Our Europe road trip adventure is officially over. Nine weeks felt epic, but also flew by. Life is like that.
The afternoon we returned our faithful Peugeot to the Nice Airport, it was warm again. The chill that hung in the air through the mountains of Italy dispersed as the glittering coast came into view. We crossed the border, paying exorbitant tolls (thank you Italian autostrada), and doing our best to calculate how much fuel to get to ensure we skated into the carpark on fumes. The car adapter, which allowed us to listen to music and podcasts without a single issue for nine weeks, crapped out an hour before the airport.
I see, GPS screen, that you do not recognize my audio files, and I forgive you.
Our ambitious Europe road trip has barely come to a close and there are many feelings that I’m still sorting through. The freedom and independence and, frankly, monotony of travel. The weight of the recent history that hangs tight onto the Balkans. The pervasive feeling that we, humans, really are all the same. That I am so damn lucky.
Big thoughts and big revelations are sure to come.
But here, at the end of the road (literally), I am only able to digest the numbers. The numbers that defined our Europe road trip, the miles, the beds, the roads, the physical parameters in which we worked.
Data is my speciality. And I’ve got a ton of it.
Distance Driven: 6,147km / 3,842mi
Average Distance per Day: 99km / 62mi
Longest Drive between Destinations: 6 hours, from Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina to Belgrade, Serbia, thanks mostly to our decision to keep to back roads for the whole journey.
Number of Destinations (1 night or more): 22
They are: Piedmont, Lake Como, Trentino, Venice, Primostek (Slovenia), Plitvice Lakes (Croatia), Split, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Skopje, Lake Ohrid, Oxya (Greece), Papigo (Greece), Bari, Ascoli, Assisi, Rimini, Reggio Emilia, Bevecchio, Nice
Our Favorite Destinations: We’ve been asked over and over. For sun and warmth, Kotor, Montenegro. For a great introduction into the Balkans, Mostar Bosnia & Herzegovina. For natural beauty, Papigo, Greece (more to come on this).
Our Favorite Day: It’s hard to beat the morning we spent on a boat in Lake Como, Italy. We knew it the second we stepped aboard, but it was an experience of a lifetime and we appreciated every second of it.
Best Night of Sleep: It’s a tie, between the small hotel we stayed in Ohrid, Macedonia, and our AirBnB in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Just the right amount of squish, nice dark rooms, and plenty of extra pillows.
Worst Night of Sleep: In Sarajevo, autumn arrived when we got to town, but the heat wasn’t on yet. At night, we snuggled underneath a pile of duvets, which was great, until we got overheated and then kicked off the covers and got cold again.
Number of Bus Trips: 1, a day trip to Pristina, Kosovo from Skopje, Macedonia with a chain smoking bus driver.
Number of Nights at Sea: 1, aboard an overnight ferry from Igoumenitsa, Greece to Bari, Italy
Total Distance Walked (thank you, Fitbit!): 546km / 341mi
Number of Days over 20k steps: 5, comprised of 3 big Italy hiking days, a massive street art tour in Belgrade, 10 mile hike in Macedonia. To be honest, I think I expected more of these huge walking days. But between the driving and being in smaller cities, we didn’t cover quite as many hours by foot.
% of Days over 10k steps: 65%. My Fitbit vibrates and tells me it likes me when I hit 10k steps, so it’s a personal goal to do this as frequently as possible. Talk about a simple reward system that really and truly works.
Number of Stops at Petrol/Gas Stations: 11. This is surprisingly low, just over one stop per week.
Average Fuel Consumption: 4.9l per 100km or 58 miles per gallon. Thank you, diesel-fueled Peugeot, for saving us so much cash. We expected much higher fuel costs.
Most Expensive Toll: $30.80, on the Autostrada from outside Cinque Terre, Italy to Nice, France. Italian tolls are brutal, which is why we avoided them for almost the entire trip.
Number of Grocery Store/Market Runs: 34. Or, roughly, every other day.
Most Expensive Meal: $70.60 at Le Bistro du Formager in Nice, France (highly recommended!)
Cheapest Meal: $5.99 for two falafel sandwiches and salads at Dr. Falafel in Ohrid, Macedonia. This doesn’t include the ‘snack meals’ that we ate on many drives. Gas stations around the Balkans kept us fueled with mixed nuts, Coke Zero and many more Peanut M&Ms than are actually necessary for survival.
Best Food Region: Emilia-Romagna, Italy. There’s a reason why food fanatics come here. It has to do with aged vinegar, parmesan cheese, parma ham, Lambrusco wine, tortellini, and ragu. You win, Emilia-Romagna, you win.
Worst Food Region: Macedonia. Our enthusiasm to eat Balkan food every day started to wane around the Macedonian border. So, Macedonia, it’s not you, it’s us.