After stumbling across Heidi’s blogs about Transnistria and Gagauzia on A Southern Space Cadet, I (Iris) wanted to invite her to write a guest post for Mind of a Hitchhiker. I really enjoy her love for unrecognized or partially recognized states. Enjoy her guest post, learn something new, write a comment, and make sure to check out Heidi’s blog and give her a follow on social media! Featured photo: House of Soviets: Tiraspol with an appearance from Dieter the Panda, my travel mascot Transnistria’s time capsule Transnistria is an unrecognized state nestled between Moldova and Ukraine. Its “capital”, Tiraspol (Тирасполь),Continue reading
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.
During our stay in Bratislava, Jonas and I planned a day trip to Devínska Kobyla – the highest point of Bratislava. The peak is at 514 masl and there’s an abandoned missile base there. We planned to go hiking in the forest and see if we could enter the abandoned buildings by means of urban exploration. This happened on Friday, October 11th, 2019. To skip to the map and route of the hike, click here. Background After the kayak trip, Jonas and I traveled back to Bratislava because we loved it so much. We wanted to stay in the cityContinue reading
We finished our kayak trip down the Danube in Mohács. After that, we traveled back to Bratislava – our favorite city on the Danube – to work for one month. One day, we wanted to do a day trip with our kayak named Zucchini. We chose the tributary to the Danube named the Morava. Here’s the story of how we paddled part of the Morava River on Friday, October 4th (2019). Want to do it yourself? Here you can find the route details and the interactive map. Plotting and Planning a Kayak Trip around Bratislava The Idea The idea to paddle a stretchContinue reading
This is the fully-operative map of our Danube trip so far! You can use the left-side panel to summon or dismiss the information you’re looking for. I included information about the route, the distance, the obstacles in between, the places we’ve stayed at, which stretches require a permit, and which parts we (had to) skip on the Danube. Each paddle day has its own related blog post you can read. I’ll update this map the more we travel this majestic river with our inflatable canoe. Click in the upper right corner of the embedded map to open the map in GoogleContinue reading
The events in this story happened on Friday the 13th of September, 2019. We paddled our inflatable canoe Zucchini from Baja to Mohács on the Hungarian Danube. This was our 49th day paddling down the Danube and our final destination for 2019. In 2021 we intend to paddle from Mohács to the Black Sea. Our Stay in Baja Baja was indeed a very pleasant and stunning town. We cooked wholesome food for ourselves again, ate out, and walked around the center. We liked it so much that we’re considering going back to Baja when we continue our kayak trip. Continue reading
On the 10th of September 2019, we had our second-last day of paddling the Danube. We started in Érsekcsanád Dunapart and traveled to Baja – a distance of only 11 kilometers. Both towns are in Hungary. Baja is the last town before Mohács, which is the end of our kayak trip for 2019. We plan on paddling the rest of the Danube in 2021. Until then, enjoy the story of our final days in Hungary. Due to another camera failure, all pictures in this article come from my phone. Our Stay in Érsekcsanád Dunapart We only stayed in Érsekcsanád Dunapart for one night.Continue reading
Events narrated in this article reflect those of Monday the 9th of September, 2019. We traveled down the Hungarian Danube from Paks to Érsekcsanád Dunapart. For the first time on this trip, we paddled a distance this long: 45.1 kilometers. It was also the first time that we paddled such a long day in inclement weather with thunderstorms, a strong headwind, and heavy rains. Due to partial camera failure, there are only pictures I’ve taken with my phone in this article. Our Stay in Paks We stayed for three nights in the fancy hotel in Paks. And yes, we felt reallyContinue reading
Events narrated in this story happened on Friday the 6th of September, 2019. We paddled Zucchini from Harta to Paks in Hungary. Our Stay in Harta Even though we only stayed in Harta for one night, we really liked the village. All the public spaces were incredibly well-maintained. We even saw a man watering plants outside his property. Not a single dog barked at us from behind a fence. There were some outdoor cats calmly roaming the neighborhood. When the animals are calm and happy to see humans, it often means that they’re well-treated and/or educated. We got some groceriesContinue reading
Events detailed in this article happened on Thursday the 5th of September, 2019. We paddled from Dunaújváros to Harta in Hungary. We paddled 32.4 kilometers down the Danube in our dutiful inflatable kayak. Our Stay in Dunaújváros The weather turned more autumny during our three-night stop in Dunaújváros. Our Airbnb was extremely pleasant, so I didn’t really mind being holed up in there with internet, plenty of food, and Jonas. To say that Dunaújváros has gone through an identity crisis is an understatement. Dunaújváros used to be the site of the Roman town Intercisa in the province of Pannonia. AfterContinue reading