After spending half the month in Morocco with Sarah’s mum Julie (and a myriad of other folks), we now find ourselves travelling as just a dynamic duo (or at times maybe it’s closer to ‘the odd couple’).
We end our month in another new country, Serbia, camped in the capital as I (that’d be Chris) do my best to arrange a new passport in a timely manner!
Fear not, it hasn’t been lost, but rather, is getting a little too close to being full to see us through the remainder of this adventure…
Countries Visited: 5 (Morocco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia)
Five countries in one month… I think that may be a new monthly high for the whole trip!
We’ve hopped across the Mediterranean, enjoyed some pizza and pasta (as well as red wine) in Italy, before starting our explorations in the former Yugoslavia.
I know we’d been before, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a second visit to the amazing Plitvice Lakes (one of our favourite spots in the world) and in the Autumn/Fall no less, hence our brief stop in Croatia.
Cheapest Bed(s): Crib Hostel, Belgrade, Serbia €9.00 ($13.74 AU)
If you like rickety bunk beds and copious amounts of cigarette smoke (despite the no smoking signs, the staff seem to lead the way in this cancerous pursuit), then this is your place!
Most Expensive Bed(s): Airbnb Apartment, Milan, Italy $51.50 AU
A great, central location, but this experience was all a bit weird… copious amounts of weed (as in pot, Marijuana) just growing everywhere and being smoked almost constantly…
Highlight: Riding camels into the Sahara and sleeping under the stars
We’ve seen some amazing night skies on this journey (including the incredible phenomenon that is the Aurora Borealis three times), but this view of the Milky Way was something special again.
The camel ride into the Sahara Desert, a name that since childhood has conjured images of the strange and the exotic, wasn’t half bad as well!
Lowlight: The food in Morocco
Let me start by saying the food wasn’t bad.
It wasn’t even bland.
What it was, was just repetitive.
It probably didn’t help that we arrived with such high expectations of delicious tagines and steaming cous cous.
That we got, but there is just so little variety…
Chicken with Lemon, Lamb with Prunes, Beef with Vegetable… then repeat… every day… for two weeks!
Favourite New Food: Kremna Rezina
Most Australians would be familiar with the Vanilla Slice pastry (often referred to as a ‘Snot Block’), and this, the Kremna Rezina from Bled, is so damn close to this delicious treat it’s not funny.
Two layers of pastry, between which are sandwiched both vanilla custard and cream, all finished with a liberal dusting of icing sugar.
We may have only been in town two nights, but we still managed to squeeze in five of these beauties between us!
Best Beer: Union
Surprisingly, there was even a candidate from Morocco that was in the mix this month!
That said, it would have been one hell of an upset, and although nothing truly dazzled, there were plenty of solid beers, and this one from Slovenia just pipped a few of the others.
Most impressive Church: Duomo di Milano
This month, the title almost went to a mosque (the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca), however this rather famous little number from Milan snuck in once we got back to Europe.
Bucket List Items: 0
New Bucket List Items: Visit New England in the Fall (Autumn)
Highest Elevation: 2,240m High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Days in thongs (flip flops): 16
Not bad that we got half a month in our most trusted footwear.
Those autumn days in Europe can be chilly however, so there has been less opportunity to sun the feet since we left sunny North Africa.
UNESCO Sites: 9 (Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage, Historic City of Meknes, Archaeological Site of Volubilis, Medina of Fez, Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador), Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Venice and its Lagoon, Plitvice Lakes National Park)
An incredible nine UNESCO sights were visited this month, and it would have hit double figures had some buses actually arrived whilst we were in Slovenia…
Number of towns: 22
Number of beds: 16
Nights in transit: 0
- Never, in all of our travels, have we seen as many cats as we have in Morocco.
- It was a scene of a little embarrassment, when as we walked along the streets of Marrakesh, Sarah’s mum pointed out a camel to us… turns out it was three Moroccans partaking in their evening prayer!
- So… how many folks can say they’ve drunk beers in a Moroccan bar? Better yet, surrounded by working girls!
- Where the cities have been surrendered to the cats, the Atlas Mountains are where the dogs seem to have been banished. Here, we saw them almost lining the roads in various states from well fed to emaciated…
- Since we’ve hit Southern Europe (Italy through to Serbia), it has been a ridiculous shock how prevalent smoking is here, as well as how allowed it is to do it seemingly anywhere (I’d not be surprised to see a surgeon operating with a fag in his mouth)!