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

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

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

Arabat Spit: A Day Trip to Ukrainian-Controlled Crimea with Hot Spring + Pink Lake

These events happened on October 3rd, 2021. Our Booking host in Heniches’k named Yuri offered to do a day trip with us down the Arabat Spit to visit some hot springs and a pink lake. This eventually turned into a little adventure with even more spontaneous stops and detours along the way. The Arabat Spit is geographically part of the Crimean Peninsula, but administratively it’s Kherson Oblast. Russia didn’t annex this part of Crimea back in 2014. Ukrainian-Controlled Crimea: Is it Safe? Yes. Since 2014 there has been nothing really going on on the Arabat Spit. One should of courseContinue reading

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

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

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

My First Time Shooting Guns: Glock 19, AK-47, Sniper Rifle, and Shotgun (Kyiv, Ukraine)

These events happened on Tuesday, the 3rd of August, 2021. We had booked a shooting guns activity at a shooting range outside of Kyiv. This is what to expect from this activity and the four different guns we fired. Note that this was my first time shooting guns and that I do not know the correct terminology for a lot of actions/gun parts. If you have corrections/mansplanations, please drop them in the comments! Booking the Activity After booking our trip to Chornobyl, Jonas found out that you can also shoot Kalashnikovs in Kyiv. This is something he has wanted toContinue reading