My friend, Wanda, and I are back from our three-week Adriatic Tour with Rick Steves Travel (headquartered in Edmonds, Washington, about 40 miles from home). (Technically, the tour was 14 days, but we added several days before and after.) This was my first European trip and it did not disappoint. On the last night of our Rick Steves group gathering, we were asked to share our favorite ‘wow’ moment of the trip. I have always dreamed of sitting in the quintessential European outdoor café with a glass of wine surrounded by stone buildings built hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. It happened. The little cafes exist everywhere and the oldest of the old buildings are everywhere. It was overwhelming and I sat in awe of the sights every day.
We had an energetic, fun group of 28 on the tour. And our tour guide, Tina, was better than the best. Several on the tour have been on over a dozen Rick Steves tours and they stated Tina was their best guide ever. (Picture of our group on the left—Tina is the redhead in the middle.) Tina asked why I chose this part of Europe for my first experience. We heard over and over that this part of the world was relatively untouched by visitors, but with all the positives of Europe. It was exactly as described.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will post experiences we had in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tina shared with us that visitors around the world have different objectives when traveling, but she said Americans, for the most part, set out to learn and absorb knowledge. That is exactly what I had in mind for this journey and my understanding of the Balkan Peninsula has broadened significantly. In fact, in hindsight, I really knew nothing at all.