Backpacking the Balkans

Before I arrived in Prague on September 4, I decided to take a month long backpacking trip through the Balkans (Greece, Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia). I had never explored this part of Europe before and only had a basic idea of what it might be like from my high school mythology course and silly Hollywood movies like “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and dare I say it, “Taken.” Well over the past month I learned that there is much more to the Greek islands than donkeys and beautiful sunsets, and Albania is one of the most interesting countries in Europe with the best hidden beaches, Montenegro has the most stunning landscape, and Croatia has some very wonderful people.

I have spent time in the UK, lived in Central Europe for quite some time, backpacked western Europe , but something about visiting where it all started seemed to be major piece of the puzzle I was missing. Walking through the ancient city of Delphi, where people would pilgrimage from Egypt, Persia, Athens, all over the ancient world, was mind blowing, I couldn’t even wrap my head around how incredible it was.

Delphi became the center of the universe for these people and they would walk from all corners of the ancient world to ask the Oracle of Delphi their most heart-wrenching questions. The Oracle would only answer questions once a month so you can only imagine the amount of time these people had on their walk and then waiting for the Oracle to discuss, share ideas, trade goods, learn about one another and where they came from.

After the tour of Delphi I just wandered around the ruins trying to imagine the types of conversations that happened here and the enlightenment that must have occurred. People from all over the world meeting in one place, to ask one question, and then I thought about study abroad. And here we are, people from all over the world, meet in one place, to learn from our professors and from each other. As long ago as Delphi was and as different as we are now, human beings are still curious, still want to learn, and we travelers can almost begin to feel the excitement of walking to Delphi and learning of places and people you never knew existed.

So needless to say my adventures through the Balkans were a great start to my next adventure studying in Prague.

Ancient Delphi

Albania

Albania

Sveti Stefan Island, Montenegro

Sveti Stefan Island, Montenegro

Krka National Park, Croatia

Krka National Park, Croatia

My name is Kelly and I am a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz. I have my bachelors in Secondary Education and English and during my time as an undergrad I spent a semester studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. I enjoyed living in Prague so I have decided to come back for a little while. I will be living in Prague for the next 3 and half months during which I will be taking a TEFL course (teaching english as a foreign language) to prepare myself for my next adventure. Upon graduating New Paltz I received a Fulbright scholarship to teach in Malaysia for 2015. When I leave Prague in December I will be headed to Malaysia and will be a teaching assistant in an English class. I have been traveling to other countries since I was 15 years old and I guess you could say I’ve been bit hard by the travel bug. =)

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