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I spent my last day in Serbia walking around Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade alone in the snow. On the way there, I slipped and almost fell. An older gentleman saw me, and as we both continued on our way, he kept looking back at me with concern, motioning to the ground and saying something in Serbian. I apologized that I only spoke English. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders. We kept walking in the same direction, and he heard me slip again. I was still standing, but this time he stopped and signaled me to take his arm. I hesitated at first, but decided he looked harmless and linked arms with him. He noticed I didn’t have gloves on and exclaimed in Serbian, obviously distressed that my hands must be cold. I showed him I had gloves in my purse which seemed to ease his mind about the matter. He continued to talk to me, and I think he asked where I was going. So I said, “Kalemegdon.” I asked him where he was going, and he smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, wherever you need me. We continued to the end of Knez Mihailova where he pointed in the direction of the fortress ahead of us. He kissed my hand and said good-bye, and I beamed inside as I waved farewell to this chivalrous soul.


I was sad to leave Serbia. So many good conversations and good people. Those at Hostel Dali, where I stayed in Belgrade, were like family, easy-going and friendly, always ready to help and share stories. I met fellow travelers who I enjoyed talking to and wandering the city with. My first destination each morning was the Square of the Republic Christmas market where I would buy a bag of sour-sugar gummy worms to share and snack on throughout the day. Serbia was ridiculously affordable for all the things I enjoyed. I treated myself to a sugar scrub, chocolate massage, manicure, and pedicure for what only one of these treatments would have cost in the states. And every night I ate mouth-watering meals in an atmospheric setting I would usually only indulge in for a special occasion a couple of times a year. Despite the poverty here, Serbians make the best with what they have and are incredibly generous. It is my favorite country I have visited thus far, and I am not sure how it has remained hidden from tourists when it is such a gem. I felt a certain amount of pride knowing that I got to experience this beautiful country when so few people have.





IMG_20121122_000000Coming to Germany at three o’clock in the morning by car share and desperately tired, I thought it was time to treat myself to a little luxury, so I stayed four days in a hotel with a swimming pool and sauna. The first two days were divine in my private room. I only left the hotel to take a quick peek at the East Berlin Wall Gallery which was conveniently located across the street. The third day I decided to venture from my cozy bed and made up for my lack of tourist activities by visiting three museums in one day. I was impressed by the museum selection in Berlin. They have a whole island dedicated to them here. My last night was spent treating myself to an extravagant meal at the restaurant Gendarmerie, where the largest wood sculpture in the world resides. The warm lighting of the interior drew me in and made it stand out from the rest of the renowned Michelin restaurants lining the street. I made friends with the waiter while swapping observations about the other diners who I found entertaining to watch and ease-drop on while savoring my delicious meal.



After Berlin, I headed to Bad Soden-Salmünster to meet with a friend from high school I haven’t seen in ten years. I enjoyed this little town with its forest walks and morning snow, but most of all I loved feeling so part of a family. Her mother reminded me of my own making me new gluten-free creations every day. I went for morning runs with the dog, listened to her father’s jazz band, drank hot spiced wine at a Christmas market, cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, caught up over tea and chocolate, discovered a new favorite author, Kazuo Ishiguro, and went on road trip adventures to Frankfurt, Würzburg, Fulda and Heidelberg. They made me feel loved on my first birthday away from home, and it meant so much to me.



Dark Romanticism Exhibit at Städel Museum in Frankfurt


“The death of a beautiful woman is the most poetic topic in the world.”~Edger Allan Poe

“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory into a sort of absolute reality, a surreality, so to speak.”~André Breton

“I fear neither witches nor poltergeists, ghosts, braggarts, giants, good-for-nothings, villains, etc. I fear no creature but one: Man.”~Francisco de Goya

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