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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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Celebrating My Birthday in Kyiv, Again! (30th)

When booking Ukraine, I knew that I was gonna celebrate my 30th birthday in Kyiv. This happens to also be the same town where I celebrated my 22nd birthday back in 2013 during my first medium-sized hitchhiking trip. A few things have changed: I’m not a happy single anymore but a happy partnered individual. And as a partnered individual I am also not hyper-poor and on the brink of developing scurvy anymore. I believe they call this ‘progress’. Jokes aside, quite a lot has changed. My interests have changed. And though I think getting blind drunk, getting banged on theContinue reading

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Well Hello, Kyiv?! Uzbekistan to Ukraine (Semi-Live Blog)

These events happened on Sunday, the 25th and Monday the 26th of July, 2021. We hoped to fly from Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport (TAS), Uzbekistan to Boryspil International Airport (KBP) nearby Kyiv, Ukraine. I’m trying to update this blog as a sort of semi-live blog while on the move. Quick update because I need to sleep. We arrived well in Kyiv but the long wait for check-in to our apartment was excruciating. Peace out I’m gonna catch some zzz’s before finishing this Monday, 26th of July: Shattered in Kyiv Ugh Train to Kyiv, killing time The train ride isContinue reading

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Transnistria: A Time Capsule of Soviet Nostalgia between Moldova and Ukraine

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

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Hiking and Urban Exploring at Devínska Kobyla, Bratislava – with Pirate Kitty!

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

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Paddling the Morava River – A Day Trip from Bratislava

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

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