Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hogmanays

It's been a while since I last wrote something. I apologize on my FB page about this but in case you don't an account there (jealous) I'm apologizing again. I won't repeat what I wrote there. Instead, I will (try to) write some (meaningful) words, something like a end of year thoughts.

First of all, I wanted to come back to Guatemala to see my mum. I was not here for my dad's funeral. I couldn't come for this or that reason. It had been three years since the last time I saw mum and when I left she told the exact same words that my dad told me that morning when I started to travel. I was not going to make them come true. My mum is getting old and so am I. I had to find a way to come back. If you are a regular reader of my crap then you know the story. If you are not, go back here. I  almost fucked things this Christmas but I managed to save it.

I'm about to close my third month in Guatemala. I'm about to break the record of long of 3,5 months. I'm actually excited about this. Specially because it's not like other times that I was here. I'm not even putting the links here because I don't want you to read that melancholic dramatic shite. Fuck no!

Having trouble to write. Vodka Juniors in the back is helping. I need a beer but it's not even 7:30 in the morning. Even I think it's too early... is it? No! I can do it. I don't need from alcohol to write good shit. I do have a bottle of Quezalteca really close. Naaaah.

The other day we had a kind of family reunion. Well, my mum, brothers and their families and one cousin and his family (whom I haven't seen even before I took off!). It was nice. I was not sure that I was going to make it for reasons beyond my control but I did. Man, was I glad I did. I think it's going to be the only time in the upcoming months that all us four brothers are going to be together with mum again. And honestly, and even tho I always say this but I don't know when I'm coming back once I leave. I have a feeling that if I ever come back it's going to take more than three years this time.

Found bicuits. They will do the job... Besides, breakfast was not that big so they will have to do two jobs now! 

When I went to watch the new Star Wars I watched (again but this in a huge screen) the trailer for the new Point Break movie. Although it has a new plot, the core is the same. I think. Made me want to watch the old Point Break movie. While I was watching it, it reminded me of my days in Bura SurfHouse in Lagos. Me, trying to surf. Convinced that the movie was a lie because one cannot learn how to surf in one day. Unless, of course you're Keanu Reeves. Happy days.

So now, here I am, in the lovely and Very Noble and Very Loyal city of Antigua (I title give to the city in 1566 by King Felipe II of Spain) attempting to finish what I started to write more than an hour ago. I'm going to spend Hogmanay here for the first time 7 years! Wow, didn't realized was that long.

Let me try to recap where I was since my last time in
2008 / 09: Antigua, Guatemala
2009 / 10: NOLA, USA
2010 / 11: Szczawa, Poland
2011 / 12: Poneloya, Nicaragua
2012 / 13: Tallinn, Estonia
2013 / 14: Granada, Spain
2014 / 15: Granada, Spain
2015 / 16: Antigua, Guatemala
2016 / 17: only time will tell...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Back home?

I have been back in Guatemala for over two months now. Felt weird at the beginning. Actuall, still feels weird. Haven't seen most of my so call friends. For fuck's sake, haven't even seen the rest of my family!

When I was still in Europe I heard that a friend of mine (we were best friends before I left) was getting married. I was even invited his stag... Last week I saw that he's already married. Good luck with you new life mate, good for you.

It's been over two months and nothings has change since last time. No, wait! I'm not depressed like the times before! I mean, I miss you but now it's different. Now there are different reasons to be not happy. Oh well...

Anyways, I will writing about depressive melancholic shit and something happy. Right the next day after I arrived from Madrid I met Gonzalo. We worked in the same hostel in Tallinn, the he stayed for one night at my mum's.

The following weekend while attending a CSing meeting something very interesting happened:  a girl from Graná showed up (she's Austrian but going to UGR). We immediately hit it off. We began talking about Graná and I told her that I lived there. Long story short, we lived two streets apart and we went very often the my second house! But we never met in Spain, we met in Antigua!!!

This is the second time I work as a bartender and let me tell you that is fun! It's like in the movies: many people come to bartenders to have a chat. Ok, ok, not quite like in the movies, no one has cry over my shoulder but I get to talk a lot.

Like any other hostel I've worked before, I get to know people from all over. Some nice, some...

It's been over two months. I miss Europe and I miss my friends there. I almost don't have friends here anymore. While I was still in Spain, I was even invited to a stag of one my so call friends. Last week I saw the pictures of the wedding while scrolling my news feed on facebook. Oh well.

Of all the times I had been back to Guatemala only once it was not depressing. I only stayed for less than three weeks... This time I'm about to break my personal record: three months.

My best friend was here. At the beginning was a bit weird and not nice but at the end I was really happy she got to spend a few weeks with me. Now she's gone.

It's early, I'm awake since about an hour ago. For the past few weeks I haven't been able to get a good night sleep. Last week I was going to bed super early, sometimes even before 21:00!!! But that didn't translate into good sleep, I had not nightmares but really disturbing dreams.

I don't feel like writing anymore. I had all this things inside my head that now I cannot seem to be able type them.

Am I home or will I be going back home...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Finally I'm...

... able to breathe normally again? The days of anxiety and panic attacks are over? I'm back home.

Anyways, after a couple of days in Madrid looking for a solution to my problem: how to get back to Guatemala. The solution came in the form of my friends. You know who you are. Thank you. Really, specially you who have been by my side since last year.

I found a ticket to Guatemala through Colombia. After checking, double checking and triple checking the fact that I don't need a visa the ticket was booked. I spent 4 days in Madrid. It was a long flight but the plane was comfortable. It was actually the nicest plane I have ever flown. I think it was the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

A friend of mine was waiting for me in Bogotá. After telling her that I had a layover, she invited me to stay with her. With directions in hand I left the airport and took the bus to her flat. We waited 5+ years to have a couple of beers.

The following day I had the flight to Guatemala at 14:20. I had several hours to kill. Decide that I couldn't leave Colombia without having an arepa so I embarked on the quest to find one. I Spent two weeks in 2012 so it was not really a must to go sightseeing. I had my important shit with me so I decided to play it safe and eat at the first restaurant I saw.

After eating, I went straight to the airport. I still had like 3 hours left before the flight.

After clearing passport control and the X-Ray machine a policeman told me to go where he was. "We are going to do a routine drug test". Dafuq!? I started to panic. After bitch slapping myself (mentally of course). I sat and thought "why the fuck are you scared about? you don't have any drugs on you. Chill". Then another policeman asked me to walk with him. They put me through a fucking X-Ray machine to see if I had drugs inside my body!? Cunts. And to put the cherry on top, they made put my stuff through the X-Rays again! Like after being always surrounded by policemen I was going to smuggle anything inside. Idiots.

2,5 hr flight and I was back in "The Land of the Eternal Spring". It was sunny and warm. I wore a polar to cover my arm tattoo. Realized that the stigma of a tattooed person is nothing nice in Guatemala. I had to fill out a form upon entering right? Country of provenance: Colombia. I had to write that because I left the airport, otherwise I would've written Spain. There is this traffic light, you have to press a button. If the light turns green, you are obviously free to go. If it turns red, well, customs have to check your luggage. The guy saw that I was coming from Colombia and immediately told me to go left (where you had to go if the light was red). Finally I made it out. I just needed to wait for my big brother. He told that he would pick me up.

It's nice to be back, except for the stupid jetlag that it was hard to get rid of. Now I can't seem to get a brake, now I have insomnia! I barely sleep. I'm sleeping like 4-5 hours a day best case scenario.  Am I still stressed out, maybe. Although now is for different reasons.

For a reason, I always have a tough time when I'm back home. Circumstances. I hope I can change them soon... very soon. This time is different though. I've gone out and met many wonderful people. Haven't met many of my friends, except for a handful. I guess that they all have a busy life and just can't make the time. It's understandable, besides I have been back for less than two weeks. I'm going to give myself time to adjust again to the Guatemalan rhythm of life.

I feel the pressure in my chest  building up again. Fuuuuuuuuuu...

Guess what I'm listening at the moment? yup, Vodka Juniors. I'm only missing the litre of Alhambra...



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stupid visas

I thought that last week was the worst. Little did I know what was coming... The worst day(s) of my life my Sunday 27th September. And to a lesser lever, the following Monday, although it turned out to be way better than I expected. And I was expecting the worst!

Saturday night. I barely slept due to the fact that I was really nervous and I had to print the boarding pass for the flight to Guatemala. The boarding pass was only available 24hr before the flight. The flight was at 19:15 Mexican time. Sunday's 2:15. Finally managed to download the stupid PDF. I tried to sleep a bit longer with little to no success.

Now I have to find a locutorio (internet café) to print the stupid piece of paper. Note that I had to be at airport no later than 11, which is the time that most locutorios open on Sundays. I began to panic. I bitchslapped myself (mentally)  and went to have breakfast. There, while drinking coffee I remembered that there is a hostel not far from where I was. I used to send them guests when I was working at Makuto. I decided to go and ask if I could print the boarding passes there. The receptionist, a cool Colombian guy agreed to it. One thing was out of the way.

Boarding passes out of the way, onto the next worry: leave Spain. With that out of the way I only had a 10 hr. flight, 2 hr. layover, 1,5 hr. flight and I would be hugging my mum. Everything would have been over by 20:30 Guatemalan time.

But Mexican immigration had other plans for me...

Rewind a couple of weeks. I'm in Madrid. Applying for the Mexican visa. They told me that I had to go to the Mexican embassy in Portugal because my passport was stolen in Portugal. They could not accept the police document in Portuguese. They told me about another option: if you only take a connecting flight and spend less than 24 hr. inside the airport, you don't need a visa because it's only transit.

Now fast forward to Sunday's flight. After 10 hr. inside a Boeing 747 I finally landed in cloudy Cancún. Two hours later I had a plane that would take me home. As I said before, Mexican immigration had other plans for me. The immigration officer looked at my passport. I told him that the embassy said that I don't need a visa if it's only transit. The look on his face was telling me that things were going from bad to worse. I went to an office. I told the embassy story. They said that they couldn't take me to the terminal. Exactly the opposite of what the embassy people told me a few weeks prior. I start to get nervous. I start breathing heavily. I control myself to not have break down and have a panic attack. Success. Policeman took me to an office, maybe 3x3 meters, no windows, just a desk and two chairs, a light on the ceiling. Very sketchy. He asked me again the same questions. The he asked me how much money I had. Later I realized that if I've had enough money, I could've bought my way out of the airport. But I realized this hours later. He left the office and I stayed there for what it feels like 3 hours. I was a nervous wreck. I don't know really, maybe 15 minutes later he came back to the room and said "there is no point of you being here, let's go back to the office outside". I don't know, they saw that I was not well and changed they're approach, began to treat me like a person and not like a common criminal. They talked to some people from the airline but they didn't want to "risk" taking me to the other terminal as the ticket could be fake and it would be their responsibility if they don't let me board the plane.

I was told at the embassy that a policeman would escort me all the time. I don't care I said to myself, as long as make it to the plane. Even if this means being treated like a criminal and maybe even humiliated as this would happen in front of the entire terminal. My goal is to get on that fucking plane.

Boarding time was 19:45. A few minutes before, the policeman told me "I got bad new for you, we are sending you back to Spain". My legs couldn't support me anymore, my world collapsed... "When is the next flight" I asked, "who will feed me?". He told me that airline will "take care" of me as I was their responsibility, after all, it was their fault to let me board the plane without the "appropriate" visas. "When is the next flight leaving?". By this time I've already lost the flight to Guatemala City. "You leave in 20 minutes, airline people will pick you up and take you to the plane". My world collapsed once more.

It has been a dream or fantasy of mine to fly for free. I finally managed to do it but I was going to wrong direction. What is going on? I was being deported from a Latin American country back to Europe? Am I in some kind of parallel universe? I mean, I've heard or read on the news of people being deported from the States back to Latin America. People being deported from Europe back to Latin America, Africa, the Middle East. But for fuck's sake, I was being flown back to Europe!!!???

Third time on board a B747. This time instead of Economy Class I flew Business Class. At least I was coming back in style. I was utterly exhausted. I barely slept the night before not say during the flight to Mexico. The seats in Business Class had more space. It took one hour less to fly back to Madrid.

The anxiety kicked in again. What was I going to tell border police. I left Spain the day before and less than 24hr. I was back? "I forgot my laptop" was not going to work. My mind started to fuck me up once more. I began to think that I was not going to be let into Spain again. That they were going to send me back to Mexico. Mexico won't let me in again and they were going to send me back to Spain. And so on. And so on. I would be stuck in international travel limbo. Or, I would be thrown in jail without the possibility to tell anyone about my well being. I was supposed to be in Guatemala but I was back in Spain.

Finally my turn to go to passport control came up. Gave my passport. "Motive of the visit, holidays?", I answered that yes, it was holidays. I was not thinking clearly. He noted the stamp of the day's before date. I explained the situation. The policeman looked at me and said what it would translated into "what a chore" but colloquially would mean something like "tough shit" while he was stamping my passport. I was in! They fucking let me back into Spain!

It was rough. It's something that I would like to never repeat. Ever. It's actually the fourth time that I was held in a sketchy room for questioning: first time was leaving, yes, leaving Bulgaria. But after an hour I made into Turkey. The second time was in Slovenia. I even felt that my life was in danger as the policeman had his hand on his pistol, yet I made into Slovenia after two hours. The third time is utterly ridiculous and stupid. I almost never made it into Nicaragua... yes, you read it right: Nicaragua!!! Their argument? I could stay there indefinitely. Yeah, right. I'm going to stay in a country with a shittier economy than my own. Sorry if any Nicaraguan is reading this but that how things are. And now at Cancun Airport.

While staying at my friend's flat here in Madrid, I learnt that a good friend of ours had it much rougher than I did. He was deported back to Asia after spending 6+ weeks in an Eastern European jail. Compared to that my experience was a walk in the park, and it was still tough. I am grateful that none of that happened to me.

Maybe some of you will never understand this kind of incident because you were lucky enough to have been born in a country with a good passport. I'm not complaining. Maybe a little. It's just how things are.

I know that someday I will laugh about this. It's not today.

But to put the cherry on top. I still need to apply for the stupid Mexican Visa. Why? Because I will come back to Europe and where is the cheapest place to fly from? You guessed it right: Cancún. FML.


Friday, September 25, 2015

The longest week...

Never in my life have I been so stressed out. I think the last time a week went by this slow was when I was 10 and it was before Christmas because I wanted to open the presents. When I woke up on Tuesday, I thought it was Thursday for fuck's sake!

I have been under a lot of stress lately due to the fact that I'm coming back home and I don't know what to expect. Last three times was not as good as I expected. This time tho, it looks promising.

I have a lot of shit going through my head right now. Like I said in the previous post, I was supposed to be México right not. But I'm not. I'm not even going! For fuck's sake, why everything is going wrong? It's been wall after wall after wall. But I managed to tear down those fucking wall with the help of my friends. 

Tonight is my last night in Graná. I feel weird. I cannot believe that I'm actually leaving. I know I said this before: "I'm leaving", but this time is for real. Last year I went to Lithuania, Europe. In march I went to Portugal, next door neighbor. This time tho, I would take me 12 fucking hours of flying! 

Part of me wants to stay, but I have to go back. I need to go back. I want to go back. I will for sure have cultural shock (written about this a few years ago, I tried to find the link but I couldn't). Anyways, in the wise words of Mr. Bob Marley: "everything's gonna be alright". I know so.

I'm sitting in the living room/dining room/kitchen. Liter of Alhambra. Trying not to cry. Failed. Trying to come up with some sane words. I have a lot of feelings right now. Words seem to be not enough express what I'm feeling right now. Another glass of beer. Vodka Juniors in the background, always. I still fantasize being in their concert in Portugal. Never going to happen unless I go to Greece. Fuck, I love their music! They are really dedicated to their music: they just released a triple album (45 songs) and they made the album available free online! Respect! Maybe I should get another liter. No, maybe not.

A couple of years ago I discovered that I write less crap when I'm drinking. I don't think is working today. My mind drifts away. I start doing other stuff, pour myself another glass of Alhambra. Try to write some more.

I should be already in Latin America but I'm not. I'm going back in two days. I know everything will work out. I need to find a job. I need to put my mind to work. Everybody else seem to do so well doing that but me, shite. I always have a tough time doing that. A few years ago someone suggested to plant some flowers. I don't have a garden back home.

Don't know what else to write. I have a lot in my head but I cannot put it into words. It's not the first time this has happened. I should pack. Maybe I'm being paranoid but I should really pack so tomorrow I can just wake up and go to Madrid. I need to print the boarding pass. I have to print the boarding pass. I cannot afford to miss that stupid flight. Stupid visas. Stupid borders.

What am I going to do the first days in Guatemala? I have no fucking clue. Catch up with mum obviously but aside from that I don't know. Being by myself is what kills me. And to top that, I arrive on a Sunday evening, the worst day possible I think., Everybody has to work the next day. We'll see (Russian accent).

I think I'm starting to write bullshit. Not that I didn't write that before but now it's coming out in bigger quantities. Maybe I should stop.  A liter a post, not bad I would say. I've done everything I need to get done this morning. I still need to pack but I did laundry this morning but by now it should be dry. I have to pack.

Don't know. Maybe expect the next contact from the other side? Maybe I will come up with some more crap before crossing the pond.

I'm going to have one last beer at Hamelin tonight with lovely people. That's nice.

One good thing tho. I am going to meet some of my good friends in Guatemala...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A lot going on lately

As some of may know, I'm about to go back home. It's been a while therefore I have a lot of things going on my head. A lot. 

I don't think I have been this nervous or anxious or stressed before. I had to take care of a lot of shit. I was supposed to fly on the 10th of this month but I had to change the flight. Twice. I was supposed to be in Mexico with someone I love. I told her I would take care of her, specially when she needed me and I my stupid job got in the way. I let her down. I tried my best to be with her in the distance, I swear I tried.

A couple of years ago I made the promise to keep out personal stuff from the blog. I tried but I was going through some rough time at the time. Writing help me vent what I'm feeling at the moment, which is a log. While writing the blog back in 2012 I was listening to Vodka Juniors (some of you might know that it's my favourite band). Now I'm listening to their new triple album.

I still can't believe that I'm going home. I will be able to hug my mum for the first time in three years. I don't know how things are back home. I'm not the kind of person that look at the news online. Although this year I made an exception as I was following the election process and... well, no comments. I didn't vote, I get no opinion.

There is so much stuff I would like to write inside my head that I don't know what else to write. 

At the moment I'm in Granada where is still warm and sunny. I'm going to rainy season in Guatemala. Luckily one month left of that. Most of my friends that used to live here are gone. But I'm staying with one of my best friends and that is nice. This past few weeks I was also lucky to meet new people, the sad part is that I met just before I'm leaving.

I already started the job hunt in Guatemala, Mexico and Panama. 

Holy fuck, I feel the same pressure on my chest I felt exactly three fucking years ago. Breath in. Breath out. Hahahaha. I am actually behaving exactly like I did three years ago. And there were also a few time zones in between. Not hahaha. But is changing. Right fucking now! I'm going out for a walk.

I'm going to see my mum, my brothers, my nieces, my nephews, my family, my friends.  I'm actually already invited to my high school class reunion, a stag party and a bottle of Argentinian wine. Last time I was back I only met a handful of my friends. I hope this will be different. I really hope so.

Sorry that from now there will be no photos. My phone was robbed in Portugal along with my SLR camera and I gave away the small digital. Eventually I will get either a smarthphone o camera although it's not my priority. My priority is to be with that someone I love. Not sorry if this sounds cheesy. But what the hell. It's what I'm feeling, It's what I'm writing. It's like my fingers are possessed. I can't stop writing! Words are coming out quite fast. Unlike in other occasions. I remember that once I wrote one line in two days. I did eventually write something on the third day.

I got to say "see you later" to many of my friends hitchhiking back from Lithuania as I have already set the goal to go back home before the end of the year. I still have a few days left, perhaps I get the chance to say it to a few more. The thing is that summer just finished so people is barely coming back from holidays.

Holidays. Some people have told me that my life is like a big holiday. Maybe it is. On holidays you are always happy. There has been times that I was definitely not.

I watch The Motorcycle Diaries last night. There was a quote from the scene in the mine that caught my attention:

- Buscan trabajo?
- No, no buscamos trabajo.
- Entonces, por qué viajan?
- Viajamos por viajar.
- Benditos sean

It's something like this:
- Are you looking for work?
- No, we are not looking for work.
- Then, why are you traveling?
- We travel just because.
- Bless you.

PS. I am looking for a job.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Let's call this an update...

First off, I apologize for being far from active this entire year. I practically haven't written anything this year. Only 6 posts so far this year. This is nothing compared to what I wrote in 2012 (61 posts).  Not an excuse but I think it was because eventho I still did small hitchhiking trips, it was mainly because I was living a "sedentary life". 

I will try to change that. I was told by someone that I should start writing traveling tips instead of just (crap) stories. Maybe I should. What should I write about? What to pack? Come on, you're not a 15 year old and besides, there are tons of packing tips on youtube. Well, I wrote about what I pack. So it's done. What else? Top 10 things to do in (insert name of the place here). Maybe My top 10 things to do in (insert name of the place here). Yeah, maybe that. Although it will probably will mostly (only) include pubs and cafés.

I have no idea what I wrote all that give the fact that I'm going to write about my times in Portugal... maybe my next post will be My top 10 places to drink and eat in Lagos? There is only one way to find out.

After getting back to the Iberian Peninsula from Lithuania, I came back to Granada (where I'm writing these words) and started immediately with the job hunt. Found a temporary one but it became clear that, let me put it this way, I'm not office material anymore. It was only part time but I was getting depressed. Took some days to get away from everything and did a small road trip along the Portuguese coast with my friend María. I did look for hostels in Lagos. I went to this hostel on the exit to Sagres, the name is Bura Surf House. I left my CV. Went back to Graná. Had an offer from a friend of mine: teaching English in Bilbao. I packed my shit and left to the Basque Country. Suddenly, an email... The hostel in Lagos sent me an email, they wanted to have a skype interview... Packed my shit again, made another quick stop in Madrid to go out for one with my friend Felix and moved to Lagos, Portugal!

I spent almost 6 months in the Algarve. The South and specially the West Coast of Portugal have impressive landscapes and cliffs. They have the "the end of the world", the "corner of Europe" (although the Westernmost point of mainland Europe is Cabo de Roca, near Sintra) and it's simply said: impressive!

I tried as much as possible to see the region. I remember that hitchhiking was easy in Portugal. It's not as easy as I thought it was. I did some small day trips, always hitchhiking. I visited Sagres, Aljezur, Portimão, Silves (during the annual medieval festival), Vila do Bispo and Luz.

But as all good things have to come to an end, I had to leave Lagos and went to Sintra and Lisboa for a few days before coming back to Spain to sort some shit out. Shit that I'm still trying to sort for fuck's sake!

I'm in Graná for a couple more weeks. I found a small job doing pub crawls in my friend's hostels. Nicely done: getting paid to get shitfaced... haven't done this since my time living in Kraków.








Thursday, August 6, 2015

Faith in humanity, restored

A few days ago something happened. I went to sleep at the beach and got robbed in the most stupid way. I'm supposed to be an experienced traveler, having been traveling for the past six years. But sometimes you just take things for granted or just fall deeply asleep. This incident made remember the "you're not in Europe anymore" quote I used extensively a couple years ago while I was traveling in Latin America...

So there I was, trying to get some sleep before sunrise and it was before sunrise that my small bagpack was gone. Alone with some important (but replaceable) stuff. What was not replaceable were the photos I took earlier that day in the next village to Lagos.

A few days went by when I received an email. I didn't know the sender and judging by the name, he was (is) Portuguese. I opened the email and start reading this: "Hello my friend, I am security and have your black bag on Lagos, Portugal Iberlagos please call me 9xxxxxxxx"... Wait, wuuuut!? Did I read correctly? Somebody found my bag!? So I go the following day and discover that indeed someone had left my backpack on the entrance of this apartment complex not far from the beach where this all happened.

I couldn't thank enough this guy. There were some things missing (obviously money, but it wasn't that much) but there was my wallet with all the crap I had inside, the book I bought earlier that day. The water was missing tho (inside joke).

I'm glad to know that there are still nice people in this fucked up world. I would like to think that the nice people outnumber the bad/mean/evil people.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Wrong Way To Travel

I've been told, I've read and I've heard (when commenting other people's travels): "that is not the way to travel". What is then? What makes us travel experts that don't travel "the wrong way".

I was told once that I was scared of traveling because I like to go back to places I have been before. My friends in Poland, Holland and Belgium would agree on that. I was scared just because I like that? 

Everybody have their own way of travel. Some people like to pay for a week in an all inclusive, well I don't. Wouldn't mind if for some reason I end in one of those by any chance. I just wouldn't pay for it, even if I had the money. Some people like to live on a couple of euros a day. Some of my closest friends have this lifestyle, even tho they could live on 50€ a day.

Some us love to hitchhike. Some don't. It's not meant for everybody. Some like to pay for hostel and don't like CSing. I like both. Although in Europe I've only stayed in a handful of hostels (even counting the ones I've lived in). Not to brag about it but the few times I've hitchhiked between The Baltics and Spain, I didn't pay one single cent for accommodation.

While some people might say they've been somewhere just because they had an 18 hour layover at the airport and went sightseeing, I don't consider that being in one places, but that's my opinion. I actually had an 18 hour layover in Iceland but I don't consider having visited it.

My point is: there is no wrong way to travel.

There is a right way tho: the way you fucking want it not paying attention to stupid criticism.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

There's always a first time

There is always a first time, for everything.

First kiss.
First beer.
First time having sex.
First time traveling.
First time hitchhking.

This is not the place and I won't discuss the first three. I'm going to write about my first time hitchhiking.

For most of the people (if not all) in my circle of friends it's a very known fact that Spain is one of the hardest countries to hitchhike. Ironically, the person that introduced me to hitchhiking is Spanish!

I was very active on CouchSurfing back in 2009. I saw a post in one of the Guatemala forums, it was a Spanish traveler asking a few questions about Guate. I replied. We met and after a few beers I decided to take a couple weeks off from work to travel with him.

We agreed to meet in the cute little village of Monterrico on Guatemala's Pacicif Coast. I took the bus. After a couple of days we left, destination Xela (Quetzaltenango). Not more than 230 Km but it took us the most part of the day. I was amazed of this new way of transportation. I got to Monterrico by bus btw.

Now, having hitchhiked for more than 5 years and gathered experience, I would say that that distance is easly covered anywhere... well, almost anywhere.

It was a hell lot of fun. Riding in the back of pick ups which is one of the things I miss about hitchhiking in Latin America. 

I was a newbie to traveling and specially to hitchhiking, I didn't know how and what to pack. As you can judge for yourselves: the backpack on the right is mine. I traveled two weeks with that huge backpack (now about to close my sixth year of travels, my current back pack is a third smaller than that!)

That was the beginning. I got hooked. I have been hitchhiking ever since.

I hitched new cars. Old cars. Family cars. Sports cars. Lorries. Trucks. Pick ups. Coca Cola trucks. Buses. Minibuses. Horse and cart. Taxis. Ambulances. Boat. Sailboat. Sailship. Motorbikes. Ferries. VW buses (my favourite). Tractor. I still have to hitchhike a donkey.


This last photo was just to show you some of the impressive beauty of my country.

Este post es para vos Jotikas, gracias!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Road Trippin'... in Portugal

Last month we did a  small road trip along the coast of Portugal. Was my second ever outside of Guatemala. Well, kind of. Me and my friend drove from Asheville to Ann Arbor a few years ago but no sure if that counts as a roadtrip.

It was awesome!

But, what does it have to do with hitchhiking if you rode inside a car for a week? That has nothing to do with hitchhiking you bastard! Wait for it, wait for it... of course it has to do at least a bit with hitchhking. How? We picked up three hitchhikers along the way! ha! there you go: it's hitchhiking related. Besides, it's my blog, I can write whatever I want.

Anyways, instead of using the motorway, we only used small roads. We traveled the entire length of Portugal from North to South. We started in Galicia and after a couple of hours we started to work our way down until we would reach our final destination: Graná (Granada).

I have only been to Santa Maria da Feira and Lisboa. Although it was a short time, quality prevailed over quantity. I promised myself that one day I would come back to Portugal... little did I know that I was going to end up living there. But that's a story for another time (or post).

Even tho it was a short trip we had the opportunity to see many, many small towns. Cruising down small national roads, sometimes even rural roads was awesome. We never stayed at hostels or guesthouses or whatever, instead we opted to sleep inside the car.  We had not one but four tents. Don't ask why. But it was still a bit chilly to camp on the beach so we just looked for a place to park the car and that was it. It's not like we stayed in any car park or anything. No, no, no. We stuck to the coastline therefore we almost slept on the beach every single night. Portugal is I think one of the most underrated places I have been. To be honest, I don't know. But then again, I think it's better this way as it won't get massive flocks of tourists. Let me give you an example: I was in Lagos for Páscoa and it was not as crowed as let's say Granada. Which was by the way not so nice to walk around as there were people everywhere.

We took the motorway from Ourense to the border. Right after the border we got off the motorway and started on smaller roads. We avoided at all costs Porto (I'll leave for later) and Lisboa (where I'll meet with a friend of mine next month). The end of the road for us was Granada.

The towns we visited are: Viana do Castelo, Aveiro, Figueira da Foz, Nazaré, Sines, Sagres, Lagos and Faro.

I won't write about the cities as this is not a place in which I will write about "the top 10 things to do in Portugal". You are can figure that out by yourselves. You can google them. Or even better, you can just go with the flow and discover your own top 10 things to do anywhere.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Viana do Castelo

Aveiro

Figueira da Foz

Nazaré

Sines

Sagres (photos taken by María)

Lagos

Faro


Sunday, March 1, 2015

How Granada has “ruined” my life forever

I have been living in Granada for almost a year (in total). I left for three months which ended up being a short holiday in Eastern Europe (specially Poland and the heart shaped country, Lithuania), which is no secret that I love it there.
These are (some of) the reasons why living in Granada has ruined my life forever:
  • It’s cheap as fuck.
  • You can walk everywhere.
  • Thank God for chinos. Small Asian owned grocery stores that are open till late and where you can buy 1€/litre beer.
  • Tapas. Tapas can be a small meal while drinking. And best of all… they are free!

  • The (Mediterranean) Sea is only a bit more than an hour away.
  • The (Atlantic) Ocean as about three hours.
  • The Sierra Nevada is like less than  an hour.
  • Cheap alcohol: a small beer (33cl) in the supermarket is only 25cents
  • I have my own shot at my favourite pub, Hamelin.


  • The servers at my favourite café already know what I’m having: full English breakfast.

  • More tapas!!!
  • Nightlife starts after midnight.  Going out for tapas is going out for a drink before going out drinking.
  • Amazing and cheap breaksfasts!
  • Magnificent hikes that you can do on your own for free!
  • Nature, nature everywhere. 
  • Unfortunately, dog shit as well.
 

  • Free Spring rave-ish music on the hill behind Granada, a.k.a. Perdiz Tropical.
  • Another free rave in the (super) close town of Santa Fé, a.k.a. Dragon Festival.
  • Lovely weather even in February (sorry that my friend is in the screenshot).
 
  • Lack of appropriate heating and insulation but then again, there are only three months of winter.
  • Impressive Game of Thrones-ish like castle: Alhambra.

  • Kebab shops. I don’t know, there might me some debate here. Berlin’s kebabs are also very good, specially the one that is close to that U-Bahn station in Neuköln. Over here they are known by their Arabic name: shawarma. The one in the photo is called tarrina: it’s kebab meat with chips and shawarma sauce. Perfect drunk/hangover food.
 
  • More nature.

  • ok, this is mostly not nature but it was fun to go paragliding.
  • Joe Strummer lived here and has his own little square.


  • Free live music.


  • Impressive sunsets...


  • and even more tapas! 

So peeps, those are some of the reasons why Graná has ruined my life. When I hitchhiked to Lithuania last year, I was in Bilbao ordering a beer with my friend and the first thing I noticed was there was not food coming with the beer.

I was on the quest to find my happy place. I thought I found it when I spent an awesome year in Estonia but it was not until I came back here that I realized that this is the place that makes me the most happy in the whole world. Estonia was and is a very special place for me but this small city stole my heart from day... 54
hahaha