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Mâine du Pâine la Câine

On Wednesday evening I arrived at the project, approximately a 1 hour drive from Cluj deep into the mountains! My arrival was great, Walking to the bus in Cluj I saw this backpacker dude. When I got into the bus he also entered a few minutes later. We didn’t really speak but I figured he would probably go where I was going. Which was the case. We both got out on the same station where Victor was waiting to pick us up! The dude was from USA, named Jon and doing as I am, traveling and volunteering at natural building places. At the time a German couple was also Volunteering (but only until the next Tuesday) that evening we all got to know each other and got a little tour of the area.

Basically we are living on the mountain slope, below in the valley is a village called Valea Ierii. the village and people living around here are Orthodox, this means we are not allowed to work on Sundays or Religious holidays for if we do so the people come running at us with their Scythes and Hayforks, The Thursday and Friday were Religious holidays. So we decided to take a approximately 8 hour hike on Thursday to get to know the mountains around here. Pictures of this hike can be found Here! On the way home that evening we picked nettles and Victor made us a delicious nettle soup with an baked egg and Polenta.

 

So what have we actually been doing here in the past 2 weeks?

Well we started with working on the cabins, there was a lot of plastering to be done both inside and outside. There are two cabins, The Illuminati cabin and the Pyramid cabin. The Illucabin structure is made of wood, on the outside are shingles, to isolate the walls are filled with birch bark, on the inside is clay plaster, the roof is a green roof. The Pyramid cabin is made out of logs, the gaps of the logs are filled with clay/lime plaster and the roof made out of shingles isolated with Straw and plastered inside. We will build a small rocket stove in both cabins and of course some beds when we finish outside and inside!

The first weekend after our arrival Victor invited some friends to hang out. Basically we were working, and the visitors were just chilling at our cabins, having fun, and making us delicious food. For hard working people will work harder with their belly full of  the most delicious of delicious foods! like seriously! the food here is delicious, mainly because most if it is home made or grown, and when I say home made I really mean home made, the Țuică, Wine, Beer, Sugar, Syrup, Vegetables, Milk, the Jams, Zacuscă. everything is either from a parents garden, local farmer or market and we try to avoid supermarket as much as we can! In the two weeks I have been in Romania, I have eaten more Mushrooms and Cheese and vegetables then I ever did in my life! also I have not been eating meat except for the first of may!

On the first of May is da labor day, In Romania it is tradition to have a BBQ and eat mici (which is basically a sausage of mixed meats with some spices). Our neighbors are quite poor people if you judge them by the amount of money they posses, if you judge them by their experience on how to live without money and friendly/openness they are richer then the 1%. So we brought some mici, some beer. and celebrated first of may together!

Mici with Mustard, Bread and Salad. + best people in the world = A good time!

Mici with Mustard, Bread and Salad. + best people in the world = A good time!

Our neighbors Ferarri!

Healll yeahh!

Healll yeahh!

We have been chopping and stacking  firewood and taking hikes once a week. But to continue our work we had to get some more locally chopped Oak wood. the local lumber/sawmill dude lives down the slope of the mountain, but was friendly enough to come all the way up where our Cabins were to bring the wood by horse and carriage!

The progression of the terraces we made of the Oak will be shared soon! but! you can enjoy this little sneak preview if you like!

The cabins were actually living in are lower on the mountain slope, Basically its a wooden house with a living room, small kitchen, and on the second floor 3 bedrooms. we cook on fire! but we do have a boiler for the shower (what a luxury!) Every morning we climb the mountain up and up to the Cabins were working on. This is one part of the road were walking! Its the best walk to work ever!

Walking Towards da Cabins

Walking Towards da Cabins

So yeah, to put everything in a nutshell. This place is amazing! The food is the best I ever ate! the work is very cool and enjoyable! Working on the cabins every day you look over the mountain tops and down into the village. The horses, cows and dogs of the neighbors are walking everywhere for they are not in cages or stuck on chains. it is silent, except for a bird or the cows and pigs from the village who’s roar is heard on top of the mountain even. the air is pure and smells good! the apple and cherry trees are blooming! Dandelions growing!

for your amusement some more pictures!

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Cluj Adventures!

That night I slept wonderful, not that i’m a bad sleeper or anything. But probably the combination of Țuică and being aware that I have almost arrived at my next project made it just wonderful. That morning I was fed with an amazing omelette, full of veggies, spinach, eggs and I have no idea what else was in that crazy omelette. I just remember it was amazing! with our bellies filled my garlic and silver bullets ready we started walking Cluj, check out whats the deal in this city. It started quite crowded, with lots of older people in the district Ioana was living. but after a short walk we came to a more silent nature like environment and a river flowing through Cluj. Near the river was a “Dutch” wooden shoe and a English phone booth, Both supposedly gifts due to the great co-operation between these countries and Cluj.

Our first Quest was to climb the nearest “mountain” to get a nice view of Cluj. Besides the stories goes that a dragon has made his lair there. I was fully prepared for an Vampire attack, but I didn’t really expected dragons to roam the Romanian landscape. Full with excitement I followed my guide her footsteps onward to the mountain! Between us and the mountain was a football stadium of the local club, it seems many trees died in the creation of this stadium. afterwards we just had to cross a park full of crazy old trees. But then it started, the climb! And adventurous it was! we encountered some wild humanoids, considering it was still day probably not Vampires, there were holes reaching to the earths core, definitely not something you would want to fall in. We passed some crazy sand/clay rocks and eventually made it to the dragons lair.  The dragon was no present at the moment, I was hoping to steal an egg to grow my own Pet dragon, Sadly there were no eggs either.

With the view of Cluj and knowing where what was, we went down and wandered the streets some more. The first thing I noticed when walking in the center of Cluj was the Students, Like seriously! Students everywhere, no 30+ person to be found. unlike the district we came from. besides all the students there were a lot of construction workers working the streets.Anyway there are 3 statues of Awesome Romanian kings (I believe they were kings) that we visited, basically every statue represents one of the Awesome kings of the old kingdom (Transylvania, Moldavia and Southern Romania) Sadly my memories is failing me bad on this history lesson, What I remember is that the most Awesome one wanted to combined all 3 regions to one big kingdom, As expected he got assassinated. One of them was somewhat racist and didn’t approve of foreigners that much. The details of the third one have gone to oblivion. We walked some more, found some Roman ruins. I was told that the whole city of Cluj is build upon Roman ruins, they tried building underground garages etc. but when they found out its full or ruins they realized it wouldn’t be such a good idea. We visited the gothic church of Saint George (the dragon slayer) and found a statue of him actually slaying a dragon. Obviously implying dragons are real!

Dragons!

Dragons!

There is also quite some graffiti going on in Cluj, Mostly tags but some pretty cool stencils too. One of the coolest was of course hypnotoad. But actually most of them were quite meaningful with an actual message, for example the Pontaur one, to explain: the prime minister of RO is named Ponta, and hes a gold digger. Basically he wanted to take down a mountain supposedly full of gold (Rosia montana) but the Romanian people protested like mad! as in seriously, the whole country was going into the streets for days, and keeping it up once a week after that for some time. And they did it! the mountain still lives and the people living there happily ever after! the fight still goes on though (FYI, they also protested against fracking heavily and scared the fracking company out of their country) the reason this stencil is so awesome in my opinion is because Taur means bull, and Aur means gold. this wordjoke combined with the dudes face sprayed in gold with horns explains it al!! the stencils were also part of the protest. Say what you want about Romania. At least the people have the guts to open their mouths and show when they don’t agree with the Government!

Pontaur Stencil

Pontaur Stencil

After checking the statues, learning everything about the stencils eating some Romanian cakes and getting crazy due to all the shit loads of students walking around we decided to check out Cluj Botanical Garden! The weather was perfect for this and the Botanical garden was pretty cool. They had quite the species in the greenhouses, from amazon plants to palms and everything crazy! I never realized bananas actually grow towards the sun :)) we spend quite some hours walking and chillin in the Botanical Garden. They also have one casualty of the Stadium laying there as a memorial of the slaughter that went on there back in the days. A Willow tree with a diameter bigger then I am! when the garden was about to close we headed home. That night I though Ioana and her roomates Shithead! hell yeah!!

No Vampire or Dragons were harmed that day!

 

 

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Cluj, Here I Come!

That morning we woke up early, enjoyed an eggy breakfast and said our goodbye Eva gave me a huge bag of food for on the road, It had a sandwich, Orange, some candy and cheesthings. I decided to take the train to a nearby village where I could access a petrol station to the highway. The train only goes once an hour, the journey with tram and metro was supposes to take only 20 min. for safety I left 40 minutes earlier. I was expecting shit loads of people, but actually it was not so crowded for the morning rush hour. I managed to get to the train station approximately 15 minutes before my train would leave, I got somewhat lost though. It looked like I was searching for the ticket place at the train arrivals instead of departures, when I asked a station worker he pointed me in the right direction. I got my ticket and the ticked dude pointed me to track number 10 where the train was supposed to leave. I headed to said track but no train was there… and only 5 minutes left. I showed my ticket to another station worker who pointed me to another track. but again there was no departing train to be found. I was so confused!

By this time I already missed the train. so I went back to the ticket dude and asked what the final destination would be of the train I was supposed to take. he wrote it down and I started to puzzle with the Electronic sign showing all departing trains. With the departing time, and the final destination I managed to crack the puzzle and found the right track number for the next train, track number 14. I walked there, dropped my backpack. and just chilled in the sun until the train would leave.

The train was quite modern, which in a way was so sad for I would have really enjoyed it to be this old school (making a lot of noises) train. The ride was about 1 hour. At some point a dude stood next to me and asked me of he was allowed to join me, this really amazed me. The simple fact that he would ask me if he may sit next to me is something I don’t experience that much. Especially in The Netherlands, the common person sitting next to you doesn’t even look at you or dares to speak a word. This dude though was very Awesome and we chatted for the remainder of the ride.

Arriving at Inarcs-Kakucs I had to walk for about one hour to reach the Petrol station. The walk was quite comfortable. The village was silent except for shit loads of dogs barking but only consisted of houses with some land around them and fences to keep the dogs from devouring everybody walking next to the fences. Arriving at the petrol station I threw out my thumb and patiently waited. After about 20 minutes a Romanian trucker stopped, his dashboard was full of stuffed animals. I wasn’t sure what to think of that but he walked to me and started talking Romanian. he didn’t speak English at all, but with the help of a map he showed me that he was going do Oradea after his 30 min break. I figured, ill just keep trying, if I can’t get a ride in these 30 minutes ill join the trucker. After another 20 minutes a RO sports car stopped, pumping loud electronic music. A pretty hot lady was driving the car, with 2 other dudes and a dog. they looked like the party people and even though their car was practically full they wanted to give me a ride, sadly they were going south towards Szeged and then Serbia. I decided to decline the ride.

Right after they left I felt really stupid declining the party people for some reason. Of course I had the ride to Oradea already in my pocket. but with a non English speaking trucker who has his dashboard full of fluffy animals (obviously implying rapist:). I started imagining where I would have ended up if I joined the party people. I myself am not really the party dude anymore these days. But if I would have joined them I would have definitely ended up at a night club that night getting shitfaced with newly made friends. Anyway the trucker finished his break and we started driving to Oradea. After some hours we arrived at the border where he dropped me of, his dashboard was full of stuffed animals because he has 2 small kids giving him animals for on the road. Behind the border was a petrol station where I found a ride from a Czech dude who could drop me of on the other side of Oradea on the road towards Cluj!

I wrote Cluj on my shield and threw up my thumb. 5 minutes later another truck stopped going straight into Cluj, who spoke some English and sounded rather friendly, Hell Yeah! 3 hours to Cluj!

I know, I know. It was dark and the flash fucked up my eyes!

Sadly I forgot the name of this dude, but he was very awesome. He worked 20 years driving all throughout Europe for a Dutch/Romanian truck company called Van Vliet. (those yellow and white trucks) These days he just sticks to Romania. We spend a great amount of time talking about Romanian well being and some political shizzle that has been going on here. Besides that he also told me the places to visit and that the Actual Dracula castle is not in Brasov but rather in the northern part of the country. Eventually the subject Gypsy came to attention, which involved us talking a lot about this. On the road to Cluj we passed through Gypsy Town (Huedin). Basically its the town where all the money goes and they invest in building Crazy Fancy Looking Huge Ass Houses. Sadly it was getting dark by then so I couldn’t make proper pictures but you can check da google maps! (just go through the street with google maps) later that ride we traded some food. (the orange Eva gave me for an apple:) and he insisted I accepted his bread and 5 Lei. around 22:00 that night he dropped me off at the train station in Cluj, where I met with Ioana who offered to host me! I completely forgot about the timezone change, luckily Ioana was very relaxed and not bothered by my late arrival!

I still had to eat some dinner though, and boy was I hungry. Ioana is somewhat like me, Very natural, doesn’t use shampoo but other much better techniques to was hair, makes food from fresh whole fruits n veggies and does not support Corporations or Supermarkets by buying stupid shit. She studies “natural” Architecture and Volunteers whenever possible at Natural building projects, also Vegetarian. Sadly she was to lazy to heat up the pasta she made earlier that evening and used the Microwave to do so. This of course gave a very bad first impression and will haunt her for the rest of her life! but to make it right she gave me home made Țuică which is Romanian tradition to drink before dinner (some very strong prune liquor). I only knew Ioana for about 1 hours but the sarcasm, jokes and laughter ware blowing of the roof! Its always good to meet someone who is on the same line!

 

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4 Days in Budapest

The couple I was Couchsurfing were named Marcus and Anita, they were quite busy at the time I stayed there, nonetheless they did everything in their power to make my experience of Budapest the best of the best. Thursday morning we had breakfast and discussed where I should go and what I should definitely see. Because there were living quite central everything was nearby and easy to reach by foot, they had to get going, so we decided to meet up for dinner later that day. With my to do-list I started wandering the city. First stop, Citadella!

The Citadella was located on a “mountain” next to the Donau, the walk was short but nice. I really took my time scouting this “mountain” the flowers and plants were starting to bloom and everything smelled so nice. I enjoyed the panorama of the city which was just lovely and climbed all the little stairs and paths I could find. On top of the “mountain”  was a huge statue of someone or something, honestly I never really got that much information about this statue, it looked quite cool though. slowly I started going down, for I had to follow the Donau north, towards a nice coffee shop and the oldest street of Budapest. On my way down I noticed that there were shit loads of maple trees growing here, sadly not the Sugar Maple which gives you Maple Syrup but regular Hungarian maple. I also made a lizard friend and chilled out with him for a bit.

Reaching the bottom I headed north into the castle which was located nearby. The castle is a museum these days but there are many parts you can walk without having to pay, which was exactly what I did, getting through the castle and walking the Donau I could see the Parlament, a fancy building indeed. Its been a few hours walking though and I felt like taking a little break. I headed to the recommended coffee shop, the reason this coffee shop was so awesome was not only because the original owner was still making the classic coffee but also because it was on the edge of two districts, a poor district and a more upper class district. I enjoyed some hot chocolate and started checking out the people. As Marcus told me, there were quite some different people walking in this area, from homeless, to hipsters, to just your ordinary dude to fancy buisznesz men with suitcases. Very amusing. When I felt like walking again I bought an ice cream (ow so delicious ice cream) and checked the oldest street in Budapest, not so special, but mainly very old! at this point I was very near to Margaret Island which is an small island in the Donau where every Budapestrian goes in the weekend when the sun shines, basically I went there to check it out and took a very nice nap under a maple tree.

Walking back to my couch to meet up with Anita and Marcus I took the opposite side of the river, passed the parlament and some more districts. Budapest is clearly divided in districts. I was staying in the most touristic part of town which was very obvious, around the “mountain” was your ordinary district, north of that a bit more upper class. Walking south on the opposite of the Donau I walked through the bankers district, full of fancy buildings, expensive cars, suitcase people, and lots of police just guarding buildings and even road crossings. I had to take a pee like crazy, but there was no bathroom to be found, not even a simple cafe or supermarket, it was just fancy buildings and banks and more fancy shit. I manged to get out of this horrible district and enjoyed my long awaited pee in a sushi restaurant!

That evening we went into the Hipster district to get some dinner at Frici Papa, which is a traditional Hungarian restaurant with nice prices. I felt like eating some meat and they recommended me the Gypsy dish, which basically involved fried potatoes with a bunch of meat thrown upon said fried potatoes and some sauce, It looked horrible. but was extremely delicious! Meanwhile having dinner, I threw all my charms at Marcus, for I really wanted to eat some desert, sadly Anita didn’t. I managed to seduce Marcus into sharing one with me! after dinner we met up with some other Hungarians and spend the evening tasting different beers and wines.

Friday

That morning talking to Marcus we decided I should check out the southern parts of the city which had the Gypsy district and the poorest district of Budapest, he recommended me some places to get lunch and some parks to check out. Anita and Marcus were very busy this day and not able to join me for dinner. I started wandering the southern part of Budapest, first stop Gypsy district! this district was weird to walk through, I had some trouble with Gypsies in Lithuania, nothing really bad happened back then but still I entered this district with some nervous thoughts. The houses were actually in very good shape and looked nice, but as expected it was full of Gypsies, maybe not on every corner but definitely encountered a few groups of obvious gypsy woman just chilling. Luckily they just minded their own business so after a while the nervous stereotype thoughts faded and I could comfortably walk this area. I was to pussy to make pictures of them though so you’ll have to visualize it by yourself.

After Gypsy district I went to scout the poorest district of Budapest which was very obvious, the buildings looked like crap, there were lots of homeless or poor looking people wandering the streets and in the parks just people chilling with their dogs and probably all their possessions. Somewhat weird though was that the metro entrances in this district were very fancy and nice looking and every one in a while you would encounter a Lidl in a building more maintained then I had ever seen. I didn’t stay long in both these districts It was cool to see but didn’t feel like hanging out there, so I headed back to check out some places up north I wasn’t able to find on Thursday

Due to my hosts inability to join me for the evening I met up with another CSer for I didn’t feel like wandering the streets alone that evening. Eva took me for dinner at another Hungarian restaurant. the restaurant looked cool and wasn’t to expensive. When checking the menu I noticed Dumplings, Again hoping for something similar like Lithuanian dumplings I ended up with a plate full of noodles, veggies and a chicken leg. So to make everything clear,
Dumplings in LT: Meat in dough fried or cooked,
Dumplings in CZ: Breadlike substance cooked,
Dumplings in H: Noodles :)))
Anyway the food was delicious! and Eva was a really interesting lady to get to know, to put her in a boxy nutshell, A Catholic Materialist working as a manger for a Television company, quite the combination if you ask me. But she has a very open mind to everything, and doesn’t necessary approve of all the “rules” her religion “forces” upon her, making her in my opinion a very awesome modern religious person. Talking to Eva was just amazing, we only knew each other for one hour but due to us both being very Open, we just spitted everything out, made shit loads of jokes and found the common line. No hard feelings, The laughter that evening was high. Especially when she started translating traditional Hungarian fairy tales but remixing then so that the princess who was sneaking out of the castle would walk through the diamond forest to a Dubstep party to get shitfaced and hook up with some handsome princes. I almost shit, peed and farted my pants, burped and spit the food I was currently consuming at once.

After dinner we walked for a some hours, chatting about anything you can possibly imagine, then she showed me Heroes square and told the story of each worthy dude who had influence on the history of Hungary and Budapest, the remade castle of one of the crazy dudes. In the garden of said crazy dude was a statue of a unknown writer, The story goes that if you touch the tip of his pencil you would get blessed, I think Anonymous is a pretty cool guy, so I touch his shiny pointy thing and got myself blessed by Anon. Row Row Fight Da Powah!

Y so Touristious?

Y so Touristious?

 

Saturday

Anita and Marcus invited me to come visit their project they have been so busy with the past few days and volunteering at. basically it was a special weekend where special buildings and places would be opened up for public so you could check it out. They were working at an regular flat, but its a very old flat with some very old inhabitants, they had this little Quest to find the pictures on the paper and answer all the questions by talking to the inhabitants of the flat. This really amused me and I believe I found them all! after I done my quest I visited some other places, who sadly were not so interesting as this house they were volunteering at.

Anita studies Psychology and languages and speaks quite some languages like Hungarian, English, Russian, Polish, Spanish and shes learning Icelandic. Marcus is a music producer. He creates music and beats on his computer, or mixes and samples songs. Then together with an actual instrument like a trumpet or a violin he preforms in bars and cafes, the stuff he does is very awesome. Saturday night he was playing and I had the honor to see his work in action. Sadly it wasn’t that crowded that evening, but I really enjoyed them playing and he got some money out of it. Nothing to complain illd say! Later on Anita joined us and we rode the bike back home. I really enjoyed the short 10 minutes ride, for I love riding the bike, especially in countries and cities I never biked before!

Sunday

Anita and Marcus had another very busy day but Hitchhiking on a Sunday is not the best thing to do for there is not so much traffic. I had a great time with Anita and Marcus but decided to spend the Sunday with Eva, for she was free and wanted to hang out. She was also able to offer me her couch for one night so I could leave the house with her on Monday early morning, Onward to Romania. We walked in her district, bought some very delicious Hungarian cakes and cookies, ate them in a park, We sat in silence and became aware of our surroundings, climbing some mountains and had some very interesting conversations about the ego, the mind and daily live. That evening she cooked me Delicious oven breads.

Crazy Eva + Delicious Oven Bread and her 2 smartphones

Crazy Eva + Delicious Oven Bread and her 2 Smartphones

My time in Budapest was amazing, and this only because Anita, Marcus and Eva are such awesome people, showing me everything I needed to see, and let me experience proper Hungarian cuisine. They were also  interested in my story and have quite the story themselves. I will return to Budapest sooner or later, maybe not for the city itself, but definitely to meet up again with newly made friends!

 

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Hitching out of Oblivion

That morning I took the bus to Vyšehradská which is on the southern edge of the city, from there it was about a 30 minutes walk to the nearest petrol station connected to the highway, the walk was quite the adventure. I already did some research and knew I either had to go straight through farmland or take the detour and follow the road, which would make the walk a bit longer. Anyway, I got out of the bus and just started walking, initially I felt like following the road for it walks so much easier, but somehow I ended up walking a straight line south. I encountered some homeless people building there homes I suppose, dogs barking at me for I apparently crossed their territory, when I passed a few vegetable gardens and crossed a train rails I could already see the petrol station I was heading to!

Petrol station in the Distance

Petrol station in the Distance

I didn’t feel like being the GMO assassin by walking straight through the field, so I followed the rails for a bit until I hit the road leading towards the petrol station. It looked like I was quite lucky with walking the rails, for when I left the track and started walking the road I suddenly heard a loud horn, when I took a look behind me a huge Cargo train was heading in the direction where I was walking 5 min earlier. I really enjoyed this moment for some reason and watched the train passing by, eventually I started walking towards the highway, the road was very nice. somewhat silent, with lots of vegetation on both sides. I crossed the bridge over the highway to get to the other side and climbed down. The petrol station was guarded by a fence, so I searched for a gap in the fence which I found close to the bridge and walked straight into Oblivion.

So the usual, I wrote Budapest on my shield and started throwing out my thumb at the start of the entry ramp to the highway! The hand signs they used were mostly telling me that they were going to Vienna instead of Budapest. This is also what the hitchwiki had said, but I just felt like trying anyway. After an hour or so a dude stopped going to Gyor, a city between Budapest and Bratislava, his English wasn’t great, when I tried to ask him if he could drop me of at a petrol station on the highway he didn’t seem to agree or understand. I decided to decline the ride for I didn’t want to end up in Gyor or a small village in the area. Oh oh what was that stupid.

after 2 more hours I started to realize that nobody was going straight to Budapest, But like DubFX says, don’t give up! were gonna make it in the end! with that said, I just kept smiling, waving, jumping, bowing and doing funny things to get the attention of the driver, in the meantime I changed my shield to Wien with the idea to end up at the right highway and hopefully catch a ride there to Budapest. When I changed the shield to Wien all of the sudden the hand signs of the driver were doing things like, heading straight ahead (which was towards Budapest) What da ?……! after 2 more hours it was getting late and I realized that I had to change my tactic to get out of there! I moved myself to the entrance of the Petrol station shop, Just scanning the licence plates of the cars, whenever they were Hungarian or Austrian I would ask them if they could drop me of at the next gas station. Not much later a fancy Hungarian jeep stopped, While he was cleaning his windows I walked up to him and had a little chat, He was heading to lake Balaton which is south of Budapest, but he agreed to drop me of at the next petrol station which was on the E60 towards Budapest!

Arriving at the next Petrol station I got my next ride in less then 10 minutes, It was an Romanian truck driver transporting broken cars. His English was very poor but he agreed to drop me of at a Petrol station on the edge of Budapest. For some reason I felt quite uncomfortable with this dude at first, not that his truck look weird, but there was just this weird feeling surrounding me and communication was somewhat difficult. the ride took about 3 hours for he couldn’t drive so fast. but eventually he dropped me off at the petrol station as promised and everything turned out to be just fine. It was getting dark though, and this petrol station was completely empty. oh noes!

Sunset at the Budapest Petrol station

Sunset at the Budapest Petrol station

While scouting for a place I could possibly pitch my tent I was also keeping an eye out for arriving cars. At some point just after sunset there were a few cars present. I walked up to one of them with RO licence place and asked if they were maybe heading into Budapest, Even though I had a hard time getting out of Bratislava, my luck was high that evening for they were heading into the center and agreed to take me with them! It was a Romanian couple who called them self’s Corporate Slaves, traveling for their boss to different countries and cities to keep the connections running. The weekends and vacations they would spend at their cabin in the mountains where they grow there own food and do things back to basic. It was a short ride to the center, once they dropped me there I took the public transport to the most touristic part of the city where my CS host was living. I arrived there around 22:00! I made it whooohoooo!!

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Oward to Bratislava

The next morning I packed all my stuff as usual, Had a walk to the city center where I took the Red Metro line to Opatov, There I took bus 363 to a little village called K sukovu a bit south of the city. From there I walked for about 20 minutes to the highway, there was a nice Petrol station with McDonalds and loads of people, When I arrived there was already a dude trying to hitchhike at the end of the exit. Tried to talk to him but he didn’t seem to speak any English, I didn’t want to intervene with his hitchhiking, while standing in front of the McDonalds figuring out where I should try and get a ride a random dude came to me. His English was not so great either, but he was heading towards Brno and invited me to join him. I agreed for this was perfectly in the direction I was heading.

The dude named Michal turned out to be a pretty cool guy! he is living in a small village close to Brno, and travels to Praha once in a while to visit friends/family or get new gear for his shop, for he owns a Winter Sports store. normally he would take the train, but this time he was with car for he had some furniture he had to move. He told me about his shop, that he would travel to Switzerland and Austria quite often to trade gear, which he then could sell in his shop. In winter period he would teach people to ski and that’s how he comes around. looking for a cool due to teach you how to ski, or maybe need some gear? check out his site!

Michal the cool Ski dude

Michal the cool Ski dude

He dropped me of at the other side of Brno at a massive shopping mall, At first it looked great for it was extremely crowded, but then I realized this wasn’t so great after all for most people were locals heading into Brno, not really beyond Brno to Bratislava. Anyway I had quite some fun, standing at the Roundabout, trying to hitchhike police cars, buses, taxis and cars full of people and groceries. The problem was that I was standing in front of the Roundabout, from there the cars were going in 2 directions, Either towards Bratislava or back to Brno, it took me about an hour. When I decided to break some rules and move to the other side of the roundabout, standing before the Highway sign in the gras but on the exit towards Bratislava. Reading the streetlight it said “Golden spot” 5 minutes later I got a ride!! looks like it was the Golden spot!

This guy called Ladislav didn’t speak English either, but he did speak German. Again a pretty cool dude, He was quite the rocker, traveling between Czech/Slovakia/Austria working as a Meat Inspector, with all his gadgets. He knew all the cool hard rock radio stations in each of these countries. He didn’t play any instrument himself though. but he was cool enough to drop me of in the Center of Bratislava.

Ladislav the Hard Rock Meat Inspector

Ladislav the Hard Rock Meat Inspector

For that night I actually found a CSser to host me, because it was still early I walked towards her home and chilled in a nearby park until she would be done with work. She was really cool, Named Mary and Skater by Heart! she has started writing a blog since recently, tale-telling about her travels, skating and food recipes. Her blog is called Brcka Mary! even though it was already around 20:00 she made me delicious food for I did not eat that much that day. but dang what was it delicious! simple cheesy sandwich with some veggies. but very good! shes quite into the healthy foods, making her own serials and mainly eats whole fruits etc. We had a good conversation about different ethnicity’s living together with or without problem, and how the youth of today always wants to belong to some sort of group, like gangster, goth, hipster, skater etc. We realized that it doesn’t matter what you feel like you should belong to, as long as you are true to what you are its fine. don’t be a Fake!!! I was hoping I could stay for a few days so I could check out Bratislava and get to know Mary better, but she was a bit busy (Mainly with Skating :)))), I decided to get going again in the morning. Onwards to Budapest

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Praha Adventures

When I got dropped of in the Center of the Center of Praha I started with a little walk towards the old town. One of the first things I noticed about Praha is the amazing architecture, it is really a very beautiful city! What I didn’t expect really was the fact that besides it beauty it is also very touristic, I almost felt like walking through Amsterdam, with a overpriced souvenir shop every few hundred meters, tour people, Tourists of course and exchange offices trying to suck you into exchanging at their place. But also very nice street musicians and pretty cool places to eat, like random stalls or cool looking restaurants. I was looking for a park to chill out, for I had to contact my CS hosts to let them know I arrived in Praha and see if they were able to host me.

After a short walk I reached the main square of the old town. I was quite amazed, for I had seen some videa of two dudes, one playing drum and the other piano covering popular electronic songs. Exactly the same dudes were playing that afternoon when I arrived at the square! you can check out a videa >Here< I enjoyed their jammin for some time when I just chose a random bench to sit and contacted my Hosts. Sadly one of them could not host me due to circumstances but replied very fast, the other one didn’t reply at all. It was not exactly a disappointment, but definitely to bad that I had no locals to hang out with and show me the real underground shizznit of da city. Anyway I found a very awesome hostel, dropped my pack and started wandering the streets of Praha.

Around dinner time I got da hungriez, So I started searching for what to eat, obviously I had to eat something Czech and drink their beers, I asked the lady at the hostel what she recommended and ended up in some fancy Traditional Czech food Restaurant. The menu looked quite interesting, and one of the foods included the word Dumplings and Traditional. I ordered said food which arrived almost instantly at my table (seriously it took them like 3 minutes to prepare said food)

I got a plate with some beef something, Dumplings in Lithuania usually involve meat in dough cooked or fried. but the stuff I got on my plate looked more like bread to me, then there was this weird looking brown sauce surrounding said meat and “dumplings looking like bread”. Next to that I got a little dish with cranberry sauce, some Cream and of course a Giant Czech dark beer! Even though I still, to this day have no idea what exactly I ate. It was Delicious! The sauce was delicious, the beef was so soft and tasty, and even the breadlike dumplings tasted really nice. Nothing wrong with the dark beer either, except for the fact that it was quite light of taste (LT dark beers are usually quite strong of taste) total cost? very fkn cheap!!! After dinner I walked some more, and found some artsy things.

At some point I wasn’t sure what to do, I didn’t feel like clubbing, nor sure where to grab a beer. I figured its around 20:00 lets go to the hostel and maybe write some stuff check my mail etc and go out later. On the way to the hostel against all odds I encountered Radu with his wife and the friends they were meeting. Actually if it wasn’t for them saying yo dude how are you I would probably have walked straight pass them. I sat down next to them when Radu offered me a beer, 5 minutes later when I told them about my CS Failure he invited me to join them for the evening! This was just Amazing really, for now I had someone familiar to socialize with! who just happens to be the one and only Radu & friends!

I finished my beer while introducing myself and getting to know the new faces. Radu likes Praha and has been here before, so he has a favorite place where he goes every time when he is in the city, This place is one of the oldest breweries still live and kicking in Praha, with the best beers and food according to Radu. U Fleků founded in 1499. that was our next destination! We walked across the Fancy bridge, into the old town, towards the brewery. When entering the brewery you get amazed by the looks of it, still in this quite old style. Big halls with big tables and big paintings. Live music (traditional Czech I suppose) and an good Atmosphere! We chose a nice table and started checking the menu, I ended up eating Duck, with some sauerkraut, Red beets, and potatoes. Drinking dark beers  and getting quite sweet liquor shots thrown at me whenever either of those glasses were empty. While having dinner we talked about so much things, practiced my Romanian a bit more and got to know Ioan and his wife better. I would have told you more details about them all, but the truth is that I didn’t write things down, with all the people meeting on the road its hard to keep track. Maybe I should just blame the Alcohol, for we drank quite lots of it that evening. At least I remember we Enjoyed delicious apple pie for dessert :) and these people are extremely friendly and open!

Radu & Friends @ U Fleků. A Wonderful Evening

Radu & Friends @ U Fleků. A Wonderful Evening

After dinner I said bye to Radu, but joined Ioan and his wife for another beer, their hotel and my hostel were quite close. chatting about Romanian culture, Traditional food, Gardening, Not so Dangerous Gypsies etc etc.  I will definitely meet these wonderful people again in the near future, Actually Radu lives quite close to where i’m currently staying so ill probably hitchhike there sooner or later. Anyway Due to Radu his openness My short time in Praha was Awesome, full of wonderful memories.

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Onward to Praha

Monday morning when everybody got ready for work I woke up as well, gather all my stuff and got ready for the road towards Praha. I took the U-bahn to Frankfurter Allee, where I took the S-Bahn to S Altglienicke. There was supposed to be a quite busy road with loads of traffic heading south and an emergency lane with enough space to stop for car and truck. I climbed down the side of the bridge, crossed the road, wrote on my shield Dresden and threw out my thumb right in front of the Traffic sign which said Dresden. I cant recal howlong I stood there, but eventually a trucker stopped for me. He was going towards Dresden and could drop me of about 60km before at a gas station. This was awesome, Besides that he was the first Truck I was about to hitch. Even though he didn’t really speak English, and my German isn’t that flawless either, we managed to get a good conversation going.

Sadly I forgot his name, but I remember him well. He was very awesome, when I told him he was the first trucker I was hitchhiking and I didn’t know that much about trucks he basically started to explain me everything about it. For example what he can see via his mirrors and which parts are the dead-spots and quite dangerous to stand or drive in. His truck was quite modern, When he would cross the white line on either left or right side on the road the speakers on either these sides would make a buzzing sounds, he said it was a backup to wake you up instead of falling asleep. Also there were some fancy mathematical shizzles going on on his dashboard. Calculating the distance in between the truck and the car who was driving in front of him up until 1km. he had wifi, a coffee machine, a cooler, 2 beds, A Serious sound installation! He even sounded his huge ass Trucker horn which quite scared the shit out of me, He even had a regular horn which he uses when he is inside the City for obvious reasons :))

Mr, Awesome German truck driver

Mr, Awesome German truck driver

After a few hours we reached the petrol station close to Dresden, when we arrived I got a little scared. Although it was a huge petrol station there were almost no people at all, I headed to the exit ramp of the station and started thumbing, obviously most of the time there were no cars, so I practiced my owl sound a bit, found an oak tree and whistled on the oak caps a bit, read some messages written on the streetlight by other hitchhikers (most of them were very negative). After some time but not more then a hour, an Romanian couple stopped. My shield said Dresden, so they expected me to go there, when I asked where they were going they said Praha to meet up with some Romanian friends of them. I could stay with them for the duration of the ride to Praha.

Radu and his wife were pretty cool, they were traveling for a short time to some capital cities and planned to go back to RO after Praha, Towards Praha we had conversation about lots of things, and they thought me some Romanian pronunciations. Instead of following the Autobahn for the last few km to Praha we had a detour via Czech country side, Eventually they dropped me in the center of Praha, where we said our goodbye. Time for me to adventure the Praha!!

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Berlin Reunion

That afternoon (Friday the 9th of April) we arrived in Berlin, Even though Leifur had to go to the more outskirts of the city to meet his friends, he decided to get a haircut first, which was almost in the center of the center of Berlin, it took some time to find a parking spot but eventually we did, there we said our goodbye and our paths split.

I geared up and started walking, I recognized some buildings from my Berlin visit last year but I wasn’t sure where I actually was, I just felt like chilling in a park, Leifur recommended me one close by, I headed in that direction he pointed me to until I reached the park, James Simon Park to be exact. there I dropped my back, kicked back and relaxed. It was around mid-day, but still had a vew hours for Joel to finish working which was around 6. I had a nap, wrote some mentionable things down when eventually this very cool guy started playing some music. the time passed by as if it were just a few minutes.

Around 6 I reunited with Joel after which we took the U-bahn to his place, did some groceries and waited for Bart to arrive and join the Reunion. Seeing Bart and Joel after such a long period of time was awesome, Me n Bart used to play in Greyscales together with Theo, but for the past year due to my travels and him moving to Berlin, while Theo stayed in The Netherlands we didn’t really play or see each other at all. The night was good, We enjoyed delicious cheap ass wine and jamming out on da Guitars, for dinner we made our self’s a Patatje Oorlog.  Eventually we ended up listening to LPs and playing Shithead for the remainder of the night. Even though I made good friends back in LT, It was damn good to see some Good “old” faces again.

That Saturday we went to a park which was on some sort of “must visit” list of Berlin to kick back and drink some beers, this turned out to be a kids playground, making it somewhat funny, imagine 4 dudes hanging out at this kids playground, what would those parents have thought. Anyway some other friends joined us when we went to the James Simon park again. Another somewhat funny detail was that all those people that joined us later were All Dutch people, “Hey man, how was Berlin? yeah cool, didn’t speak to any German dude but besides that, Great!” The only German dude I did actually spoke to was the friend of the roommate of Joel…. Ah well. (soort zoekt soort eh) Somewhere in the afternoon when Joel left for some crazy Techno-ish Party, we sticked around the park and waited for Bart his Lady to finish working. when she finished her work we met nearby, “sadly” it started raining, so we headed to Bart his place. when we arrived, the rain was practically gone which made us come to the decision to load up our bags with some more beers and just wander around Berlin see what happens. We ended up walking for about 5 hours to random places until a bit after midnight when we met up at a bar in the center with another friend (which happened to be dutch, who had a friend who was also dutch…..:)

Sunday we did what most cool people do in Berlin, which is to visit Mauerpark. every Sunday Mauerpark turns into this festival basically, Musicians gather and play their cool shizzle, there is a market with loads of different things, there is an amphitheater where some performances are done.  people are chilling, having a BBQ and lots of entertainment. When we arrived there was this drum duo playing, they were very awesome and quite familiar around Berlin. We also checked some very cool lady writing her own songs. when everybody arrived at Mauerpark and the pact was complete we chilled some more and eventually went to the best Kebab place in Berlin for of course I had to try it out! After delicious Kebab it was time to say goodbye to da Bartels. for tomorrow my Journey would continue to Prague.

The weekend was really amazing, I had to adapt a bit to the crowded city life of Berlin, living for a year in silence away from the city it was really a slap in the face when I arrived here. but actually after the first day it was quite oke, Instead of disappearing in nature and being away from everything, you just disappear within the masses of the people living their daily city life, waiting for the traffic lights to hit green. Until we meet again!

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Moletai to Berlin

Its thursday morning, around 05:30. Bas dropped me of at the nearest bus stop, the ride was somewhat weird. you know, you have been living together for about a year. developed a friendship and then its the moment when your roads go in different directions. It was bearable, the only somewhat dificult moment to not show any emotions like “real men” was at the busstop getting out of the car and saying the last words. but we stayed strong!

Its so early because I wanted to get to Berlin on Friday, with some research on hitchwiki there seemed to be a very nice gasstation south of Kaunas to get easy rides towards Poland. the only bus to Kaunas was in the early morning. Besides that, I had to meet up with Aiste one last time. for she made me an awesome bag, that she just finished the night before. I arrived at kaunas around 08:00 exchanged the last words with Aiste and a very big hug, she gave me the bag and also made me delicious Bananna bread! but this was really it. The minibus to the gasstation arrived. I am now officially on my journey towards Transylvania! The ride towards the busstation was somewhat emotional for me. thats when the realization of leaving really kicked in. I got really attached to Lithuania and the people I met there. This past year was a wonderfull year with many wonderfull moment, awsome friends made, and memories stored. Luckily when I arrived at the gas station and wrote my shield (PL) I was back to normal again. looking forward to my Journey just waiting for my ride.

in about 5 minutes. maybe 10 the first car stopped. It was a Lithuanian Milk farmer with 2 kids in the back. he was heading home to its farm which was close to the border of LT/PL. he sells his milk to production factories, where they eventually make things like Surelis, Chees, Kefiras etc from it. but milk is becomming cheaper so its getting harder to come around. He dropped me of at the last Gas station before PL border, There i had a little “break” ate some breakfast, tried Aistes cake, not much later I threw my tumb in the air.

Again it didnt took me that long. cars were passing by quite fast, but there was some sort of emergency lane with a lot of space. after about 20 minutes a pretty fancy car stopped. I picked up my backpack and ran! Woosh! it had a LT lisence plate, but the dude inside was Icelandic. Liefur was his name. The most awesome ride I ever hitched untill now! Liefur used to work in Iceland as a Whale tour guide (on the boats etc). then he did a little study on Photography in Iceland, and moved to Berlin to contineu this Study. For the past year he had been Backpacking through Asia doing Photography the reason why he was in LT was because his father has a factorie in Kaunas, making carpet(wooden floors) and Build-In unit homes. he was helping his dad taking pictures for the new catologue, but felt like some socializing, so he took the car and was heading to Berlin to meet friends. Thats right!! all the way to Berlin! we talked quite a lot, and listened to some Icelandic music. Liefur had booked a hostel in Poznan for he really like the old town. I could have gotten to Berlin that night. but I decided to hang out with Leifur and join him to Poznan for an evening and join him to Berlin in the morning.

Leifur da awesome Icelandic dude!

Leifur da awesome Icelandic dude!

We arrived around dinner time, dropped our bags at the hostel and took a walk around town. we were initially looking for some nice restaurant to have some polish dinner, but we ended up eating a Kebab :)) It was Delicious and I didnt eat kebab for quite some time! That evening we had a beer and we basically shared more of our stories from the past year. One of the stories that really facinated me was that Leifur went to mongolia and went with the locals and a translator into oblivion. He got to experience traditional mongolian lifestyle, where you ride horses, live in yurts. eat the same boiled meat every evening, communicate with hand signs mostly or play games like, hitting a bone of the meat you just ate untill it cracks. where the mongolian people laugh at you if you boil some noodles because you dont like the meat, or how crazly happy they get if you bring some oranges or even a lollipop! Anyway. quite the text has been written again. here some boring pictures of Poznan square by day and night!

this church really reminded me of Vilnius,

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and some fancy 3D statue? quite cool

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That night we got terrorized by some GIGANTIC snorlax. Really that shit was crazy. at some point in the night everybody in our dormatory was lying awake, even the people 2 rooms next to us could hear this dude Snore. Also the lady at the desk was really amazed. Some people left our room and tried to sleep in another (which was useless for the whole building could hear him) when eventually one guy got the guts to wake him up and tell him of the terror he was unleasing upon the hostel. Eventually it got les but not completely gone. I didnt have that much trouble with it honestly for i can sleep quite well in noisy locations. but luckily the dude left very early in the morning, making sleeping in very comfertable.

That morning I had a little walk through Poznan, when we eventually headed to Berlin. Liefur dropped me of in the Center of the Center of Berlin, where I waited for my brothers Bart and Joel to finish their work. But this story will be written later!