Backroads Blog 1 - Santorini, Greece
Santorini is a unique place. It is stunningly beautiful and distinct from any of the other Greek islands. It's a place that's composed of volcanic rock once heaved from the bowels of the earth, where inhabitants have continued to settle precariously on the slopes of its three-hundred-metre-high cliffs formed in 1500 B.C., during the second biggest volcanic eruption known to man. The ensuing nearly 500-feet-high deadly tsunami that followed the eruption is believed to have led to the eventual destruction of Europe's ancient Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, about 70 miles to the south.
Backroads Blog 2 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Half the size of Switzerland, yet brimming with attractions - from Venetian coastal resorts in the south to the majestic Julian Alps and emerald-green lakes in the northwest - Slovenia is a hidden jewel still buried in misunderstanding. Locals still contend with Westerners who call it Slovakia (even American president George W Bush infamously confused the two). Neither is it a part of the Balkans, where memory of the conflicts of the mid-1990s still lingers in the minds of Westerners. Slovenia is refreshingly less expensive for travelers compared to its Alpine neighbors, and English is spoken fluently by most locals, who are noticeably warm and friendly.