Bonzur, Mahébourg?! Traveling from Istanbul to Mauritius (Semi-Live Blog)

On the 3rd of December 2021, we’re hopefully flying from Istanbul Airport (IST) in Turkey to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU aka Port Louis Airport) in Mauritius. I’m updating this post as we go. Booking Mauritius Before we even arrived in Turkey, I already knew I didn’t want to spend the full 90 days here. It would be too cold by the end of our visa. And Jonas wanted to spend at least one month in Istanbul, which would result in too little time to do significant traveling around the country away from this incredibly well-connected airport. We decidedContinue reading

Ayasofya Mosque Visit in 2021: from Museum to Mosque—Foggy vs Sunny Day

These events happened on the 5th and 21st of November 2021. Jonas and I visited the Ayasofya (aka Hagia Sophia) on a rather spontaneous basis. This was my second visit to the Ayasofya and my first visit since it became a mosque in July 2020. Click here to read about my Istanbul and Hagia Sophia experiences from March/April 2013. There’s also a breakdown of Hagia Sophia as a ‘wonder’ in the videogame Age of Empires II down below. A Change of Plans We arrived at the İDO pier at the indicated time of 9:30. During the downhill walk from ourContinue reading

Ukraine to Turkey by Boat: Booking a Black Sea Ferry from Chornomorsk to Karasu

On the 22nd of October 2021, we’re hoping to depart Ukraine after staying there for 88/89 days via a Black Sea ferry. These ferries leave from the town of Chornomorsk outside of Odesa, southern Ukraine. Out of several destinations, we eventually decided to take the Chornomorsk to Karasu ferry. Karasu is in northern Turkey some 200 kilometers east of Istanbul. This article is about booking the ferry and our preparations. To read about our experience, visit the page about the journey [TBA]. The Black Sea Ferry Idea Plans after Ukraine Though we had a generous 90 days upon arrival inContinue reading

Odesa Cable Car: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Experience a Bit of Horror” (Ukraine)

When joining a beer sampling in Kharkiv with Eugene and his friends, we mentioned we’re also going to Odesa during our trip through Ukraine. He opened his phone to show photos from beautiful spots in Odesa, such as the swamp tram (video link) that goes to Khadzhibey Estuary. We’d shared our experiences in the Kharkiv cable car with him. We thought it was hilariously unsafe for something that’s painted in primary colors. He then mentioned there’s another such cable car in Odesa, and oh boy, that one hasn’t seen a renovation. Eugene showed some pictures from inside the cable carContinue reading

Hitchhiking from Heniches’k to Kherson: Familiar Road, New Surface

Things described in this piece happened on Tuesday the 5th of October, 2021. Jonas and I hitchhiked from Heniches’k at the Sea of Azov to Kherson. Kherson is the capital of Kherson Oblast, which hosts both towns. The city of Kherson is located on the Dnieper River close to its mouth in the Black Sea.  Preparations to Hitchhike to Kherson After five days in Heniches’k (Генічеськ), it was time to leave. We’d booked an apartment that looked rather central in Kherson (Херсон) via Airbnb. But the day before departure, we figured it wasn’t actually very central. There was aContinue reading

Arabat Spit: A Day Trip to Ukrainian-Controlled Crimea with Hot Spring + Pink Lake

These events happened on October 3rd, 2021. Our Booking host in Heniches’k named Yuri offered to do a day trip with us down the Arabat Spit to visit some hot springs and a pink lake. This eventually turned into a little adventure with even more spontaneous stops and detours along the way. The Arabat Spit is geographically part of the Crimean Peninsula, but administratively it’s Kherson Oblast. Russia didn’t annex this part of Crimea back in 2014. Ukrainian-Controlled Crimea: Is it Safe? Yes. Since 2014 there has been nothing really going on on the Arabat Spit. One should of courseContinue reading

Biryuchiy to Heniches’k: A Hitchhiking Detour to the Watermelon State (Ukraine)

After seven days on Biryuchiy Island (actually a peninsula), we left for Heniches’k. Both of these towns are in Kherson Oblast, but to get from one to the other, one must travel through Zaporizhzhia Oblast around the Utlyutsky estuary. The whole route is quite a detour as you can see on the map below. This happened on Thursday the 30th of September, 2021. Preparations to Travel to Heniches’k Back in Mariupol, I made hitchhiking signs for the rest of the trip through Ukraine. I made one for Melitopol and Kyrylivka, Heniches’k, and Kherson and Odesa. That proved to be smart becauseContinue reading

Kharkiv Cable Car: A Soviet Ride in Primary Colors

We rode the Kharkiv cable car on Wednesday, the 25th of August, 2021. I guess technically, it’s a gondola lift or an aerial tramway or something like that (Spanish: teleférico) and I’ve seen the Kharkiv one referred to even as a ‘zip line‘ (which it is absolutely not), I’m gonna keep calling it a cable car because it feels right. Learning About the Existence of a Cable Car in Kharkiv My friend Nina from Roaming Pencil hails from Kharkiv. When I told her we were going to her old city, she mentioned a cable car as one of the thingsContinue reading

Chernihiv to Kharkiv via Sumy by Thumb (Ukraine)

These events happened on the 19th and 20th of August, 2021. We were hitchhiking in Ukraine. The first day, we hitchhiked from Chernihiv to Sumy. On the second day, we finished our trip from Sumy to Kharkiv.  The Plan Back in Kyiv, I really wanted to make a visit to Chernihiv and Slavutych. We booked five days in an Airbnb in Chernihiv, left one day open, and then booked an Airbnb for two weeks in Kharkiv. Everything was already plotted from Kyiv and this was the most pre-planning – three weeks ahead – we’d done since the start ofContinue reading