16 weeks. 42 countries. And it is time to bid farewell to Europe - for now.
Our final morning in Riga, we slept in before going to the bus station for our 2.5 hour bus to Siauliai, Lithuania. From there, we would be taking a 20 minute local bus to see the Hill of Crosses: a Catholic pilgrimage site that has been active since the late 1800s, and was repeatedly threatened during Soviet rule.
Well rested after naps and a good night's sleep, this morning we got to see Stockholm in a non-zombie state. We left shortly after 11:00 and walked 20 to the ferry in Old City to catch the 82 ferry to the island of Djurgården so we could experience the most highly rated thing to do in Stockholm: the Skansen.
Well when I showed up to buy the ticket, the person working said they didn't offer any bus stopping in Trikala. I was extremely confused but didn't have time to argue because this happened while the rest of the group was waiting for me illegally parked with our rental cars. She instead offered a 5:30 AM bus to Larissa where I could then get a train to Trikala, which ended up being cheaper overall and let me sleep in a little bit. So it all worked out.
Travel rarely goes as planned which is not always a bad thing. And the chances of things changing increases when you’re with a group and have more people to coordinate. Today we were initially going to split into two groups to go see the Radavc Caves and waterfall – one group leaving earlier in the morning and the other group (including me) would sleep in a bit and stay for a shorter period of time. But one thing led to another and we ended up all going together, with the exception of Calvin who stayed back to do his own thing.
Sunday morning we woke up early to say goodbye to a few Monsooners whose trip was ending in Podgorica, and for the rest of us to head to Ostrog Monastery. It was an easy 15 minute walk to the bus station from our hostel, and then about an hour bus ride to the city Niksic. From there the 10 of us squeezed into two taxis which would wait for us and take us back to the station. It was hot and uncomfortable, but for only €20 for each taxi and this incredible monastery, it was well worth it.
This morning, after grabbing breakfast and checking out of our hostel in Belgrade, all of us pilled into a bus that would take us from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The drive - for the portions of it that I was awake for - was breathtaking. We passed through small river towns, mountains, villages, and farm land. The constant change in scenery revealed just how dynamic and incredible Bosnia and Herzegovina is.