Sometimes the best laid plans need to be revised… Allow me to explain.
We had planned our travel route almost a year ago, and from the comfort of home it’s easy to forget how unpleasant the crowds can be in Europe during the summer. As we were shivering on a chilly San Francisco July morning, we thought ‘yeah, Croatia for two weeks in July will be great!!!’. Sadly, oh-so-many other Europeans and Americans agree. We’d regretibly forgotten this fact, but crowds of Prague effectively refreshed our memories. Do we really want to spend two weeks in Croatia being surrounded by highly tanned and manicured compatriots calling each other ‘Babe’? No, we decidedly did not. Plus, the motto of our trip is ‘to do hard stuff now that we won’t do later’, and the Croatian coast will always be there.
Thus, after much consternation, we canceled our reservations in Croatia and scrambled to find a lesser considered European destinations. We needed to be in Athens in 2 weeks to meet my sister, so we needed to stay in the same geographic area. Montenegro, Bosnia, and Serbia are all lesser touristified countries nearby, but we’ve already spent time in these places and weren’t keen on going back (Serbia, I’m still holding a grudge). Also, Jeff really doesn’t want to go to Albania or Kosovo (I think just to spite me). This requirement rubric in mind, here’s what our map looked like.
Our choice was clear – Romania and Bulgaria here we come. We have no idea of what to expect from these countries, but I’m just hoping there are fewer tourists in Plovdiv than in Dubrovnik. (side bar: these countries really some PR help to rename some cities. Plovdiv?? Really?)