Europe

Here you’ll find lots of articles about my hitchhiking and kayaking travels in Europe. As you may know, Europe is my ‘homing’ continent where I’ll – like a stinky pigeon – always return to even if I’m trying to stay away from it. And to be honest, it’s not bad; there’s always more to explore.

I undertook many of my trips around Europe while at university in Maastricht (the Netherlands) and Aarhus (Denmark). That’s why I dropped out. I honed my hitchhiking skills here and set the most personal records and firsts such as:

  • First solo hitch: from Kirkenes Airport in Norway to Kirkenes town with a military guy with his son
  • Longest distance hitched in 24 hours: ~1200 kilometers from Maastricht (the Netherlands) to somewhere east of Lubljana (Slovenia)
  • Most hours in one ride: 3 days with one British driver with a rental car in southern Spain and Portugal (his contract said he couldn’t take the car across the border)
  • First plane hitch: over Malta (A to A)
  • Longest sailing yacht hitch: from Corfu (Greece) to Malta, which was 340 nautical miles over 2.5 days. Here’s my CrewBay profile

Besides hitchhiking, I also kayaked a long distance in Europe down the Danube river in an inflatable canoe named Zucchini. But before I did that trip with my partner Jonas, I returned to university to finish my degree to erase my student debt. Thesis here.

As you can see, it’s not always a fun continent for me; it’s also the locus of worry about the people and pets I’m close to, of bureaucratic fuckery, and of most of my childhood memories. For most of my life, Europe has tied me down. Now I’m trying to experience it from a place of choice and freedom.

If you are not interested in the Danube trip, you can click this link to not show the Danube posts.

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

26 February 2022 update: originally published on the 19th of October, 2021. I moved this post to 2022 so this info about the Black Sea ferry from Chornomorsk shows up on the homepage of my blog. Do I recommend taking this boat from Odesa, Ukraine to anywhere else right now? No, I wouldn’t want to be on a ship that says UKRFERRY on the side right now. As far as I know, the ships named Greifswald (link leads to current location of ship), Kaunas, and Vilnius aren’t leaving the port of Chornomorsk at all right now. You can follow theContinue reading

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. If you’re here for the documents checklist to enter Mauritius, click here.    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 toContinue reading

Selimiye Mosque, Edirne (Turkey)—Ottoman Wonder of the Turks

We visited the Selimiye Mosque on Thursday, the 25th of November as well as on the 1st of December, 2021. On the first visit we went inside and on the second visit, we wandered around the on-site museum. The Idea to Visit Edirne Once the idea of taking the ferry from Ukraine to Turkey across the Black Sea was on the table, I put forward Edirne as well. Though I’d hitchhiked across the Edirne border with Bulgaria twice – and had the passport stamps to prove it – I’d never made a stop in town. Why would this small TurkishContinue reading

The Great Synagogue of Edirne: My First Synagogue Visit (Turkey)

During our eight-day stay in Edirne, Turkey, I had a very long list of places to visit or check out. The city is really full of history. One site stood out on Google Maps: the Great Synagogue of Edirne. When I read that it’s actually open to visit for non-Jews, I thought it would be cool to go there. So on November 30th, 2021 we visited. Why Have I Never Been to a Synagogue? The Synagogue Exterior More rain was in the forecast for later. Jonas navigated to the synagogue because he really wanted to walk via Saraçlar Caddesi—the mainContinue 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

Hitchhiking Greece: The Adventurous Side of Losing a Phone

Our Phone is Gone We wave at the car until he drives out of our sight, looking at each other and smiling, grateful for this nice ride. We are enjoying the Greek climate somewhere out in nowhere. I see him touching his pockets nervously. “Flow…do you have it?” “I’ve got my wallet, yes, but… fuck! Where is my phone?” We check everywhere in our backpacks, our jackets, our pants, our bags and again in our backpacks, our jackets, our pants and our bags… but nothing. I ring Flow’s phone obsessively, without any answer. “It must have fallen somewhere under theContinue reading

How to Get a Turkish SIM Card (In the Small and Non-Touristic Towns of Turkey)

We bought our Turkish SIM cards on Monday the 25th of October, one day after arriving in Karasu. Karasu is a port town on the Black Sea coast and we’d arrived by ferry. It’s relatively small and getting a Turkish SIM card wasn’t straightforward. This post is supposed to help people who are also arriving in Turkey by land or sea and in a smaller town away from places geared toward foreigners. Our Experience Buying a Turkish SIM Card in Karasu FAQ Turkish SIM Card + Internet Freedom in Turkey Which provider should I choose? There are three telecom providersContinue reading

Apps in Ukraine: 10 Apps to Download Before Your Trip

We spent 89 days in Ukraine in 2021. These are the apps that proved most useful in Ukraine and helped us navigate the country. Click here to read which and how to get a SIM card in Ukraine. 1. Google Translate with Downloaded Ukrainian + Russian This is essential if you don’t speak or read either of these languages. It starts with using the camera function to translate menu items, followed by typing in something and then letting the translator robot voice speak for you, and lastly using the conversation function to let either party speak their preferred language. IContinue 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