The Indonesian archipelago stretches across a significant distance in East Asia. Tiny islands suspended like jewels on an ocean of a thousand aquamarine shades. The exotic names conjure up images of tropical paradise. Bali, Lombok, Jakarta, Padangbai. Up until recently I’ve always considered myself more tourist than traveller. An agent would design a trip for me and paid up in advance we’d follow their instructions carefully, but this time I was determined to do it myself. How hard could it be? I found some good value flights and selected some dates. The destination? The Gili islands Three tiny specks on the Indonesian map. An idyllic destination so small you can walk around them. So small there’s no cars, only pony and trap or bicycle.
Unfortunately, throughout my 15 country tour of Europe, I was only able to visit some destinations for a couple hours. To split up the monotony of long drives, I would stop mid-day in amazing destinations for a mere couple of hours before continuing on to the final destination for the day. Some drive days I would drive through up to four countries in one day before reaching the final destination for that day. One place that stands out in my mind as a unique turquoise destination that I was only able to visit for a short time was Budva, Montenegro. Continue reading →
A country I never thought I’d ever visit is Albania. The quickest way to get to Montenegro and Croatia is through Albania so my Topdeck tour had me driving through Albania and staying in Tirana to experience a little taste of a fairly new country with a complicated political, religious, and communist past. If I weren’t doing a Topdeck tour, I wouldn’t visit Albania on my own; however, I am happy that I got the opportunity to visit a place outside of my comfort zone. Albania is a country that was once war-struck, yet is the country where Mother Theresa came from (Tirana’s airport is named after her), a country that has 27 different words for mustache (funny), and a country where surprisingly, 90% of the population drives a Mercedes (who would have thought?). Albania is working actively toward erasing its tainted history, and the tourism industry is growing each year, especially with more and more Topdeck buses (among other tour operators) driving through. The 20th century has brought many positive changes to Albania. My quick visit in Albania was an eye opening experience. Continue reading →
My short trip in Greece didn’t give me much time to explore, but it gave me enough of a taste of the fabulous wonders in the country to know right away that I love it. I can’t wait to be able to explore more of the incredible sights in Greece. Until then, I have the memories of sailing the coastal mainland while absorbing the best of what Greece has to offer. Continue reading →
Mainland sailing in Greece was everything I imagined it to be. Waking up as the sun rises, sailing the most beautiful turquoise water I have ever seen, swimming in the salty shimmering sea, and watching the sun set each night is an experience I will have with me forever. Although I wasn’t able to visit the Greek destinations I imagined, I was still able to get a sample of what Greece can offer. I can’t wait to see more of the one place my heart holds a special space for. My favorite part was seeing the coast in the distance from the sailboat. The sights I saw along the way were stunning and magical. Continue reading →
One of my European turquoise dream bucket list destinations was Greece! I’ve always wanted to see the turquoise waters that surround the Mediterranean country. Finally, in 2014, I’ve made my way from Ancona, Italy to mainland Greece. After an 18 hour ferry, I landed in the one place I always dreamt about and seen in magazines and movies. I was lucky enough to pick a Topdeck tour that included stunning turquoise destinations like Nice, Venice, Dubrovnik, and of course Greece. Although I won’t be able to visit the islands I have dreamed about visiting, like Santorini, I still had the opportunity make it to Greece. Good things come to those who wait. There is always time to return in the future with my boyfriend who also longs for a vacation in Greece for an island hopping adventure. Mainland sailing of Greece is a dream come true. Continue reading →