Friday, April 26, 2013

the road less traveled - I wish I was there!

Being called by my friend Nina a "Poland lover" the least thing one can expect is a guest post written by a Polish traveler! So here it is, an awesome post by Ewelina from her Road less traveled stories.

Makes want to go straight to Turkey after when I leave Estonia. The two weeks I've spent in Turkey two years ago were not even close to be enough for that beautiful and huge country. Too early to know for sure but one thing is, Turkey is high on my list. Perhaps it will be my next "recharge batteries station"?

Wish you were here

Last week I decided to visit Luís, a friend I met one month ago on an EVS on-arrival training in Şile. Monique was supposed to join me, but the day before decided to party in Ankara instead. On my facebook wall I posted a link to the page of the association I was going to. To my luck, that attracted the attention of Solmaz, an Iranian girl who stayed in our place in Ankara some time ago. She'd just quit her job in Istanbul and wanted to get out of the city for some time. I honestly didn't expect that she would make up her mind in such a short time, but to my big surprise she announced to me "I booked my bus tickets to Ankara, I'll be there Sunday morning so we can hitchhike together." I haven't spoken with her a lot when she stayed with us, but she turnes out to be a great travel mate and I admire how much she treats this trip as a challenge and wants to experience something different than her almost 24/7 job that she quit.

We arrive in the village quite late and even though the only thing Solmaz and I feel like doing is collapsing into the beds, Bob, Luís's very friendly coordinator keeps us awake with a discussion, telling about the village and the project. I don't know how Solmaz and I, being dead tired, could focus so much on the conversation After a long session of music-playing we finally get our deserved sleep.

In the morning we can see how beautiful the surrounding is. The village is bigger than I expected it to be, and is surrounded by green hills. Only the gloomy sky doesn't really let us appreciate the charm of the place. Despite the terrible weather, none of us feels like staying at home. Solmaz and I want to met the villagers, so together with Luís we go to look for some people. When we pass a local café, two kids rush out to greet us. They're Samet, Semih and Sıla, the kids Luís plays with every evening. They were doing their Maths homework inside, but as soon as we come in, they push their multiplications aside and bring the board for playing tavla. Solmaz and I would like to teach Luís how to play this game we both enjoy, but as soon as we realize the kids are making up their own rules and adding their own twist to the existing ones, we pass this idea and just try to follow new rules of the children. While Luís is trying to teach Samet how to play checkers, Sıla, Sami, Solmaz and I play football outside. The kids not only feel comfortable with just met strangers, but are also very polite and respectful. When they address us, we can see they know the difference between speaking with a friend and speaking with a person who's older than them. I was surprised to be addressed "Ewelina abla" for the first time in my life by a Turkish child. So far the only kids I've interacted more with in Turkey were the kids I work with. I love them, but something strikes me about their behavior when I realize how much they behave like spoiled brats, demanding attention here and now, often taking things for granted and rarely saying "please" or "thank you," unless told so.

Samet, Semih and Sıla invite us to their family house. Their mother, Gülten, is milking the cows. We feed the calves and visit their sheep barn in a distant part of the village. The kids introduce us to their the grandfather - very friendly, elderly man with a permanent smile on his face, who invites us for çay in the café. He's happy to see new visitors and, upon hearing us communicate in English, asks us: "do you all speak the same language in your countries?" "No, we all speak different languages, Farsi, Portuguese and Polish."

In the evening we eat together. The food prepared by Gülten is so delicious that barely anyone speaks binging on home-made, pilaf, yoghurt with biber, ceci beans, cheese and black olives. After the feast, our discussion can barely end. Despite our Turkish being far from perfection, we manage to understand quite a lot. Gülten is curious about everything. She inquires about marriages, funerals, families, jobs, schooling systems in our countries... She recalls her mutinous past - she got married when she was 17 years old and before that she eloped with her boyfriend when her family wanted her to marry a man of their preference. "How did your relatives react?" we are curious. I'm expecting an answer involving something about her parents renouncing her - but none of that. Surprisingly, they were very tolerant and both her and her husband, Sefer, had to bear no consequences. For such a closed community, somehow also their lack of knowledge of outer world, their attitudes seem very progressive and liberal to me.

In the evening we go to the café owned by Sefer. As I expected, only men are sitting inside, but the arrival of Solmaz and me goes down well among them. We receive no hostile glances sizing us up and down. Instead, they become very curious upon the arrival of three new yababncı. They want to know where we come from, which currency we're using there, which work we do. Where have you been in Turkey? We study the map together. They can't believe when I point to Silopi, tiny spot just on the Iraqi border, almost 1800 km from their dwelling place. They show us how to start fire with stones and awash with çay, which here costs only 25 kuruş for a small glass.


One day we meet Zeynep and İsa, a couple that Agrida usually gets their eggs and milk from. Zeynep takes us to the pastures where her herd of goats are feeding. The last days were blasted with pouring rain and the way to the fields is a never-ending knee-deep puddle. That's one of the situations that our rain boots were really made for. Brooding in the deep mud, we realize we haven't seen anyone else in Cazgirler wearing similar footwear. The villagers, who spend a lot of time outside in a surrounding full of mud and shit and thus would actually need them the most, manage with regular walking shoes. When our rain boots get sucked into the mud, Zeynep walks 200 meters ahead of us in flimsy sandals. She takes us to her goat barn, there's a separate one for the adult goats and one for the babies. When she lets both of them out for the feeding, the small goats hurry to their mothers and the entire yard looks like a scene of an orgy; with the little ones greedily drinking milk. We also get some milk and eggs from Zeynep. Bob gave Luís some money, although he was sure Zeynep and İsa wouldn't accept it. They take it, but instead of 12 eggs they give us 20 and say "bir zaman para veriyorsunuz, bir zaman para yok. Arkadaşlarımsınız (one time you give us money, one time no money. You're our friends!)!"  


"Do you like Cazgirler?" Gülten asks us during another dinner at hers. "Yes, I'm very used to nature and there's not so much of it in Ankara," I answer for myself. The opinions of Solmaz and Luís are the same. But Gülten doesn't share our admiration for the village. Most of the population is elderly, she can't make friends among people her age. Her kids are also the only ones living in Cazgirler and commute with a school bus to school in a different village 10 km away. Sometimes boredom bothers her. She'd rather move to a bigger settlement. In Turkish there's a saying "taş yerinde ağırdır" - stone is heavy at its place - and it perfectly describes the situation of Gülten and Sefer. In the countryside the land makes their money; they can plant vegetables, breed animals, sell their products. In a city, because of lack of education, she and her husband are useless.


I want to spend more time in this village. Our initial plan was to stay in Cazgirler for two days and then hitchhike to Mersin to meet another volunteer, Silvia from Italy, at a nomadic event. Already in the first evening Bob convinced us to stay for Wednesday too, so that we can go to Bayramiç for the pazar together. On Wednesday Solmaz and I decide to stay for the whole week. The cold days took a toll on my health and I don't feel like doing a hitch that would most likely take more than one day, sleeping in strange places and amusing the drivers sneezing and coughing all over. Part of me feels I've quite quickly sunk my roots here and don't want to leave, having learned so much and made connections with local people. I also think my short time in the village is spent in more meaningful way than my weeks in my organization in Ankara, where only once in a blue moon I'm able to do something with the kids and where I usually come just to have a free meal and speak about gibberish in the office for three hours.


We visit Gülten's house almost every day and stay there from early afternoon until late night. The kids are also very eager to spend time with us, entreat us to come with them anywhere they're going. Café, cows, goats. Sometimes we have to make up excuses like "we have to discuss our EVS and work on some other things" just to politely get rid of them for a while. And even if we hide somewhere in the woods, the following day we hear "you went to the forest? We saw you going there." We also laugh that after spending so much time with the kids, we start pronouncing English words adopted to Turkish with a Turkish pronunciation. Café, camera, coca-cola. One day we make yoghurt and cheese together. Bob asked us for the recipe and photos, so Gülten answers our questions and writes down instructions that are too complicated for us, non-native-speakers, to translate. She learned how to make milk after getting married - her marriage gifts were mainly jewelery, which she and her husband didn't need and sold to buy cows and goats that served more useful purpose than adornments. After hours spent in the kitchen, she teaches me how to crochet and shows some of the patterns that she made. Together with Sıla, Samet and Luís we sneak into a mosque; Luís and Samet even manage to climb to the top of the minaret. Samet disappears for a while and comes back, saying "hoca çok kızıyor (the teacher is very angry)". Later, we learn from Gülten that only men can pray in the main part of the mosque.


The local people won me over with her honesty and openness. I was surprised how curious about our lives they were and how much they treated us like people who are equal to them, even though our social backgrounds are miles away. Everyone we met welcomed us with a smile and no prejudgments. How many times I cursed my first trip during my EVS in December (Konya, Afyon, Denizli) and every day of it swore I was coming back to Ankara mainly because local people too often considered my pale skin and foreign accent as a certainty of the fact I must be filthy rich or assumed without even getting to know me that I'm going to big-note myself because of coming from (in their opinion) much wealthier country than their own. Here any differences seemed to disappear. Can you imagine that in this village, where we definitely stood out as non-locals, I haven't heard the word "yabancı" even a single time? The local people are very curious of foreigners; we bring some change into their everyday life; we aren't a source of money, but new friends approached with smile and curiosity. They crave for people from outside and yearn for our companionship in whatever they do. Tomorrow we're milking the goats, are you coming? They appreciated our efforts to speak Turkish and also tried to say something in English, even if it was just single words. It was also wonderful to learn about their lives, as they're very outspoken and opinionable. If they shared something, I could feel it was honest and coming from their heart; done just for the sake of being with another person. And also - the arrival of two girls in Luís's place didn't bring about any gossiping among the villagers. Funny, especially when you think that for our neighbors in Ankara the girls living there already prostitutes only because sometimes our male friends come home at night.


This post is dedicated to the memory of Taylor Booth, the creator of the Rural Couchsurfing project, my friend and inspiration, who died in the beginning of March, hit by truck while hitchhiking at night in Chad. Taylor, I'm happy I could see you in Ankara at the end of the last year. I miss you and I think to myself, if only I could revive you, Cazgirler is the kind of place where I'd like to meet you next time... 

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I don't like to read or watch the news. I just don't like it. But sometimes in unavoidable, like when I found out that Chavez died: I was taking a break from the nightmare-ish hitchhiking day I was having. I was sitting inside the service station's restaurant when I looked at the TV and looked what was just happened.

I had this situation the other day, I was facebooking when I read two of my friend's statuses and I didn't even  read anything but I had an idea of what was it about. I knew some retired motherfucking general was being trialed back home in Guatemala. I wished it was a mistake but I went on the news website and to my frustration it was true.

There is a God and the annulment of the trial lasted only a few hours. Another judge overruled the annulment of the trial and it's back on track!

On another note I did a bit of rural hitchhiking. At least the part to get to the highway from Pudisoo, I never thought it was going to be that easy! I found the second ride in a village called "Loo". I pictured myself having this conversation with a driver:
- tere
- tere
- something something in estonian
- I don't speak estonian
- where are you going?
- I'm going to the loo...

And last but not least, when I was standing on the highway, a taxi drove me to Tallinn! Never thought this would happened in Europe but I remember that it happened to me before when I left Lisboa.

Monday, April 15, 2013

In a land far away

It all started in a land far away, Mexico.

A British girl wanted to hitch from Mexico to Guatemala. She received several emails telling her otherwise and I was the only one "crazy enough" to encourage and to travel with her. We made it from San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico to Xela, Guatemala in half a day. 340km in Latin America is a long distance, specially if it involves a border crossing but we made it quite easily. One of the rides was a guy with two identities. Yes, he had a Guatemalan identity and a Mexican one! When we got to the border this girl got into my own country faster than me! And people still asks me why I get paranoid and hate borders...

The girl's name is Kimberly Taylor and is at the moment I'm writing this, hitchhiking alone in a land  far away: Africa! 

She has a blog, Kimmie's Life in which she tells her adventures. You can also find the link in my link section.

I'm writing from a Mac meaning I have no idea how to even save photos. Here's the link to some of here photos: Everyone keeps keeping me in Senegal.

Keep on thumbing in the free world Kimmie!!!


The huge bustle of people surrounded me at the edge of the water which looked over to the capital city Banjul. A man bent down in front of me shouting "On my shoulders!" I stepped over him, worried about whether he could take the weight of both me and my backpack. Without any problems he waded through the water, along with twenty others who had made this their job, and dropped me on the huge wooden boat where I sat exposed to the sun for thirty minutes until the engine started taking around a hundred people across the river which separates north and south Gambia.

Alighting on the other side, however, wasn't as successful. The hundred people all pushed to escape the boat at the same time; I tried to hold back but was grabbed by a man and fell not so gracefully onto his shoulders, then he dived to save my hat as it flew into the crowded water, causing a slight heart attack on my part.

A brother of my Gambian family, Ebou, lived in the nearby city of Serrekunda, so upon arrival in Banjul he came to pick me up. I stayed with him for two nights whilst he introduced me to all his friends and family. We walked the length and breadth of the city, visiting a beautiful section of the river which is close to his house, as well as passing "Big Tree" which was along the way to the long beach situated at the mouth of the river. Just like the Jonga family in Fass who wanted me to stay for the entire length of my visa, Ebou also wanted me to stay longer. I had to refuse; I couldn't stay everywhere forever.

I hitched 140km, exiting Gambia and entering the south of Senegal, arriving in Ziguinchor after just two rides. The second was in a bus; they took me for free. After just ten minutes driving, a tyre punctured so we had to take refuge from the sun in somebody's back yard until the driver had managed to negotiate a ride to a tyre shop and come back to fit it. It was almost dark when he finished and we restarted the trip.

I hopped off the bus upon arrival in Ziguinchor and a small group of people surrounded me;
"The white woman needs something, how can we make some money" I assumed they were thinking.
The man with the clearest English and loudest voice won my attention. We jumped in a taxi together and headed to his place. He was a 50-something year old, unmarried man called Ibrihim. Of course, I was suspicious at first; what did he want from me? There must be a reason he is doing this? I stayed switched on whilst with him, always expecting a negative outcome of some sort, but I gradually relaxed as I got to know him more.

We walked through his neighbourhood, stopping for Palma wine and crab meat for breakfast, where we then passed people living their everyday lives; be it women washing clothes, boys playing football, and even men weaving thread using thirty metre looms. We strolled a long distance outside of the city limits, seeing the unspoiled nature along the road, reaching a crocodile sanctuary where we joked about the probability of them being plastic. A small stick thrown at the right angle caused a snap loud and quick enough to put our suspicions to the grave. In the early evenings we met up with his friends, sat down on plastic chairs in a line against a compounds wall, and faced the street and passers-by, drinking Senegalese tea and talking mainly about perspective, unrealistic businesses for their future.

After my positive time with Ibrihim, I now feel slightly ashamed of the judgements I first made about him. He turned out to be just the same as anybody else I have befriended so far on my trip through Africa; kind, friendly, and no reason for being so. Being a 50-something year old single man had nothing to do with anything. My judgement of that was only a reflection on myself. He shook my right hand and then my left hand as we parted; meaning that we shall meet again one day, then told me that I am family and can call him if I ever return to Ziguinchor.

He escorted me to a police checkpoint on the morning I left, suggesting it was a perfect place to catch traffic heading in my direction. The officers took me under their wing; they sat me under the shade of their hut, gave me a glass of tea, and asked every vehicle if it's direction was also mine. After some time, a woman officer had given up on her duties and was now re-plaiting the parts of my hair which had become loose, and the chief officer was flirting with me to the point of proposing marriage.
"Why don't you just come home with me today, then us three can go party tonight, then we will find you a ride tomorrow?" the woman suggested with enthusiasm.
I politely declined; "This is just getting ridiculous... everybody wants to keep me here in Africa!" I thought to myself.

They found a ride for me with two agricultural scientists heading to conference. One of them studied at university in London thirty years ago and had also hitchhiked around Europe at the time so had some hilarious stories so share with me. He also told me about an oil seed which grew naturally and abundantly all over Senegal which, using a machine already invented for this purpose, would produce fuel for electricity. He and his team had worked tirelessly for years, corresponding with research universities in London, but had repeatedly come up against opposition from Senegal's politicians. He said it was impossible that the country could not benefit from this, that there is too much corruption in government and too much influence from the worlds petroleum industry preventing any alternative to arise. Of course, I agreed with him entirely; now I've not only read hundreds of alternative energy conundrums, I've also conversed with a scientist for two hours about the corruption and the self-interest initiatives of government and big industry officials! As he dropped me off at a crossroads, he pointed out the window at a mud-brick thatched-roof house, shook his head and said;
"Look. And people are still living like this."

A man called Kama picked me up at the crossroads. He was an agricultural businessman, but didn't have so much to say about his work, he just wanted to party. He convinced me to stay with him for two nights, paying for a nice hotel room all for myself. He worked during the daytime, so I busied myself making most of the room which felt luxury in comparison to anywhere I had stayed for the past two months. When he returned from work, we would go out for drinks in bars which were almost empty, because of the practice of Islam in Senegal, except for a few young lost men and women. I innocently asked Kama about the presence of women; it was very strange for me to see an African woman smoking and drinking beer. The answer was that they were prostitutes. They apparently earn around ten euros a time here.
"Stay another day then the next day we can go to see my family together" he said when I told him I was leaving the following morning.
Again, another person who wanted to keep me!

As planned, I hitched to the border of Guinea the next day. I arrived just after the border closed at 6pm, so I had to spend the night in the border town. A man from the bus on my last ride that day helped me find a place to stay; inside a cafe on a make-shift straw bed. He wanted to help me get transport through Guinea in the morning, but I found it myself: on top of a loaded truck accompanied by twenty other people. Wait for this next post for more information... it was one of the best experiences of my life!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Middle of Nowhere, Estonia

It's the day before my brother's birthday. It's (when I started to write) 16.00, I've just finished eating dinner and I'm exhausted. I was shoveling snow even before breakfast and of course I continued after. My back is aching. This is my first job involving manual labor... and I love it! Specially because I'm in the country side. I'm living in the small village of Pudisoo, some 50 km east of Tallinn within Lahemaa National Park limits. 30 min walk and I can witness an imposing frozen Baltic Sea. Air can't get any more fresh. The only times I've seen so many stars in the sky had been when I was in a secluded beach in Guatemala or Nicaragua or Ecuador or Colombia or when I was sailing to Colombia.

How the hell did I end up here? To answer that I have to go back to the summer of 2010. 

Imagine this scenario: second time hitchhiking alone in Europe. The distance wasn't that great, it was just over 300km but involved crossing the Baltic Sea and having someone to take on board the ferry, for free. Long story short: I spent 5 hours looking for a ride when shortly after 21.00 someone picked me up. Not only that he gave me a ride, he fed me that evening (and following morning), let me sleep inside his VW bus and took me 60 kms to the next town so I could catch the train to KBN.

A year later he gave me a job while I was volunteering in a hostel in Tallinn.

Now, he's my boss again. His name is Rauno and I'm working in his guesthouse and soon I will move on board the SV Blue Sirius and share my life between the countryside and the life at sea.

Having grown up in a city, moving to the countryside was something exciting! I have never lived in a place with so many trees before and with air this fresh! A frozen Baltic Sea is only a 30min walk away. By the way, I'm really glad I didn't go to Pirita before. The frozen beach I had the opportunity to see was completely deserted. Walking on a frozen sea was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. I've walked on frozen lakes or rivers but not a sea. Now I would like to walk on a frozen ocean!

Even though life here is good there are some things that (for me) are not: there are no pubs!  I can't have a beer, no well, actually I had a few beers so far. Four in week's time. I don't have anyone to get drunk with. But on the other hand, that's good, is it? The closest shop is 6kms away. I've heard about the existence of neighbours but I actually haven't seen them :-) Today when I was shoveling snow and moving some pieces of wood, the only living being around me was Lady the dog! I. Love. It!

Soon I'll move back to Tallinn and start moving back and forth sharing my time between two opposite places. Let's see what happens...

By the way, it's 20.10 when I finishing writing this post. And I'm publishing it the following day, on my brother's birthday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nina, a bit of drinks, el gato and awesome times

I sent yesterday I think an mail asking some of you for stories about travelling/hitchhiking and Nina was the first one to send me hers. She keeps a facebook page in which she writes something everyday. I posted the link a while ago, but here it is again: Charlotte Acrobat's 365. I enjoy her writing very much. You should check Nina's page, I'm sure you would like it.

I met her in Zagreb over two years ago... WOW! Nina is responsible for my love to Borek. Good times in Zagreb, remember "el gato"? 

Without further a due, I leave you with her story, which by the way I didn't expect it to be this one!

I'm Nina. A traveller. A CouchSurfer. A hitchhiker. A Croatian. Specialised in living out of Croatia and refusing to grow up. An aspiring writer.

This is my first attempt to write something 100% autobiographic and on a given topic: travelling or something related to travelling. I'm not sure how it will turn out but let's see.

There are so many tiny stories to share and it's hard to choose only one. I could talk about how it all started, about several turning points, about people's kindness, about keeping your life in a 60liter backpack, about inability to settle down… Crap, I have no idea.

*5 minutes later*

Wait, I do have an idea. I'll write about how I met Ron Navas. And no, you won't have to watch 8 seasons of CBS sitcom to discover how. (Referring to How I Met Your Mother.)

January, 2011. (God it's been that long?!) I accept a CouchRequest of two French guys and a Guatemalan guy Ron. A few days later, they enter my apartment bringing the spirit of the road inside. Sharing a bit of food, more than a bit of drinks and loads of tips and tricks on travelling.

- Hey, have you read this book on low-budget travelling? – Ron is showing a book.

- No, I haven't. Hey, have you heard of this Finnish guy who refuses to be a part of monetary system and doesn't use any money? – I'm reminded of a guy I've met while hitchhiking the Balkans.

- You mean Tomi? – Ron says.

- Yeah, Astikainen or something like that. You know him in person? – I'm surprised.

- Sure, yeah, I've met him in Spain and then we bumped into each other later on the streets of Lyon. – he explains.

Wow, the world's so small, I think to myself.

- You know, this reminds me of when we were in Greece, Tomi and I ended up spending one night at this girl's place, Martyna, a Polish girl on Erasmus in Greece. And then, a few weeks later the very same girl Martyna ended up CouchSurfing in Istanbul at my friends place. – I continue.

- Wait, you say Polish girl on Erasmus in Greece, that rings a bell for sure. Martyna, surname Grzymala?

- Yup, that's her. – I say in disbelief.

- And the Turkish guy, is his name by any chance Orcun?

- Yup, Orcun Akkiray.

The world's smaller than I could believe.

After a few days of spontaneous parties at my place, Ron and the French guys leave to continue their journey. I've been taught how to say: "¿Qué hora es? ¡Es la hora decir salud!" which has proven to be very useful since January when I began living in Valencia, Spain."

July-August 2011. I'm the States on my temporary working visa. In my free time, I'm enjoying Spanish-Italian language exchange with a CouchSurfer named Al.

September 2011. I add Al on the list of my CouchSurfing friends.

- Hey Al, I've seen that we have Ron Navas as a mutual friend. How the hell do you know him? – I'm sincerely shocked.

- Yeah, he was hitchhiking some time ago here in the US and I picked him up once. – he explained.

So peeps, this is a story of how small the world is and how I met Ron Navas.

Travelling, CouchSurfing, hitchhiking – all of that added together breaks the image of the world as a bad place, making you understand why's it said that there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. (In most of the cases it's been proven to be true. Still, there are rare cases that support the image of the world as a bad place. Here's what Amanda Fucking Palmer has to say about that: "If anybody tries to steal your ukulele, let them take it!")

Friday, April 5, 2013

Can't stay away from...


I had this long draft ready to be published but I changed my mind and not going to do it. Just going to say that going back to Poland was nice, as always. I shared some great times with great people. Poland will always be in my top list and I will always keep going back. I felt like home when I stayed in my home for the spring of 2011, the Goodbye Lenin Pub & Garden. I would really recommend this hostel, as a super plus, they have their own pub and the receptionists are hot... makes me wonder why did I ever leave that place? Jokes aside, the staff is wonderful and the facilities are awesome. Special thanks to my former boss Paweł for let me crash for a couple of nights.

Will I ever get to see the Tatry, please tell someday I will dammit!

But I had to leave, a job was waiting for me in Tallinn. In the petrol station I found one of my rides there was an Estonian car tanking. I was not that lucky, the car was full. My aim was to make it to Kaunas. I surpassed that and luckily I made it to Riga BUT I was in the same petrol station I was stuck 2 years before for 12 hours. This time though there were several trucks including two with Estonian license plates. Long story short: I spent the night in the toilet and by 5.45 I was already on my way to Tartu. By 9 I was in Tartu but it was still early and I had the option of going to a town 50km from the Russian border so I went. The town's name is Johvi. From there it was easy to get to Tallinn.

 I took this photo before the ride mentioned above, it was before 5.00 in the morning. Before I walked inside the shop and drank two hot chocolates. I was shaking, I have no idea how cold it was but it felt like -20C!

The small white circle on the left it's the moon not a light post.

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Life is like a bad haircut"

I came up with this title because I just got a new haircut a few days ago. If you didn't know or perhaps you already noticed that I like quotes. So here it goes, another one:

"Life is a bad haircut. At first it looks awful, then you kind of get used to it, and before you know it, it grows on you and you gotta get another haircut that maybe won't be so bad. (...) So life goes on, good haircut, bad haircut, until you finally go bad, and it don't matter no more."

My new haircut is awesome by the way! And I can also say that about my life for these past few days I spent in Budapest. Well at least most of it if you take into account that I didn't find the job I was looking for. The hostel I loved couldn't hire me at this time. I had a few offers but they weren't good enough.

The first couple of days I stayed wit Zsuzsi, the loveliest girl I have ever met I think (saying this might get me into trouble!). She replied to my emergency CS request. WOW! The way Zsuzsi and her family treated was unbelievable. They welcomed me like a family member and not like a stinky traveler. From the first minute I was treated like family. I will NEVER forget that when I went to sleep and I said the goodnight, Zsuzsi's dad said good night and gave me a hug.

Like I mentioned before I had a few interviews and Ferci, the owner of The Loft Hostel invited me to stay for a few days as his guest. Not to sound like a review but this hostel in awesome, it's small, nice, cool, cozy; it was the place I would had liked to work. It's the kind of place where you can actually meet and (if you're good enough) remember all the guests. The building in which is located is veryld in the very center of Budapest. It's located in a not so cheap area but there are still lots of options for cheap bastards like me (and you!). I went to other couple of interviews. After 37 seconds of talking to some of the staff I was convinced that even if they would offer me something (which they didn't) I wouldn't take it. The other one it was not good for me.

I wrote before than staying in hostels is not my cup of tea. I love working in them but oh well, let's not go through that nonsense again. I think that's changing anyway. I've met amazing people in the few I stayed in the past few weeks. First in Heidelberg where I met Ailen and we instantly became friends and now in Budapest, where I met Amy (we arrived at the same time) from the US, Alex and Christian (hitchhiking to Chesanau) from Germany but living in Austria and Daniela and Karel from Chile. We were the perfect group and thanks to all of them I have an awesome new haircut. In fact they cut my hair instead of going out to the ruin bars and was all worth it. I felt like a guinea pig but as Karel put it, because I wanted to. Touche!
Our small group started to disband, first Daniela and Karel (too bad we didn't meet in Krakow) left Sunday morning. That day was St. Patrick's day and a United Statian, two germans and one guatemalan went to "celebrate" it in a mexican restaurant with irish servers... in Budapest! Then Amy left to Zurich.

Monday morning came and Alex, Christian and me said goodbye and wished each other good luck for the road. They were hitchhiking East. I was going North.

See you all again, let's make it soon (every one mentioned in this post) :-)