During the summer 2011 I was able to arrange a last moment trip about just under three weeks. I opted for a drive in the Balkans, without any route plan. I left Rome, with my Citroen C3 and a girl friend. We spent the nights in tent or cheap hotels. We travelled about 3000km, moving frequently and choosing the next steps daily... We never had trouble finding a place to sleep and we ended the tour with an average cost of 40 euros per day per person, all inclusive (food, overnight, gasoline, motorways etc.). The trip was focused primarily on large cities, and then concluded with a few relaxing days by the sea between Albania and Montenegro.
The main stages of the journey: Rome - Piran - Skocjan cave - Ljubljana - Zagreb - Belgrade - Danube River - Skopje - Lake Ohrid - Durres - Bar - Budva
The Cities offer the opportunity to enjoy a mix of culture and architecture between Soviet and Western. Slovenia is definitely a lot more like the Nordic countries, while the further you go south, the most rural and poor areas you see. Ljubljana is a very pretty town, which offers romantic lanes and trendy cafe along the river that cuts through the center. Zagreb has few sights, but it is certainly a paradise for women, because is possible to find hundreds of shopfronts showing all kind of shoes. Serbia is the country that impressed me the most, the capital is nice, but the countryside we saw on the road reaching the Danube river, at the border with Romania, is really fantastic. Along the river, there are very beautiful villages, the surrounding vegetation is dense and the sunsets in the mountain's gorges are stunning. The Macedonian capital, was destroyed several times by earthquakes. The city center is under construction (summer 2011) and the periphery is certainly more shabby than the other cities we've visited. Every Macedonian tourist, moves during the summer season, towards the lake of Ohrid, where the major natural attractions are. The Albanian border is very close to the lake, and it climbs through the mountains, where you can still see military bunkers dating back to 2nd world war. After the border, we went down again from the hills towards the sea, the climate became very hot and the vegetation was very dry. We spent the last few days of our short vacation, relaxina on the south coast of Durres and we finished among the beautiful inlets between Bar and Budva in Montenegro. We came back with a ship to Ancona, then drove to Rome by car.
During this trip there has been an incredible mix of different kind of photography: street reportages, panoramic photos and amazing sunsets. If youare travelling with your own car it's possible to stop everywhere when you see something interesting. In my opinion, the best city to photograp is definitely Lubijana and the place that surprised me the most, is the road on the Danube river between Serbia and Romania. Ask to locals, for the best places and try to get lost in the countryside.
I have use for this trip:
- Canon 7D
- Canon EF 24-105 F4 L IS USM
- Canon EF 100-400 F4.5-5.6 L IS
- Sigma 10-20 F4-5.6 DC HSM
Photos by Gabriele Ferrazzi about Balkans