Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
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Octagonal marble fountain in the courtyrd of Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Octagonal marble fountain at Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The original fountain, built in 1530, was constructed of Bosnian stone and carried spring water from a source more than four miles away from the mosque. Severe winter weather eventually cracked the stone and it was rebuilt in the 19th century of marble from the island of Bra? in Croatia. During the Bosnian War Read More

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I’ve never written a year in review article before, but for some reason I’m driven to do so this year, and when I counted up I was shocked to see that I visited 19 countries in 2015! What’s even more amazing is that I did that in just seven months, because I stayed with my father in Illinois during the final months of his life and didn’t hit the road permanently until May 19th (I did manage to sneak away for a week earlier in the year for a long dreamed of visit to Cuba with Discover Corps).

My travels began in earnest when I flew over the pond to join Viking River’s Grand European Tour. For 15 days we cruised on rivers and canals through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and into Hungary, sailing into Budapest after dark, with its exquisite panoply of illuminated bridges, palaces, and statues spread before us. At the end of the cruise, I stayed in Budapest for several weeks before visiting friends in far Eastern Hungary, who took me on a fascinating day trip to western Ukraine.

Meeting one of the world's greatest photographers, Steve Mc Curry, at an event in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Meeting one of the world’s greatest photographers, Steve Mc Curry, at an event in Amsterdam, Netherlands

In mid-July, I embarked on a journey through the ex-Yugoslavian countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Although it was never part of Yugoslavia, I included Albania, as doing so meant I would have visited every country in Eastern Europe. This had been high on my travel wish list for a long time, as it is a region that is little known and even less understood, especially for most Americans, and I felt certain it would offer up surprises. I was not disappointed. More than surprising, it was fascinating. Though the convoluted history made my head hurt, I found kind and generous people, a region that has not been ruined by tourism, and prices that were astonishingly affordable. Read More

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Statue of Pope John Paul II in front of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Statue of Pope John Paul II stands in front of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The cathedral is located in the old town area of the city, literally steps from the iconic Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque, which is often pointed to as proof that Sarajevo has historically been a city where all religions and Read More

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Typical street in the old Turkish Bazaar in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Miris Dunja became my preferred place to have coffee or tea each day, along with dessert. Bosnians take numerous breaks each day to have tiny cups of strong but delicious coffee.

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Typical street in the old Turkish Bazaar in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Miris Dunja became my preferred place to have coffee or tea each day, along with dessert. Bosnians take numerous breaks each day to sip tiny cups of Read More

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Do you Blab? Do you even know what Blab is? It’s a live-casting video program that features real-time interviews, and I just did my first one.

Earlier this morning I was interviewed by The Expat Chat about why I think Eastern Europe is the next hot travel destination. Over the past couple of years, I’ve visited every country in Eastern Europe, so I have a lot to say on the subject.

Countries that are generally considered to make up the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe, though some would exclude Slovenia and/or add the European portion of Turkey

Countries that are generally considered to make up the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe, though some would exclude Slovenia and/or add the European portion of Turkey

If you have a fascination for Eastern Europe, as I do, you’ll want to listen to my 52 minute interview. The session was recorded live and after it concluded, Blab uploaded it to YouTube, where it’s now available for everyone to see. Read More

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The spectacular Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque in the old town of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is most spectacular at night

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: The spectacular Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque in the old town part of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is most spectacular at night. It is considered one of the world’s best examples of Ottoman architecture and is the most important Read More