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.

Istanbul – Maastricht in 60 Hours: I Hitchhiked Home for Christmas!

I made it home in time for Christmas! Remember my post when I announced I’d try to #HitchhikeHomeForChristmas from Istanbul to the Netherlands in 48 hours? Well, it took me 60 hours to arrive in Maastricht. Not great, not terrible. And definitely on time for family visits and admiring my mom’s tree. So… what happened? Well, I had a flying start on the 19th of December. My buddy from Istanbul paid for a taxi ride to a public transport stop so I could get further out of the city. I started hitchhiking to the Bulgarian border at Erdine. Through BulgariaContinue reading

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ANWB: Geographical Knowledge and Hiking Socks

As a preparation for the next big hitchhiking trip through Europe, I visited the shop of this organization mostly known for towing your car named ANWB. It’s kind of like the Dutch version of Triple-A or another roadside assistance organization. According to these maps from the ANWB, Poland and the Baltic States are just North and East Germany. Ahem, should we tell them? Anyway, it’s nice that I received these free paper maps from them. I intend to use them mostly as a way to track my route with the pen I received from a young student of architecture in Zanjan,Continue reading

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Hometown Sunset, (Loosdrecht, the Netherlands)

I’ve arrived back in my hometown and will need to sleep for a month after that journey. Wow! But during my waking hours, I can sometimes appreciate the beautiful sunset skies during this windy and cold time of the year in Loosdrecht. For the rest, my days here before and during Christmas are filled with family visits. There’s quite some catching up to do, especially with my grandparents. I have two grandmas and one grandpa that live in this town, all within cycling distance within my hometown. It’s so Dutch, yes. It’s always a little frightening to ride a bikeContinue reading

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Hitchhiking Home for Christmas: Istanbul to the Netherlands in 48 hours?

This is my attempt at hitchhiking home for Christmas. I’m currently staying with friends in Istanbul, Turkey. From here, I’ll need to go to my mom’s place in the Netherlands before December 24th (I think? When is Christmas?). I’m going to try to hitchhike first to Maastricht in the Netherlands. That’s where I started studying and then dropped out in November 2013. It feels a little weird that my hitchhiking adventure through Iran and Turkey, and Georgia and Armenia before that, is ending. Somehow, I can’t really do anything without making it a bit of a challenge. So I’ll tryContinue reading

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Beer O’Clock: Hitchhiking from Eskişehir to Istanbul (Turkey)

A magical day of hitchhiking from Eskişehir to the European side of Istanbul! It was very easy to arrive here by hitchhiking, so I’m concluding the day with a celebratory beer. Or two. I’m making a stop in this city before continuing my #HitchhikingHomeForChristmas adventure. The drive from Eskişehir to Istanbul is only 300 kilometers. But the next stretch will be thousands. Istanbul is full of friends, old ones and new, so I’m happy to hang around here for a little while, catching my breath for the way home. Before leaving Eskişehir, I asked around on Facebook if someone could host me. TheContinue reading

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The First Hitchhiker to Space? (Ankara, Turkey)

Firstly, insert a mandatory The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference. Here in Ankara, Turkey, I visited the faculty of aeronautics and astronautics with my CouchSurfing hosts. I joined them here for a lecture. But I couldn’t focus on the subject matter because of the words that marked this building. Everyone wants to become an astronaut, that’s a fact. I’m absolutely considering a career switch And if not a career switch from hitchhiker to astronaut, I could maybe become the first space hitchhiker. But I know you’re wondering: why would I qualify for space hitchhiking? As requested: my curriculum vitae: I’m veryContinue reading

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Hitchhiking Bucket List: #3 Millau Viaduct, France

On my humble ‘hitchhiking bucket list’ I have a special category for Amazing Masterpieces of Human Engineering. Ever since seeing this Discovery program about the construction of the Millau Viaduct (French: Viaduc de Millau) I wanted to go there. Now it’s one of my prime hitching goals in Europe. I’m probably going to do it on my way to Monaco whenever I will eventually feel like going to Monaco. Anyway, pillar P2, according to Wikipedia – which is a legitimate source – is taller than the Eiffel Tower. But it only costs €7 in tolls to drive on this magnificent structure.Continue reading

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Schönbrunn, Vienna

Checking in on Foursquare at Schönbrunn, Vienna. A long, long time ago, I was a full-time student. In the summer of 2013, I joined two friends on a 10-day road trip through Europe. Our route was from Maastricht, through Luxembourg to Strasbourg in France. Then to Zürich in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, München (Munich) in Bavaria, Salzburg and Vienna in Austria. It was during that time that we made a stop at Schönbrunn castle in Vienna. I was 21 years old and very new to (adventurous) travel. My road trip buddies introduced me to some (by now very basic) tech skills, suchContinue reading

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Three Days in Kyiv, Ukraine – Celebrating my 22nd Birthday

After a nightly train ride from Lviv, I arrived in Kyiv (Київ) in the early morning. I looked up a hostel near the train station on Hostelworld aptly named ‘Kiev Central Station Hostel’. It was a short stroll indeed. I asked for a bed in a dorm, dropped my stuff, and connected with a few people. I asked the hostel staff for tips on how to get to Babyn Yar (Бабин яр) with public transport. Because the bus sounded too complicated, I opted for the metro. That walk took me past Kyiv’s Golden Gate (Золоті ворота) to go to the metro stationContinue reading

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