Have you ever thought about visiting Eastern Europe? Neither had we until about two weeks prior to taking off for our trip. Brittany was captivated by a podcast describing the world’s best European food destinations and we quickly rerouted our trip to bypass Germany and continue in Poland.
We needed to bookend this part of our trip between Gothenburg and Rome, arriving by September 16th to meet grandma. It only made sense to work our way north to south and take advantage of a steal of a flight to Warsaw for $18 a person. We tried to ease our budget by registering to teach English in Warsaw. We were accepted and they ended up not having space for us. So, on to Warsaw, we went with loose plans of Krakow, Slovakia, Budapest, Zagreb, and Ljubljana to follow.
Bloomington, Indiana was home before starting our adventure. It has always been my home and Brittany joined after undergrad.
Our little oasis in Indiana is home to Indiana University and the heart of Hoosier Country. In this town, we are all spoiled by the amenities and industry that surround such a junction. For being a town of nearly one hundred thousand folks, there is a bounty of arts, restaurants, and recreational parks. As a long-time resident, I am excited to share some of our favorite places to visit in my hometown.
We made our way to Jaco early in the afternoon by way of La Fortuna. It was about a 3.5-hour drive winding up at down the mountain to the shore. Steve was kind enough to drive and I dozed in and out while the sun unknowingly charred my right arm. We arrived ready to unload and relax for a bit before exploring the town. Per usual, we had picked out a rad, open-air loft through Airbnb that was close to the beach owned by a former professional surfer, Emmanuel. There was really only one rule for this place which was to lock the fridge before you go to bed. Don’t worry, there’s a story about that later.
La Fortuna is the perfect place to explore. With things like chocolate, hot springs, volcanoes, teepee tents, waterfalls, and wildlife, keep in mind that it also has the potential to squash your budget if you don’t pay attention. On our way from Heredia, we decided to slow our journey for treats and investigate the unique landscape around us.
Doesn’t Costa Rica sound like a wonderful place to spend the holidays? To be completely honest, we ended up here by accident and kind of frantically. We initially booked flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico to enjoy 9 days in one place. This was my version of strong-arming Steve into a slow travel vacation. Fast forward to a week later I was in pieces begging my grandparents to flee Florida before Hurricane Irma, where the eye was slated to land right over their home. And then Maria happened and Puerto Rico is still putting themselves back together 9 months later, mind you with minimal aid and acknowledgment from the US government. But I can’t even begin to start on that one.