Old Town and castle buildings survived World War II relatively unscathed, though many of its people did not. It is a challenging place to categorize. It is a city that lives almost entirely in the past, alternately celebrating it…
Auschwitz
 
Auschwitz
No matter what it refers to, a million is difficult to comprehend. A million miles. A million dollars. A million people. A million lives. The Nazis built their most infamous death camp on Polish land, expelling the local population from Oświęcim in order to use army barracks for their prisoners. Over the following years, about 1.1…
Tallinn
 
Tallinn
August 25 – September 22, 2016 (End of summer, beginning of fall) Tallinn is the largest city of Estonia, but one of the smallest on our trip. Because of that or in spite of it, we found Tallinn to be among the most likable places we’ve visited. It boasts as charming a medieval Old Town…
Playa del Carmen
 
Playa del Carmen
September 22 – October 20, 2016 (Hurricane season) Playa del Carmen used to be a sleepy little fishing village on the Gulf Coast, but it has since developed into one of Mexico’s go-to tourist beaches. While it hasn’t reached Cancún-levels of development, it is growing in that direction. Several all-inclusive resorts on the beaches around Playa…
Merida
 
Merida
October 20 – November 17, 2016 (End of rainy season) About three hours west of the Riviera Maya is Mérida, the largest city on the Yucatán Peninsula. The drive is short, but the city feels worlds apart from those coastal resorts. Much of the Old Town was built from the stones of the Maya city…
Chichen Itza and Uxmal
 
Chichen Itza and Uxmal
Two of the most beautiful and best-preserved Maya ruins lie within a 120km radius of Mérida, which makes it the perfect home base to explore both. Chichen Itza is the larger of the two, perhaps the most famous archaeological site in the North America. Uxmal is older but remarkably intact – a quieter and more…
Cancun
 
Cancun
November 17 – 24, 2016 (Temperate season) Ah, Cancún. An escape for so many, with brilliant blue waters stretching out to the horizon and baby soft sand up to the hotel doorstep. But fifty years ago, it didn’t exist. Everything we saw, from the massive coastal resorts to the sprawling city they support, was built…
Lima
 
Lima
November 24 – December 1, 2016 (Beginning of summer) Home to nearly a third of the people in Peru, Lima is enormous. It sprawls – along the shore, over small hills and deep into arid mountain valleys. And busy! We practically heard the car horns from our landing approach. It was all too much to…
Buenos Aires
 
Buenos Aires
December 1, 2016 – January 6, 2017 (Summer) Buenos Aires was never high on our list, but it found a way on anyway, and we’re glad it did. Our trip through South America required some serious trade-offs. We didn’t have a month to give to every country, and some (like Peru) ended up shortchanged. But…
Patagonian Cruise
 
Patagonian Cruise
January 6 – 21, 2017 (Summer) We were not in our right minds. From the perspective of a sweltering summer day in Budapest, a cruise though the icy waters of Patagonia was a tantalizing thought. There’d be mountains, glaciers, and especially penguins. We ran the numbers; once we factored in the high price of airfare…
Santiago
 
Santiago
January 21 – February 21, 2017 (Summer) After two weeks on a crowded, expensive cruise ship, a crowded, expensive city was nevertheless a welcome sight. The entire capital region was engulfed in a thick blanket of wildfire smoke when we arrived at the port in Valparaíso. Over a few weeks, as the smoke and threat…
Punta Arenas
 
Punta Arenas
February 21 – March 21, 2017 (Beginning of fall) Wintering in the Southern Hemisphere was really disorienting. In Buenos Aires, Christmas lights decorated pine trees indoors but palm trees outside, and while family shared pictures of fresh snow we worried about sunburn in Santiago. We were excited for a chance at a little on-demand “winter”…
Torres del Paine
 
Torres del Paine
Day One: Mirador Las Torres It took nearly our entire stay, but we finally escaped Punta Arenas for the breathtaking wilderness of Torres del Paine National Park. We found a small Airbnb in Puerto Natales to serve as our home base for three nights, busing into the park each morning and back each afternoon. The three-hour bus…
Montevideo
 
Montevideo
March 22 – April 19, 2017 (Early fall) In a lot of ways, Montevideo and Buenos Aires are alike. Each is the capital and largest city of its country. They both grill a lot of beef, drink a lot of wine, and consider mate a national treasure. They share similar Spanish and Italian cultural influences,…
La Floresta
 
La Floresta
April 19 – May 20, 2017 (Fall) The Atlantic coast of Uruguay is studded with world-class beaches. Some, like Punta del Este, have developed into ritzy resort towns, catering to wealthy Brazilians and Argentinians looking for a safer place to holiday. Others are more like La Floresta. A quiet town of just 1500 permanent residents, it’s…
Prague
 
Prague
May 21 – June 19, 2017 (Summer) Everywhere we’ve traveled, people wanted to know if we’d been to the Czech Republic. “You haven’t had great beer until you’ve been to Prague!” they’d say. When it happened to be the cheapest destination for a flight out of South America, we took the hint. The allure was…
Vilnius
 
Vilnius
June 21 – July 19, 2017 (Summer) Our extraordinary stay in Estonia made us eager to see more of the Baltic states. The earliest opportunity came after Prague, when Lithuania was just a few tantalizing days away by bus. Here we were spoiled for choice in such a small country. Do we visit Klaipėda for a…
Riga
 
Riga
July 19 – August 16, 2017 (Summer) By the time we arrived in Riga, the Baltic states were already near to our hearts. Long summer days, big markets, a nice apartment, and the promise of another beautiful and walkable city made Latvia’s capital easy to love. We spent a pleasant month avoiding the heat wave…
Timisoara
 
Timisoara
August 16 – September 13, 2017 (End of summer) Once again out of Schengen time, we decided to revisit Romania to kick off a grand tour of the Balkans. Timisoara had everything we were looking for: low cost of living, high quality of life, and way fewer people than Bucharest. It’s above all a peaceful…
Novi Sad
 
Novi Sad
September 13 – October 11, 2017 (Beginning of fall) Of all the places we’ve been on this trip, we found Novi Sad the friendliest. This compact Serbian city was surprisingly full of culture and curiosity. More than anywhere else, people wanted to know where we were from, what we thought of the area, and to…
Sarajevo
 
Sarajevo
October 11 – November 8, 2017 (Fall) Continuing our tour through the Balkans, we hardly knew what to expect when we arrived in Sarajevo. Would we find a city still in the shadow of a war 20 years past? A remote and rustic town that feels a thousand miles from anywhere? Or a modern and…
Zagreb
 
Zagreb
November 8 – December 6, 2017 (Winter) Wintering in Croatia’s inland capital was a very different experience than the two sunny months we spent on the Dalmatian coast last year. Zagreb’s Austro-Hungarian heritage and modern development came in stark contrast to the ancient Roman and Italian influence near the Mediterranean. We were attracted by the…
Ljubljana
 
Ljubljana
December 6 – 20, 2017 (Winter) When we arrived at our apartment this month, our host welcomed us warmly but was a little incredulous that we were staying two whole weeks in little Ljubljana. It’s a small capital, less than 300k people, and there simply isn’t that much for tourists to do. Normally this is…
Munich
 
Munich
December 20 – 30, 2017 (Winter) Munich is a great place to be any time of year, but it really goes all out during December. It’s probably second only to Berlin in sheer number of markets, but this city’s Bavarian charms make it an especially fine choice for enjoying the holidays. There’s just so much…
Nuremberg
 
Nuremberg
Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the oldest and most famous of its kind. Visiting it was our highest priority in Germany. We booked our Deutsche Bahn tickets more than a month early to guarantee seats and an affordable price (the German network is excellent but far from cheap). We were going to Nuremberg come rain or…
Valletta and Zabbar
 
Valletta and Zabbar
December 30, 2017 – January 2, 2018; January 30 – February 2, 2018 (Winter) Finally out of Christmas markets and no longer thrilled at the idea of wintering in continental Europe, we instead migrated south to Malta. The island’s central location in the temperate Mediterranean made for relatively balmy breezes even in January. Most tourists…
Gozo
 
Gozo
January 2 – 30, 2018 (Winter) Just a drop in the Mediterranean, Gozo hides in plain sight. It is just 14 km across at its widest and far more rural than Malta – fewer people, fewer buildings, fewer worries. We visited in midwinter, when the temperatures were comfortably cool and the landscape was green and…
Skopje
 
Skopje
February 2 – March 2, 2018 (Winter) Leaving an island near-paradise is never easy, but one way or another we had to move on. Skopje singled itself out as our next destination based on its low cost of living and reputation for wine. Plus we could fly there for cheap. Visiting in winter rarely shows…
Tbilisi
 
Tbilisi
March 2 – April 3, 2018 (Start of spring) Moving to Tbilisi after snowy Skopje fast-forwarded us into spring. The chilly March wind started to soften, trees budded and then bloomed, and everywhere the city creaked back to life. We balanced soul-warming carbs and cheese with the first fresh fruits and vegetables of the year.…
Yerevan
 
Yerevan
April 3 – May 1, 2018 (Spring) Compared to its neighbor to the north, Armenia doesn’t get a lot of attention as a tourist destination. It deserves much more. Yerevan surprised us as one of the most underrated and charming capital cities of our entire journey. Small and walkable core, surrounded by a network of…
Borjomi
 
Borjomi
May 2 – 30, 2018 (Spring) Borjomi is a small city to be sure, but is hardly an obscure stop on Georgia’s tourist circuit. This mountain town between Tbilisi and Batumi is well known for its mineral waters and as a gateway to the eponymous Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. But unlike those other cities, life moves…
Batumi
 
Batumi
May 30 – June 28, 2018 (Summer) Georgia’s party capital is nestled between the Black Sea and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, providing a convenient holiday escape for Georgians, Turks, and especially Russians. Our stay coincided with the start of the summer season. The waterfront came alive as number of visitors swelled from a trickle to…
Vilnius
 
Vilnius
June 28 – July 26, 2018 (Summer) After a few below-par months, we craved some safe and familiar. So we jumped at the opportunity when Skyscanner suggested the cheapest escape from Georgia was our old favorite, Vilnius. Half a year of bad beer made Lithuania’s heavenly nectars stand out even stronger in our memories. And…
Song Festival
 
Song Festival
In the Baltic States, Song Festivals are a Big Deal. Lithuania’s only occurs once every four years. The 2018 edition coincided with the 100th anniversary of the restoration of independence, making it an even more important celebration. Tens of thousands came from across Lithuania and around the world to participate in the festivities. And we were…
Bialowieza
 
Bialowieza
The Białowieża Forest has been on our bucket list for years. It is one of the few remaining primeval forests in Europe and the last stronghold of the wisent, the European bison. With our return to Lithuania and Poland, it was finally within reach. We reserved a tour months in advance and counted the days…
Tri-City
 
Tri-City
July 26 – August 23, 2018 (Summer) The Trójmiasto, or Tri-City, offered us a unique combination of favorite features: Poland and the Baltic Coast. Two great tastes that taste great together! Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot are thriving seaside cities and a favorite summer escape for Poles and Northern Europe in general. Gdańsk – commonly known by…
Eskilstuna
 
Eskilstuna
August 23, 2018 – September 20, 2018 (Early fall) Sometimes our course is charted less by our desires and more by the winds of Airbnb and Skyscanner deals. That was the case when, running out of planned time in Poland, we stumbled onto a lovely little cabin in rural Sweden. This country wasn’t even on…
Springfield, MA
 
Springfield, MA
September 21 – 24, 2018 (Fall) For the first time in more than a thousand days, we found ourselves back in the United States. A couple of WOW Air flights took us from Sweden to the eastern seaboard, where we spent a weekend with family before riding the rails to our next home in Canada.…
Quebec
 
Quebec
September 26 – November 21, 2018 (Fall to winter) For some silly reason, we pictured Canada in autumn as a magical place of changing leaves and roasted meals, brisk walks in the day and cuddling up with cocoa at night. And, well, it was. For about two weeks. But the mercury continued to sink lower…
Montreal
 
Montreal
November 21 – December 19, 2018 (Winter) Few who visit Montréal have anything bad to say about it. Interpretations seem to range from “it’s nice” to varying degrees of raving about the place. After two months in Québec, prices in the province’s largest city cooled alongside the weather and we found ourselves rounding off our…
Chicago
 
Chicago
Three years away from our home country also meant three years away from our families. Turns out they kind of missed us? We figured it was about time we paid a visit. On to Chicago, America’s second city, but first in our hearts (after Seattle). We arrived in Chicago on the after a quick layover…
Seattle
 
Seattle
January 5 – March 18, 2019 (Winter) Who says we can’t go home? Returning to Seattle after three years abroad was, in a word, bittersweet. It’s a beautiful place, a place we loved and continue to love. Coming back allowed us to scratch itches we knew and didn’t know we had, scratch some chores off…
Boulder
 
Boulder
We’ve been through Colorado before, but shied away from staying too long. Time for us to be a little Boulder! We stayed with Danielle’s friend in this notoriously chill college town and used it as a home base to explore some of the area attractions – indoors and out. Our first stop was the factory…
Vannes
 
Vannes
April 2 – 30, 2019 (Spring) In a far corner of northwestern France, the medieval town of Vannes seemed an ideal place to welcome the spring. It’s a popular destination thanks to its intact city walls, and also serves as a gateway to the Gulf of Morbihan. But it’s by no means a tourist trap.…
Brest
 
Brest
April 30 – May 27, 2019 (Spring) Brest isn’t your typical French vacation destination. Its strategic location and maritime infrastructure made it a prime target during World War II, and unlike in Paris, neither side pulled any punches. Similarly devastated cities like Warsaw or Munich sought to recreate their former old towns, but Brest eschewed…
London
 
London
May 27 – 31, 2019 (Spring) London wasn’t originally high on our list. The UK has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately (much like our own home sweet home), and we figured that whenever we did get around to visiting Great Britain, Scotland would be more up our alley. But long-term…
Cluj-Napoca
 
Cluj-Napoca
May 31 – June 28, 2019 (Summer) Romania is becoming something of a default choice for us. Low cost of living, good quality of life, easy to get to and around, and (as of 2019) still outside the Schengen Area. Cluj-Napoca is arguably its most international city outside the capital of Bucharest, and the high…
Iasi
 
Iasi
June 28 – July 26, 2019 (Summer) Our big question after Cluj was whether we should go east, or west? Serbia and Croatia were tempting targets, but the convoluted connections were a drawback. Instead, we settled on a simpler journey through eastern Romania toward Moldova and Ukraine. Iași (pronounced ‘yash’) was the logical next choice.…
Chisinau
 
Chisinau
July 26 – August 31, 2019 (Summer) The sun begins to sink and the air alights with pastel hues. Summer’s baking heat begins to bleed off the sunburned earth, and a cool breeze floats off the lake. Families amble lazily around the boardwalk, keeping a relaxed eye on their playing children, shedding the last of…
Lviv
 
Lviv
September 1 – 8, 2019 (Summer) Despite all our time in eastern Europe, Ukraine eluded us. It was time to change that. One week in Lviv was plenty to take in the gorgeous old town, sample local eats… and move on. Though many travelers about the city, we were less impressed. Maybe it was our…
Vilnius
 
Vilnius
September 7 – October 15, 2019 (Fall) Lithuania! As is tradition, we returned to Vilnius for our third visit in as many years. It’s getting to the point that nothing short of a global pandemic could keep us from coming back. And yet, try as we might, it’s hard to articulate the hold it has…
Niagara Falls
 
Niagara Falls
October 15-23, 2019 (Fall) We briefly returned to our home country to attend a friend’s wedding in Niagara Falls (USA), and took the opportunity to visit the famous and beautiful Niagara Falls (Canada). But in an unlikely twist, we flew first to Chicago to carpool the , many to our destination. Our base was Grand Island…
Rijeka
 
Rijeka
October 23 – November 20, 2019 (Fall) Rijeka is not a usual tourist stay. It has none of the big hotels and fancy beaches found further down shore in Dalmatia. This is the port city, the working-class corner of the coast. But that image belies a fascinating history (in general and for us personally), a…
Trieste
 
Trieste
Trieste is in many ways the sister city of Rijeka. Separated by national borders and a sliver of Slovenia, the cities’ histories are remarkable mirrors of each other. Both are port cities that were vital to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Both had diverse populaces that suffered lots of heartache and fighting once nationalism starting drawing borders…
Zagreb
 
Zagreb
November 20 – December 18, 2019 (Winter) Cue the season for Christmas markets! Zagreb’s consistently rank as the best in Europe – this year they weren’t even allowed in the contest because they’d won too many times. During our first visit to Zagreb two years ago, we watched with great anticipation as Advent market stalls…
Budapest
 
Budapest
December 18, 2019 – January 1, 2020 (Winter) With Zagreb barred from running away with “Best Christmas Markets” again this year, the crown fell to Budapest. Naturally we made it our next stop. A few hours on a bus traded Croatia’s capital for Hungary’s, far more sprawling but no less festive. We’d already seen many…
Kotor
 
Kotor
January 1 – 29, 2020 (Winter) Of all the towns we’ve lived in while on the road, Kotor, Montenegro may be the most picturesque. It nestles into a mountainside, deep in a protected bay. The fortified old city sits on a narrow ledge next to the water. Perched on a steep rock bluff above, a…
Saranda
 
Saranda
January 29 – February 2, 2020 (Winter) Never have we turned against a place as quickly as Sarandë. But in fairness, Albania turned against us first. Thirteen hours of bus travel from Kotor was punctuated by a torrential downpour that centered entirely on our frantic transfer between distant bus stations in Tirana. When we finally…
Corfu
 
Corfu
February 2-9, 2020 (Winter) Corfu was where we finally got our first taste of Greece. It’s a light appetizer if there ever was one. There’s no Acropolis looming over the population, nor whitewashed towns so popular on Santorini or Mykonos. The vibe here was more unassuming than that. An island tucked away in the far…
Yerevan
 
Yerevan
February 10 – March 8 & March 26 – June 1, 2020 (Winter-Spring-Summer) It seems like every time we visit Yerevan, a decade of history happens all at once. Our first visit coincided with the Velvet Revolution, incredible to witness but not ideal for sightseeing. We looked forward to a return visit with more stability…
Etchmiadzin
 
Etchmiadzin
March 8 – 26, 2020 (Spring) Where were you when the world became a plague state? We were in Etchmiadzin, Armenia. Which, it turned out, was about to become the epicenter of Armenia’s first Covid outbreak. All we wanted was a quiet stay as spring started. A chance to wander around the region’s famous churches…
Belgrade
 
Belgrade
June 1 – 15 & June 26 – July 10, 2020 (Summer) The pandemic scared most nations into refusing entry to all but their own citizens. Serbia went a different direction, being one of the first to reopen their borders to everyone. And as American passport holders started to become global pariahs, “open to everyone”…
Novi Sad
 
Novi Sad
June 15 – 26, 2020 (Summer) With Serbia keeping restrictions light, we decided to relocate to Novi Sad to celebrate our tenth anniversary. The vibe on our first visit was relaxed, the center walkable. It has a river with shore paths and a giant fortress looming over the Danube. What more could we want? This…
London
 
London
July 10 – 24, 2020 (Summer) London was not a place we expected to find ourselves in 2020. But with Covid cases declining across the continent, the UK sought to open “travel corridors” between “safe” destinations. Serbia was one of those destinations. On July 10 the corridors went into effect, and we were on the…
Edinburgh
 
Edinburgh
July 24 – August 19, 2020 (Summer) Scotland’s capital is a city of celebrations, famous for wild and popular festivals like Fringe and Hogmanay. The summer of 2020 was Edinburgh at its most desolate. Covid lockdowns collapsed the tourism industry, driving arrivals (and prices) to historic lows. Infections also hit a low point, a sort…
Tallinn
 
Tallinn
August 19 – October 16, 2020 (Fall) Before COVID hit, our well-laid plans for 2020 had culminated in a triumphant return to Tallinn, Estonia. That had been our first brush with the Baltic states, and we fell in love so thoroughly that visiting them has become an annual tradition for us. Until this year. Estonia,…