23th - Orikum - Dhermi
Very nice ride through the mountains and a terrific beach on the other side
24th - Dhermi - Himare
Himare very touristy but not super nice in my opinion, very big beach but not so chill as other small beaches
25th - Himare - Tirana
I arrived late after a nice very slow ride with a truck driver and camped out in the city park. Nobody seemed to care about me the next morning.
26th - Tirana
Tirana, a very clean and weird difference to the dirty countryside. People seem to want to pretend a lot more than anywhere else. I get the real wipe of the country just now, with all the Mercedes Benz on the street. Everyone wants to appear good even though they are poor and can hardly effort it. I stay there with a couchsurfer and made some other acquaintance with a US guy who lives here for 5 years. I ended up traveling with him next day.
27th - Tirana - Korce
We headed out together to his old place where he lived. He knew many people there and wanted to say hello. An evening in the local brewhouse (like german Hofbräuhaus!). A very nice experience with everyone speaking only Albanian around me and I could not understand a word of it.
28th - Korce - Ohrid (Macedonia)
The morning we woke up started with MUCH FOOD!
- 1st breakfast: watermelon with Raki (and a coffee before)
- 2nd breakfast: 3 eggs with ham bread and tomato salad. The woman also made us boiled eggs for the road and sandwiches.
- 3rd breakfast: A bowl of rice with a half chicken ( no kidding a half chicken,each!), followed by a half cucumber (don't ask me why but it was there!), accompanied by a cream cake. Not to mention the two glasses of beer!
- 4th breakfast: Luckily we could talk ourselves out of it and just got water.
Then I was released and got back on the road. The first car of course said "First we will have a coffee, then we go further"...Ok...Almost too much hospitality.
After that I found some Albanians who drove me to the border and before that we smoked and chilled for a bit.
I passed the border by foot and had no problem.
Hitched after some chilling at a orthodox church with a dutch HHer I met while walking.
Plaid some basketball with some Macedonians and then found a place to camp the night.
29th - Ohrid
Nice city but too touristy and surprisingly the main language here is Dutch. This is some sort of weird dutch family resort town or something. It's an old UNICEF city and very nice. But far to overcrowded.
30th - Ohrid - Skopje (Hostel)
Of course again, a dutch guy picked me up and drove me all the way to Skopje, where I now stay in a hostel. I have too much dirty laundry and the cs-message I saw too late unfortunately. I mean it's only 10€ for the night and breakfast included....One day rest...It's OK. For tomorrow I have a couch again to crash, that's better for the budget :-)
31th - Skopje (cs, hopefully)
Plans further on Kosovo - Montenegro - Bosnia - Croatia (Split to meet up with Izzy :-)
16th - Athens
17th - Athens
18th - Athens - Nafpaktos
(well I hitched to Patras and then there was a free ferry boat going to Nafpaktos)
Nafpaktos was a very good choice for the night. very beautiful and cute little town with a nice old medieval castle and entire old part on the hill.
19th - Nafpaktos - Ioannina
I did not plan to stay here two nights, but I fell on my longboard in the morning. My destination Albania had to wait therefore until the next day.
20th - Ioannina
Certainly did not regret to stay longer and enjoy the sight of the city as it is a very nice place to hang out. It is funny though how deserted the place is during the day. Only at around 6pm the parks are filling up and everyone comes out of the shade...Otherwise it is too hot.
I luckily found a couchsurfer, THANKS a lot at this point. It was a huge dinner you served me :-D
21th - Ioannina - Gjirokaster
(I was not even asked one single question at the border, I assume his English was not good enough :-D, just looked at me and gave me the stamp!)
Gjirokaster, my first place in Albania and I did not regret it. Wow, what a different architecture and what a beautiful country with all the mountains. The people were super nice. I left the touristy part and decided to discover the other parts. Children were running around me "How are you?", "What's your name?", "Where are you from?" - everyone of them wanted to practice there English. It was adorable. As I walked around some guys in my age stopped me and became curious about my presence. I staid with them (one of them spoke very good English and did the translation for the rest). After sometime when the night has fallen, I was invited to stay at one of the guy's house.
It was nice the only off-side was, that in the morning I discovered the host (I assume at least) had stolen my sunglasses. I had left them on top of my backpack in the evening and there were not to be found in the mourning... Nobody spoke English from the parents and he had disappeared...strange...?
22th - Gjirokaster - Orikum
I had one of the worst nights so far. Firstly I asked around and they said a "quiet" spot on the beach would be good...well it turned out to be on a really busy street and very annoying. This not enough, a really bad thunderstorm came up around 2 am and I tried to pitch my tent quickly. However, I gave up the battle after 5 min because the wind was just to freaking strong. I wandered off towards the town, maybe a hotel? Then all the lights turned off and the lightning had created a electricity break down! So my only chance was to sleep at the door step of an Italian restaurant as 5 min later the pouring was beginning....at least I staid try for the night and did not catch the rain.
This means though, that my intended hiking for today will not happen! I was planning to hike up a mountain and then down to the sea (about 40km hike and I planned to head out around 5am...but no sleep and rain....it makes no sense anymore...)
Palase - Dhermi - Himare - Sarande
My only hope is the weather gets better.
12th - Thessaloniki
13th - Thessaloniki - Athens
14th - Athens
15th - Athens
So starting from last off, I hitched to the ferry boat. Then took it back to Kavala and walked out of the city to hitch to Thessaloniki. I had about 4L of water, which I came to realize that it was not enough. My first ride took about 1h to get and I was lucky to be first step out of the city. I found the perfect hitchhiking spot on the highway to Thessaloniki (which is the 2nd largest city in Greece, so you would think it would be easy to hitch). This however turned out one of my worst days in my life of hitch-hiking (actually later from Thes-Ath was equal but that will follow soon). Anyway I waited for about 4h there until I gave up, no water, no food, heat was striking me down. I walked back where I got picked up by a Greek-American Family which ended up being super nice as they invited me in the house and made me food and also drove me to the airport of Thessaloniki (they had to pick up relatives). As I always say emotions are much greater when you travel, and I was deeply exhausted. I could not hold myself from dropping at least some tears. Honesty is your best friend, right? Anyway, by the time I arrived in Thessaloniki, being so stressed and also depressed about my day passing by so badly so I went to a hostel to sleep.
Next morning, I woke up a little bit bumped out about the prior day. I wondered around in the city. Stopped randomly at random places... As I stopped at some buskers playing, the girl started talking to me and I ended up staying with the guys, drinking some wine, smoking and talking about all random stuff. In fact, all three of the guys were special for their own and had their own stories to tell. I won't go much into detail here but well it was for sure an experience. Well I guess a little detail won't hurt. One was 10 years in jail, the second was 10 years a heroin junkie and number three was 9 years stuck on some psychedelic trip after taking some bad chemically modified drugs. Anyway, it was a very mind-opening encounter.
The following day I had another bad hitchhiking day. Firstly, I thought the Kavala experience was just a one tip really bad time, but well today I was taught differently. I hitched successfully to the pay toll of the highway between Athens and Thessaloniki (well so to state facts clearly Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and Athens which of course is the biggest). It was the perfect spot at the both and in any country like France waiting for more than 20min would have been surprisingly bad. However in this country things work differently. I waited for 6 hours. People did not stop no sign of stopping, no help whatsoever. The only response I got was laughter and some youngsters taking pictures with their smartphone. It was really shit and frustrating.
At the end, I got a ride with a bulgarian guy who was living in Germany. Therefore, I spoke 5 hours of german and it was very nice for both of us, I think ;-). He had to go all the way to Athens and I switched my plans from going to the beach and later to Athens. I decided to skip the sea side and just head to Athens.
A very nice 8.000 year old ruin where alexander the great was housing for sometimes
6th - Perperikon - Nedelino
Somewhere in the mountains a 10.000 people town with nothing to do but getting drunk. So I got invited from one of those guys to crash at his place. Very nice, even though his English was to be improved :-) The Mum spoke spanish though.... :-)
7th Nedelino - Kavala
Kavala, a very beautiful greek town with a very beautiful old part and very nice sea side. I really loved it, very nice and relaxing. I took the ferry to Thassos the next day
8th Kavala - Thassos (4.75€)
9th Thassos (somewhere around the island walking and in the evening of course the germany match)
10th Thassos (sleeping and sunbathing for a total amount of unknown numbers but I basically left the cove once to get water and food then I returned, I finished my book "The New York trilogy by Paul Auster", very nice book I can recommend it to everyone with a crazy ending.
Last part on the map I will do tomorrow, btw I was walking (and a little bit hitchhiking but it did not work much here). Luckily, I have my longboard with me. I did travel counter clockwise just for your orientation.
Next stage of my journey passed by pretty good after some troubles hitchhiking in the bulgarian mountains. It's hard because very shows you like the symbol for "I am just not going far/I am staying here" which sucks because you need to get from one village to the next. Therefore I waited for 2:30h in Adinelo and then another 1h in some other shit town somewhere on the road. Anyhow I finally made it to Greece and my last ride also took sometime to get but it turned out being very nice as the drivers (three men around their 50s) going and inviting me to go for a swim with them on a very quite beach just 6km from Kavala. This was the perfect place to stay overnight.
Next day I visited the town first end continued further to Thassos where I travelled around, hiked and I am still at right now. Tomorrow the next destination maybe Mt Athos, let's see how far I come. Maybe Thessaloniki...?
11th Thassos - Kavala (4.75€) - Mt Athos / Thessaloniki / ???
Thanks a lot Ivan,Boris and Nadia I had a wonderful time. I hope to see you again sometime. Random events is what live makes so beautiful!! I love these events, maybe I can hitch a ride another time for you guys :-P
Next destination: Perperikon, Thessaloniki, Mount Athos, Athenes