EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Author: Zorica

37+ Free Ways To Spend Time In Istanbul

Istanbul is definitely no longer the bargain tourist destination it once was, with some of its tourist attractions even topping the prices of those in Scandinavia! Accommodation offers good value…

Istanbul is definitely no longer the bargain tourist destination it once was, with some of its tourist attractions even topping the prices of those in Scandinavia! Accommodation offers good value for money and the inner city transportation is efficient and not too expensive, but some of its attractions are quite pricey and the fact that Istanbul has too many of them can really add up to costs. And clubbing in Istanbul (depending on the area) can really blow your budget!

This list will be primarily focused at attractions and events;

FESTIVALS/EVENTS

Children’s Day

A public holiday dedicated to children of Turkey and the world is celebrated annually every April 23rd. Besides performances at stadiums, Turkey is also the host of the “TRT International April 23 Children’s Festival” which gathers children from all over the world who are invited to stay at Turkish families’ homes. They get the opportunity to interact with Turkish kids and learn about each other’s countries and cultures.

Orthodox Easter

Celebrated by the Greek Orthodox community in Fener.

Akbank Short Film Festival

Besides the screenings of films from all over the world, the festival also includes workshops and conferences.

Anniversary of Atatürk’s death

On the 10th November at 9.05, a minute’s silence is held to commemorate the death of the founder of Turkish republic.

ATTRACTIONS

(by area)

Sultanahmet Area

– All mosques; Blue Mosque, Küçük Ayasofya Camii (Little Hagia Sophia), Sokollu Mehmed Paşa Camii

– Hippodrome

– Çemberlitaş

– or you can stroll along Arasta Bazaar

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

The area around Topkapi Palace

In this area you can:

– Sit on a bench and watch the passers-by at the Gülhane Parkı

– Wander through Soğukçeşme Sokak (Street of the Cold Fountain)

– Visit Caferağa Medresesi

– Visit Sirkeci Railway Station which once was the last stop of Orient Express

– Go inside the Yeni Camii (New Mosque)

– Walk across the Galata Bridge

Sirkeci Railway Station Istanbul

Sirkeci Railway Station

Baazar District

– All mosques; Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Beyazit Camii, Süleymaniye Camii, Şehzade Mehmet Camii, Zeyrek Camii, Rüstem Pasha Camii

– Get lost at the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar

– See Beyazit Square and Istanbul University

– See one of the most famous landmarks of the city- Aqueduct of Valens

– Stroll through Sahaflar Çarşısı (Book Bazaar)  (for the literature lovers)

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Grand Bazaar

Western Districts

– All mosques; Fatih Camii, Mihrimah Sultan Camii, Fethiye Camii, Sultan Selim Camii, Eyüp Sultan Camii

– See Tekfur Sarayi

– Visit the Church of St. Mary of the Mongols and the Church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars

– Visit the Ahrida Synagogue

– Visit the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate

Galata and Tophane Area

– All mosques; Azarkapi Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Camii and Arap Camii

– Walk up the Kamondo Stairs

– Visit the Church of St. Peter & Paul

– Visit Neve Shalom Synagogue

İstiklal

– Visit Christ Church and Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage)

or even better;

– Get inside the Pera Palas Hotel whose guests were Agatha Christie and Greta Garbo

– Wander around Taksim Square- the heart of modern Istanbul

Stroll along the İstiklal street

Istiklal avenue

Istiklal avenue

Beşiktaş

– Visit Ortaköy Camii

– Walk through Yildiz Parki

Üsküdar

– All mosques; Atik Valide Camii, Çinili Camii, Yeni Valide Camii, Şemsi Paşa Camii

– See Mimar Sinan Çarşisi

– Enjoy the view from the highest point of the city- Camlica Hill

– Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum

Uskudar, Istanbul

Uskudar neighborhood

Kadıköy

– Walk along the glamorous Bağdat Caddesi

Bagdat avenue Istanbul

Bagdat avenue

ARTS

Free Art galleries

– Galeri Nev

– Galerist

– SALT

– Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art

Other interesting reads;

Mosques of Istanbul

All I ever wanted to know about Ottoman Architecture

Istanbul in photos

 

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Postcards from Delphi, ‘the center of the world’

Delphi is a modern town in Greece and also an archaeological site which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The modern town of Delphi is a popular…

Delphi is a modern town in Greece and also an archaeological site which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The modern town of Delphi is a popular tourist destination nowadays, with lots of hotels and guesthouses, souvenir shops and tavernas. In October there are less crowds than usual, and I’ve only had the chance to discover Delphi at night, while the town sleeps. Narrow streets, shut blinds on windows of the houses, beautiful balconies with colorful flowers and a few retro cars are some of the things that you can see in the town at night. What are the advantages of discovering the town at night? It’s interesting, adventurous and calm!

 A lot of people come here to discover the Archaeological site which represents the most famous oracle of the ancient Greece. It is also known as “the center of the world”.

 Besides its cultural and religious importance, one of the “wow factors” of this site is that it is set within a breathtaking landscape.

Archaeological site of Delphi landscape

At the foot of Mount Parnassus, this place was the main cultural and religious center for the Hellenic world.

Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

Treasury of the Boeotians and treasury of the Sicyonians are just some out of many monuments located in Delphi.

Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

The second most important games in Greece where held here every four years- Pythian games.

 

How did you like these postcards from Delphi? Let us know in the comments!

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Meet the Romans in Serbia

‘Meet the Romans in Serbia’ is a guest post from Tara Goldsmith of ReadyClickAndGo. We recommend you check their Twitter and Facebook profiles as well.   I was sat right…

‘Meet the Romans in Serbia’ is a guest post from Tara Goldsmith of ReadyClickAndGo. We recommend you check their Twitter and Facebook profiles as well.

 

I was sat right at the top, in the Royal Opera House it would have been seat Y51 – very high up with a restricted view. Looking down and behind the half naked archaeologist who was unmoved by the burning sun I could almost see Russell Crowe fighting ferociously for his freedom. Behind me was a flat green field with occasional glimpses of the Danube river, on whose bed was preserved this rich archaeological site.

We are standing at the top of the amphitheatre with a capacity of 12,000 seats” the voice of the enthusiastic guide woke me up.

 The itinerarium Romanum Serbiae

We are at Viminacium, one of many Roman towns and fortress in Serbia, not far from the capital city Belgrade. It covers a huge area and some of it is still undiscovered due to the presence of the nearby power plant which produces 20% of Serbia’s energy. The government is trying to buy land still owned by the local people to stop the theft of artefacts that are uncovered after heavy rain.

Large numbers of lamps, bricks, paving tiles, rings and coins have been uncovered and exhibited either at the Museum in Pozarevac or the Museum in Belgrade. The Viminacium complex is building their own museum too at the moment.

The Viminacium Amphitheater, Serbia

 The site has beautiful tombs decorated with frescoes whose colour was still bright and with mixed pagan and Christian symbolism. Tomb G5517 has a Christogram in a double floral garland and this is known as a Constantine Cross, after the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. Tomb G2624 has animals and flowers and is clearly pagan, thus proving that Christians and Pagans were sometimes buried in the same cemetery.

Viminacium, Serbia

Serbia has the largest number of Roman emperors born outside of Italy – 17 altogether, among them Constantine I and Justinian I. The tourist board has put together a project to combine visits to all the major Roman excavations on Serbian soil, called Itinerarium Romanum Serbiae. It will incorporate Sirmium, today known as Sremska Mitrovica, Singindunum which is Belgrade, Viminacium or Stari Kostolac, combined with visits to the forts of Nis, Kostol and Karats. The itinerary also includes visits to the imperial residences at Gamzigrad and the UNESCO site, Šarkamen, Mediana and Iustiniana Prima.

2013 will see the 1,700 anniversary of the Edict of Milan by which Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, and celebrations will take place in the city of his birth, Nis.

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Interview with Agness of eTramping.com

Agness is the co-founder of eTramping travel blog and she is currently travelling through Asia. As the website states, Agness together with Cez, will take you around the world slowly…

Agness is the co-founder of eTramping travel blog and she is currently travelling through Asia. As the website states, Agness together with Cez, will take you around the world slowly but surely. Personally I found their blog interesting enough to open our interview section with them. Plus I am sure you will enjoy reading it as well!

Before we start, you can also follow her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

01. Hey Agness could you briefly introduce yourself and your website to our readers?

Hey! I’m Agness (Agnieszka is my full name), 23-year-old Pole, travel freak, photography passionate, blogger and life enthusiast. I have been seriously travelling around Asia since 2011 having a blast and learning a lot about people, foreign culture and, above all, myself. I’m adventurous and I love living my life spontaneously.

My passion to travel turned into my work last year when me and my best friend created eTramping.com – website about our travel adventures where we share our feelings, thoughts and advice with other travellers, more or less experienced in backpacking. The idea of creating this website and my blog came up in August 2011 where I set off for my first journey to China where I spent 10 months backpacking and teaching English in Hunan province.

The motto of the website is to “Travel Slowly but Surely!” around the world, on the cheap, and show people that everyone can travel. No matter how much money they have and how old they are- it’s never too late to quit a 9-5 job and go into the wild, just like we did.

Now, after our hard work and efforts, the website offers a lot of travel tips, there is a gallery with our photos taken during our travels, photo of the day section, blogs where you can read my funny stories living in foreign countries, and so on.

We also provide WordPress blog services for those who take blogging seriously or would like to start or switch to WordPress (more info at www.bloginstallations.com).

Agness of eTramping.com

Jumping on the Great Wall of China, Beijing

02. Where in the world are you now? And where have you been so far?

I have just arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I’m planning to stay for few months. Although I’ve been here for just over a week, I feel homely. This is a truly amazing place, and the atmosphere – well, you won’t experience it anywhere else. We have even set up a small local web design company.

Before I came to live in Cambodia I have lived in China for 10 months, where I visited 13 out of 23 provinces and cycled the full length of Vietnam with Cez (my best friend). Too many memories to write about it, you need to see etramping.com for more details. Of course I have been to several European countries. Overall, my adventure has just begun and I’m hoping to see every country in the world.

03. What kind of a traveller you are and what type of activities do you enjoy the most?

I’m definitely a backpacker travelling on the cheap. I don’t need much to enjoy my travels- a piece of the ground to sleep on, friendly people around and the beautiful scenery. I guess it’s not that much, right!? 😀 I am a very active person enjoying kayaking, cycling, trekking, hiking and swimming the most. I hate doing nothing or wasting my time sitting at the pool or watching TV in my hotel room.

04. As I’ve been looking through your website, I came across a part where you said most people prefer to book their holidays with agencies and have classic beach holidays. This is true, as many people prefer to do it this way. What do you think the reason for this is? Are people just unmotivated to go independently or are they are scared to travel alone and move outside their comfort zone?

Well, some people work very hard for their career, so all they want to do during their holidays is simply lying on the beach and drinking cocktails. I don’t blame them. They want to be provided with the best service, don’t want to worry about anything and enjoy their time off peacefully. It’s easy and time saving- “Time is money” as many people say. The other people are just too scared and feel unsecured to travel independently. They are afraid of getting lost, being robbed, etc. so they choose a safe option of booking a trip with travel agencies. There are also some people who think that travelling independently is much more expensive than booking package tours. Holiday providers offer great deals on beach holidays nowadays, you pay in advance having only a few expenses during your holiday, it’s more comfortable and less stressing.

05. You originally come from Poland. Can you explain to us why people should visit your country and what are some of the things/places that shouldn’t be missed? What are your personal favourites?

If you want to get drunk with Polish vodka, have a plate of delicious dumplings (called “Pierogi”), climb beautiful mountains and go fishing at stunning lakes, Poland is a great place. It’s a country of vivid history, museums, nice seaside, urban centers like Warsaw (the capital), Wroclaw and Krakow. People are extremely hospitable and you definitely feel like home.  There are many places worth visiting such as Mazury Lake District (Eastern Poland) for those who love water sports where you can rent a boat and have a boat ride across the lake, Auschwitz and Birkenau (Greater Kraków) for history passionates and of course the capital city- Warsaw where you can visit some museums and do some decent shopping.

My favourite place is my hometown where I was born and raised called Zagan (Western part of Poland). I have my family and friends there and lots of great memories from my childhood.

Agness of eTramping.com Cambodia

The temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

06. What do you like the most about your country, and is there anything you dislike?

Poland has a very rich history people should know about. I like the fact Polish people are very patriotic, but what I don’t like is that it’s so rare to meet Polish people on the road while travelling. That’s a real pity. There are not many Polish backpackers and vagabonds and this is my only one regret.

07. You are currently travelling in Asia, how is it different to Europe and your home? Tell us about your unique experiences.

Asian countries differ a lot from European countries in many aspects such as food, history, traditions, travel costs, people’s mentality and so on. Travelling in Asia is definitely cheaper for me. I was able to live for $10 a day in the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, including my accommodation, meals and some small souvenir expenses whereas for $10 a day in Europe you can afford a coffee with a plain croissant in Paris. Moreover, Asian cultural history fascinates me more than European. In my opinion it’s richer and more interesting, especially in China. The food in Asia is spicier and seems to be healthier but I prefer European cuisine though (always miss pancakes, Polish dumplings and muffins!). Europe is less crowded and wealthier, people are more educated and well-behaved, the life goes faster but we are more depressed and miserable than Asian people. Asian people, unlike some European, always stick together and the family is the most important to them. The landscapes are both stunning in Europe and Asia and people are also hospitable in both places.

08. What country or city has left the biggest impression on you? Any favourites and why?

It was definitely the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa which I visited this June. I simply fell in love with its scenery, amazingly hospitable and religious Tibetans, Tibetan religion and culture. I call this place “My heaven on Earth”. I was blown away by the power of Buddhism and the design of Tibetan temples and houses. Tibet is simply the most colorful and magic place on the Earth. Despite the fact, I couldn’t travel freely and independently there as it is not allowed nowadays, I was still able to have a little conversations with locals, find out and understand why Tibet wants to be independent and how it differs from China in terms of history, language, customs and religion. Undoubtedly, it was a great lesson for me to learn: a lesson not only about history but humility as well.

09. Is there something you can’t travel without?

LOTS of positive energy and SMILE!

Agness of eTramping.com Mekong Delta

Boating the Mekong Delta

10.  So many people are full of myths that they cannot travel the world- money issues, no time, fear, etc. What is your advice for them?

World is like a book. If you don’t travel, you read only one page. Now ask yourself a question “Do you really want to get stuck on one page only without seeing the rest?” The world out there is amazing, surprising and diverse. It’s now or never. You will never have enough time, money, lack of responsibility, energy, courage, etc. However, if you leave everything and go, you’ll find you don’t need it all.

The words which inspired me to travel and forget about all there silly excuses such money, fear, no time was the quote by Mark Twain saying “In twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

People will always find millions of excuses not to leave their comfort zone. I know it’s hard to do it and it can be challenging to picture yourself in “drastically altered” surroundings, but it’s definitely worth the struggle and your life will completely change for the better. Go! Discover and enjoy the life.

11. You probably had so many memories, but can you pick some of the nicest memories from your travels? Did you ever encounter some embarrassing or unpleasant situations? 🙂

Every place I visit reminds me of something good. I have many nice memories from China working with Chinese students who called me “Lady Gaga”, from Lhasa when I spoke with the real Tibetan monk who gave me a blessing on the street (it was so touching and I cried) and from Vietnam where I ate bugs for the first time.

There were also a few life-threating situations I came across. The worst one was when I was bitten and infected by poisonous spider in China. It took me 4 months to completely recover from the infection.

12. What do you like the most about being a travel blogger?

Many things actually. I like the fact I can get back to my blog notes after 2,3 or 5 years and be able to read it again, feel it again and relive it again. It is also good to give other travelers some advice on how to travel safely and cheaply so they can avoid mistakes I made and enjoy their smooth travel to places I went to. Moreover, it is a great way to publish and share my photographs, the website will look good on my CV and it is another reason to be proud of myself. It gives me the strength to carry on, especially when people read my notes, share them and enjoy them.

13. What are your favourite travel blogs, can you recommend us some?

There are plenty of websites I like and visit on a regular basis. My 3 favourite ones are:

totallysamsworld.wordpress.com (me and Samantha have a lot in common when it comes to travelling, she is preparing herself for a huge journey around the world giving people advice on how to get ready for the first big travel adventure and shares her Europe travel experience with readers. We made friends and stay in touch hoping to meet in person one day).

findingthegypsyinme.com (Teresa travels the world as a house sitter and has written two amazing books plus one is coming up soon about it. I check out her website very often as housesitting is a great way to travel on the cheap).

traveldudes.org (Great travel website where articles are written by experienced travelers on cheap accommodation, travel safety, etc.).

14. Which publication are you the most proud of on your website? Can you share it with us?

I always feel proud of all my publications posted on my website. If it is not good enough, it is not published, however there was one article about Tibet being closed for foreign travelers (find it here) which was re-tweeted by Lonely Planet on my Twitter profile (@Agnesstramp) and shared by thousands of worldwide backpackers.

Agness of eTramping.com Tibet

Amazingly hospitable Tibetans, Lhasa, Tibet

15. To finish off our chat; What one piece of advice would you give to our readers from your travel memories, experience or just personal thoughts? 🙂

You should all travel freely and independently. Don’t book all inclusive holiday packages with your local travel agency. Just buy a huge backpack (if you don’t have one), put some stuff in (not too much), put your backpack on and go! Try not to plan too many things in advance, enjoy the moment and be spontaneous. You will find it exciting and you will meet the people who will change your life by being amazingly hospitable and treating you like home. Travelling is not that expensive. You can always get a job while being on the road (like me) if you need some money and don’t spend too much on things you don’t need. Where there is a will, there is a way! Travel safely and always stay in touch with your friends and family. Beat homesickness by interacting with locals, try some “weird-looking” food, take some awesome photos which will remind you of this lifetime adventure, leave your comfort zone and explore the world and you will see people will give you more than they have!

Agness, first thank you so much for giving us some of your time to take part in this interview! We wish you the best in your travels and lots of awesome moments to come!

Thanks a lot. It was my pleasure to chat with you. BON VOYAGE!

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European Tourism Branding – Who does it better?

As tourism is one of the most profitable industries in the world, a lot of effort is required in the fields of marketing and branding by respective National Tourism Organisations….

As tourism is one of the most profitable industries in the world, a lot of effort is required in the fields of marketing and branding by respective National Tourism Organisations. And as such, every country tries to position themselves in the market by being more original via their unique tourism branding.

This post comes after the National Tourism Organisation of the Czech Republic, decided to re-brand their country as Czech RepubLIKE, as ‘like’ couldn’t get any more overrated already. You don’t need to change your country’s name to ‘LIKE’ to make it more social friendly, therefore we ‘like’ the video accompanying their campaign much better than the logo.

Below we have a list of logos representing the tourism industry in specific countries all over Europe. Each logo should differentiate the country to another one and make it more unique; but, are they really that original when it comes to visual identity?

Let’s take a look.

ALBANIA

albania tourism logo

 ANDORRA

andorra tourism logo

 AUSTRIA

Austria tourism logo

 BELGIUM

belgian tourist office logo

 BULGARIA

bulgaria tourism logo

CROATIA

croatia tourism logo

CYPRUS

cyprus tourism logo

CZECH REPUBLIC

DENMARK

 ESTONIA

estonia tourism logo

FINLAND

finland tourism logo

FRANCE

france tourism logo

 GEORGIA

georgia tourism logo

GERMANY

germany tourism logo

GREECE

greece tourism logo

HUNGARY

hungary tourism logo

ICELAND

iceland tourism logo

IRELAND

ireland tourism logo

ITALY

Italy tourism logo

LATVIA

latvia tourism logo

Of course, logos do not represent the branding of a country and its tourism organisation as a whole. That’s why for example, the Croatian tourist board won the award for the best tourism film in Warsaw this year called “Ode to Joy”. The Austrian logo is quite simple with the saying “Holidays in Austria”. The Cypriot logo is one of the best in my opinion because it represents the sun and sea – two elements that Cyprus is the most famous for. The Finnish and Danish logos are quite simple, whilst the Italian logo is very poor for a country with one of the richest histories on the continent.

If I had to pick a country I would visit next, but based only on the LOGO, then it would be: Albania and Cyprus.

Let’s continue.

LITHUANIA

lithuania tourism logo

LUXEMBOURG

luxembourg tourism logo

MALTA

malta tourism logo

MONTENEGRO

montenegro tourism logo

THE NETHERLANDS

netherlands tourism logo

POLAND

poland tourism logo

PORTUGAL

portugal tourism logo

ROMANIA

Romania tourism logo

 SERBIA

serbia tourism logo

SLOVAKIA

slovakia tourism logo

SLOVENIA

slovenia tourism logo

SPAIN

spain tourism logo

SWEDEN

sweden tourism info

SWITZERLAND

switzerland tourism logo

TURKEY

turkey tourism logo

GREAT BRITAIN

great britain tourism logo

 

The logo of Luxembourg is very simple but with a very modern and colourful typography and if such a logo was intended to be simple, they should look like this one. The Dutch logo represents one of the national symbols with very nice typography and in orange colour, which is the main colour associated with the country.

The Polish logo is a great example of how tourism logos should look, and it’s one of the better ones if not the best on the list. It represents forests, seas and mountains and therefore promotes the country as nature friendly.

Serbia’s logo is colorful whilst the Romanian one also has a feel for nature.

Sweden has a simple logo with nice and modern typography, but on the other hand Sweden along with Norway is doing amazing job on promoting their countries on social media services.

The Swiss logo is another example of a nice but simple logo, with great typography and most importantly a strong message.

If I had to pick the countries that I would visit next, only based on their logo, they would be: the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Switzerland.

And what about you? Which logo did you like the most? Or which one do you like the least? Let us know in the comments below!

All images belong to their respective National Tourism Organisations.

 

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The Hidden Europe (Book Review)

“The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us” is written by Francis Tapon, one of the most famous world backpackers. This book is based on Francis’ trips to Eastern…

The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us” is written by Francis Tapon, one of the most famous world backpackers.

This book is based on Francis’ trips to Eastern Europe, where he spent nearly three years traveling and exploring 25 countries. Those 25 countries include: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Eastern Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

25 countries – 25 chapters and each one consisting of Francis’ personal adventures, the country’s history, food, language, sites, stereotypes, interaction with the locals plus lets not forget humor. There’s just a lot of humor in this book.

According to Francis by reading this book you will learn;

  • Why Baltic people are human squirrels

  • When and why Poland disappeared from Europe

  • Why Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia broke up

  • Why Hungarians are really Martians

  • Why the Balkans is so screwed up

  • Why there’s much more to Romania than Dracula.

  • What the future holds for Belarus, Ukraine, Russia.

    plus much more!

The adventure begins above the Arctic Circle where Francis gets locked in an outhouse (which is very interesting btw!), then moves onto the Baltics, Belarus, Poland, all the way to the Balkans and finishes with Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

And as each chapter ends, Francis explains to the readers what we can learn from each country he has visited through his unique experiences. Whilst writing this review, I became inspired to do the same so here are some key things that this book and Francis can teach us;

How to write
Tapon proves that history doesn’t really have to be boring, and that is in fact very interesting. The book is very entertaining,  and most of all very insightful, which I think is a very important characteristic every travel blogger and writer should have. Through vigorous reading and practice, we can all improve our writing style and this is one book I would recommend to everyone. The Hidden Europe is also is full of humor and jokes that will definitely crack you up. This book goes to my “favorite” list and it will definitely be utilized as some kind of alternative travel guide when visiting some of these Eastern European countries.

To be objective

We all love our countries but sometimes we end up being subjective about it like a vision coming through blurred glasses. It’s time to take those glasses off and see what is in front of us, to search for objective facts and look to the future rather than the past, which Francis explains very well in the Hungary chapter. Many of us fall for that trap but nobody lives from the past and the glorious history. And not just that we are often subjective about our own country, but we are also subjective about other countries as well. As soon as we start traveling more, we see our country, our city in a different way than before. And here’s one nice quote:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

Camp

When was the last time you spent some time in the nature? When was the last time you’ve camped, or maybe you never have? Leave your excuses at the door, literally, and do something different. How did Francis manage to visit almost over 80 countries? He camped.

Get off the path

Paris, London and Amsterdam are awesome and surely deserve to be visited. But the world is huge and does not consist of what you only see advertised by your local tourist agency. Why not ski on the Tatra’s rather than the Alps? Or visit the Black Sea Coast rather than the Ligurian Coast? Surely some places are more famous due to its qualities but it’s not what makes your travel experience better. It’s the people you meet, the challenges you succeed in, the risks you take and the things you learn. Travel is a much better way to learn than any school. Don’t just see it through your eyes – but through your heart too.

Be social

How many times have you traveled somewhere with your friends, ate in a restaurant and never really cared about the things or people around you. How many times have you socialized with someone in a foreign country, besides just asking them to show you how to get to some point on a map or explain to you what bus to take to get somewhere. That’s just wrong. Go talk to someone, ask them about their country, their point of view, learn history from the locals, make friends and have valuable experiences. Friends make our world richer.

I won’t reveal more. There were things with which I disagreed with as well, but that is just normal and we’re not supposed to think the same – that’s what makes our experiences truly unique. In conclusion I think everyone who loves travel, history and is interested in learning new and interesting facts should read this book.

You can order the book if you visit his official website by clicking here or via Amazon.

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