This week at BootsnAll we’re delving deeper in Eastern Europe with travel features on destinations in Romania, Croatia, and Russia, as well as an interesting piece on unusual holiday traditions in Ukraine.
Lavinia Patrusco shares off-the-beaten-path options in Romania, Mattie Bamman shares his itinerary for a coastal escape in Croatia, Oksana Arkhypchuk gives us a crash course in Ukrainian holiday customs, and Irina Sazonova offers her best advice for getting to know Russia’s warmer, sunnier side.
Lavinia Patrusco shares eight places in Romania to add to your itinerary–think dramatic natural scenery, picturesque villages, and historic ruins to rival any elsewhere in Europe–all of them well worth carving out a few days on your trip.
“Consider including Romania in your European trip plans for wild mountains and genuine local traditions that will sometimes make you feel as if you’ve gone back in time. Keep your eyes open and you’re likely to find extraordinary people and stories that’ll give you a whole new life perspective.”
There’s much more to Croatia than Dubrovnik. Mattie Bamman recommends his favorite towns, pebble beaches, crashing waterfalls, and spicy foods along Croatia’s coast.
“To get to know Croatia, start on the coast. Just barely the size of West Virginia, Croatia has more than 3,600 miles of coastline and 1,200 islands. The jagged landscape of limestone formations rises up from the Adriatic Sea, transfiguring into mountains as it reaches for the clouds – Croatia’s coastline looks life-threatening. Fortunately, we travelers get to chill out on the pebble beaches peppered between the steep crags, go island-hopping by sailboat, hike in the national parks, tour ancient Roman ruins and medieval towns, and, my personal favorite, eat good food and drink good wine.”
From kicking your boots off to find out about your love life to celebrating New Year’s twice, Oksana Arkhypchuk explores unusual holiday traditions that can still be observed in rural villages around Ukraine.
“Ukrainians like to celebrate. No, really. Ukrainians love to celebrate! I honestly don’t think that there is another nation out there able to beat us in the ‘who has the most holidays’ contest. Especially in winter. I bet our ancestors had nothing to do on cold snowy December days and holiday-ing turned out to be a simple logical solution to staying sane…get a glimpse into a unique cultural identity that miraculously survived on the outskirts of modern Europe.”
Is cold and snowy Russia just a myth? In the south does it really get warm enough to grow wine ? Is borsch red or green? Find the answers in Irina Sazonova’s list of seven (surprising) things you can do in Southern Russia.
“The Cold War, together with the Iron Curtain, contributed to the creation of quite a number of myths and stereotypes. Ideas that Russians to this day have about the outside world and that the outside world has about Russia…many people still think of Russia as a cold, snowy place. While this is certainly true for some areas up north, this description can in no way be applied to all of Russia. The South, namely the Krasnodar area (the main agricultural and resort region of the country), is one of the warmest parts of Russia with temperatures in the summer sometimes reaching 40C (105F).”