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 🙂