I'm a Canadian girl from Vancouver who studied in Paris in 2011-2012. I did a lot of travelling in France and in Europe generally. These are my photos, my observations, and my stories.

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Je suis canadienne de Vancouver qui a étudié à Paris en 2011-2012. J'avais beaucoup voyagé en France et en Europe ; voici mes photos, mes remarques et mes histoires.

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Check the "Index of City Tags" page to browse my posts by city/country.

Regardez la page « Index of City Tags » si vous voulez trier mes postes par ville / pays d'origine.

February 8th
12:01

TOP LIST: Most Expensive Cities in Europe

Only my opinion, only of the cities I’ve visited.

  1. Vienna
  2. London
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Geneva
  5. Paris
February 7th
12:01

TOP LIST: Large Cities in Europe

Excluding Paris, since I actually lived there and it’s in a category of its own for me. Like all my top lists, this one is just my own opinion, and only drawn from cities/countries I’ve actually visited.

  1. Berlin
  2. Budapest
  3. London
  4. Brussels
  5. Amsterdam
February 6th
12:01

TOP LIST: Cities in the Balkans

Only my opinion, and only of the cities/countries that I’ve visited (ie, excluding Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece).

  1. Sarajevo, Bos.
  2. Berat, Alb.
  3. Mostar, Bos.
  4. Prizren, Kos.
  5. Belgrade, Ser.
February 5th
12:00

TOP LIST: Cities in Benelux

Only my opinion, and only of the cities I have personally visited.

  1. Brussels, Bel.
  2. Amsterdam, Neth.
  3. Antwerp, Bel.
  4. Ghent, Bel.
  5. Luxembourg, Lux.
February 4th
12:00

TOP LIST: Regions in France

Only my personal opinion. I have passed through every region of mainland France and spent substantial time in 18 out of 21 of them.

  1. Alsace
  2. Rhône-Alpes
  3. Bretagne (Brittany)
  4. Languedoc-Roussillon
  5. Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy)
  6. Poitou-Charentes
February 3rd
12:01

TOP LIST: Most beautiful mid-size towns in France

Only my opinion, and only of the towns that I’ve personally visited.

  1. Colmar (Alsace)
  2. Annecy (Rhône-Alpes)
  3. Albi (Midi-Pyrénées)
  4. Rouen (Haute-Normandie)
  5. Carcassonne (Languedoc-Roussillon)
February 2nd
12:00

TOP LIST: Cities in France

My top five “large” cities in France, excluding Paris.

  1. Strasbourg
  2. Lille
  3. Bordeaux
  4. Montpellier
  5. Lyon
February 1st
12:00
The Buna River emerging from a cave at the base of a cliff near the Sufi monastery in Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina. It’s some of the clearest, bluest water I’ve ever seen.
As this river was assumed by the Dervish monks to emerge “magically” from the cave, the water is said to have holy and cleansing properties.
Of course I climbed down to the shore and drank from the river! What kind of traveler would I be if I ignored something like that?

The Buna River emerging from a cave at the base of a cliff near the Sufi monastery in Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina. It’s some of the clearest, bluest water I’ve ever seen.

As this river was assumed by the Dervish monks to emerge “magically” from the cave, the water is said to have holy and cleansing properties.

Of course I climbed down to the shore and drank from the river! What kind of traveler would I be if I ignored something like that?

January 31st
12:00

In Blagaj, a village in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there is an Sufi Muslim (Dervish) monastery built at the base of a cliff. It is considered one of the holiest Muslim sites in all of Bosnia because the Buna River flows from that cave under the cliff, allowing life to flourish in the valley.

The interior, as you can see from the photos, is very simple. There are copies of the Quran, plus a small stack of prayer rugs and prayer beads. Most people come here to pray and meditate.

I am not religious (and have no Muslim heritage), but this monastery was strongly recommended to me as an extremely relaxing place to rest and think. So, of course I went for a visit. As per Sufi customs, I had to remove my shoes and cover my head with a scarf, and a woman at the gate tied an ankle-length skirt around my waist.

I spent a few hours in the small monastery, and yes - they were among the most relaxing of my life. I might have even fallen asleep for part of it. I can only remember a couple of people coming in during that whole time, tourists that looked in each room and left after five minutes. Otherwise it was extremely peaceful. If even an atheist like me can be swept up in the spiritual atmosphere, I can only imagine how the Sufi “monks” and true believers would have felt.

In the spirit of hospitality, there is a small café in a building across the courtyard from the monastery. (Many tourists appear to spend more time in that café than in the monastery itself.) I sat down to have a Bosnian coffee and enjoy the beautiful setting before heading back to the hostel. I had been at the monastery all day… and I feel it was time well-spent.

January 30th
12:00
Courtyard outside the Sufi monastery in Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Courtyard outside the Sufi monastery in Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

January 29th
12:00
Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina

January 28th
12:01

Sufi (Dervish) monastery at the base of a monstrous cliff in Blagaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The river comes from a cave at the bottom of the cliff.