Exploring the Hidden Europe in 2004 and 2008-2011

In 2004, I visited all 25 countries in Eastern Europe. You'll find the blog entries from that trip here. In 2008-2011, I returned to see what had changed since that time. With these two visits, five years apart, I accumulated enough material for my 750-page book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us.

This blog now has many excerpts from The Hidden Europe. But who the hell reads anymore? Just look at the best photos from Eastern Europe!

This map reflects how I define Eastern Europe. Eastern Europeans love to deny that they're in Eastern Europe. I tackle how and why I define Eastern Europe the way I do in the Introduction of The Hidden Europe.

Eastern Europe map from Francis Tapon's book, 'The Hidden Europe'

Guest post by Julio Moreno:

"I wish I had done this differently."

"Man, I would have totally skipped that if I had to do it again."

Sound familiar? Travel, like pretty much everything in our lives, suffers from 20-20 hindsight. No matter how much you plan, research, and get tips from your friends, the reality is always at least a little different from those early research stages. Some places turn out to be tourist traps and others unexpectedly wonderful places. So why do so few of us go do the same thing twice? It is that wonder, that excitement of doing something the first time that is so amazing, it can't be replicated, no matter how hard you try.

Like any sane person with a healthy dose of wanderlust, I too dream of some day exploring Eastern Europe. Will it live up to expectations? I don't know. Will it exceed them? I hope so. But, like everything that is worth while, it all starts with a dream.

These are 7 places in Eastern Europe that spring into my head when the lights go off and I start dozing off....

Photo by JonRawlinson

With the recent news about Ukraine and the Crimea, you might be scared to go to Eastern Europe. Don't.

You can even be safe in Ukraine, but in this guest post, Jenny Corteza focuses on far away Eastern European lands....

Guest post by Jenny Corteza:

In early 2014, a lot of travelers are asking if Eastern Europe is safe for travel. I've been to the area and I wanted to let you know what I think.

Even if you read a lot of other travel blogs and keep up with the recent news in the region, it's still a good idea to get advice from someone who knows the area well. And I do because I've traveled there frequently over the past two decades of my life - both for business and pleasure.

Novi Sad PetrovaradinGuest Post by Anita Reid.

Serbia is one of those places that conjures up plenty of preconceptions in people’s minds: wars, embargoes, lawlessness, and many other problems that afflicted the region in the past. Like a lot of preconceptions, there is a grain of truth buried amongst mountains of ignorance and chinese-whispers.

Despite news stories involving decade-old wars and the recent trouble with racist football fans, Serbia is slowly regaining a reputation as a progressive and interesting holiday-destination, with new cultural figures to represent modern Serbia in a positive light to the world: Novak Djokovic, Emir Kusturica, the critically acclaimed director, and NBA superstar Marko Jaric, who is also married to Adriana Lima.

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