14 September 2016 When I sailed past Albania in 1972, I was told the ship had to keep a clear birth of its coastline. “They will fire on us,” a Greek shipmate said. Cranky Albania was still isolated, Communist, and anti-social in 1972. I didn’t know Dictator Hoxha had built 750,000 bunkers to defend a […]
12-13 September 2016 During my 2012 visit to the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the country I missed seeing was Kosova. Not only did Serbia frown on anyone entering the area, but they would not recognize a passport stamp issued by what Serbians thought as Serb territory. Not that things have changed in 2016; today […]
9-11 September 2016 Driving through beautiful countryside, I arrive at the spectacular shores of Lake Ohrid. Lake Ohrid is one of Europe’s oldest lakes, preserving an aquatic ecosystem of more than 200 endemic species. Along its eastern shore is Ohrid, a lively resort with wonderful shopping bazaars and cafes. Ohrid is a perfect spot for […]
7-8 September 2016 – Macedonian Liberation Day If judged by my entry into Skopje, bumper to bumper jams where there appears to exist no driving rules but one, “don’t hit anyone,” then I would describe Skopje as insane. Inching through bazaar and market with half an inch to spare, I would have thought Skopje was […]
6 September 2016 – Unification Day Bulgarian Unification Day commemorates the unification of Eastern Rumelia (Southern Bulgaria) and Bulgaria in 1885. Bulgaria was never pleased with the terms of the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, when they lost parts of southern Bulgaria to the Ottoman Empire. Bulgarians gave up hopes for Macedonia and the rest of […]
5 September 2016 After countless churches, scores of monuments, a plethora of museums and sites, it becomes harder and harder to feel an “A HA!” moment. Zipping south on a relatively new highway, I am driven into the Rila Mountains and its largest tourist draw, the 10th century Rila Monastery, one of Bulgaria’s most […]
1-5 September 2016 Sofia is a city of monuments and statues commemorating religious, political and literary figures. Sprinkled among these are the gems of communist pride and propaganda. All are worth a moment to appreciate what is being expressed.