Power Outages, Thunder, and Independence Day (Kruče, MNE)

Yes, that’s a torch on my head. I’m freaking night blind! The last few days were marked with the ultimate chill, beer, new friends, and Lu Lu the dog. Also this small thing: massive primetime thunder and lightning that was our TV for two days and the subsequent power outages (hence no internet and no posts!). Though a bit annoying, this is the perfect weather for reading a book or fixing my backpack by candlelight—or torchlight. We’ve also cooked our meals – pancakes, lots and lots of pancakes – on a Real Fire™. Tomorrow is the day I’ll go to the localContinue reading

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Lu Lu the Dog (Kruče, MNE)

Meet Lu Lu, the dog who seriously knows how to chill. She’s Aleksandra’s and she’s one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. She’s quite big, which is why I think she deserves to occupy the outdoor’s bed. Aleksandra, her dog, and I often go swimming down at the beach. It’s not the best beach in the whole wide world, but it’s petite and secluded. I think that’s more important in a beach. And there’s always a stick to throw to play fetch with Lu Lu. I haven’t seen her on a leash yet, which is also not necessary asContinue reading

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Sibiu, Romania: German Influences Everywhere

Did you know that Sibiu in Romania historically had a big German community? Their name is Rumäniendeutsche. Hence the German influences around town. It even has a German alternative name. Are you ready? It’s Hermannstadt, I shit you not. That’s honestly the most German name I’ve ever seen for a city. In fact, my – most spontaneous and unexpected – host in Sibiu has a special story. She was born elsewhere in Romania as one of the Romanian Germans, then moved to Bavaria in Germany Now she’s about my age and chose Sibiu for her Erasmus Student Exchange Program. I don’t thinkContinue reading

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Kraków Salsa Class in a Fancy Building (Poland)

Hey Kraków, you do pretty interiors really well! My friend in Kraków invited me to witness his weekly salsa class. It’s been a while since I’ve been at a ballroom/latin dancing event. That’s something I used to do every week for five years back in high school. Of course, I only had my hiking boots and snow boots. So I refrained from dancing. Also… salsa was somehow one of the few dances we didn’t learn at my dancing school. We did learn the mambo and everyone always told me that it was the same, but when dancing it, something didn’tContinue reading

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Berliner Beers: I Have Arrived in Germany

Quick shoutout to my mom via Tumblr: I have arrived safely in Berlin in three magical hitches! There’s no need to pretend I’m not drinking delicious Berliner beers with my spontaneous couchsurfing host in this city. We all know I love to conclude a victorious hitchhiking day with a cold one. The thing in my other hand is my hitchhiking sign for tomorrow when I’ll try to hitchhike out of Berlin and to Poznań in Poland. Yes, this is just a transient stop in Germany. I used the empty slot on my old cardboard hitchhiking sign for today to write it down.Continue 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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Northern Cyprus! Ferry from Taşucu (Turkey) to Girne (Kıbrıs)

After a rough night on the rolling sea, pretending to like immigration officers and a heavy rain shower to say welcome, I have arrived in Cyprus. Northern Cyprus. Vake yeah! Getting to the port town of Taşucu to make it to the night ferry was a hellish experience. But I made it. That’s what matters. Now I’m in the port town on the other side. The Turkish people call it Girne and the Greeks call it Kyrenia. Likewise, the island of Cyprus is known in Turkey as Kıbrıs, it’s capital Nicosia as Lefkoşa. You know. So let’s talk about the big elephant inContinue reading

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Ashure with a Kurdish Family in Şanlıurfa, Turkey

A Kurdish family in the city of Şanlıurfa kindly hosted me. The mother prepared this dish called ashure, which I’m not sure if it’s to celebrate or to mourn. I think it’s celebratory food because it’s a wholesome hot porridge that feels fuzzy on these cold days. It’s with fruits and nuts and grains and sugar, which sounds like peak comfort food. Mourning because I was just in Iran on the 2nd and 3rd of November, which is when Shia Muslims mourn the martyrdom of Husayn. It has a very similar name: day of Ashura. I was in Orumiyeh back thenContinue reading

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Iran to Turkey by Hitchhiking: A World Apart

Though I’ve already been back in Turkey for two days, I’m still getting used to things once again. Just across the border from Iran to Turkey in Van, the mosques look different and the mountain peaks are snowier! The crossing from Persian to Ottoman architecture is actually much starker than expected. Especially considering there’s Ottoman architecture in tons of places outside of Turkey. Pictured is the Sobacı Hamit Yörük Mosque in Van. I arrived in Van at night, so all I could see were the elaborate neon lights upon entering the city. Seeing Van in daylight is a much better experience,Continue reading

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