Canary Islands part II

Some more hiking, food and fails. This time in La Palma.

It is time for 2nd island- LA PALMA!

On Tenerife we had whole 5 days to see the island. On La Palma, on the other hand, just 3.5. You wouldn’t imagine how much can happen in such a short time.

We arrived in the afternoon, so for the first day we planned just a little walk in the woods and finding a place to put the tent. As climbing El Teide wasn’t enough Tom planned another 2-day hike on La Palma. Our very first driver was a German guy (like most of them) who took us half way to the first destination.  Unfortunately it turned out that the road was closed and we have to go around. It is not super easy to get lifts anyway and for some reason we got stuck again while trying to hitchhike back from the dead end. We decided to hike up to the second road going that direction instead of waiting for the lifts. On our way walking up we found some amazing grapes. I have to mention here that I do not support any kind of stealing- taking a pencil without asking, a fruit from someones garden, or robbing a bank. We found a grape field where they had already picked all the grapes, leaving behind just few of them. So, we decided that there is no harm in taking those. With eating the leftovers you are actually saving it and not letting it go wasted. And they were AMAZING. On that day we put the tent up in the forest and opened our first jar of mojo. Now…. this bad boy just turned into my favourite food! It is a red pepper sauce with garlic and it is GREAT! I am already on a hunt for a recipe to try a homemade one, because those local potatoes with the mojo … OH MY! You need to visit Canaries already just for food. If you are not into spicy food then look for mojo SUAVE. I have tried it here in England twice. And not to brag or anything, but the second one was exactly how I like it- garlicky and vinegary.

The second day we were supposed to do the “big hike”. The plan was to start from Fuencaliente and hike all over the mountains to Roque de los Muchachos. Unlike on Tenerife, La Palma does not have just 1 big mountain, but it is rather like a crater. I must say I had already a bad feeling about it as Teide was still in my muscles. We covered ourselves with SPF 50+ and packed the bags. We didn’t have too much water with, so I felt a little anxious already because of that. After an hour of walking I remembered why I didn’t want to go on top of Teide. It was even drier and hotter than on Tenerife. When walking, you could feel your throat drying as it was painful to swallow or breathe. When drinking water you never feel “done”. It was even so bad that we both decided to quit. Instead we hitchhiked around it and started the hike from a little… okay a lot closer.

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On our way to Roque de los Muchachos we had a short stop in the capital. I wanted to take a shower and go swimming. While getting ready for the swim a guy came over and asked where are we from. I wouldn’t have been suspicious, but he was carrying a dead animal on his shoulder. Yea, it was just a  skin but it was creepy as… Wanted us to lend him a phone…. sure. After explaining him that our phones are empty he ran towards 2 girls, while undressing himself. He dropped his animal skin few meters from the girls and ran into the water… naked. Okay. He seemed like having fun in there. Then he came out, put clothes back on and went to the girls. Said something and ran away again with his dead animal on shoulder. This kind of people….

After having shower in the capital we decided to walk out of the city and put the tent up on the way. Now, what we didn’t realise is that the most difficult place to put a tent up is a small village. Why? Well first of all, everyone has a dog. Those small dogs you know, that you have to carry around and dress up. So not really dogs, but something like that. Whenever you pass a house they started making this annoying barking-like sound that makes all the owners come out to check what’s up. And it seemed the villages are glued together as one just didn’t end. It was already late, dark and I didn’t even care about the views, but just to find a place, that is on no one’s land and without barking right next to you. On our way one car stopped and asked if we needed help. We tried our best to explain that we are looking for a place for a tent…. in Spanish. Yeah, they didn’t help us much. We just sticked with the plan and put the tent up near the village’s central square. In the dark it seemed quite nice but in the morning …  It was the most dirty place we have ever slept.  The view was nice, though.

SO, instead of 2 days we did a 5h hike which for me was still too much. I really enjoyed the first 4 hours. It was mostly on a ridge and with amazing views the whole time. For some reason the last hour just did not want to finish. It seemed like the top is getting further with every step. But I made it! We made it! And fortunately got a lift right from the top down so did not have to wear those boots any more. I am not sure weather just walking too much makes me hate them or they are a bit too big. When walking on even surfaces it is fine and comfortable, but as soon as I have to go downhill my feet just start sliding towards the top of the boots and squeeze my toes. It is so painful and I have no idea how to fix it. I have tried different socks, insoles, nothing helps.

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For the night we got to an amazing small town called Tazacorte. So many people had recommended it and we decided to spend the night there. A small town right on the beach between banana fields. BTW, the biggest banana fields I have seen. WOW. We slept on the beach right under the stars. Saw an incredible sunset again and enjoyed a nice sweet cocktail at the bar. Again- exactly like I imagined the island to be. And very Spanish, I must say.

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The last day was for seeing the rest of it and getting back towards the airport. Before even flying to there Tom was suggested to try a restaurant by the airport that has the most amazing fish. We thought it would be nice to leave it for the last day. We had a swim/bath in the ocean, enjoyed some views, I took tons of pictures from crabs and the sea. I must say, those little things have either very good eyesight or they have some human-sensors. Whenever I tried to go a little closer for a better picture, they just escaped. I decided to put on a dress as I had carried one around the whole time without wearing. Yeah I know, it is stupid. I probably had another 3-4 things that I carried without wearing, but I just need to have a backup. I make this mistake every trip that I carry too much stuff that I don’t really need. Now, when I had my dress on and ready for a romantic dinner, it came out that the damn place was closed for the whole Monday. What?! No fish? Great! SO, instead we had a bottle of wine that we bought before and red mojo. Not too bad but for sure nothing to dress up for. We had still nice and cozy night, full of laughter. We always do. We decided to use the situation and sleep on the tables of the restaurant outside. I’m glad we did because it was raining the whole night. And not just showering but really raining.

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I woke in the morning with a car engine noise and lights blinding me. Someone stopped the car at the restaurant and came out. I sat up, not knowing what to do. I just sat there in the dark, Tom laying next to me, not knowing either. The guy came out, walked towards us, sat right next us and lighted a cigarette. I was so scared he’s gonna pull a gun out or something for sleeping on his property. We said “hola” and that’s it. Just sat there for another 5-10min not knowing what to do. The guy just kept smoking and spitting. In about 15 min another car pulled over and I just got so scared I stood up and started packing the bags. We took our 5 things and went already to the airport (which btw was closed as it was 6am). The restaurant was supposed to be opened at 13pm, why the hell were they there at 6am??? Anyway nothing really happened as we just ran away. Fortunately found a door opened at the airport as well.

So that was La Palma. All in all, a little different and a little smaller than Tenerife. A very nice place, but I am not sure if you would miss anything if you would go to just Tenerife. Maybe the local mojo. This is a class on it’s own. For sure. And for the song I just chose something I heard several times from the radio in the cars… And I guess with Shakira you cannot go wrong. Not that we had anything to do with puro chantaje, though.

 

Canary Islands part I

Island nr 1- Tenerife.
A heatstroke, panic attack and incredible views.

Again way too much time has passed since my last post but you know, life takes over.

So I just got back from my summer vacation on Canaries and started my MSc in Manchester. I am not going to stop on the school and the new life in here as there is not much to say yet but I am going to write about the vacation. I think it is going to be way too long for one post so I decided to divide it.

Where do I start? Oh, yeah, first stop TENERIFE.

As always Tom did all the planning part and chose (based on recommendations) 4 islands to visit- Tenerife, La Palma, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote. Before taking off from Birmingham’s airport I thought Tenerife is going to be the least interesting of them all. Why? I have no idea. Now that I am back, I must admit Tenerife was one of my favourites.

We landed in the evening so the first day we had to just find a place to put up the tent. In the first car we got to talking with the locals and it came out that hitchhiking nd tenting is going to be a huge problem here. Locals don’t tend to give lifts and the landscape might be too rocky and touristic for camping. So the first night we spent in our sleeping bags without a tent. Location was perfect- warm night on the beach without any city lights.

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The next day we were supposed to go to hike a little and then hitchhike further. I was so excited as it was soooooo warm and I missed sun so much. We managed to leave our bags to a small bar and as we planned to hike just for an h or 2 didn’t take anything with, just my camera. Even the water not. We regretted that after half an h of hiking. It was so hot and the air was so dry that it was difficult to breath and swallow. No one had mentioned it and we did not expect anything like that. After an h or 1.5 I started feeling dizzy. Every time I took few steps uphill I felt I’m going to faint. And that was supposed to be an easy one. I gave up and started crawling back down towards the bar, water. I had my head covered, sunscreen on. I thought I was ready, but clearly I wasn’t.

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Tom came back from the top and admitted it was a little difficult even for him. We took a beer from the bar and it has never tested better. After sharing one beer, we both felt a little drunk. Yes, you read it right. We shared 1 beer and we got both drunk. That’s how bad it was. Getting a little more sober, we hit the road again to hitchhike further. First time in my life I felt that the shadow is my friend. By the end of that day I had a heatstroke. I felt sick, I had a headache and I didn’t want to see anything related to sunlight. Somehow (looking shit) I got us a ride in the mountains and we decided to put up a tent in the most amazing place so far. You could see the highest mountain, sun falling asleep behind the clouds. The most incredible sunset I have ever seen!

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The second full day I decided to wear a damn hat the whole day. Tom had one with and I looked stupid with it but I didn’t care. As long as I don’t get any strokes. All the rides we got were by tourists who wanted to stop on every viewpoint. Convenient to me as I wanted to take pictures from all angles. On one of the stops it was so windy that when I lifted my hand off from the hat to take something, the hat flew away. And not just on the ground but over the damn cliff. Yes, I lost the only hat we had. Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as the day before, so no strokes whatsoever. We visited few little villages and Tenerife just managed to make a little nest in my heart and stay there. I was a little naive to think that the vacation is going to last that way.

The one big hike Tom had planned was climbing El Teide. And not just that, but from the sea level. That is more than 20km, 3718m elevation. We started with a nice cloudy weather. Seemed like it is not going to be too bad. On our way people started throwing us thumbs and waving. One got even a little concerned and told me to go pasito. By the way, I learned so much Spanish on that trip. It seems like a nice easy language to learn, so I’m planning to get more into it in England as well. Back to El Teide. After walking 4-5h, as always, I felt I’m braking. “I don’t want to do this”, “Why are you making me do this”, “How much longer” “I am giving up”, all those usual sentences were on repeat in my head. After hiking higher of the clouds, the sun came out again. And this time hotter and drier than ever. First time in my life I experienced a panic attack. With the 10kg bag under a hot sun, after 5h hike I felt I cannot breath. Didn’t matter how much i tried, I felt I am not getting enough of air. My hero saved me again. Tom took my bag and without an extra weight I managed to go at least that far that we got into a shadow. On around 1600m of elevation we met the forest guards. As it is so dry, the danger of fire is very very high. Every single person mentioned us not to do any fire there. We were not planning to because we already knew that, but they still felt it to be needed to say. The guys gave us water, fruits, chocolate. What else could I ask for. We told them it is very difficult for us as we are not used to that dry air. They said on top of Teide the humidity % is around 5-10. What????? I knew, I am not going there. On that day I managed to push myself few more hours, but I was sure I am not going to hike it to the top.

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2150 was the elevation from sea level that we hiked that day. We had a rough day with amazing views behind us. We spent the night under the starts and had the most amazing dinner (chickpeas and salad). Tom woke up at 2am to catch the sunrise on top of Teide and I started walking towards the road first thing in the morning. This night I slept so bad. Not just because it got suddenly freezing and Tom was snoring, but as soon as he left me 2am, every little noise made me nervous. The only animals there are lizards, and still I felt like someone is walking towards me. I fell asleep at 4am, woke up at 7 and did my little solo hike. After 2h I was on the road. I had 2 options- to walk 7km on a very narrow curvy road or to hitchhike them. I had enough of hiking and I didn’t want to take a single step on  that road. I decided to hitchhike alone, first time ever. I do not recommend it, but as it was very touristic part, I felt it was okay. 3. car I hitchhiked stopped. It was a couple that was driving to the exact same place. Lucky? Maybe. If You are ever planning to visit Tenerife, then Teide is a must! Especially if you are from anywhere but a warm country. The dessert-like surroundings and mountains are nothing like you have seen in Europe. If you are not a hiker, then road goes up to 2200 and on not windy days you can take a cabin lift from there until almost to the top.

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I met Tom 2-3h after and he was exhausted. I had been napping on a bench while he was climbing up to the top and back. We decided to hitchhike somewhere to get a bite and take a rest. When I am abroad I want to taste authentic local food, so I ordered a Canarian salad. I got a plate full of fruit, veges and fish. Everything was good, but did not match at all. Who would eat banana and orange with tuna? After many Germans we arrived to a small town and spent the night on the beach. Is it allowed? No. But if you go in the dark, make no trouble, no noise, leave no litter behind, no one really cares. The best meal that day was local watermelon. SO GOOD! I must say all the local fruits are tastier than you are used to. We ate hundreds of mangos and watermelons on that trip.

Next day with the heat we hitchhiked to the capital. Seemed like a nice place, but nothing special, really. If you are into partying then probably this would be the place (or south of the island, where all the tourists with this habit are). From Santa Cruz we got a lift by 3 students who where driving to the beach. The local one of them said the best beach to be Las Teresitas, so that’s where we went. Finally I saw the part of the island that I was imagining it to be like. Palms, sand, waves. That is my happy place.

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After an h we were back on the road again. Tom wanted to reach a small village before going to the airport, but for some reason up on the mountains no one took us. We managed to see a little bit of the famous laurel forest but that was it. In there you simply forget where you are as it looks nothing like rest of the island. We spent the whole evening hitchhiking and did not get a lift. In the morning we decided to skip it as we did not simply have any time left. We had to get back in order not to miss the flight to La Palma.

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In conclusion, Tenerife is amazing! You wouldn’t believe how different one small island can be in it’s different parts. I think everyone would find something to do there. Weather you are into hiking, partying, nature generally, people, beaches. It is all in that one island. When it comes to hitchhiking, it is not so bad as they say. Most of the cars that give lifts are of course tourists’, but locals do take hitchhikers as well. When it comes to camping, then you have to be a bit more flexible than usually. You may have to sleep on rocks or without the tent, but the views will make it all worth it.

As the first post came so long I might need to have a separate post for each island. Will see. I hope everyone of you will have the chance to experience this kind of place, a palmtree’s island!

 

Ireland

As I promised this post is about about my vacation in Ireland.

When planning a summer vacation I must admit, Ireland was not in my top 3 destinations. On the other hand, summer is the best time to do it “our way”. Before I start, I have to say that first time ever I forgot my camera home when going on vacation. That means I don’t have amazing photos to show you guys I did few with my phone, but for some reason the quality seems to get worse by time.

Giant Causeway 2

I hate yellow. And this trip I was wearing this yellow jacket all the time because the rain did not stop.

We packed our bags and drove the car to Pembroke, Wales, and took a ferry from there to Rosslare, Ireland. 4h was the only sleep we got that night as that is the time to get there. We arrived around 7 in the morning and started hitchhiking. Tom had read that Ireland and Iceland are the best countries to hitchhike around… well, he was right.

The plan was to hitchhike all around the cost, starting with the East side and finish with the South. And all that in one week. I know, AMBITIOUS. But we did it! Almost. We didn’t have time for the South, though.

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Our ambitious vacation in 1 week.

The first longer stop was in Wiklow mountains. One of the driver giving us a lift was an Estonian!! Can you believe, in the middle of nowhere, an Estonian gives a lift to Estonian. I felt like home. Before climbing uphill we ended up having a long chat and coffee with the last driver on the way there. We talked about the economics and hitchhiking, travelling and real estate. It came out his grandson is working in Estonia. Again, Estonia is bigger than it seems. About the mountains I can say, it’s nice…. but not my favourite. A bit too low for me although we saw pretty nice views. We made a few-hour hike in the mountains and started hitchhiking further. During that day we barely got any rain. Yet it was so cold that I was wearing gloves, hat, everything I had. Seemed like local people felt the temperature differently, cause they felt comfortable in shorts and t-shirts.

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Tom walking through weeds as high as me in Wiklow.

The first night in Ireland was supposed to be spent in Dublin and with a miracle we made it. By the end of the first day we had met an Estonian, guy who’s grandson lives in Estonia and 2 Lithuanians. What are the chances?! So, Dublin….. It is a nice city, but in my opinion a little overrated. It is just a city. There are no parks or big green areas. What is more, the little green they have, is fenced. That is also a reason why we ended up climbing fences in the middle of the night. We were so tired and already decided where to put a tent up until 2 locals stopped us and asked if we need any help. It came out that the region we had stopped is a bit dangerous. They claimed that some juvenile criminals have put a guy on fire there. Yeah, I wasn’t so sleepy any more. They showed us a fenced park and were sure if we are not going to bring attention, it will be fine. They were right, we got out before they had even a chance to open the gate in the morning.

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Pub street in Dublin.

The most difficult part of the trip was getting out of Dublin. Hundreds of cars and noone wanted to take us. Here I have to explain you something, There are to types of people who will stop their cars and give you a ride. One type is “hitchhikers”, so people who used to hitchhike or simply have no fear in front of it. They are happy to help you out, get to know you a little, and see their own country through a foreigner’s eyes. The other type is “savers”. People who think they have to save you from a bad spot of hitchhiking, dangerous people etc. A woman from the second type stopped and gave us a ride out of Dublin. Of course we were happy as we had been in one spot for hours. Yet, most of the times those “savers” put you in an uncomfortable position. They are helping you out, but during the whole ride you have to listen and nod while they are completely fustigating your way of travelling. It is not pleasant but it happens. Another thing to mention when talking about Dublin is crazy prices. It is the same level with London for sure. Not just that the beer in a pub costs 6 euros, but to get a room there is just a nightmare. Monthly a thousand or more for a room is quite ordinary.

On our way out of Dublin we got a long ride from a guy who was on his way to shopping…. in Newry. If you check the map then Newry (in Norther Ireland) is 100km from the capital of Ireland. Because of the difference in prices people drive 100km to go grocery shopping behind the border. Seems like a little too much for me, but I guess it’s worth it then. And at that point for sure I didn’t mind, as we had a fun ride for 100km.

In Newry we met 2 lovely ladies that didn’t have plans for Sunday and decided to go where ever we were going. At first we said we are going to the next town, but then it came out in the conversation that we want to go to Belfast for the night. And on our way to Newcastle they decided to drive to Belfast with us. While giving us a ride they did a spontaneous visit to one of the lady’s son’s home. You’re welcome! In Northern Ireland the accent is very strong and it’s not rare that you have to ask 2 or 3 times before understanding the question. In this car we were discussing the issue between Irish and English, about the history, about the current situation. For tourists it safe to go anywhere but for locals it is a little different. You need to know exactly which regions are nationalists’ areas and where Irish live. Just so you wouldn’t wave a Union Jack in Irish towns and vice versa. Even all those years later, the tension is still there. After spending a cozy night in Belfast, having a hot shower, and sleeping in bed for a change, back on the road. Next stop was a valley with beautiful river, waterfall and castle.

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In Belfast. It really is a nice city!

We had a slow few-hour walk in a beautiful Valley with amazing views. Sun was shining and I really felt like on a vacation. We didn’t spend too much time on just sitting around there but decided to get back to the road as soon as possible. The next stop was Giant Causeway. All the coastline in Ireland is amazing. Yet, I feel it is slightly overrated. Giant Causeway was a little different due the volcano caused shape of the rocks. This time the weather was not so good. It was just pouring rain.. constantly. Seemed like it didn’t hold the tourists back, though. A lot of people still walking around even if the rain is pouring like hell. Cannot blame them, the view was unbelievable. Locals say that Irish weather means 4 seasons in 1 day. And on the sea you could see them all. It was pouring rain, but somewhere on a horizon it was sunny and summer was pushing through the deep clouds.

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Those funny rocks. And on cliffs they look like pipes.

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This contrast is breathtaking.

I am not going to stop for too long on places we didn’t have really time to see much. We wanted to visit the highest cliffs, but it was so rainy and foggy, that we didn’t even bother climbing up to the top. Instead we had a little more time in Galway. Seems like one of the favourite cities of locals. Everyone recommended and went crazy about it. As we saw it just at night and the very center only, I can say it was nice, but not sure if I would go as crazy as other people. There was a horse-racing festival going on when we arrived which meant tons of drunk people at night. And the falafels we tried were bullsh*t, so I don’t know.

The very end of the trip was saved for the best- Brandon mountain. As I said Ireland is not the destination if you are looking for beautiful weather. It is a destination when you want to meet cool people and see the nature at it’s finest.

Before going on with Brandon, I will mention the cliffs of Moher. Again because it is so hyped we decided to go. I am not saying it is not worth visiting it, but I am saying it is not worth driving to Ireland because of that. The same kind of views you can see in Wales or England as well. So nothing really new for me.

Before climbing uo to Brandon we managed to find a spot for the tent in one of the most amazing places in Ireland. In front of us mountains and the sea. I must say climbing in rain and mud is difficult and exhausting, but the views are worth it. I didn’t go to the top as it was too foggy and I was already tired of saving my feet from drowning in the mud. Instead I was climbing down while Tom went up alone. Just so you know, we ended up in our meeting place almost the the same time. He climbed 200m more and arrived 10 min before me. Yeah, I am slow. I did mention in one post about the knee problem I had. I have been trying out some insoles and seems they help enough to keep away the big pain. I did not feel the stabbing at once. Good for me right?!

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Tom taking a rest when climbing Brandon.

The second time we got stuck on the road was on the same peninsula after climbing the mountain. We were in a small hole and noone wanted to take us. Spent the night again in amazing surrounding. Saw the sun going to sleep behind the horizon while eating the dinner and in the morning woke up with sun smiling behind the mountains. Pure beauty.

As you can see from the map, we visited Cork as well but that was really just a 15 min stop, so I cannot really give my opinion in this. We managed to hit Rosslare even sooner than expected. Had an amazing meal at the port and good sleep on the beach.

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Those clouds.

This was quite a long one, sorry about that. These where the main highlights for me in this trip. So much happened and we met so many nice people. My message with this post is to encourage you all to try out this way of travelling. You cannot take shower as often as you would like to, you are tired of holding your thumb up and waiting, It is unexpected and you may find yourself either on the backseat of new Mercedes or in a trunk of a van. All those downsides are true. But you meet amazing and inspiring people and get to know the country through locals eyes and experience. You can literally ask them anything about the life there and get an honest answer. Quite often you end up in places you did not plan going and discover destination you did not even know of. That is the reason to do it in that way!

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My rock, my partner in crime. One guy said if we are going to survive this trip, we are going to survive anything as a couple. Wise words.

This time no new pictures in photography section as the quality does not handle any criticism. Oh btw… for the future (in case I forgot the camera again) can anyone recommend me a phone that has a camera decent enough for photography?

But about the song, I guess you saw that coming …. I don’t know any Irish songs :(, so here it is, something from Galway.

South of England aka the hardest biking ever

Me, camera, my bike and the Sun.

Hei, You, You and You! I have been promising a review of my Southern England trip already for a while and for some reason life has taken over and it is still not done. Well now I am sitting down to talk about the most difficult biking I have ever had to do.

So we thought it would be a good idea to spend a long weekend in South of England WITH BIKES. At first Tom planned it as a 2-3 day biking trip… Khmm. I am everything but a biker. My ass gets sore after first 40km and then I don’t want to even see those 2 tires for a month.

So we drove to the South with the car, left it in a parking place, threw our bags over shoulders and put up a tent. I think it was the most romantic night in my life. Full moon lighted the whole empty beach, night was warm and calm. Perfect time to spend the night under the stars.

Yes this is Moon shining bright like a diamond. We even had shadows?! At night?!

The next day we were supposed to start the “long” biking trip. From the map the cliffs don’t seem as steep and high as they are. So for our surprise they were damn difficult to cycle. 70% of the track I was pushing my bike. I managed to bike downhill with brakes on, but that was about it. The first day started with clouds and for sure not as hot as the previous night so I didn’t really think of even getting my sunscreen out. Before leaving my mom had left me a message to be careful with the sun… hah.. which sun?! But MOMS ALWAYS KNOW BETTER!

It was about mid day when the sun came out and was shining damn bright. I am such a fan of sun so I never mind. The cliffs where AMAZING. The views are just fantastic. So you can imagine how many people were walking around there. The closer you got to some hut or a resting place, the more crowded it got. Although, taking a bike with was still a bad idea. After like 2-3 hours of pushing my bike uphill with the sun burning as hell, I was sure I am not going to sit on that bike tomorrow. My shoulders were burnt, couldn’t even touch them. And I don’t get sunburnt…. ever. So how did that happen I don’t know. Even my nose was peeling days after.

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When ask other people to take a picture…. Let’s say it’s okay.

As I said, I didn’t hop on the bike net day. We drove the car a bit further and put the tent up on the beach again. I experienced the perfect morning for me. I woke up at 7am… just like that. Put my bikinis on and went swimming. The water was cold enough to need time to go in, but warm enough to stay there. After refreshing and cooling swim I decided to try to meditate as this was the perfect surrounding. I sat there for about half an h… just me and the ocean breeze, thinking that I want to wake up like this every single morning. If I only had a good cup of coffee right there as well…. that, my friend, would have been a paradise.

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So peaceful, so calm.

So we didn’t bike this trip any more. We decided to go home sooner as were both red as crabs. On our way back I insisted on going to 2 places. First stop Arundel castle. This giant castle looks exactly like from a fairy tale. I didn’t want to pay half of my salary on simply getting in, so I bought a ticket to the gardens only. I had seen some pics of it and I wanted to create my own. Tom didn’t come of course, so this view was just for me and my camera. First time I remembered to take my tripod with and for some reason, people think that this shows that I know what I am doing…..Well I don’t. At least 2-3 people asked me to take a picture of them….. cause it would be professional…. Sure. I did tell them that I am not a photographer, but…. You know people. I tried to stay in shadows the whole time because by that time my skin was on fire. I don’t eve remember the last time I felt so much pain because of sun. If it hurts then it loves?

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Can You believe it?! I do need to buy some equipment as  taking picture in sunlight is way too much for this camera. Maybe I don’t know all the tricks, but long exposure is out. Check rest of the pictures of the garden from my photography section.

The last stop, but not least was a lavender field. Another thing I saw on the internet and wanted to experience by myself. We picked a field in Lordington as it seemed that they do not ask too much money for the visit. When arriving it came out that the “season” is not even started and the farm is closed. The field was available only for photo shoots with photographers. I believe in kindness and we decided to ask to stay anyway. For a pleasant surprise they didn’t mind me taking few pictures from the other corner of the field while photographers were calmly giving introductions for kids running around on the field. I was amazed. Who doesn’t know, then purple is my damn favourite colour and there was a loooooot of purple. One little ginger girl even wanted to pose for me. As I can see from my pics, I need to take more pictures of people, cause I am not pleased. Yet, how cute is that.

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And that was about it for the this time. If you are thinking of visiting England then the White Cliffs are worth it! 😉 P.S The pictures of other places are up as well!

I have to find some time to write, cause I have already another trip to tell You about. 4 days ago I came back from Ireland and I am soooooooo excited to tell You about it. After a long time we tried the hitchhiking again and man, how easy it in Ireland. I cannot wait to write You about it. But his time, cheers, for everyone who still keeps reading my blog ;). I really appreciate it!

For the song of the post I chose something that makes me feel good, makes me want to dance, makes we want to jump into the ocean.

Weird pictures vol 2 aka Italy

The second part of series “Weird pictures from…”.
This time we stop in Italy.

Long time no see. I am sorry for not keeping You up to date, but I had a little vacation at home and time just flies faster than I can write.

A little catch up will come soon, but in this post I would like to share some more funny pics I have taken on my trips. The last part of this series was made of pictures taken in England, so this time I would show you some other part of Europe.

Let’s make the first stop in Italy- one of my favorite places to travel to. I have been to Italy 3 times and without an exception, I have seen some weird stuff EVERY SINGLE TIME.

*Some of the pictures are taken with a phone (from “no camera period”) so quality might be not so good.

The first pictures is taken in Milan.

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Someone has really made an effort. I think it looks good.

This one is taken from Genova at the same trip.

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I have no idea how this kind of marketing should work, but…. I don’t think it is sending the right message. But what do I know, right!

I do have to say that Venice fascinates me. For me it is just so weird to think that you order yourself a boat for a ride, or you can literally fall in the water when missing a step on a street.

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I guess this is not very drunk-people friendly. so let’s learn how to swim, before visiting Venice, okay?!

THE symbol of Italy- motorbikes. You think that they are exaggerating in movies with the rollers. IMG_20151008_152101.jpg

Yeah, they are not. You can see on the backround some more bikes. They are in rows of 7 and literally parked so full that I cannot imagine getting one out right from the middle.

The next one is taken on my hiking trip through the Alps. In one of my favorite cities Verona.

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The thing was moving…. Is that not a bit too weird to be meant for kids? Okay, just me then.

I absolutely love the vibe of Verona but what is that?

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I understand the whole thing with romance and stuff…. but a love letter on a plaster?! A bit too much.

And last but not least- Livigno.

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Amazing place for doing sports and setting your goals up high. The greed of people is  real. Always wanting a bigger one.

That is it for today. I hope you enjoyed at least one of them because I had a lot of fun taking them. As this is dedicated to Italy let’s end it with an Italian note as well. I guess there is only one song to end this with. For good old times and people spending some amazing time in Sicily with me years ago! Buongiorno!

London, baby!

My weekend in London: crazy people, architecture and overly brave animals.

I don’t know where the time flies. It is already way too long since my last post. That means it’s time to let you know what I have been up to. I have been busy working, so nothing much to say about that. I did have a little city tour which I am going to review in a second.

As 1st of May was a day off, we decided to go to London. I wanted to go already sooner, but as we didn’t have that much time, then the guys were running around with knives, so…. we didn’t make it before May. One of my best friends from Erasmus is currently living in London so we had more than one reason to go.

We spent in London 2.5 days and in my opinion it is more than enough. We didn’t manage to see absolutely everything, but probably the most important things we did. And the last half a day we didn’t even look around, but just spent time with friends. So,  We had walked for about 2h when I felt, damn…. my kneepain is back and BIG TIME. Oh yeah, btw, I have been having terrible kneepain from time to time. It all started after my first hikes in mountains, so obviously it is related to just weak muscles and too much load at once. Lately I had the pain also at night and randomly during the day. It is damn difficult to diagnose yourself, but I think I found the main cause. Since then I have been actively training my muscles and dealing with the problem. I must say, haven’t had the pain after London. Yey!

Anyway. I had terrible knee pain the both 2 days walking around London. It started already in the beginning so we had to redo our plans as I wasn’t able to just walk anywhere. Our tour started with Tower Bridge. Hmm… I am in between with the feelings about it. I do liked it, but it wasn’t really as I expected it to be. As it is so hyped, I was expecting something…. special? It wasn’t though. It was pretty and all the people going crazy around it, but nothing shockingly beautiful. As it is a “must see”, then of course, you should visit it when in London.

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After Tower Bridge we started walking by the Thames river towards Big Ben. I must say, the way there goes so fast as there are so many “crazy” people doing their things. Like a circus without animals- sounds good, right?!

Like that musician.

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Like those people. Some of them more inspiring than others.

I guess when you have been reading  and seeing the pictures from something so many times that you have a certain imagination how it looks like, you are quite likely to have a little.. hmm how to say… reality check/disappointment when you see it in real life. It doesn’t apply to all of the things/places, but in my experience it does to buildings. So there it was, Big Ben…. and again I wasn’t sure if I love it or I have been taught to do so. I did like it more than Tower Bridge, though, but it for sure was not my favourite part of the city. You could really see the nice small details and all that makes it worth it to go there personally. Another place I was expecting to be wowed by was Trafalgar Square. Sounds fancy, right?! Well guess what…. it is nothing. There was literally nothing. I don’t know what I was expecting… but for sure it wasn’t nothing. I am sorry if I offended anyone who has been there and loved it…. I just didn’t- at all. Might be just my particular taste as for me it was a square like any other.

The day ended with meeting my Erasmus friend in the downtown and grabbing some beers. If you must know, the beer costed over 5 damn pounds…… Huh. We need a moment here. If you are used to 2pound beers in the pubs and suddenly they ask… double!! Yeah. After long day of walking, 1 beer was totally enough and after hearing the price, even more so. We walked around the center a bit and decided to have a dinner in Chinatown. If you imagine a big city like London, then you would expect quite a big  Chinatown as well. Well, it was just few streets. Which in my , to be honest, is super cool, because I don’t really fancy when they bring in foreign culture so much that you forget about the country you are in. So that was a nice surprise. We went to a Chinese restaurant where you have to pay 12 pounds each and can eat then as much as you like. Of course I tried everything…. which means later crawling out of the place, but still worth it. Food was okay, nothing wow, but I did try some new things, so I was pleased.

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On our way home we walked by Buckingham palace, which was the biggest disappointment of the trip. I didn’t even take my camera out, because there was literally nothing to take a picture of. That’s a shame as teachers in schools really hype it (for other reasons though). Again, I am sorry, if you really liked it.

The next day my lovely Erasmus friend came with us and showed us some places she thinks are worth to visit. So we went to Harrods. Tom didn’t enjoy that at all, but I LOVED it. I know it is just a mall, but it is so damn fancy that you could ride with the escalator all day long. Didn’t buy anything there, but we just walked around and visited a fancy toilet (weird, I know). Have you ever been in a toilet where there is a Chanel’s or Hugo Boss original perfume on the table for free usage? Yeah, me neither.

After this super expensive mall we decided to go to a natural environment again and visit some parks . We went through the Hyde park and then took some pictures in the Regent’s park. Again I guess I was expecting something….. different of  Hyde park. It was nice, made you forget about the fact you were in a big city, but that was it. It was just a field of grass. And as people are used to feed the birds and animals there, we met the most human-friendly squirrel. Usually they just escape as soon as they see you, but this one basically ate from your hand. The same applied to birds. The swans were holding a bit back, but if they showed food in their hands, they came really close. When it comes to bird feeding, then I don’t think it is good, though. Swans in the park were literally eating garbage, because they trust whatever they are given. So sad. The Regent’s park was a bit different. Instead of grass fields, there were flowers and fountains. For sure less natural than the Hyde park. I liked that one as well as I got some good pictures in there- that’s why.

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That crazy squirrel.

We finished our little city tour with having a bite in some street restaurant area. There were literally tens of different street retsaurant that were offering food from all kind of places in the world. There were some French cuisine, Indonesian food, Italian, Chinese, Caribbean.. you name it. I decided to try a French burger…. which I didn’t like, but as I did like the idea of the place so much, I wasn’t too sad about it. And it was sooooo many people that you could barely walk through it. In that situation I found myself discovering that I am out of that stage in my life when I enjoyed the crowds. I for sure don’t anymore. But from time to time it’s still nice to get out of home and comfortzone.

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Street food introducing the world.

That’s about it. That was LONDON. I still suggest to go, but in my opinion it doesn’t need more than few days. It has it’s nice big city life features. So if you are into that, this is a place to go!

P.S As always, check out my pics as well!

 

Easter in Wales

Easter roadtrip around South of Wales

It is so nice to be abroad at Easter, because unlike in Estonia, you get 4 days off. This time we decided to make a little roadtrip around South of Wales. Well at first we thought we are going to make it a hiking trip, but as the weather again didn’t want to cooperate at all, we hiked only on one day for few hours. So, i guess you cannot even call it a hike.

We started already on Thursday after my work, but as we arrived to Littledean so late, we stayed there for the night. After good sleep and rich breakfast we took our bags and hit the road towards Cardiff. As it was 3 of us this time, we had 2 tents. Well, let’s say my Estonian friend didn’t enjoy sleeping in the tent too much, as she was basically sleeping under rain. She had a tent that had just one lair which means all the humidity in the tent fell on her as soon she moved around in there. In the morning she woke up almost soaking wet. And probably it wouldn’t be a problem if the nights would have been warm… but they weren’t. I was fully dressed and in 2 sleeping bags, so I didn’t feel cold but I can imagine how bad sleeping in wet tent was. During the day the temperature didn’t rise much above +10. Yes, local people were wearing shorts and t-shirts, but that didn’t make me want to take my skiing jacket, gloves and hat off. I am such a warm lover, I cannot help it.

So the 2 cities i was really looking forward to visit were Cardiff and Swansea. Unfortunately, and I really feel it’s unfortunate, because I had such high hopes, I didn’t really like either of them. It was not bad, but nothing special either. I did like the little “port” in Swansea, I think it was lovely. Especially at night with all the lights. Rest of the city, on the other hand, nothing to see, really. How disappointing. In Cardiff we visited the castle, of course, which was okay, I guess. But that was about it. We made a 4-hour walk in the city and besides the castle… I don’t think I took my camera out even once. And that is a big thing. So I don’t know… not my kind of cities. And I guess in general I have to say that the cities/towns in there are for sure not the reason to go to Wales. So, I am not going to really talk about them.

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One of the few pics I took from Cardiff. Big door but small lock (if you try to look at the lock, then it’s normal door’s size). Apparently size doesn’t matter.

Rest of the trip we focused again on the coastline and searching for amazing views. In Rhossilli we even had a small 2-hour hike. Which turned out to be amazing. The sun came out, we even managed to take the jackets off for few hours, and burn our noses. As soon as i got out of the car, I smelled coconut. Of course there are no coconut trees, so I was super suspicious. The more I walked around, the more I was sure I can smell coconut. After pointing it out to my friend she agreed with me, but we couldn’t figure out what was it. An hour, or so, later Tom came and asked if we can smell coconut as well. He has quite bad nose, so now I was sure, that I am smelling it right. Apparently some yellow bushes were giving out the smell. And especially when you found a spot with no wind, you could smell the coconut so clearly. And I love coconut!

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Next stop was a nice small town St Davids. They have a huge cathedral there, which at Easter time is obviously full of people. I must say I am not very cathedral/church-person. I do like the architecture, but it is not that often that I take out my camera for that. In St Davids I did. And this time I didn’t even take pictures of the architecture, but I was amazed about some patterns they used on the floors/ceilings. That “interior lover” side of me came out instantly. I couldn’t get carried away too much as someone was practicing organ at the same time. I find clerical music a bit creepy in such big cathedrals anyway, so doing the same lines all over again several times didn’t help. Probably I am the only one.

Is it just me, or those patterns are really nice indeed?! My favourite is the floor (on left). And have you ever seen wooden ceiling in church??

Almost by accident, Tom found and amazing blue lagoon near Fishguard. It was very nice beach with an amazing view. But right behind the beach there was an artificial blue lagoon. If anyone of you has visited Rummu in Estonia, then this was something like that. The water was super cold, but sooooo blue that you couldn’t even believe it. Yeah, I took like 2000 pictures. I think it is so cute and mysterious that it was hidden right behind the little hill. Most of the people would probably just settle with the view from the beach, not even knowing what’s waiting behind the hill. That’s didactical, right?!

After the lagoon we drove further and stopped in few other small towns, but as I said before, it was really nothing special. If you want to see the beauty of South-Wales, you need go to the coast! Hopefully in summer we will have a chance to visit Snowdonia as well. I am so excited and cannot wait! If the weather would cooperate just a little more than so far…

That was my Easter weekend. We managed to make  a nice 1000km roundtrip (from the map small stops missing). Check out some extra pictures, as always, from “photography”.

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Time flies, soon it’s June and guess what, I AM COMING HOME! Yes, I really hope I will get the tickets and I can spend few days in Estonia. I miss my friends and family already, and as my little brother is about to graduate, I want to be there for him as well.  So all my Estonians, hopefully see you in June! If you want to meet up, let me know!

As my thoughts are already “flying over” Estonia, Curly Strings can have this post. One of their older, yet one of my favourite songs.

 

 

Memories from South-West of England

Roadtrip around South and South-West of England.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I couldn’t start the work before April so I had another week off. The car made it happily to England (ptuiptuiptui), so we decided to spend a week out of Reading. I searched out plenty of stuff, from which we by the end of the week didn’t manage to see any of. But I guess it is for the next time.

We started the trip by heading straight to South from Reading, hoping to see a sunset near Stonehenge. Unfortunately we didn’t make it on time, so it was already closed when we arrived. For my surprise they are asking money on the gates, and not little money. For an adult it costs 17 pounds to see the rocks…. Yes, 34 pounds to get in with your mate. That is overpriced for sure. As our plan was already ruined we decided to drive further and not wait until the morning when the gates open. We headed towards Salisbury and hoped to reach Poole by the end of the day. That night we ended up sleeping next to a cemetary near Poole. It was so creepy at first, but as we were both so tired, it didn’t really matter. In the morning and in sunlight we noticed a sign that there is a camping area in 100yards. Oeh…

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Yeah, You can say I have seen Stonehenge.

For the next day we planned a little hike in Dartmoor National Park. We asked from a village what places are worth to visit, packed our bags and started walking. We took with everything. And by everything I mean everything. We thought we are going to hike over the hills and hitchhike further for few days, but English weather said, hello NO, guys! SO, it was raining all the damn day, and the wind wanted to blow off our faces. So instead of hitchhiking further, we just walked down back to the car. I must say I was a little disappointed. I guess I am just already used to hiking in big mountains and suddenly few hundred meters is not enough.  And at that moment we decided that we are not going to make this trip a hitchhiking trip. We sat in the car and started looking for a place to park the car… again. This time we didn’t go too far. Found a little space next to a small road near Princetown.  When mentioning Princetown, I must say that the roads there are crazy! Not that its just up-and-down, but they have planted some bushes right next to the road so you cannot see on the sides. And what is more, most of the time you can fit on the road only 1 car. Why?!

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On our way over the hills. This time no cows, only sheep, who were so scared that escaped as soon as they noticed you coming.

The next day we were driving again towards Cornwall and the very South-West edge. In one small town local people suggested us to go to Tavistock to try local farmer’s food. After mentioning food we were already sitting in the car, speeding towards Tavistock. We ended up buying 2 types of cheese (blue cheese and hard cheese with garlic) and bread. We chose only the products that you could buy from there and nowhere else.  We wasted about 20 pounds on damn sandwich. BUT, we ate the sandwiches for like 3-4 days. The hard cheese is still left and in the fridge. So, if you divide it by the days, not that expensive after all.

From Tavistock back to the coast. Next stop was St Austell and little villages around it. Amazing coastline and amazing views! That part I recommend for sure. We took some chips from “fish and chips” in the port and enjoyed the view. It was a little rainy but the food makes it always better. And if you didn’t know, then “fish and chips” is a thing here. I think it is the most popular fast food as you can find it almost on every street. We ended up with the views in Land’s End. It is good that I can say I have been there, but I wouldn’t say you have missed anything if you haven’t. If you have visited any other coast in South of England, it is pretty much the same. I would maybe even say that the beaches before the very end were even prettier. One beach even had a little sand area, so from a distance really seamed like a paradise (check out the pic from photos). There was something like a window in the water (in Land’s End), but not sure if you can really call it a window. Surprising thing was that there are whales, sharks and dolphins swimming around. I checked the information written down for tourists and they mentioned different type of whales, sharks and dolphins. Unfortunately didn’t see any on that day. BUT, in Mevagissey I did notice a fin in the water, that from time to time just disappeared. I am not sure what was it, but I want to think it was a shark.

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Can you see it?! There is a fin in the water! On the right side in first third from up. Right?! It’s tiny, but it’s there!

From the very western point we started driving back towards Bristol. As this was the town I was supposed to meet one of my very best friends from Estonia. On the way we visited Appledore (and basically all the other small ones around there), Brigewater, and Bath. I must say I LOVED that small town Appledore. This kind of town is a place I would like to live in. As the weather was quite windy and  even a bit stormy, the sea was unbelievable. We were standing on some street right next to the sea and waves just kept jumping over the wall on the street. The waves were so big that surfers seemed like ants in them. And seeing the real surfing (without the kite)- damn, I think my bucket list just got longer. About Bridgwater I cannot say much. Didn’t really leave any impression.  But I had really high hopes for Bath, but I must say I didn’t like that one either. You know, sometimes you just don’t connect with the vibes of the place and that’s it. Bristol, on the other hand, I enjoyed a lot. Nice architecture, active nightlife, river- what else can you ask for. As we arrived already in the dark, I cannot give you any feedback of the town in sunlight. The night in Bristol was nice for sure. If you like partying and getting to know the city in that way, you should go!

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Nike tree in Bristol. Local people didn’t really know the reason why the trainers are hanging there either.

When we were already in Bristol, it came out my friend didn’t come there and is waiting for me in Littledean. My phone just keeps letting me down lately. I am not sure what’s the problem, but the messages are coming through like hours later. If I want my messages hours later I would just send a dove… Anyway, after walking around few hours we decided to drive for the night to Littledean and spend some time with my Estonian homie. I must say I loved that place. Really small, but so nice. She is living in a shared house there with an amazing view from the backyard. For the night we went to a little local pub to celebrate our reunion (as I haven’t seen her for 8-9 months). I don’t even remember when was the last time I was in a pub until they kicked you out. Probably in Erasmus. We had such a nice time.  The next day we walked around at her work (she’s working in a biodynamic garden in a some kind of centre). Again so peaceful, so nice. Had an amazing meal there (made by a lady from Nepal) and had to start driving back home right after.

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Deep, right?! When walking around in the garden that is full of small signs and interesting cute spiritual elements, it does make you feel calm and stress free.

On our way home we stopped in Gloucester as I insisted visiting the cathedral. As soon as I heard that all the scenes in Hogwarts’ corridors are filmed there, I wanted to go. I am not that big fan (as I haven’t really read any of the books), but I am a fan enough to want to see it. I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. I just wish people nowadays would spend as much time on details when building houses as they did back then. Just incredible.

And last, but not least Oxford. I must admit, so far my favourite city. I remember I had the same feeling in Bucharest when wherever you turn, the view is amazing. You can take a picture of any of the streets and it looks fabulous. While walking around the city center I even felt a bit bad not going to study there. Fortunately it is close to Reading, so I can go back for more pictures at any time.

That is about it for this time. I added a whole bunch of pictures from the trip in my photography section, so go check it out! I had 300 of them, so unfortunately I couldn’t upload all of them.

And everyone of you who is thinking now that you should go and check out some new cities/places,  MOVE!

 

 

The cost of travelling

How to keep your trips in budget!

Btw the featured picture is taken from a car on our way to the Alps. One South-Korean guy gave us a ride and I noticed that the coin he used as a key holder is very, very familiar. It is 1 Estonian Kroon that is not in use anymore. He said he got it from his parents. I must say my heart was melting when I saw it.  And the damn guy didn’t even know it was Estonian and not a valid money anymore.

Travelling in Europe is right now the only subject I can write about. I haven’t made it further than Palermo from the South, Saint Petersburg from the East and Reading from the West. As you can see, there is a lot to discover for me as well. Yet, I have somehow found time and opportunities to visit quite a lot when considering my age, fact that my parents are not superrich, nor with a traveller’s soul, and that I have not taken any time off from work, nor school, to spend it just for discovering the world. That means anyone can do it, and anyone with the interest should do it.

So, how have I managed it all? First, crab an opportunity when you see it! One of the best ways to travel during your studies is joining a program. I have  participated in projects for basic school students about the Baltic sea (so, the age is really not a limitation), Euroscola, and Comenius for highschool students, and last but not least Erasmus for university students. Few of my friends have participated in different projects like workshops as well and have been pleased. Most of the projects are paid for you or the amount you have to pay is really ridiculously small (usually around 30%), so just go and enjoy. And last but not least school trips. From time to time schools organise trips abroad with a bigger group that makes the price per person smaller. I joined my teachers and schoolmates on a trip to Russia, and I must say, I was very pleased. Yes, you cannot really walk around by yourself, nor party, but in Russia you  maybe don’t want that much anyway.

I have also spent all of my savings and vacations on travelling and  hitchhiking on the road. When it is about seeing the places, meeting the people and having an adventure, you don’t have to worry about living costs and transportation. The only thing to worry about is the food and it has been mostly the only expense we have had. What is more, you can even save some money on that. I like hitchhiking and this vagabond freedom that you get when travelling without guides, planned tours or packages. You never know where you end up sleeping, visiting or who you end up meeting (sometimes can be scary, but still totally worth it).

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An amazing thing invented is couchsurfing. Not only you don’t have to spend a single penny for an accommodation, but you can meet very interesting and nice people on your way. One time we were hosted by a woman in her 80s. I must say I had some doubts before arriving, but Tom said she seemed very nice and  all my fears faded when I met her. She was like a German grandmother I came to visit after long time. She cooked for us and provided us with anything you could ask for. And what is more, she had so many stories and life experience to share that you just sat there (with your champagne and strawberries) and listened with an admire. If you are scared of staying over at stranger’s, you can always look up for cheap accommodation on the internet. Another advantage here is when you have already some experience with a project/program. Trust me, you get a lot of new friends from tons of different places. People that you meet through those are always waiting for you to visit and happy to show you around.

Another way not to spend money on accommodation is a tent and a sleeping bag. When it comes to hiking it is, of course, essential, but people tend to forget that you can put up a tent almost anywhere (hidden of course as it is not allowed in quite many places). And if not, you can make yourself comfortable in your sleeping bag on the beach when looking at the stars before falling in the sweetest dream you have ever had (been there, done that). The only disadvantage is that you need to keep all of your worthy items close to you. I usually put it in my sleeping bag as I am too short too use the whole length of it anyway.

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When it comes to decreasing your expenses on transportation then as mentioned one thing is hitchhiking. Before going to Erasmus I had never hitchhiked, not even in Estonia. Always felt that it is dangerous. But when I saw the faces of my friends when coming back from a hitchhiking trip, I was instantly on the hell-yeah-let’s –do-it- mode. Now, when thinking back of all the drivers I have met, it still puts a smile on my face. Yes true, all of them are not exactly sugar pies, but I believe that kindness and positivity lay eggs. So treat the people like you would like to be treated. Once we got stuck on Romanian-Bulgarian border and it was already getting dark. It was actually exactly right after the crazy Romanian had dropped us off (you can read more about it in my earlier travel post). You can imagine the frustration we had when no one stopped (also can happen sometimes), and we were 40km far from the final destination on that day. Like out of nowhere one old guy stopped, fit all 4 of us in his small car and drove extra miles just to help us out. This kind of experiences make you want to be a better person and see the good in people.

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If you are in a rush and don’t have time for hitchhiking (or simply don’t want to stand on the road), don’t worry, there are few options left. First, you can pick up a blablacar. It is for sure cheaper than flight tickets (usually) or trains, so can help you to save some cash as well. For cheap flight tickets we probably need another post to cover all the sites and ways. The last but not least is walking/biking. If you don’t have a year off you probably don’t have time for walking around the world, but you should consider it when getting to know a city/town. Don’t hop on the first city bus, rent a bike or put on your sneakers, and get to know the city by yourself. Not only is it cheaper, but you can see exactly the places you are interested in. In many big cities there are rental bike “stations” where you put in few coins, and can ride it as long as you want. By the end of the day just need to take it back to one of the “stations”.

Now the most important thing, FOOD. I am that kind of person who wants to experience the very authentic local life. For that I insist going to a restaurant or a pub (not expensive ones of course) in the country at least once. First, you feel yourself like a worthy human being and you can enjoy an amazing meal that you probably would not get at home. If you want to do it cheap there are few thing to remember. First, don’t try to find a cheap place in the center of the town/city. Go on the suburban areas and I am quite sure you will find something nice, and what is more, affordable. That doesn’t usually apply for shops though. Small “village shops” tend, on the other hand, to be a bit pricier than supermarkets.

When travelling then most of the times we cook for ourselves on the camping gas, though. It is cheap and rather quick (dependent on the weather though). After a long time in the mountains or waiting on the road the taste of unseasoned pasta becomes so fantastic that you start thinking about cooking like this at home. Of course the amazing taste fades with the hunger and you will never eat it at home. One day, when I will be a pro in this, I will let you know how to cook like a master vagabond! Right now I settle with pasta, lentils, rice or oats.

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Another way to cut down on your expenses on food is dumpster diving. I must admit I have never done it myself, as most of the places I have visited are not that kind of areas where you could dumpster dive. I know people who have done it in Denmark and got really fresh and good stuff. Probably it will work better in more western countries, where you can find completely fine food already put on top of the bin, so you don’t even have to dive. But as you don’t want any kind of disease or a diarrhea, watch what you put in your mouth!

If you are one of those people who enjoy guided tours, but think it is way too expensive, I have a good news for you. In most of the big cities there are free city tours with a guide. These are walking tours, so be prepared, and put comfy shoes on. At the end of the day you can simply give the guide as much as you think the tour was worth. There are many sites you can look it up, like freetour, freewalkingtour, neweuropetours etc.

The tricky part in all of this is the time. That can be the most valuable expense.  When going hitchhiking during a vacation you have to consider the fact that you might not get a ride as fast as you would like. For avoiding your boss’ mad face on Tuesday morning take more time. Add a day at least at the end of the trip to spend just on getting to the airport at the right time, or getting the ride home at the right time. It will also not hurt to look up some public transport options in case you will be stuck on the road. Because, the thing is, you move on the road as fast as someone who is willing to take you. Sometimes it means that you are half a day ahead from the driver and you need to stand there and wait for him to catch you up. Some other times you get the ride fast but he needs to take care of things on the way, gets lost, or is just simply a slow driver. So, take time and enjoy your way (if you remember my experience with fighting the time).

As you can see it is not that difficult at all. If you have the money or time, it will be even easier. Be safe and discover the Earth!

The song for this post I was really choosing for days. When I remembered the FUN, I knew, this is it. I wanted to add a song that would be inspiring. This song makes me feel like I can accomplish anything and maybe it will make you feel the same. This is the song that finished my high school years, one long chapter in my life. I must admit the summer right after graduating was one of my best summers ever. All my friends from that time have still stuck together, even when life has happened. Love you guys, you inspire me!

Fighting the cows and time

As my trip to the Alps was just full of unfortunate events, I have few more to share with you! This time facing the cows and lack of time.

More scary moments

Like I said in the first post of “when things go wrong”, I have plenty of little situations where I have been really really scared or the things have gone the opposite direction from my expectations. We are back in the Alps! This post I will dedicate to my amazing vacation in the Alps and my amazing Tom who always manages to come out of difficulties. Yes, I know, I already told you about the little tears (khmm) I had in the mountains on that trip, but the ones I am going to talk about today are not related to my fear of heights at all. As the stories I have left from the Alps are rather long, you have to settle with only 2 this time.

So, the first scene coming to my mind is me and Tom sitting in a tent and being abused by 40 cows. Let’s make one thing clear- I am not afraid of cows… usually! Okay?! I am a peasant, I am not afraid of domestic animals. Yet, I find it scary when the whole herd of cows confine me.

I remember waking up in the tent in French mountains (Mont Cenis) and seeing a huge amount of cows like 200 meters from us drinking water and sunbathing. As usually we did our little morning routines and didn’t really notice that the cows started coming towards us. They were already about 10-15 meters from the tent when I popped my head out of the tent and pulled it right back as quickly as I could. I whispered to Tom that the cows are right next to the tent and are staring at us. Should we scare them away? Should we close the tent’s door? Should we just keep sitting quietly? We decided to close the door and see what happens. So, for you guys, who haven’t been in the mountains- mountain animals are not like you are used to at your home/neighbours. They are not coming to you when calling by the name, they are rather wild and unstable, I would say (okay probably not). Well, at least they are not coming when you call them! You can notice it anywhere as they have put up big signs- to not disturb or go near the animals. Yeah probably a precaution but makes you careful and slightly scared. And they are big! Especially when you are sitting down, they seem like giants!

So, there we were looking into each other eyes, being surrounded by 40 cows (god knows how easily disturbed/irritated). And then, as I was not expecting at all, they all started coming to smell our tent.  All, one by one. You could only smell the… bad smells, see the tongue coming under the door towards you, and hearing “water” pouring right next to you (only a thin fabric separating from getting hit by it). To be honest, I was terrified. Not that they will shit on our tent or start eating our food, but that one of them decides to take a little break and sit on us. That is not the way I want to die, okay?! So, every time they rubbed their bellies or asses against the tent, Tom made this really funny (like an old farmer) noise “Uoooooouh”. And they really did listen. It didn’t scare them away for long, but at least they didn’t want to sit on us. After like an hour of waiting quietly them to get bored, I just started packing my stuff, thinking that in a chance they all are at least few meters from the tent, I will run for good. Fortunately, as soon as we started moving in the tent, they got scared and went back where they came from. Yeah, I know, should have done it sooner, but you never know, how they react to a noise/your behaviour. One must be careful with them for sure. So, here is an advice- do not close the tent when 40 cows are about to come and lick it!

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Some of the original “bad girls”!

The second story is about hitchhiking and being on time. Everyone who knows me, also knows I am never late. I feel so bad when I am late that I am rather too early than late. I don’t know, I just hate it. But when hitchhiking you cannot do anything about it. The worse thing is when it happens when you literally cannot be late. On our way back from the Alps I experienced first time ever what is it like to not be picked up for a long time. So, we started coming from France rather early and hoped to have some extra time for Belgium/Netherlands. Well, that didn’t happen. We got stuck in Belgium for half a day. We arrived at one of the resting areas around 4-5pm and didn’t get the ride until the next morning. The worse part was that it was on a highway (scroll down to look it up on the map), so we couldn’t even take a public transport. We were literally stuck.  What is more, I had my plane leaving the next day (around noon) from Germany (260km to go).

Probably because of the current migration situation in Europe, as soon as it got dark, people were literally running away from you. I was carrying my backpack the whole time to show that I am a hiker not a terrorist. Unfortunately it didn’t help much. Until the next morning everyone was either full or just escaped before we could even ask anything. In the morning (it was already around 8am) we convinced one truck driver to take us further as I was soooooooooooo freaked out I am going to miss the flight (and therefore work on Monday as well). He took us further, but it was still not enough to get to the airport, because we were already behind from the schedule and he could drive only with 90p/h. He dropped us off in Maastrich (Netherlands) about 100km from the airport. So, we had to take a train in the Netherlands (omg, this damn thing is expensive!) I think we paid like over 30 euros for both tickects. And when you have been hitchhiking the whole trip, then suddenly 30 euros per 90km is A LOT. We kept calling to our friends in Estonia and Czech to check any other kind of possibilities to get to the airport (Düsseldorf Weeze). Not only that there were not enough options in public transport to choose from, but all of them did not match with my plane departure.

So there I was, an h before the gate closing, around 100 km from the airport and with no ticket. Yes, I was supposed to print it out like 2 days before the flight, but remember, I just came from the mountains?! So, we had like 5 minutes until the train’s departure when we had to find a way to get further from our final train stop to the airport, and print out my ticket somewhere. As always, my Prince Charming got everything done on time. He asked one hotel receptionist to print it out and she was willing to do it. For some money, of course (cause let’s be honest, 1 A4 is damn expensive to print out). I remember sitting on the train and bothering everyone with questions like do you have someone living nearby, or do you have a car, or do you know how to get to the airport from Venray. Again, no one did, of course (would have been too easy). We even called for a taxi…. Oh boy… We were ready to pay 50!!!!!! damn euros to drive 25km to the airport. I was about to faint when I heard the price. And can you imagine the damn royal taxi was late.. a lot. So we came off the train in Venray, I was already so late and still 25 km from the airport. Now what?! That’s it? That’s where it all ends? I was so desperate that I started literally begging people to give me a ride. After embarrassing myself in front of like 3 cars, one couple was willing to take me. We arrived in front of the airport exactly when the gate was supposed to be closing. In the car I took out all of the liquid things to waste as little time as possible. I was running like a lunatic, but can you imagine, I made it. I love you Ryanair for being late! I even had to wait a bit at the gate to get on the plane. This was literally the first time in my life I was thankful for someone/something being late.

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The way from the resting area to the airport. For zooming in check it on google maps.

As you can already see, I am afraid of many things. I don’t know why. I just have this one idea how the situation could go wrong/dangerous and it’s just stuck in my head, freaking me out. It is stressful and nerve racking but this kind of situations make you feel alive! So next time I try not to worry (that much), cause things always work out when they are supposed to! 😉

I like adding little melodies to my posts (hopefully you too). In order to not worry, there is only one song for it!