Of Orange Groves & Tangerine Sunsets: An Ecotour in Rural Malta

Living in Valletta, where there isn’t much green space, Shawn and I have swiftly fallen for the charms of Malta’s countryside. While honking horns and heavy traffic prevail in the densely populated parts of the Mediterranean island, the feeling is relaxed outside these urban areas. Open fields are dotted with agricultural plots of land and rocky walls, and theContinue reading “Of Orange Groves & Tangerine Sunsets: An Ecotour in Rural Malta”

Harvesting for a Cause: Picking Olives in Mediterranean Malta

Strolling some Mediterranean sidewalks during the late-autumn months, it’s not unusual to see shriveling olives wasting away on the ground. There are, of course, locals who spirit away buckets of a forgotten tree’s olives, or the odd pigeon that might take a peck at the bitter fruit, but it’s been my observation that a considerable amount of urban olives go to waste.Continue reading “Harvesting for a Cause: Picking Olives in Mediterranean Malta”

Hiking to Montenegro’s Kotor Fortress

When night falls over the rugged mountains cradling Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, it becomes very clear why the country’s native name, Crna Gora, means “black mountain.” As the sun is snuffed out each night, the mountains make like a chameleon, going from steel grey to a black silhouette. Eventually, the water of the mighty bayContinue reading “Hiking to Montenegro’s Kotor Fortress”

A Guide to “Losing Your Heart” in Heidelberg, Germany

What to see, do, and eat in Heidelberg, an enchanting university town in southwestern Germany.

Kalofer, Bulgaria: A Story of Life, Lavender, & Lace

Arriving in what was to be our home away from home in rural Bulgaria, we knew not a soul. But by the time we left Kalofer, a tiny town tucked away in Central Bulgaria, where the livestock population quite possibly outnumbers the number of humans living there, an impromptu farewell committee was wishing us adieu.Continue reading “Kalofer, Bulgaria: A Story of Life, Lavender, & Lace”

Escaping to Marjan Hill, the ‘Lungs of Split’ Croatia

Marjan Forest Park is often referred to as the “lungs of Split, Croatia.” The park’s pine forest exhales fresh oxygen into the nearby city — which is removed, but within walking distance. Marjan (or Marjan-Park Šuma, in Croatian) has been a popular recreation spot since at least the 3rd century. Back then, Roman Emperor Diocletian (who hadContinue reading “Escaping to Marjan Hill, the ‘Lungs of Split’ Croatia”

Paddleboating & Promenading at Lake Palić, Serbia

Passing through Palić’s Great Park entrance, a heavily-carved wooden arch that resembled reddish-brown lacework, I couldn’t help but imagine who had strolled through the gates a century earlier when this part of northern Serbia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We continued along on a sidewalk that was covered by a thick canopy of handsome old trees, ourContinue reading “Paddleboating & Promenading at Lake Palić, Serbia”