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Balkans Cruise 1 : Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.

The most frequent question you get from friends when you announce your intention to take a river cruise through Eastern Europe is “why?” Well, when our friends David and Susan suggested it last year, “why not?” was the first thought that came to our travel-deprived minds. During the pandemic I’d have gone to Hell if assured a round trip ticket.

My World History is a little rusty, but my recollection of the Ottoman Empire, The Habsburg Monarchy, the creation of Yugoslavia, the regional grip of Soviet Communism, the Serbian and Croatian War, and the modern push for free market economies makes the region fascinating to say the least. On many trips I study ahead of time. This time, I arrived as a student, ready to learn.

On future blogs I’ll go a bit deeper into what I learned and the people I met, but for these first two, my goal is to offer sights and sounds, food and scenery of the Balkans. So as not to bore you, each chapter is just a highlight reel of our cruise down the Danube on Viking longboat Ullur.

We were delighted with the professionalism of both the Viking company and the Ullur crew. They have led the way on COVID protocols and we felt very safe as a result. The crew did everything in their power to give us a good traveling experience and they succeeded.

One final note. The people of the Balkans were warm, welcoming, and most appreciative that we were bringing our tourist dollars back to their struggling economies. My friend David asked them at every stop, "what can we do for you"? Their answer was tell your friends that our scenery is stunning, our food is delicious, our history and culture are fascinating and our courage is a model for the world. All true.


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