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.

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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Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island: One Week in the Azores (+ Scooter!)

This is about our one-week stay in the Azores from the 12th till the 19th in April 2019. We flew in from Praia, Cabo Verde, and departed for Lisbon, mainland Portugal. To explore São Miguel Island, we rented a scooter for a few days. Ponta Delgada is an excellent base to zoom around the island to all the funny corners. Unfortunately, I didn’t hitchhike. You can see all the places and our routes on the map at the bottom. Background While planning our nearly 90-day stay in Cabo Verde, we realized we needed a return flight. By the time weContinue reading

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Things to do in or from Campo de Ourique, Lisbon

From the 3rd till the 15th of January 2019, we stayed in the neighborhood named Campo de Ourique in Lisbon, Portugal. After Lisbon in winter, we traveled to Cabo Verde for 88 days to catch some of their abundant sunshine. Jonas worked from our cold but comfortable Airbnb and I finished my university thesis. These are some of the fun activities we did inside and from our cool neighborhood. To scroll down to the map, click here. To read some tips about staying in Campo de Ourique/Lisbon in winter, click here Mercado de Campo de Ourique Opening times: Sunday–Thursday 10:00–23:00.Continue reading

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Maastricht: Wholesome Activities in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter

You might already know that I’ve lived in Maastricht twice, both times as a student. To be precise: from summer 2010 till winter 2013. I returned to the city from January till December 2018 to finish my bachelor’s degree and write my thesis about hitchhiking. Especially the second time around, I focused my efforts to do more wholesome activities amid the fraternity noise and anxious binge-drinking students with quarter-life crises. Here are my suggestions for both residents and people on a short visit: How to Get Around Maastricht? The two best ways to visit Maastricht are on foot and byContinue reading

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Mallorca by Scooter: 9 Days of Freedom from University

During my final year at university, I sometimes had a week-long vacation. Just like normal people, Jonas and I would use that week to fly to a different country and do something cool. From Wednesday the17th till Thursday the 25th of October 2018, Jonas and I drove a scooter around the Spanish island of Mallorca. These were the most memorable things we saw. Far des Cap de ses Salines (Lighthouse) This was the first lighthouse we visited with our scooter. The path is quite accessible for beginner drivers. Unfortunately, all side access roads were blocked and privatized. This means you’llContinue reading

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A Happy Ending – Kitten Rescue in Portugal, Part V

Part V: The Aftermath This story is number 5 in a series of 5. To read it chronologically, start at Part I. Click here to go to Part II, Part III, and Part IV. I promise you this is the last of it. Updates from Porto The next day, Jonas receives updates from Marie via WhatsApp. She sends us pictures and videos of Chorizo, and updates us about its health. The updates are regular and very sweet and loving.     We’re waiting at the airport for our flight, and when we arrive in Warsaw, we know Chorizo is at theContinue reading

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Tragedy Strikes – Kitten Rescue in Portugal, Part IV

Part IV: Downfall & Death This series of posts is mostly a way for me to process the trauma of going through this tragedy. If you’re expecting happy travel content, this ain’t it. This story is number 4 in a series of 5. To read it chronologically, start at Part I, Part II, or Part III. Here you can find the subsequent stories about rescuing a kitten in Porto, Portugal: Part V. Back to Normal (July 16, Continued) We say goodbye to Jan, who is leaving for Germany or something like that. It’s still morning, and Jonas and I are about to haveContinue reading

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Entering the Void – Kitten Rescue in Portugal, Part III

Part III: Rescuing a Kitten  This series of posts is mostly a way for me to process the trauma of going through this. If you’re expecting happy travel content, this ain’t it. This story is number 3 in a series of 5. Here you can find Part I and Part II. Here you can find the subsequent stories about rescuing a kitten from the void in Porto, Portugal: Part IV and Part V. Spotting the Culprit (Sunday 15th of July, contd.) We return home from the animal shelter Midas, fully knowing this time that it is our responsibility to save that kitten. AndContinue reading

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