Backpacking Through The Balkans

Every summer of college I lived with my grandparents – cooking, hanging out, telling stories. My grandfather is Albanian and grew up throughout Europe as a refugee after fleeing the country during the Communist takeover in 1944, so he has some wild stories.

Those stories inspired me to take a trip to the Balkans and learn more about a region that has been constantly fought over and divided and is rich in very recent history. The Balkans as a whole are less traveled; they’re outside the limelight of culture degrading tourism (parts of Croatia not as much.)

While many of family’s first impressions of the trip were concerns about safety, my time there felt very safe. Much of the dangers that still linger in the society’s memory from the Yugoslav wars is unwarranted today. The people are friendly and inviting, and I wouldn’t consider any country I visited more dangerous than my home state of New Jersey or other more traveled countries in Europe. Obviously you should keep your wits about you whenever you’re in a foreign country.

Some of my favorite memories were climbing the Staircase of Kotor, Scootering the coast of Albania to Saranda, Climbing the Tirana Pyramid, exploring the history rich cobblestone streets of the old town in Sarajevo, and hearing personal stories about the war from Bata in Mostar.

During this trip I was still new to photography and my biggest regret is that I didn’t take MORE photos. But I hope you enjoy my curated selection below 🙂

A low profile photo of terminal C at Newark International Airport with all the people in motion blur
An overhead photo while flying over the Adriatic coast of split Croatia. Boats are driving through the crystal blue water
A gorgeous soft sunset photo of the water and hills of Kotor Montenegro
Wide epic shot of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro with the front of our sailboat and the bottom third of the picture and a washed out sky
Black and white headshot side profile of Tristan Wallace wearing ray-bans while in Montenegro
Photo of a Mediterranean bicycle with a wine box on the back that says Porto Adriatic shot in Kotor Montenegro
Seafood and prawn squid ink tagliatelle  served in Kotor Montenegro
Monochromatic shot of the deep blue water in the Adriatic sea with a soft blue sky shot off the coast of Kotor Montenegro
Wide front shot of Fort Manila off the coast of kotor Montenegro around sunset with light bleeding over the top.
Old limestone spiral staircase shot in split-tone blue and orange while in Fort mamilla off the coast of kotor Montenegro
A rich ceiling mural in a tiny church on and man-made island in the Adriatic off the coast of Kotor Montenegro called "Our Lady of the rocks"
Photo of a shrine with blurred candles in the foreground while at the tiny church on "Our Lady of the rocks" off the coast of Kotor
Wide shot of the front of the tiny church on Our Lady of the rocks
Walking through the ruins of the castle of San Giovanni after hiking the ladder of kotor in Montenegro
Epic landscape shot of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro in the morning at the top of the ladder of Kotor
A mile marker sign on the way up the ladder of Kotor in Montenegro
Three wooden windows on a white brick Mediterranean wall of a house in Kotor Montenegro
A cat looking at the camera in Kotor Montenegro
a pattern of green shuttered windows on a stone building in Kotor Montenegro
The sign outside the Old Town hostel in couture Montenegro
Daytime shot of the Bay of Kotor and its surrounding hills and mountains of Montenegro
Taxi driver taking us through the hills of Kotor in Montenegro
Driving through the winding roads of Montenegro hillside
Black and white photo of horses running on a farm in the Montenegro countryside
A bull walking on the side of the road while driving through the Montenegro countryside
A welcome sign to Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina
A saturated photo of old vintage cameras lying on stones
Black and white photo of graffiti in the Mostar sniper tower in Bosnia and Herzegovina that reads "we killed too many unicorns" and "don't feed the zombies"
A hipster sitting at the top of a staircase with no walls in the Mostar sniper tower with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the background
wide night time photo of Blagaj Tekija, Bosnia's Beautiful Monastery Under A Cliff
Hand picking from a plate of fresh grapes pears figs and plums
Tristen Wallace at the top of Stjepan Grad aka Blagaj Castle with the hills of Mostar in the background
The buildings in the hillside surrounding Stjepan Grad - Blagaj Castle shot through a slit in the walls of the castle
Kravice Waterfalls in Mostar
Charlotte Zuber leaning against stones in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzgovenia
An old ornate wooden door with gold handles in the old city of Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tourists walking through the markets in the ruins of split Croatia
Black and white photo of the old Sarajevo clock tower which keeps track of lunar time
Canned beef sculpture in Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina
Shrapnel scars in the side of a building in Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina from the bomb shelling of the late 90s
A leather belt artizen in Sarajevo Bosnia Herzegovina
A leather belt artizen in Bosnia and Herzegovina finishing a belt with a lighter
A leather belt artisan in Bosnia and Herzegovina finishing the holes of the belt with his press
A miniature scaled replica of the city of split Croatia in the streets of split Croatia
A bacon burger and herb fries at De Belly in split Croatia
The logo of the restaurant De Belly in split Croatia with a beer and light bokeh in the background
A photo of the Saint Dominus bell tower lit up by the sun with dark buildings in the foreground in the city of split Croatia
black and white photo of Round ceiling of Saint Domnius cathedral in Split, Croatia
wide bright photo of Saint Dominus bell tower in Split Croatia
The foliage covered steps of Marjan hill in split Croatia at sunset
Black and white photo of shoes hanging from a clothesline in split Croatia
Tristen Wallace with a scooter helmet and sunglasses on in the hills of Albania
Black and white photo of Tristen Wallace with a scooter in Serande Albania
Wide epic landscape of gjirokaster Albania at sunset with soft light bathing over buildings
Stone covered building in the hills of gjirokaster Albania
Statue of two men fighting at National Museum of Armaments in gjirokaster Albania
Silhouette picture within fortress in gjirokaster Albania with city lit outside
Hills of gjirokaster Albania
Wide epic landscape photo of the stone buildings in gjirokaster Albania
Walking through the stone fortress walls at the national armaments museum in gjirokaster Albania
a stone sign with green lettering at the national armaments museum in gjirokaster Albania
Tristan Wallace sitting on top of the rundown pyramid of Tirana in Albania with the city in the background at sunset
Wide landscape shot of the Tirana pyramid in Albania
Wide landscape shot of skanderbeg square in Tirana Albania shot from low with water glistening on the ground and all of the people in motion blur
Buildings on the hillside of the bay of  Kotor in Montenegro shot at blue hour with their warm street lights glistening in the water
A single orange house shot in the green hills in front of the water of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro
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