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Today is Day 84!

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TravelDiabetes travelogues

Weird Europe

An exhaustive, day-by-day account of a four-plus month backpacking odyssey through some of the more unknown parts of Europe. Read about every meal, insulin shot, and blood sugar check as well as the World Heritage Sites, historical areas, trains, guesthouses, and people I encountered on the road with my travel partner Masayo through Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, and Norway.

Articles: Europe

"What Can You Do With Diabetes?" video

I edited together this video of me with my OneTouch Ultra machine in some cool places across Europe.

Day 131: Norway→USA

Every trip must eventually end

The European trip over, Masayo and I flew from Bodø, Norway to Atlanta, Georgia on a series of three flights that took all day. My BG lingered in the 190s most of the day, but that's not bad for a day of no sleep and long flights and no exercise.

Day 130: Norway

The faint Northern Lights of frozen Bodø

On the last full day of a 131-day trip, we sat in the freezing February cold of a long pier in northern Norway and were rewarded, finally, with a tantalizing display of the Northern Lights. They were faint, but they were there. Our trip can end now!

Day 129: Norway

Cabin fever in a northern Norway town

I woke up low and jumped around between low and high all day, but it was overall a very easy day. All we did was stay in the hotel and eat all day. Hey, everyone deserves a day off, even rambling travelers!

Day 128: Norway

I can't believe we're in Bodø in winter

We spent today walking a little bit around Bodø, seeing the cathedral and the views over the water. I also managed to buy some Lantus pens without a doctor's visit from a sympathetic pharmacist.

Day 127: Norway

Across Norway's Arctic Circle in winter

We took a 10-hour train from Trondheim up to Bodø, above the Arctic Circle, today. My BGs were too high most of the day, but the trip itself was remarkable -- deep snow and frozen rivers and unbelievable scenery almost the entire way.

Day 126: Norway

Last stop on the world's northernmost tram

A trip on the world's most northern tram took us from Trondheim into the deep, snowy wilderness of Lian. A nap took my blood sugar to nearly 400 after dinner. Oops.

Day 125: Norway

It doesn't get any more Norwegian than Trondheim

Today we walked around Trondheim, Norway a little, as Masayo shopped for yarn and we scoped out places to find a cheap (for Norway) dinner. In the evening a big snowstorm moved in before we attempted to catch the Northern Lights outside of town.

Day 124: Croatia→UK→Norway

Flying is cheating, but oh the views! Croatia to Norway

A day of airplanes led us from Croatia back to where the trip began — Scandinavia. This time it was Trondheim, Norway. My BGs were pretty good all day, considering the usual stress of flying.

Day 123: Croatia

Looking down on Dubrovnik is totally worth the price

You can walk around the top of the town walls in Dubrovnik and get views across Old Town and the Adriatic Sea. We did that, and my 5 BG checks weren't great but followed a weird pattern.

Day 122: Croatia

Pottering about Dubrovnik: How to enjoy the off-season

After yesterday we wanted to relax, and just walked around Old Town in Dubrovnik a little, but mostly relaxed and finalized our plans for Norway. My BG was too high all day, perhaps a result of my not doing anything.

Day 121: Croatia

Hiking up Mount Srđ without enough food

What do you do when you're hiking in the middle of nowhere and are running out of low glucose food? You keep hiking, and cursing yourself for your poor preparation.

Day 120: Montenegro→Croatia

From one jewel to another: Kotor to Dubrovnik

While planning our route out of Europe and back to the US, Masayo and I decided to first go back to Croatia to see Dubrovnik, which was close to where we were. It's a simple bus ride there, and my BG was pretty good most of the day.

Day 119: Montenegro

Living in Kotor forever isn't a bad idea

After climbing the hill all afternoon yesterday, Masayo and I kept it quiet today. Kotor was quieter too; the wind was gone, and we walked around Old Town before having some more delicious fresh grilled fish (and wine).

Day 118: Montenegro

A climb up Montenegro's most famous view

Day 118 was a good one: despite all the wine I had last night, I managed my BG through a long, steep climb up the hill to see the UNESCO-inscribed fortifications of Kotor.

Day 117: Montenegro

Kotor: The perfect little secret

Today was a travel day again, from Podgorica up to the UNESCO World Heritage Bay of Kotor area. Our host was amazingly friendly and gracious, and my BGs were neither super high nor low enough.

Day 116: Montenegro

Attacked by Podgorica's junkyard robots

In between some slightly high and very-high BGs, I got to see more of Podgorica on foot today. We saw more Transformers statues, a United Nations building, and some very nice parks.

Day 115: Montenegro

Between snow and sunny sea to Podgorica

A day of great BGs. We said goodbye to the Montenegrin coast, for now, and left Ulcinj for the capital, Podgorica. Our room in Podgorica was super nice, and we walked around the small city a little before relaxing.

Day 114: Montenegro

Ulcinj and the spectacle of the Montenegrin Riviera

Masayo felt good enough to go exploring today, and we strode down to the beach with its big violent waves, and walked around the stone wall-dominated Old Town in the rain.

Day 113: Montenegro

Take a day off; you're in Ulcinj!

Our first full day in Montenegro was quiet, as we stayed in our room in Ulcinj, trying to warm up and enjoying the views over the sea. Our food continued its casual junk food theme.

Day 112: Albania→Montenegro

Big bus, little roads: Albania to Montenegro

We left Albania from Shkodër by bus, riding about 90 minutes to the Montenegrin town of Ulcinj. It's a hilly town on the Adriatic coast, very scenic. My BG was ok at first but was high all midday.

Day 111: Albania

With the hillside sheep at Rozafa Castle

My BGs were a little up and down today, but it was a fun day: Masayo and I used the free bicycles at our hotel in Shkodër, Albania to go visit Rozafa Castle on a hill near Lake Shkodër just outside town.

Day 110: Albania

Unofficial minibus to the Albanian countryside

After four hours of sleep, I made it out of Tirana to the northern Albanian town of Shkodër. It was rainy the whole day, and we stayed in the room and had local burek.

Day 109: Albania

Communist amputees on Super Bowl Sunday

Our last day in Tirana was spent on two unusual things: a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci made of nails, and statues of Communist leaders abandoned behind a museum. Then I stayed up all night to watch Super Bowl XLIX.

Day 108: Albania

Tirana, the patchwork capital city

Tirana is an interesting place, still rebuilding after decades of closed, paranoid Communist rule. There is a ragged urgency in the streets, though things were dampened for us today by the rain.

Day 107: Macedonia→Albania

Into the wild unknown: eastern Albania

We strode down to the bus station on the edge of Skopje and took a bus over the Albanian border to the capital, Tirana. It was raining there, but we walked to our hotel and checked in, taking it easy all evening and having pizza.

Day 106: Macedonia

A brand-new ancient city

Today was a great day in Skopje, Macedonia -- sunny and warm for January. We walked around the ruins of Kale Fortress, and wound around the endless small pathways in the Old Bazaar.

Day 105: Kosovo→Macedonia

A quick escape from Kosovo

Kosovo had seemed too volatile at the moment so we found a bus to take us quickly out of the country, to Macedonia, although that wasn't our original plan. Skopje was nicer, and packed with picturesque statues.

Day 104: Kosovo

Dodging rubber bullets in Kosovo

Masayo stayed in all day, still sick from the air of Kosovo yesterday. I went out by myself, and gave up when I saw large crowds and police. Luckily I was gone by the time the tear gas and rubber bullets flew.

Day 103: Kosovo

Reasons not to visit a city after a tear gas riot

The capital of Kosovo saw a demonstration, with tear gas, just a couple days before we arrived, and while walking around the city to see a Bill Clinton statue and George Bush Boulevard, Masayo collapsed. I had to carry her back to the hotel, where she made a slow half-recovery.

Day 102: Serbia→Kosovo

Terror and boredom ruin blood sugar on the way to Kosovo

Our time in Serbia proper was done, and we took a series of two buses to Kosovo's capital city of Prishtina. The first bus went over some really scary mountain roads in a snowstorm, and we then had an unanticipated six-hour wait for the next bus. But we made it.

Day 101: Serbia

We're the only two tourists at Felix Romuliana

We took a taxi from our hotel in Zaječar today out to the Felix Romuliana ruins. It was drizzling the whole time, but we were the only tourists there the entire time. Then we came back to town and got a private tour of the museum there.

Day 100: Serbia

Icy mountain roads to Zaječar – it's Day 100 of the trip!

We left Kraljevo for a small town in the east part of Serbia called Zaječar, where hoped to take in another UNESCO site. First we went to Niš, then the snowy mountain road to Zaječar.

Day 99: Serbia

Recovering from a 400+ BG at Žiča Monastery

I spent today recovering from the high BG I had last night, and saw a little of Kraljevo. The main part of the day was seeing Žiča Monastery, which we took a taxi to but walked back from.

Day 98: Serbia

We made it to Studenica Monastery without a car

Today had its ups and downs: we figured out how to get to the wondrous UNESCO-inscribed Studenica Monastery by buses from Kraljevo, but I ended up with the highest BG of the trip so far after dinner.

Day 97: Serbia

A room with a sunset view in Kraljevo

We took a bus that had significant mechanical problems from Novi Sad all the way down to Kraljevo in southern Serbia. After breaking down though, the driver fixed it and we made it.

Day 96: Serbia

Petrovardin Fortress, just across the mighty Danube

Today was rainy in Novi Sad, Serbia, but we walked around town and went to climb around the Petrovaradin Fortress across the Danube. Plus I got a good, cheap haircut!

Day 95: Serbia

Dilapidated train to drizzly Novi Sad

If you want to get around Serbia, you take a bus. So naturally we chose a train to take us up to Novi Sad in the Vojvodina region of the country.

Day 94: Serbia

From Nikola Tesla to Belgrade Fortress on foot

Masayo was feeling all right so we walked all around Belgrade today, seeing the Tesla Museum, some churches and nice streets, and the amazing Fortress out where the rivers connect.

Day 93: Serbia

Lassoing high blood sugars on a day off in Belgrade

Masayo wasn't feeling well and figured she needed a day off. So we spent all day in our room in Belgrade, with only me going outside twice: once for lunch and once for dinner.

Day 92: Bosnia→Serbia

Srpska to Serbia through snow-dusted hills

We left Višegrad in far eastern Bosnia and crossed the Serbian border, winding our way by bus up to the capital, the grand old city of Belgrade. We arrived after dark, so had a great Lebanese dinner and kept to ourselves otherwise.

Day 91: Bosnia

The world's most delicious home-cooked meal

On the Orthodox New Year's Day (January 14) Masayo and I were invited to our apartment owners' for a delicious home-cooked meal and some interesting conversation about Bosnia.

Day 90: Bosnia

Breaking into Višegrad's UNESCO bridge

We snuck in a hole in a fence to see the famous bridge in Višegrad, Bosnia, which was technically closed. Today was New Year's Eve in the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Day 89: Bosnia

The inviting rolling hills of the Srpska Republic

We left the "Bosnia and Herzegovina" part of Bosnia today and took a tense but beautiful bus ride into the "Republic of Srpska" part, and the small mountain town of Višegrad.

Day 88: Bosnia

How do you sum up the city of Sarajevo?

Today was basically a rest day in Sarajevo. I felt suddenly rather weak for most of the afternoon, and kept checking my BG, paranoid that I was low, but I was in fact high all day.

Day 87: Bosnia

A peek into Sarajevo's brutal recent past

We spent our second day in Sarajevo at a museum and seeing some more sights on a long walk back and forth. We had a meat-heavy dinner, and my BG wavered from the lowest of the trip to over 300.

Day 86: Bosnia

A World War on a street corner: Sarajevo

Our train left Mostar early, and the ride was through some spectacular scenery. In Sarajevo, we saw the spot where World War I began and some of the city's other sites.

Day 85: Bosnia

A Bosnian mosque built into the rock

The owners of our apartment in Mostar took us out in their car for a tour of the nearby towns of Počitelj and Blagaj to see some Muslim and other buildings.

Day 84: Bosnia

Rebuilding the remnants of proud Mostar

We saw more of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina today. My runny nose improved, and my BG was weirdly low much of the afternoon. Not after dinner, unfortunately.

Day 83: Croatia→Bosnia

From sunny Split to scarred Mostar

Today was another international border crossing by bus for us: we went from Croatia to the town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Day 82: Croatia

To the colored lakes of Imotski by rental car

We managed to rent a car and I drove us a couple hours through Omiš and then to Imotski to see the blue and red lakes there. My first time driving a car outside of North America!

Day 81: Croatia

Trogir, a forgotten castle on the Adriatic

We walked around Split some more today, but a lot of stuff was closed. So we decided to take a bus over to Trogir, another UNESCO town with a nice old walled section.

Day 80: Croatia

Why would you want to be anywhere besides Split?

We walked around some of the Old Town of Split, Croatia today, and bought figs and saw Diocletian's underground chambers and everything. It was a really nice look at part of ancient Rome.

Day 79: Croatia

The most scenic bus trip you can take in Croatia

The ten-hour bus from Pula, Croatia down to Split passes by an endless sunset over the Adriatic Sea. My blood sugar behaved today – until the hamburger.

Day 78: Croatia

The extraordinary solitude of Pula on New Year's Day

The first day of the new year was spent inside before venturing out into the warmer and calmer air of sleepy Pula, Croatia. Diabetes even behaved today.

Day 77: Croatia

Frozen New Year's Eve beside Pula's amphitheater

Pula, Croatia on New Year's Eve was cold and windy but sunny. We toured the amphitheater, joined the crowds at midnight and I endured terrible blood sugars.

Day 76: Croatia

Goodbye Croatian snow, hello Istrian seaside

After a final morning in snowy Varaždin we took a bus to Pula on the Adriatic coast of Croatia where it was cold but snowless. My BGs were great all day.

Day 75: Croatia

Trakošćan Castle: Hard to reach but totally worth it

Trakošćan Castle on a sunny day after a big snow is one of the most amazing sights you can see in Croatia. Even high BGs didn't hurt my enjoyment today.

Day 74: Croatia

A path through the snow to far-flung Varaždin

We woke up in Osijek to a large snowstorm, and took trams and trains through Croatia to the town of Varaždin. My diabetes behaved until I ate some gnocchi.

Day 73: Croatia

Buildings and bullet holes in Osijek, Croatia

The buildings around the old fort at Tvrđa near Osijek still bear scars from the 1990 Yugoslavian war. A sobering day on which my BGs were up and down.

Day 72: Croatia

Osijek, the unassuming town in eastern Croatia

The small city of Osijek deep in the inland Slavonian section of Croatia welcomed us with some small-town cheeriness. My BGs were awful all day long though.

Day 71: Croatia

When everything's closed in Zagreb except the ice-skating rink

Christmas Day in Zagreb: Everything is closed but that suits the long-term traveler fine. We took it easy and had a picnic, and I achieved great bedtime BGs.

Day 70: Croatia

Christmas Eve brings out the best in Zagreb

Lots of things were closed in Zagreb on Christmas Eve, but we did find food, an ice-skating rink, and a pharmacy that let me get by without a prescription.

Day 69: Slovenia→Croatia

The bus that takes you from Slovenia to Croatia

We entered Croatia from Slovenia, checked into a real apartment in Zagreb, and inspired an argument at a local market. Plus my BGs were mostly ok.

Day 68: Slovenia

Ljubljana is so nice, we visited twice

Piran had amazed us back today it was back to Ljubljana to pick up a package. My blood sugar sucked at first but, amazingly, was fine after dinner. Success!

Day 67: Slovenia

Astonishing old Piran on the far edge of Slovenia

Perfect weather, perfect food, perfect views and a perfect sunset on Slovenia's Adriatic coast made a few high blood sugars meaningless today for me.

Day 66: Slovenia

Piran, Slovenia: First glimpse of the Adriatic Sea

By bus from Ljubljana to the coast of Slovenia. My blood sugars were bad most of the day but Piran is a jaw-dropping place full of ancient stone buildings.

Day 65: Slovenia

Ljubljana in the crisp, sunny cold of winter

We hiked to Ljubljana Castle today and the weather was clear, sunny, and cold, which is to say perfect Just like my diabetes – until after dinner, that is.

Day 64: Slovenia

The gigantic Christmas burgers of Slovenia

A day off inside in Ljubljana, Slovenia included laundry and quiche. The evening was full of great food plus hot wine, and a final terrible BG before bed.

Day 63: Slovenia

Looking for joy in Ljubljana

After killing a couple hours by the lake in Bled, we finally headed down to stay for a few days in Ljubljana, the small capital of Slovenia.

Day 62: Slovenia

The most beautiful lake in Central Europe

Walking around Slovenia's Lake Bled has been the only thing that fixed my high blood sugars in two days. And it's an amazingly beautiful experience besides.

Day 61: Slovenia

Bled is beautiful – even in the off-season

We took a train ride across Slovenia today from Ptuj to Bled, and had several surprises on the way both good and bad. If only good blood sugar had been one.

Day 60: Slovenia

Ptuj: The oldest town in Slovenia

Despite my second-highest blood sugar of the trip this morning, the only full day in Ptuj was relaxing and scenic, and even warm enough for a picnic.

Day 59: Hungary→Slovenia

The sunny train from Hungary into Slovenia

A day of trains from Hungary to Ptuj, Slovenia. My blood sugars were excellent all day, even after pizza. But would they last until the next morning?

Day 58: Hungary

Biking and hiking up to Szigliget Castle

By bicycle to Szigliget and then a hike to the castle in central Hungary. Somehow my blood sugars were excellent all day today – must be this exercise.

Day 57: Hungary

Life beside Central Europe's largest lake

Today the journey took us from Budapest to the town of Balatangyörök beside Central Europe's largest lake. My BGs were excellent all day... until bedtime.

Day 56: Hungary

Hopping between Buda and Pest

A day of hiking around Pest, the hilltop sights of Buda, and the Danube River. Cold air, warm sunshine, nice people, and (almost) no high blood sugars.

Day 55: Hungary

Making the most of a day off in Budapest

When you're traveling long-term you need a day off sometimes. Today in Budapest we relaxed and did little. My blood sugars were pretty awful though. Feh.

Day 54: Hungary

Our private tour of Aggtelek's caves

After a private tour of caves around Vörös-tó and Jósvafő we took a rainy bus all the way to Budapest. The day ended with a super-high pizza blood sugar.

Day 53: Hungary

Caver in the morning, liquor in the evening

We took a Hungarian-language guided tour of the Baradla caves in Aggtelek, and I tried to navigate my blood sugar through tons of rice and liquor at dinner.

Day 52: Slovakia→Hungary

Humble Humenné to happenin' Hungary

We killed several hours in Humenné, Slovakia in the afternoon, then caught some trains for the city of Miskolc in Hungary, our ninth country of the t

Day 51: Slovakia

The wooden churches of eastern Slovakia

We hadn't seen any of the famous wooden churches of Poland and Slovakia so we finally took a trip to Kalná Roztoka to see theirs.

Day 50: Slovakia

Trapped inside a High Tatras cable car

Cable cars took us to the top of the stunning High Tatras mountains of Slovakia. The car got stuck though and the unnerving stress made my blood sugar high.

Day 49: Slovakia

A hilltop castle in Slovakia: access denied

Beautiful Spiš Castle in Slovakia was closed but we hiked to it anyway. I began the day with some perfect blood sugars and tried to make them last all day.

Day 48: Slovakia

Playing in the northern Slovakian snow

Snow fell all day in Levoča and we made some last-minute adjustments to our plans. My diabetes jumped around between lows and a big nighttime high.

Day 47: Slovakia

High and low blood sugars, high and low Tatras

The Bratislava to Levoča train passes between two great mountain ranges in Slovakia. The trip was gorgeous and even gave me a perfect blood sugar – at first.

Day 46: Slovakia

Inept ice-skating in rainy Bratislava

Busy day in Bratislava: outdoor ice skating, a stroll by the Danube River, a visit to a women's bathroom, and high-but-not-awful blood sugars all day.

Day 45: Czech Republic→Slovakia

Down frosty roads into Bratislava, Slovakia

Goodbye Czech Republic, hello Bratislava, Slovakia. Actually we missed the stop but got there finally. My BGs spiked in the morning but were ok afterwards.

Day 44: Czech Republic

Český Krumlov: UNESCO home of artist Egon Schiele

Having slept nearly 20 hours, I was getting over my illness and spent today exploring Český Krumlov, its castle and gardens, and the Egon Schiele Museum.

Day 43: Czech Republic

The world's most beautiful place to recuperate

Leaving Prague was difficult because I was sick and the trams were confusing. Once in Český Krumlov I slept off my fever amid the UNESCO surroundings.

Day 42: Czech Republic

Hiking up to Vyšehrad, the hilltop Czech fortress

Despite a worsening sickness we hiked up Vyšehrad hill in Prague to see the views. Then we overpaid for a so-so dinner and my BGs were mostly high.

Day 41: Czech Republic

A side of Prague most tourists don't see

Local friends showed us some things in Prague that we never would have seen by ourselves. I still felt sick but blood sugars were somehow excellent all day.

Day 40: Czech Republic

Prague is spectacular even if you're sick

We had big plans today but I wasn't feeling well, so we saw a few things but mostly hung around the room all day.

Day 39: Czech Republic

First look at Prague, the capital of Central Europe

Several trains big and small took us to the city of Prague today, which was overcast but inviting. My blood sugars were too high but had some bright spots.

Day 38: Czech Republic

Kutná Hora's gruesome Church of Bones

There's a Czech church made of bones from 30,000 plague victims and war casualties in Kutná Hora. My blood sugar behaved on this day of amazing sights.

Day 37: Czech Republic

The smaller the Czech town the prettier it is

Travel and diabetes didn't get along today – I was never between 70 and 130. But the series of Czech trains to Kutná Hora was fantastic, as is the town.

Day 36: Czech Republic

Peacocks and moss at Kroměříž Gardens

The UNESCO Gardens in Kroměříž are extensive and stupendous, and even have wild peacocks. But the day began and ended with high blood sugar.

Day 35: Poland→Czech Republic

Unpronounceable trip: Kraków to Kroměříž

We took a bus and two trains to get from Kraków, Poland to Kroměříž, Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site town.

Day 34: Poland

Into the Jewish Quarter of Kraków

We kept our options open today, and let Kraków dictate our plans. We ended up walking around the Old Jewish Quarter. I destroyed my BG with pizza.

Day 33: Poland

A cold, drizzly visit to Auschwitz

Spending all day visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau outside Kraków, Poland was a stark and draining experience. My blood sugars were great until bedtime.

Day 32: Poland

The random greatness of Kraków

Walking around Kraków was a fascinating peek at a city bursting with history and creativity, but I didn't eat enough and felt 'off' most of the day.

Day 31: Poland

Splitting Poland in half with a train

A ten-hour train ride from northern to southern Poland was a fun and relaxing way to get from Malbork to Kraków, Poland despite terrible blood sugars.

Day 30: Poland

Inside the deserted Polish castle of Malbork

We took a train to Malbork, toured the castle, and then stayed in a small quiet hotel across the river with a castle view.

Day 29: Poland

Solidarity in the shipyards of Gdańsk

The newly-rebuilt Old Town in Gdańsk is really nice, and the Solidarity Monument area on the edge of town is really interesting too.

Day 28: Poland

Gdańsk is as welcoming as Warsaw isn't

We decided to take a break and not do too much on our first full day in Gdańsk.

Day 27: Poland

I give up – it's time to leave Warsaw

Our final hours in Warsaw proved disappointing as usual, but we left to go to Gdańsk and my BGs improved.

Day 26: Poland

Warsaw blows its second chance

The second day in Warsaw was shaping up to be better than the day before, but still didn't turn out particularly well.

Day 25: Poland

Frustration and chaos in Warsaw

Some awful blood sugar management, unhelpful diabetes psychology, and Warsaw's maddeningly senseless public transportation made today a bad one.

Day 24: Lithuania→Poland

Goodbye Baltics, hello Warsaw

Blood sugars began ok today but a meal on the Lithuania-to-Poland bus complicated things a little. Still, it's exciting to be in a new country.

Day 23: Lithuania

Devils appear to haunt our Lithuanian travels

Kaunas isn't all churches and portraits of the Virgin Mary -- out on the edge of town you can find the wickedly absorbing Devils Museum.

Day 22: Lithuania

Someday we'll leave Kaunas... but not today

Sometimes an extra day hanging around the guesthouse is just what a long-term trip needs. We relaxed in Kaunas all day and my blood sugars were better.

Day 21: Lithuania

Kaunas, part city and part open-air church

Our first day in Kaunas, Lithuania was dominated by giant churches, an outstanding guesthouse, and really excellent blood sugars. Until dinner, that is.

Day 20: Lithuania

Sacred Hill of Crosses and a grinning Iron Fox

We went to the Hill Of Crosses north of Šiauliai, Lithuania, and then walked around a cemetery and a nice lake at dusk.

Day 19: Lithuania

The first train of the trip: Vilnius to Šiauliai

We took the train from Vilnius, Lithuania, to cold and cozy Šiauliai. My BG was sort of OK until I ate pizza, then it all went to hell the rest of the day.

Day 18: Lithuania

Trakai, a castle with its very own island

We spent the morning and afternoon seeing some more of Old Town Vilnius, then rode out by car with Masayo's friend to see the Trakai Island Castle.

Day 17: Lithuania

Classic rock-themed day in Vilnius

Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa watched over us as we walked around Vilnius, Lithuania. My blood sugars were alternately great and very high.

Day 16: Latvia→Lithuania

Latvia to Lithuania: An improvement in blood sugar?

Going from Latvia into Lithuania by bus proved that sometimes crossing a border leads not only to a new country, but to a new frame of mind.

Day 15: Latvia

Cietoksnis and the rickety trams of Daugavpils

Though my blood sugar was up and down, I enjoyed Daugavpils, a Russian town in Latvia. Especially cool were the strange sites and names like Cietoksnis.

Day 14: Latvia

Good BGs on the bus to Daugavpils in Russian Latvia

On a bus ride from Rīga, Latvia, and despite a dinner full of rice and bread, my blood sugars were all under 200 today. And Daugavpils is a cool town.

Day 13: Latvia

The curious world of Old Town Rīga

A day walking around Rīga, Latvia's old town yielded some fantastically decorative buildings, but mishandling of my diabetes saw several high blood sugars.

Day 12: Latvia

High BGs for 200 kilometers on a Latvian bus

Our bus trip from Valka to Rīga, Latvia was a nice trip, but my blood sugars were high all day and it made me grumpy. Still, Rīga seems nice.

Day 11: Estonia→Latvia

Valga/Valka: A town with two names

Valga, Estonia and Valka, Latvia are one town divided by an international border. When I was there, you could just stroll back and forth between the two nations.

Day 10: Estonia

Tartu, the perfect little city in Estonia

Tartu is a beautiful and pleasant town in southern Estonia with a strange, vibrant creative urge. If only my diabetes had behaved better there.

Day 9: Estonia

Riding through the Estonian countryside: Tallinn to Tartu

My blood sugar ranged from 50 to 338 today, but the bus ride from Tallinn to Tartu through central Estonia was exquisite. Dinner was from a supermarket.

Day 8: Estonia

Inside Patarei, the strangest prison on Earth

My blood sugar on a day around the decommissioned prison at Patarei in Estonia was up and down, but it was worth it to see a place so jaw-droppingly weird.

Day 7: Estonia

Lost in Tallinn's Old Town walls

As if Old Town Tallinn, Estonia isn't enough of a time trip by itself, we chanced upon a secret door that led up into the ancient stone town wall. Nice birthday for me.

Day 6: Estonia

The cobblestoned streets of Old Town Tallinn

The amazing and endless cobblestone alleyways of the Old Town section of Tallinn, Estonia must be explored on foot, without a map and with an open mind.

Day 5: Åland→Estonia

Terrible diabetes management at Bomarsund fortress in rural Scandinavia

What happens when you rely on public transportation on a far-flung Åland island in winter? You almost get stranded overnight in a Russian fort.

Day 4: Åland

Small town Åland on Sunday when everything's closed

Is there anything more serene than a Sunday afternoon in Mariehamn after the tourists have gone?

Day 3: Sweden→Åland

Bad news from back home while traveling

When traveling, there is a physical distance between you and your family. Sometimes it's a difficult psychological distance too.

Day 2: Sweden

Old Town Stockholm, without a map

Sometimes the easiest way to have your own unique experience while exploring a new place is to toss away your guidebooks and maps, and just wander.

Day 1: Japan→China→Sweden

Are you guilty of FWD (flying while diabetic)?

If your blood sugar is high all day while flying around the globe, is it ok if you're back in range when you finally land? I flew from Japan to Sweden to figure it out.

Day 0: Japan

My packing list for three months in Europe in winter

How I packed light for a months-long trip to Europe in winter. Here's how to stay warm but carry a very light bag with you – including insulin.

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