Sunday, April 29, 2007

New edition of the Bradt Guide to Macedonia

Bradt have recently issued the 2nd edition of their guide to Macedonia - just in time for my visit there, as it happens. The author outlines changes since the first edition on the Bradt website. A new feature that caught my eye is a chapter dedicated to hiking, with descriptions of twelve walking routes. There are also more details about public transport.

The same publisher has also just launched a completely new Zagreb City Guide.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bucharest Monopoly

I visited the In Your Pocket site today looking for information about Macedonia, but found myself enjoyably distracted by the article Bucharest Monopoly - a tour of some of the less salubrious locations featured in the Romanian version of the board game.

It's not unusual for disappointed travellers, misled by the city's "Paris of the East" nickname, to comment that Bucharest is no Paris. Visitors with unrealistic expectations of architectural prettiness have also been heard to remark that Bucharest is no Prague. But it takes In Your Pocket's keen eye for the Eastern European urban scene to come up with what must surely be the ultimate put-down: "Calea Rahova, while impressive from afar, is no Tirana".

Plans for 2007: Macedonia and more

There won't be much activity on Balkanology in April or May, as I will be concentrating on actually travelling instead of writing about travel. But don't worry, I haven't given up on the site, far from it: there will be plenty of new additions to the site over the summer months.

I will be visiting Macedonia in May and hope to expand my coverage of that country. Hopefully the weather will be better than it was for my two previous short visits - this time round I'd like to spend less time dodging torrential rainstorms and more time taking photos.

Later in 2007 I also hope to add some suggested itineraries for people wishing to take in several Balkan countries in a single trip, and more information about flights to the Balkans from the UK and Ireland.

Monday, April 02, 2007

London to Sarajevo

Last week British Airways began operating direct flights to Sarajevo for the first time. Flights from London Gatwick will leave on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The cheapest fare I could find in a quick test was £158 including taxes.

Following on from last year's introduction of London-Tirana flights, I believe this leaves Skopje as the only Balkan capital not served by direct flights from London - BA does list it as a destination, but it's a codeshare with Malev and involves a change in Budapest. It's probably quicker to fly to Pristina, a quick cross-border trip away from Skopje.

Returning to Bosnia, the Christian Science Monitor this week published an interesting article called Come See the Pyramids... in Bosnia?, looking at the growing pains of the Bosnian tourist industry - including the somewhat dubious promotion of the (in)famous Visoko Pyramid.