six weeks of travelling
12.09.2008 - 16.10.2008
Wow. I am very behind in my blog postings...it looks like the last time i posted an entry was sept 12...which was approximately 6 weeks ago. so much has happened in the last 6 weeks. i wont try and capture everything that has happened. instead i will give a brief and superficial run down of what i have been doing the past 6 weeks.
(also you can refer to the travel map that I will repost above to follow my route. it shows dates when you run the mouse over it)
Krakow was one of the longest stop so far (not including Denmark). I was there 11 days in total, and although this sounds like a long time it really flew by
When I first arrived in Krakow my brother, Stewart, was still with me. we got there late at night after a brutal 13 hour train mission from Ceske Krumlov. the first night we didnt do much....just went out for some polish pizza (open-faced baugette with toppings, ketchup and garlic sauce) and went to bed.
in the three days that Stewart and I had together we took a walking tour of old town, went on a pub crawl and partied and went to auchwitz--which was a very hallowing experience. at the auchwitz bookstore i bought a book called "if this is a man" by Primo Levi and Italian auchwitz surviver. if anyone is interested in this tragic historical event i highly recommend this book...it gives an incredible insight as to life in the camp
Krakow main square
after stewart left to head back to canada i rented an apartment in Kazimierz--the former jewish neighbourhood--for a week. i got a really good price like 150 CAN for the week. the week i was there i just hung out and enjoyed Kazimierz, a super funky, raw and energetic neighbourhood that reminded me a lot of the plateau Mont Royal. i also partied quite a bit...
i spent 4 or 5 nights in Budapest. i forget now. I met a really cool Aussie guy named Mark and we hung out quite a bit. The highlights of Budapest were:
1) chilling out at the bath houses
2) the bohemian nightlife scene in different derilict buildings across the city
3) renting a bike and cruising along the river side
4) beholding the parliment buildings
i was only in belgrade for 1 night and two days ( i took a night train to montenegro at the end of the 2nd day). it is by far the most run down, ugly and poor city I visited in eastern europe. it was cool to see the cyrillic alphabet everywhere. it made things feel really other worldly. it was the first time in eastern europe I felt like i had really acutally gone behind the iron curtain into Soviet territory.
i met these two Brazilian girls during some sightseeing and we went out and partied at one of the river side clubs (basically big clubs set up on permanently moored river barges). the club was cool, but expensive and quite pretenious and full of serbian posers. the brazilian girls completely let down their countries reputation for voracious partying and went to bed early. i wasted a bit more money at the club and then headed for some delicoius Serbian cuisine: McDonalds
i arrived in montenegro on a hellish overnight train from Belgrade. i met this crazy orthodox guy on the train who kept me awake telling me his global conspircay theory about how satan worshippers were secretely in control of all world governments and were plotting to enslave humanity. the guy was fucking psycho!
finally i arrived in budva. the best way to describe budva is paradise on earth. it is this beautiful little venetian old town built on a tiny peninsula, surrounded by a multitude of beaches. the mountains come right up flush to the coast line; imagine the adriatic, beautiful sand beaches, towering mountains and a thousand year old fortified village....pretty awesome.
Budva old town
Budva old town
in budva i met up with an austrialian girl named courtenay. we shared a small apartment together in old town for 11 nights. it was cheap, clean and had a full kitchen.
i did a lot in the time i was in budva. i went on a boat trip, went scuba diving with some ukrianian people, hung out at the beach, chilled at an irish bar, watched aussie rules football with courtenay, went to nearby villages (including kotor and sveti stefan)
budva was one of my favorite stops so far
Croatia was really awesome, despite the fact that the croatian people are the most apathetic, uninterested and work avioding people i have ever met.
i spent 3 nights in dubrovnik which was absolutely beautiful. one of the nicest old towns i have ever seen. everyone should go to dubrovnik one in their lives. it is truly "the jewel of the adriatic"
Dubrovnik Old Town
i also went on SAIL CROATIA, which is basically a week-long boose cruise along the coast between split and dubrovnik, stopping at the different islands, such as Hvar and Korcula. it was a ridiculous party. almost too much...every night about 10 boats with 25 people (mostly aussies) on them each pull into port. everyone is partying and goes out to the same bar every night. its totally wild. one guy on my boat got so drunk he fell off a breakwater and almost died. even during the days the drinking was incessant. the best night was probably the toga party.
slovenia was very beautiful.
after croatia i met up with courtenay again and we spent 2 nights in ljubjiana and 4 nights in Lake Bled.
Ljubjiana is quite and quaint. a small baroque old town with a river running lazily through it. one day there we rented bike and just cruised around the old town. another day there we went for a hearty slovenian dinner (think austrian/alpen food)
Lake bled is so picturesque. its a totaly fairytale kind of place: a quiet teal lake, with a island in the middle with a old church on it, a castle clinging to a rugged cliff over looking the lake and a small town with churches and houses on the southern shore of the lake. not to mention the fact that the leaves had began to changes colours and falling into the lake. we rented a row boat and cruise around the lake, took the bus to a ski town and took a gonndala ride up in the alps and hike amongst the autumn leaves, and hike around in this mystic gorge near the town of Bled. it was very relaxing and enjoyable.
i arrived on the overnight train from belgrade thessaloniki. i was only back in belgrade for one night because it is a transport hub, and i decided to break up my trip from slovenia into two parts.
while in Thessaloniki i was couchsurfing with a 23 year old belgian guy (named koen) who is there on an exchange program. as school has just started he has only been there for a week...and he is already hosting: incredible. he is renting his own place with 3 other exchange students, from columbia, france and estoinia.
i stayed in Thessaloniki two nights. we drank by the white tower, walked around the city, went for Greek coffe (like turkish coffe), ate lots of gyros and just chilled out
at the moment of writing this blog entry i am in athens. I am couchsurfing with this awesome greek dude named Giannis. Giannis is literally the couchsurfing king. he doesnt live in an apartment so much as a flop-house. in two years since he joined couch surfing he has had over 1400 people stay in his place. i am just sleeping on the floor with everyone else.
all the negative things i have heard about athens so far (polluted, smoggy, hectic) havent rung true in my opinion. i really like athens.yesterday i just strolled around and had a greek coffee. i walked through the national gardens and check out the first modern olympic stadium. the acropolis lit up at night is truly spectacular. i havent done much other of the tourist stuff cause im waiting for when i come back with matt so we can do it together..
Acropolis at Night