However you define “thrill” eastern Europe has more than its share of destinations, attractions, and people to fit the bill. From the land adventure seekers chant, Russia’s Irkutsk, to the majestic Romanian Carpathians, what is east of Prague may be the best Europe has to offer. No repetitive Paris sidewalk cafes here, but coffee in Istanbul is unforgettable. Take a brief photo journey with us to the “other Europe” just this side of wonderland.
Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia
Often referred to as the “Paris of Siberia”, Irkutsk offers a cultural and experiential maze of diverse wonders. The place is actually a jaw dropping combination of pristine wildness, dotted with historic and cultural wonders.
Turkish Coffee, Istanbul Style
Turkey‘s most populous city, and the hub of everything that is Turkish, Istabul is legendary as one of Europe’s most fascinating and intriguing places. Located on both sides of the magical Bosphorus, this part of Turkey is at once European, Persian, Arabic, and completely vague, at the same time. I can think of nothing more thrilling, no mountaintop more fascinating, than sitting at a shop eating Hamsi, sipping the strongest of strong coffees or tea.
Ljubjana: A Golden Melting Pot Under the Rainbow
Sitting alone as one of Europe’s idyllic undiscovered gems, Ljubljana, Slovenia really is “somewhere over the rainbow” located along the ancient trade route in between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region. And maybe this is part of the reason for the city’s charm, being at the veritable crossroads of German, Latin and Slavic lands, a real stew pot of cultural diversity and magic. As you can tell from the picture below, the city does have a spellbinding character.
Carpathian Bears: A Wilderness Final Testament
You can tell a lot about a destination by the inhabitants there. In Europe, the wild things of the world, they’re almost gone now. Like the hollow ramparts that dot the old continent’s landscape, wilderness, I mean real wilderness, is non existent. In Romania, Ukraine, and all the countries that contain the majestic Carpathian Mountains, the last vestiges (outside Russia) of pristine nature resist. These brown bears, the last of their kind, still roam free amid Europe’s largest remaining forests. They are Europe’s rarest inhabitants. Oh, but to see one.
When Crimea Cools Off
One of the real gems of Europe not many westerners have visited, the Crimea is full of fascinating castles and palaces, historic spots, novel destinations, and superb natural wonders. The recent differences in between Russia and Ukraine, and to a larger extent western political pressure put on this region, have pretty much nixed any touristic ventures to the region. However under contention this fantastic place is, when things normalize Crimea holds a wealth of destination value. The Massandra Palace is but one such place, once a hunting lodge for the last Czar or Russia. Funny, this in itself suggests a solution to disputes over Crimea.