Trip to the moon

“Lisa, do you want to go somewhere tomorrow?”
“Let´s go Vulcanii Noroioși (Mud Vulcanoes).”
“How? Of course by hitchhiking.”

So we had to start our trip early morning. We left home at 6:45 and started hitchhiking. We catched first car soon. They took us to Chilieni, after we went to Ozun and after in the middle of nowhere we stopped the bus to Întorsura Buzăului. Nothing special happend. In Întorsura Buzăului we stayed longer (for a while we doubted if we hitchhike in good diraction). But finally it was good direction (we asked in the shop to be sure) and one nice man with his cute little daughter took us to small village Crasna. Lisa could practice her romanian. On the map it looked like a bigger village, but in real it was a little bit different. We were almost in the middle of nowhere again. But we were successful and one of few cars stopped and took us. The driver spoke a little bit English and he showed us a nice lake Siriu. He stopped so we could take some photos 🙂 . In Nehoiu Lisa´s stomach started to be bad, so we had a small break. I saw the tourist informations so we went there because I wanted to ask for the map (I didn´t know exactly where vulcano should have been). There was really kind woman. We talked a little bit, she gave us a lot of maps and information what we should visit (I hope that we will use it later and we will visit this region again). From Nehoiu to Berca we were taken by the big car and we had our authentic romanian experience (yes, the driver wanted to find a husband for us and for Lisa´s sister as well). Poor Lisa, she had to talk with him all the time. I was lucky because he didn´t speak English. Next car took us directly to the vulcano. We did it! 🙂 It was nice and landscape reminded the moon. We enjoyed it. I took a lot of pictures and we went back home. For a while it seemed that it will be harder to hitchhike back. So we decided to walk to next village. In the middle of the road we met some people with the car and we asked them to take us to Berca. They agreed 🙂 . From Berca to Nehoiu we took the bus (yes it was the esiest way, but we could sleep there and it was nice as well). In Nehoiu we started to hitchhike again. Lisa complained that she don´t want truck driver…so of course we were taken by truck driver 😀 But this experience was really nice (I think one of the best hitchhike in Romania). He spoke English, he bought water for us, gave us the CD with romanian songs and explained how to go to Tusnad. We are really grateful. We hitchhiked 3 other cars, but nothing special heppened. Lisa went first time by real truck first time! I think it was really beautiful trip even it was without hiking. I´m looking forward to our next hitchhiking trip 🙂 .

Everyday of EVS life

EVS life is unique experience and sometimes crazy things happen… So I wanted to capture those funny moments that we had (and we had A LOT!), so you could laugh with us (or from us…) So, first dose of our weirdness!

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‘Let’s go hiking tomorrow’, said Lenka.

‘At 5am’, she added, and my motivation suddenly went 10 feet down. Still, not low enough, because when Lenka woke me up in the morning, I managed to roll out of bed, throw random stuff into my backpack and pretend I am ready.

This is where the troubles started.

We had 10 minutes to run from home to train station, and in the end Lisa didn’t made it to the train and me and Lenka had to leave without her 😦 so it was very sad!

The second part of the troubles, from where we arrived with a train we had to hitchhike a couple of kilometers to the place where we could start our hiking. We stopped a car quite fast, it took maybe 5 mins to get to the place where we needed to go. Driver wasn’t talking to us, but it didn’t seem strange, when we arrived we said thank you and stepped out of the car. Driver immediatly started shouting and showing money sign. We said our lovely phrase “we are volunteers, we have no money”, the driver was shouting at us even more and calling us idiots, so it really wasn’t nice. Of course we gave him a little bit of money and left, but it really wasn’t nice that he didn’t say anything in the begining about the money (after all, we hitchhike so it would be cheaper and also we could meet nice people, and to pay for a couple of km and get shouted at…then it’s better to take the train!)

So after this not very lucky experience (which, fortunately, doesn’t happen often) we finally arrived. Now I will speak less and show more, because view was really amazing!

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It was so nice to just walk in the mountains and fields, without meeting other people for hours, only cows, horses, even one goat… So it was so peaceful! Also I am vey proud of myself (and Lenka, but for Lenka it probably wasn’t hard, because she aways hikes and runs, so she is way more sporty than I am :D) because we walked more than 20km, did yoga on top of teh mountains and in the end still had enough energy to hitchike, go shopping for food…

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ATTENTION – If you want to do yoga as well, come to the youth center, every Thursday at 6 pm Lenka has yoga activity!

So, in the end we arrived to Lacul Rosu (which, in my opinion, wasn’t as impressive as mountains, but I was still excited)!

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So, this was our one day trip, the weather and the view was lovely and I feel like I have more muscles! 😀 I am sure I will miss Romania’s mountains when I wil go home!

Just beautiful Budapest

After Lisa´s and Živilé´s post, I decided to write something about my weekend. I have to say in advance that it won´t be so funny and adventure 🙂 . I had really nice weekend full of relaxing. I enjoyed Budaest like a turist. I have been in Budapest many times, but usually I had other plans (go to the airport, agility competition, halfmarathon etc.). Now it was different. I visited my friend Ármin, so I had almost local guide and great company for whole weekend.

I started my journey in Thursday afternoon. The best transport in Romania is hitchhiking, so I decided to go to Ciuc this way. It was sunny day. I came home after activity with kids, ate my lunch, took my backpack and went to our usual place. But it started raining (really strong). I had to hide for a while in the center. After the rain I was lucky and I catched a car quickly. The driver spoke only romanian, so I don´t have any interesting stories from the car. I was in Ciuc in advance, so I went to the green market and the shop and I bought my dinner (keshu nuts & cherries). The journey was better than I expected after Peti´s description. I was reading a book, chating with friends and sleeping.

Of course! When your arrival should be at 5am (what was soon as well), but you arrive one and half hour earlier…Budapest was still sleeping. I wanted to use the time and walk to the center, but it was around one hour by walk. I waited for Ármin there (sorry for my early arrival and thank you that you came :)). We went to his place on Népszínház utca – the best street in Budapest 😀 We were getting hungry so we decided to go to the shop, but someone had a problem with time zone and it wasn´t me. I mentioned already Budapest was still sleeping and everything was closed. Second time we were successful and we found something for breakfast. I managed to contact Živilé and Lisa and met them. We were a little bit lost in the city, bus finally we found free tour. It was my 1st experience with city tour and I liked it! Our guide was very nice and she was talking really interesting. I won´t repeat what she said (you can find it in posts of Živilé and Lisa). After the tour we went for the lunch to vegan restaurant Edeni. I did the same mistake again. I wanted to try everything :D. Simply I´m woman and I cannot to choose easily. Tofu omelette was the best! 🙂 After we went back tu Pest part of Budapest, found vegan ice cream and met Ármin. We walked together to Keleti station and girls went to hitchhiking place by bus. And we took the metro and went to famous Vega city. It was the last chance to try something because during the weekend and on Monday (national holiday) it was closed. I had my problem to choose again, but finally I took tofu balls with sour cream and grape sugar. It was fine, but not the best. So I have to come again :D. We ate our dinner in the park opposite the Vega city. It was nice place, so we stayed there longer. We just lied on the grass and almost slept (No dogs came to lick or pee on us 😀 ). After few hours I was sure that girls are already in Bratislava, Živilé called me that they are still in Budapešť. It was almost nine! 😀 To be honest we doubted for a while if they are on the right place. Ármin found the bus and I bought the tickets for them. We spent the evening together (No girls you didn´t disturb us.). I think that night picnic and discovering new places in Budapest (some of them more times) was nice. Finally we found the yellow bus (my favourite 🙂 ) and  took the last metro.

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On Saturday we went to the big market and Gellért hill (yes I love hills and mountains). Again we found nice park for relaxing and sleeping and swings 🙂 . In the afternoon we cooked our lunch together. Original plan was to bake burgers in the oven, but…we made it with the pan. Oven is a secret place of the flat on Népszínház utca 😀 . We ate our lunch on the balcony (I really like this place.) and after we went for tour of the Budapest parks. We started with park near Heroes’ Square (and we had vegan ice cream again ❤ ) and continued with Margaret Island. I was there two years ago, but now the atmosphere was different – less people, peace and almost night. We walked trough whole island and back and had the dinner in the park again. Later we continued with walking in the night Budapest. I have to admit that cities are more magical in the night – especially Budapest. On the way to Ármin´s flat we went unplanned to Irish pub for one beer. It was big surprise that waitress didn´t speak hungarian (of course, I didn´t miss it). There was a live music and we drunk some special red beer. It was nic evening or almost night.

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On Sunday we decided to go a little bit out of the city, a little bit to the nature. Our destination was Szentendre. I was surprised because of the amout of turists. It seemed like somewhere on the seaside. And there was the ultra marathon! 🙂 We were a little bit confused on the beginning, but we managed to find the road to the forest. I cannot call it hiking, but it was nice walking in the nature and in the creek (or little Danube? 😀 ). After the walk we went back to Budapest and visited Terror háza (terror house) – museum about nazism and communism in Hungary. The best part was the prison and the cells. It was really scary and we can be glad that it´s not the present. We came back to Ármin´s home exactly on the time. After few minutes the storm began. In the evening we tried to watch the hungarian movie, but I was so tired and I couldn´t concentrate.

We spent the last day with Ármin´s friend near the Danube in the park Kopadzi gát. I found mulberry there! ❤ I love this fruit. In the afternoon Lisa and Živilé successfuly came from Bratislava by hitchhiking and joined to us. They were more lucky than first day. At the end of the day we met Muška´s puppy Sini and her owner Brigitta (Thank you that you find the time for meeting us.). And finally we found our bus Open world (it sounds a little bit like the name of some sect) and went home to Tusnad. We agreed that we miss Tusnad even the trip was great.

Finally I have to say thank you girls for this idea to go to Budapest and especially thank you Ármin for hosting, company and everything…It was really nice to discover Budapest with you.

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I´m looking forward to the next trip 🙂

In 5 days around Europe-Our Danube trip

Our Danube trip

You may already have read Ziviles blogpost about our crazy trip around three European capitals. As we haven’t been to exactly the same places all of the time, here is my recalling of our journey. 🙂

The evening before, you could practically absorb the excitement in our flat. In our living room, we had a casting for ‘Baile Tusnads next topmodel’ and the jukebox (my laptop) blasted Taylor Swift Songs. As if that wasn’t enough to channel our excitement, we also felt the sudden urge to create silly compositions with my Ukulele. One of these works of art was about Muškas ‘excremental behaviour’ (‘Poop and pee’), while the other masterpiece consisted of exactly two words and was all about the glory of Palinka (‘Patinka Palinka’=’I like Palinka’ in Lithuanian). Finally, at 2 or 3 am we went to bed to sleep out our hangover (just kidding :D) and entered La La Land.

First day in Budapest

From my last blogpost, you probably know by now, that I don’t really like long train trips. So, 13 hours in the train didn’t sound very comfortable for me. Nevertheless, this time I had company in the form of Zivile, so the train ride was quite ok. While she slept soundly during the whole trip though, I made acquaintainces with a girl from Sânsimion. She was also travelling to Budapest to visit her brother and invited us to her village to explore more about the Szekler culture.

Finally in Budapest, we changed currencies and went for a short shopping to buy something for our host. The confusion at first about the Hungarian Forint was real:

That looks so expensive, I am afraid to buy something.’

But soon, we got the hang out of the money and headed for our hosts place. After approximately one hour of walking through the city, tired and exhausted, we finally found our destination. Our host was an English teacher and travelled a lot. After talking a bit and sharing experiences, me and Zivile were too tired to keep our heads up and were taken by the Sandman into the land of dreams.

Second day in Budapest and Bratislava

After a well deserved sleep, we met with Lenka the next morning in the city centre, to go to a free walking tour through Budapest. The tour was very interesting and we saw a lot of the city. Our guide also told us a lot about the Hungarian people and even serenaded us with a traditional song (‘Tavaszi szél’). I immediately fell in love with the city and wanted to explore more. After the tour we went to a vegan restaurant, which was my first time. Unfortunately, we had to leave in the evening, because me and Zivile were expected by some of her friends from Bratislava. So, we went to a recommended hitchhiking place in the outskirts of the city to start our second trip. After two hours of waiting by the road, we began discussing our current misfortune. Options for that were:

‘Zivile, do you think I look like a gypsy?’

as well as

‘Maybe they can’t read…’ (Our sign)

Then, a car drove by, with the aim to go to Zagreb. The couple in the car spontaneously invited us to join them and for a moment we were even considering it, but we already had people waiting for us, so we couldn’t let them down. In the end, the couple took us to a supposedly better hitchhiking place, where we waited for another two hours  without any luck. Our last hope was to call Lenka (we’re still sorry for disturbing your evening), to search for buses to Bratislava. In the end we got a bus and at 3 am in the morning, we arrived there. Luckily Zivile had been in Bratislava before, so she navigated us to her friend’s home. We almost had to sleep outside, because he fell asleep and hadn’t heard us ringing. Fortunately he heard us in the end. He gave us a teeny tiny mattress to sleep on, which was actually for one person. We didn’t even have space to move and I almost threw Zivile off of it…. But in the end we more or less slept.

 Third day in Bratislava and Vienna

After a very very uncomfortable night and only three hours of sleep, we woke up at 6 am and headed for our hitchhiking place to Vienna. On the way we met another friend of Ziviles, who wanted to accompany us. We only needed 2 minutes to get a ride to Vienna. In Vienna we also had a free walking tour through the city. The guide made a lot of advertisements in the beginning, which was a bit annoying, but the rest of the tour was actually very interesting and not too much packed with historical facts. Zivile and her friend left in the beginning, so I explored the city on my own for the rest of the day. In the afternoon I visited Castle Schönbrunn, the summer residence of the Habsburg family. The castle itself was really nice , but they removed almost all of the furniture, which was a bit disappointing for me and the tour was quite boring and short. Still, I met some nice people on the tour; there was for example an American couple from LA, who was travelling through Europe. Vienna is very very beautiful, but I have the same opinion as Zivile: The whole city seems like one big museum, with a lot of people, but without any life. And although I was in a German speaking country again, I felt strangely disconnected. I didn’t even get to speak in German a lot, because of all the tourists. In the end, Zivile wanted to practice her German, so we talked the whole way until we reached our hitchhiking spot back to Bratislava. 🙂

We waited there for at least two hours, until a radio personality from Bratislava took us. In Bratislava, we visited a Slovak Food Festival, and now it is my turn to talk about the deliciousness of Slovakias cuisine.:) I ate some traditional dish (of which I can’t remember the name), which consisted of some kind of dumplings with potatoes and smântâna. I could hear the angels singing hallelujah.:D Zivile was on Cloud Number Nine with her special Kürtoskalács and even considered moving to Slovakia. In her words:

‘I just want to move here and eat food all the time’

Quite a big plan for the future isn’t it? 😉 So, if this hasn’t convinced you yet to come to Slovakia, let me tell you about its awesome views:

In the evening after the festival, we went up a hill called Slavin, from which we could enjoy an incredible night panorama of the city. Zivile and her friend decided to do Yoga, while I was watching them and then fell asleep on the top of the hill…Later, we went down and met our host, but didn’t sleep at his place that night, because he wanted to party, while we wanted to sleep. So, we spontaneously decided to spend the night at Ziviles friends place.

 

Fourth day in Bratislava and Vienna

The next day wasn’t very spectacular. Zivile and her friend visited some museums, while I explored more of the city, because I wasn’t in the mood to go to museums. When we hitchhiked back, we were taken by a very nice Slovak man, who was wearing Lederhosen and at first I thought, that he is Austrian. He had been hitchhiking to Morocco, when he was younger and thought it would be cool to pick up other hitchhikers as well (his wife doesn’t approve of that though…:D). In the evening, we went back to Ziviles friend and we originally wanted to bake a cake for him. Unfortunately, Zivile fell asleep and took the whole tiny mattress for herself (which we had actually planned before), so I had to call the floor my friend for the night (It was surprisingly more comfortable than the mattress…).

Fifth day in Bratislava and Budapest

We woke up very early to start our journey back to Budapest, because we had to take a bus from there to Romania. Finding the hitchhiking spot was a challenge for itself. The Slovak guy who took us the day before, gave us directions on how to get there, but we walked the wrong way at first. After a while I had a feeling in my gut, that we aren’t going the right way, so we walked back and took another way. This particular way was leading us…through a crop field.

‘Lisa, do you think there are snakes in the grass?’

After some slight worries about snakes and the possibly pesticidious grass, we conquered our way through the field, which was our only way to get to the petrol station. When we arrived there, our feet were so wet, that we had to change to dry socks. Zivile took one pair of my socks and I took one pair of her socks, which we only realized later. 🙂 After that, we had another obstacle: We weren’t on the right side of the petrol station. So, we had to cross another field and a bridge in order to get there. In this field, there were some strange and mysterious animals, which is why we basically ran to the other side of the motorway.

After some time, a Bulgarian guy gave  us a lift and he was very concerned about, that we could kill him…but otherwise he was very nice and even took us to the city centre of Budapest, although it wasn’t on his way. Back in Budapest, we met with Lenka and her friend and went to the Danube, before our bus came. It was a very nice and sunny summers day and we bathed our legs in the fresh water. Later we met Muškas daughter Sini (short for Sinistra :D) and after that went to the bus station.

My personal favourites of this trip were:

  1. Budapest
  2. Walking through a crop field
  3. The view from the hill in Bratislava

Unfortunately, I didn’t do our little ‘homework’ to learn five sentences in Slovak, Hungarian and German. But my Slovak skills are at least enough to talk to Muška, so it is anyways a small success for me. 🙂

This journey was one of the best of my life so far and I am really proud of us, that everything turned out the way we originally planned it, despite some obstacles. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna

Pre-trip

Evening before the trip.

What normal people would do? Go to sleep, so they would get enough rest and ready for looong travel.

What do we do?

  • Have a fashion show.

Lenkaaaa, but tell me that I should take this scarf? It’s really useful, look, I can wear it on my head! And goes well with my blue lipstick…

Lisa, are you taking only short pants? You think we won’t freeze???

No no, don’t take two pairs of jeans, it’s not minimalist!

  • Decide to record ukulele songs. One for Muška, because she’s lazy to go outside to pee (so the song features words ‘poop’ and ‘pee’…masterpiece), and other about…palinka.
  • Go to sleep at 3am when the train is at 8am.

1 day

Let’s talks numbers:

  • How many people: 2 (me and Lisa)
  • How long: 13hrs (in a lovely train)
  • How long it took for me to fall asleep: 3mins (Lisa’s statistics. I can’t confirm or deny, since, you know, I was sleeping…)
  • How many movies did I watch: 3 (I hope no one saw that I got a bit teary while watching Lion. I strongly recommend it!)
  • How many new people we met: 1 (a lovely girl who invited us to visit her!)
  • How much food I consumed: 2 sandwitches (mmm, grilled eggplant) and 1 pack of waffers.

So, maybe the train trip wasn’t the most exciting part, but it wasn’t all boring as well!

So, we finally arrive to Budapest, happy and excited, first thing that we do – go to shop for food, to bring something to our host for breakfast. In the shop we meet a nice guy from Spain, who was traveling, came to Budapest and decided to stay, because he fell in love with the city. After a nice chat and short shopping we start looking for our host’s house. Two hours later (yes, we weren’t great with navigating the city…but who would be, after 13hrs in the train!) we finally met our lovely host (we found him though couchsurfing, if you don’t know what that is – stay tuned, there will definitely be a blog post about that). It was quite late and he had to work the next day, but stilll we managed to have a nice conversation about his travels before me and Lisa fell asleep.

2 day

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We woke up early, said thanks to our Hungarian host and went to meet Lenka. We decided that we should do something ‘touristic’ and use the short time we have to see as much as possible, so we went to city tour.

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It was great, honestly I am terrible in remembering historical facts (so maybe more about that in Lisa’s or Lenka’s blog post?), so I’ll mention only the things that were the most interesting for me and stuck in my head the most:

  • Apparently, ball-point pen, Rubik’s cube and safety matches are all invetions of Hungarians!
  • Statues of horses have interesting meaning – depending on the horse’s pose you can tell how his owner died. So if the horse is standing with all four legs firmly on the ground, his rider died a natural death. If one of his legs is in the air, it means his owner died from battle-related injuries, if both front legs of the horse are in the air, his rider died in the battle.
  • In Budapest there is a tree with a lot of locks. It’s not an unusual thing, a lot of European countries have bridges full of locks that lovers put on there and threw away the key, hoping that their love will be ‘locked’ forever. However, this particular tree in Budapest, whose fence is full of locks is different – apparently only couples that met through certain dating site put a lock there. Funny thing! And, a good advertisement for the dating website, because there are a lot of locks, so, it’s probably possible to find love even on the internet…

So, after sightseeing – the mandatory selfie (see, Lenka, I am wearing the scarf!)

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After the city tour, vegan lunch and unexpected meeting (in Budapest we ran into girls from Guyana that we first met in Romania…what a small world!) me and Lisa were prepared for our hitchike to Bratislava. We got to the perfect point for hitchiking, prepared our sign, smiled at the people and…nothing. Not even one car going to Slovakia! We decided to catch a car that would at least bring us further from the city. Guess who stopped – Romanian guy and Estonian girl! They said they are going to Zagreb and if we’re spontanious, we should join them, but this time we weren’t THAT spontanious…so we waited and waited, and it got dark, so we had to call Lenka and ask her to check if there is a bus to Bratislava.

‘Were you hitchiking on the right side? The one, that leads to Romania?’

Well duuuh, we were on the right side, but we got only offers to go to Balaton (tempting!), not to Bratislava. So, Lenka and her friend came to save us! We still had some time until the bus, so we had cucumber throwing competition (Lenka won!), night picnic in the park and I ate at least 6 different types of TuruRudi… So evening spent well. We got in our bus and I slept all the way, we got out at 2am, luckily my friend gave great directions to his place so this time we didn’t get lost and reached him succesfully. Me and Lisa had a tiny tiny matress and 3 hours to sleep, so we tried to rest as much as possible in such a short time…

3 day

We woke up and followed great directions of other friend, Gabriel, (maybe all Slovak people are good with directions?) on how to meet him and get in the part of the city from where we all can catch a ride to Vienna. It took us exactly 2mins (personal record!) to get a car, and after a short ride we arrived.

Again, we planned to start with touristic stuff, so we went for the city tour. Oh, I regreted it soooo much. There were maybe 50 people, tour guide was constantly advertising things (‘So, this museum is only 30 euros, with our card is only 29, and if you want to eat you should go to this restaurant…‘) I was looking for ways to escape and when I saw my friend is also not too interested in the tour, we left Lisa (sorry!) to enjoy the tour and skipped it… And went to the flea market. Too bad I didn’t take pictures, flea market was amazing, full of weirdest things you can possibly imagine: old letters, paintings, jewelry, creepy dolls and statues, there even was one huge box full of door knobs… Connected with flea market there also was a food market (hummus, grilled eggplants and falafels, you were beutiful, I won’t forget you).

But, talking about food I need to mention THE ice cream. Vegan ice cream which feels like pure happiness (or, as Gabriel said, boobs of an angel). I tried levander, lemon & melisa, poppy seeds, peanut butter, orange & safran and (my personal favorite) carrot cake… Yes, in this trip I ate a lot. But it was so worth it.

Of course, in Vienna there were more things to see, not only food. For example, this beautiful rose garden:

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But in general, I had this strange feeling about Vienna, that it is like huge museum, it can be admired, but not ‘touched’ – it felt like very touristic city, but lacking of life. So I am glad I had a good company and some fun things to do, but I can’t imagine living in Vienna!

After the long day exploring the city we hitchhiked back to Bratislava (this time it wasn’t so easy and took some time to get a car back, but apparently we drove with some local celebrity – the guy who stopped for us was some radio person).

Ach, and again about food…but I have to mention it. Imagine: kürtöskalács, inside it is nutella and strawberries, on top – ice cream and more strawberries… Heaven.

So after this lovely meal we needed to move a bit, so we went to a hill from where we could see the lights of Bratislava at night… What a nice view. And we even did some yoga on the top of the mountain (this was always on my bucket list)!

After this longlongong day me and Lisa just wanted to sleep, but my friend with who we were staying had plans for partying… So Gabriel offered to host us instead, shower, bed and  clean socks were pure heaven.

Day 4

Another morning starts with hitchhiking, this time waiting was less boring, because we had ukulele! So some weird random hitchhiking songs and we stopped a car, again – Romanians! And one of the sweetest moments from hitchhiking – radio started playing Ed Sheeran’s “Galway girl” (my personal favorite from his new album!) and we all in the back of the car started humming quietly, tapping our fingers/hands/feet in the rhytm, and the girl who was sitting next to driver laughed at us and turned music louder 🙂

Driver let us out maybe 5km before Vienna’s city center, but it was good because we discovered the weirdest thing – pet cemetery. So a lot of tiny (and not so tiny) gravestones for all the Fluffies, Luckies, Sparkles and other beloved animals… It was both sweet and weird, what an interesting place to visit.

After one more car we finally ended up in Vienna and split again – Lisa went to see the castle, me and my friend went to museums. Vienna for sure is THE city for museums – everyone should find something that they like, I enjoyed interesting photos, some great contemporary art and some “must-see” paintings.

We headed back to Bratislava a bit earlier, since Lisa wanted to explore the city. And what a nice person stopped for us, he told us that he was also a hitchhiker when he was younger (and had dreadlocks…:)), so now he feels that he has to “give back the favour” and take other hitchikers.

Unfortunately, when we reached Bratislava, the weather was terrible, so instead of walking around the city we bought stuff for my favorite lazy cake and headed home. We were so tired and cold after the rain, that we fell asleep and the cake never happened…

Day 5

The fun trip home. Me and Lisa said bye to my friend at around 8am and we headed for hitchhiking spot. The task was simple – to go through the fields to the petrol station.

We went…

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And  went…

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And realised, we chose the wrong way, so instead of 15mins of walking it was more than hour. Finally we reached the petrol station and we started hitchhiking, people were super friendly, smiling and waving at us, a lot of truck drivers were saying that they’re leaving to Budapest in the afternoon, so if no one stops they can take us there. BUT – Lenka was waiting for us in Budapest. And our bus back to Romania… So we couldn’t wait for the afternoon, we needed to get to Hungary as fast as possible.

After a couple of hours of waiting, a Bulgarian man stopped, he was going to Sofia and he took us. It was so funny, his first sentence was:

‘I hope you are not going to kill me’

So, we were his first hitchhikers! And he said, he was in the petrol station, then remembered he left something at his friend’s place, then he went back to Bratislava, then to the petrol station again, and we were still standing there… So he felt sorry for us, lucky us! And he was so nice, he wasn’t planning to go into Budapest, but for us he adjusted his route and took us exactly where we needed, it was so nice of him 🙂

In Budapest we met Lenka and her friend, we went to the park and Hungarian beach, so it felt like the official beginning of the summer. And a bit later we even met Muška’s baby and her owner!

After I filled my bag with Slovak sweets and Hungarian alcohol-free beer, we went to the bus, where I slept all the way until Miercurea Ciuc… And there – not such good news, our bus was veeery late, and we still neded to hitchhike back to Baile Tusnad… But in the end everything worked out well!

After the trip we were talking with Lisa and Lenka, what were the high-points of the trip, so my top three:

  1. Doing yoga late in the evening, staring at beautiful view of Bratislava;
  2. Getting lost in crop fields while trying to find our way to Budapest;
  3. Ice cream.

Also, we had a little challenge, to learn 5 phrases – Lenka in Hungarian, Lisa in Slovak and me in German. I learned only 3, but here they are:

Ist deine Zeit heilig für dich? / Is your time sacred for you?

Besser essen, besser leben. / Better eating, better living.

Wie man zusammenlebt / How to live together

I hope you are not sleeping after my post, and hopefully it was fun to read about our (tiny bit crazy) journey!

Recipe: tinginys (the lazy cake)

Last week I had an amazing time traveling in Slovakia (blog post about my adventures is coming soon!) and Lenka invited me to stay with her family. Among the other fun activities, there was a lot of cooking! Lenka’s mother made me halušky, and I decided to make Lithuanian šaltibarščiai (cold beetroot soup) and tinginys (the lazy cake). Today I am in the mood for sweets, so I thought I’ll share the cake recipe with you (and, people have been asking…)

So, why it’s called “The lazy cake”? It takes literally minutes to prepare it (though you have to be patient while it’s cooling down in the fridge) and it’s so delicious! Really, when Lisa tasted it she said she heard angels singing. So, did I convinced you to try to make it?

HUN:
Előző héten egy fantasztikus hetem volt, Szlovákiában utazva (az utazásról szóló bejegyzés hamarosan érkezik!) és Lenka meghívott a családjához. A különböző mókás tevékenységek között sok főzés is szerepelt. Lenka anyukája halusky-t* készített, és én úgy döntötte, készítek “šaltibarščiai”-t (hideg céklaleves) és “tinginys”-t (“lusta torta”). Ma eléggé “édességes” hangulatban vagyok, ezért úgy döntöttem megosztom veletek a sütemény receptjét (és néhányan már kértétek is…)

Szóval… Miért is hívják “lusta tortának”? Mert szó szerint perszek alatt elkészül (igaz elégé türelmesnek kell lenni, amíg lehül a hűtőben) és nagyon finom! De tényleg, mikor Lisa megkóstolta, azt mondta angyalokat hallott énekelni. 🙂 Na, meggyőztelek hogy kipróbáld?

*: a halusky lényegében egyfajta tejfölös nokedli, amit kicsi pörcintett szalonnával tálalnak. Ha minden igaz, lesz erről is recept, jó kis gyors, laktatós kaja. 🙂

The LazyCake

And, a short video about making vegan version with Lenka and her family:

És egy rövid videó a vegan verzió elkészítéséről Lenkával, és családjával:

My small adventure

One day I heard the call of nature, so I decided to go to the forest for two days. The weather was nice and sunny. Baile Tusnad was without snow anymore. I didn´t want to take lots of things, so I didn´t take my crampons. It was mistake because I had to balance on ice sometimes. I didn´t think about the snow. It was mistake n°2. When I was more than 1000 meters above I started to fight with the snow. There was maybe 1 meter of snow. But I managed it! I have to mention my best loyal friend Muška who went with me. I was singing almost whole way because the bear´s footprints were everywhere. But I have to say that it didn´t work so well like I expected. I met bears. I was first time in my life and it was amazing. If I was scared? Of course. But on the other hand I felt that it´s a real nature. It was awesome connection between me and wildlife. The first bear was climbing on the tree. It was maybe 10 meters from us. I was so surprised because I thought that it´s some squirrel when I heard some sounds on the tree. But I was wrong. My heart started to beat so fast. Immediately I changed my way. But there was next surprise for me – 2 other bears ran through the meadow. I stopped because one bear was behind me and two others in front of me. I enjoyed that moment with a big respect for them. Luckily shelter was close so after few minutes I continued. I found a place for sleeping, I ate something and I went to sleep. I have to mentioned my sleeping bag which is amazing. I love it! It was so warm even snow was everywhere around the shelter. Originally I planed to make some photos of the night sky and stars. Conditions were realy good, but after the experience with the bears I changed my plans. And I think it was a good decision, because on the morning one bear was maybe 100 meters in front of the shelter and it was eating something. I expected that it will go away soon, but it didn´t. I waited 2 hours and it was still there. So I decided to try to leave the shelter and go beck home even the bear is there. It noticed me and ran away. My journey home was interesting as well, but I didn´t meet any others animals. I think it was probably faster, because I had skills how to move in the big snow. It´s hard to describe all my feelings, but it was really nice weekend. In the end I was tired but really happy. And Muška as well.

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HUN:

Egy napon, hallottam a természet hívó szavát, így eldöntöttem, hogy elmegyek az erdőbe egy két napra. Az időjárás kellemes, napos volt. Tusnádfürdőn már nem volt hó egy ideje. Mivel nem akartam sok cuccot vinni magammal, nem vittem magammal a hágóvasakat (bakancsra szerelhető “karmok”, jég esetére). Ez hiba volt, mivel néhányszor kellett jégen csúszkálnom. Nem gondoltam, hogy lesz hó… De körülbelül méteres hó volt még, ahova mentem. De megoldottam! Meg kell említsem leghűségesebb jó barátomat, Muskát (Lenka kutyája 🙂 ), aki velem jött. Majdnem a teljes úton végig énekeltem, mert medvenyomok voltak mindenhol. De azt kell mondjam,nem igen működött úgy, ahogy elterveztem. Találkoztam medvékkel. Először az életemben, és elképesztő volt. Hogy féltem-e? Persze. De másrészt éreztem, hogy valóban a természetben vagyok. Fantasztikus kapcsolat volt köztem és a vadon között. Az első medve épp fára mászott. Úgy 10 méterre lehetett tőlünk. Nagyon meglepődtem, mert mikor először hallottam a hangot a fáról, azt hittem csak néhány mókus. De tévedtem. Elkezdett kalapálni a szívem és azonnal megfordultam. De ott is volt meglepetés számomra, 2 medve szaladt át az ösvényen. Megálltam, hiszen 2 medve volt előttem, egy pedig mögöttem. Nagyon élveztem a helyzetet, de igyekeztem tisztelettel viseltetni a medvék iránt. Szerencsémre, a menedék már közel volt és néhány perc után folytattam is az utam. Találtam egy helyet ahol aludhatok, faltam valamit és utána le is feküdtem. Meg kell említenem a hálózsákomat is, ami egyszerűen fantasztikus. Imádom! Még úgy is, hogy hó volt körülöttünk mindenhol, nagyon meleg volt. Eredetileg készültem néhány képet készíteni az éjszakai égboltról és a csillagokról. A feltételek adottak voltak, de a medvékkel való találkozásom után inkább meggondoltam magam. Azt hiszem jól döntöttem, mert reggel, a házikótól úgy 100 m-re egy medve evett éppen valamit. Arra számítottam, hogy hamar odébb áll, de nem így lett. Még 2 óra után is ott volt… Úgyhogy eldöntöttem, elindulok és megpróbálok hazajutni valahogy, annak ellenére, hogy ott volt. Amikor észre vett, el is szaladt. A hazafele vezető utam is érdekes volt, de más állattal már nem találkoztam. Valószínű gyorsabban ment már, volt némi tapasztalatom, hogy haladjak a nagy hóban. Nehéz leírnom mit jelentett számomra, de egy nagyon jó hétvége volt. A végére nagyon elfáradtam, de nagyon boldog voltam. És Muska is.

Back to the roots-My trip to Bistrita

Back to the Roots

The 28th of April was a special day for me: I was about to go on my first long-distance hitchhiking trip on my own. I’ve already gone hitchhiking alone, but only to places in Harghita or the neighbouring counties, such as Brasov and Covasna (e.g. Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti, Sfantu Gheorghe, Miercurea Ciuc, etc.), which are very close. This particular trip should be something different though, for a couple of reasons.

My destination: Bistrita, near Cluj-Napoca.

Some of you might be wondering themselves right now: Why Bistrita? It is not a very well known or special city in Romania.

Yet for me it is a special destination. As I partly have Romanian roots and my whole family grew up in Romania, it was a no-brainer for me to visit some of the places, where they lived. Bistrita is the town, in which my father and aunt grew up. I have been there four years ago as well, but couldn’t remember much of it. So, let me tell you about my journey to Bistrita! 🙂

Lightly packed and inspired by a nice roadtrip-movie from the night before (”Into the wild” ;D), I was full of motivation for my journey. I started to hitchhike to Ciuc with Lenka and Zivile, who were going to Slovakia. In Ciuc, we parted ways and I waited on the road to Gheorgheni for a lift. I didn’t have to wait very long, because three students from Cluj  took me with them. They were very cool and one of them even spoke a bit of German, which is always nice. 😉 Apart from a very interesting conversation, they even showed me the biggest nightclub in Transylvania (which strangely is located in a teeny tiny village…) as we passed it. On my request they let me out on the road to Bistrita, which apparently leads through the village, in which my mother grew up.

The next part of my trip turned out to be more difficult, because not a lot of people drive to Bistrita. I waited for approximately one hour, until I got very lucky and a guy from there drove by and took me. We passed a lot of Saxon villages on the way, but unfortunately not my mothers village…

Finally in Bistrita, I spent a nice, sunny day strolling around the town and of course I took a lot of photos for my parents. 🙂 After 5 hours of staying there and visiting everything, I decided to go back to Tusnad by train. If I knew before what would happen in the next couple of hours, I probably would have never taken the train…so, let me tell you the whole story (which actually wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds here ;D):

My train trip began at 19.30 pm and originally I should arrive at 2.00 am in the morning. As I am not very keen on long train rides, I was in a constant argument with my brain, which wouldn’t shut up telling me ”It’s going to be a loooong way, my dear friend. Why did you decide again to take the train and not stay overnight in the town?” But well, I had already bought my ticket (which wasn’t expensive at all…) and with a suspicious feeling, I entered the train. In the train I met a very nice student from Cluj, who had also done some voluntary work in Romania and I could inspire her to do an European Voluntary Service. 🙂 Unfortunately she couldn’t go all the way with me, because I had to change trains in a small village. After I entered the second train, I had a short internal panic attack, because I thought I took the wrong one (it drove in the complete opposite direction). But after asking a couple of people, I was sure I took the right one. Approximately three hours went by and then disaster struck us (at least in my eyes ;D). Several trees fell down and blocked the railroad! At first, the conductors assured us, that the problem would be fixed in 50 minutes. I internally groaned, because 50 minutes was a huge deal for me. But, unlucky me, the problem took 4 whole hours to be solved! As a highly alert and sensitive person, it is almost impossible for me to sleep in trains or cars, so the waiting time was especially torturous for me. Yet, my saviour was near! His name was Mario, he was 9 years old and travelling with his mother to Bucharest. During the rest of the train ride we played together and got to know each other. He was a very cool kid and made my trip back home very bearable (and I could practice my Romanian ;)). I will be eternally thankful for him. 🙂 In the end, 6 hours of travelling turned into 12. I arrived in Tusnad at 7.30 am and basically slept for the rest of the day.

So  in the end the whole trip turned out to be full of positive experiences as well , despite the long journey back. 🙂
———————————–
HUN:

“Április 28. egy különleges nap volt számomra: az első utazásomra készültem, ahova egyedül mentem távoli helyre, stoppolva. Már utaztam egyedül stoppal, de csak Hargita megyén belül, vagy a szomszédos megyékbe mint pl. Brassó vagy Kovászna megye (Zernyesti medveóvóhely, Szentgyörgy, Szereda, stb.), amik ugye közel vannak. De ez az út több okból is különlegesnek ígérkezett.

A célállomás: Beszterce, Kolozsvárhoz viszonylag közel.

Néhányan talán megkérdeznétek, miért éppen Beszterce? Egy nemzetközileg nem túlságosan ismert, vagy keresett célpont Romániában.

Számomra azonban mégis az, hiszen vannak Romániához erősen kötődő gyökereim, az egész családom Romániából származik, itt nőttek fel, így számomra nem volt kérdés, hogy meg fogom látogatni ezeket a helyeket, ahol korábban éltek. Édesapám, és nagynéném Besztercén nőttek fel. 4 évvel ezelőtt jártam már itt, de különösebben sokra nem emlékeztem.

Most tehát, besztercei kirándulásomról fogok mesélni!

Fürgén bepakoltam és inspirálva az előző esti film klub során megtekintett “road movie” által ( “Út a vadonba” ;D ), igen motiváltan vágtam neki utamnak. Zivilével és Lenkával stoppoltunk Csíszeredáig, ők azonban Szlovákiába utaztak a héten. Szeredában elváltak útjaink, és én, a Gyergyószentmiklós felé tartó út mellett vártam, hogy felvegyenek. Nem kellett sokáig várjak, három diák, akik Kolozsváron tanulnak, felvett. Nagyon jó fejek voltak, egyikük még Németül is beszélt egy kicsit, aminek mindig örülök. Egy érdekesebb beszélgetésünket megszakítva még Erdély legnagyobb éjszakai szórakozóhelyét is megmutatták (ami elég furcsa, hogy egy kisebb faluban van..), ahogy elhaladtunk mellette. Kérésemnek eleget téve meg is álltak a Beszterce felé vezető útnál, hogy kiszálljak és folytassam utam, ami nem úgy tűnt, azon a falun is keresztül vezet, ahol anyukám nőtt fel.

Utam következő része egy kicsit nehezebben sikerült, mivel nem sok ember igyekezett Beszterce fele autóval. Úgy egy óra várakozás után állt meg egy srác, aki épp odavalósi. Nagyon sok Szász falucskán keresztül mentünk, de sajnos ahol anyukám felnőtt, nem…

Végül Besztercén egy kellemes, napos időt fogtam ki, keresztül-kasul bejártam a várost és természetesen rengeteg képet készítettem a szüleimnek. Miután ott minden megnéztem amit csak tudtam, úgy döntöttem, hogy visszautazok Tusnádra vonattal. Ha tudtam volna előre mi vár rám a következő órákban, bizonyára sosem választottam volna ezt a lehetőséget… Kérlek engedjétek meg, hogy elmeséljem az egész történetet (ami egyébként közel sem volt annyira drámai, mint amilyennek itt hangzik ;D ):

A vonat eredetileg 19.30-kor indult és éjjel 02.00 óra körül kellett volna megérkezzek. Mivel nem nagyon vagyok oda a hosszabb vonatozásért, folyamatos vitában álltam az agyammal, ami állandóan csak azt hajtogatta, hogy “Ez bizony nagyon-nagyon hosszú út lesz, barátocskám. Miért kellett neked így döntened, ahelyett, hogy eltöltöttél volna egy éjszakát a városban?”. De na… Már megvettem a jegyet is előre (ami egyébként nem is volt drága), és egy gyanús érzéssel körülövezve, felszálltam a vonatra. A vonaton találkoztam egy kedves Kolozsvári diákkal, aki szintén végzett már korábban önkéntes munkát az országban, és kicsit igyekeztem győzködni, hogy menjen el EVS-re Ő is. Sajnos nem tudtunk végig együtt utazni, mert egy kis faluban át kellett száljak egy másik vonatra. Miután felszálltam a 2. vonatra, lejátszódott bennem egy rövidebb pánikroham, mivel azt hittem rossz vonatra szálltam fel (teljesen ellentétes irányba indult el ugyanis). De miután megkérdeztem pár embert, rájöttem, hogy jó helyen vagyok. Úgy 3 óra után a katasztrófa lesújtott ránk (legalábbis az én szememben az volt ;D). Kidőlt pár fa, amik elzárták az utat! A kalauz először biztosított mindenkit, hogy a problémát úgy 50 perc alatt meg is oldják. Magamban zúgolódtam, mivel számomra 50 perc a vonaton igenis sokat számít. De szerencsétlenségemre a problémát csupán 4 óra alatt tudták elhárítani! Mivel nagyon éber és érzékeny vagyok úgy általában, számomra képtelenség, hogy vonaton vagy autóban aludjak, így ez a várakozás számomra felért egy kínzással. Szerencsére a megmentőm közel volt! A neve Mario, 9 éves és épp anyukájával utaztak Bukarestbe. Utam hátralevő részében együtt játszottunk és megismerkedtünk egymással. Egy nagyon klassz kölyök volt, aki teljesen elviselhetővé tette számomra az út hátralevő részét, és még a román nyelvtudásomat is tudtam kicsit gyakorolni. Amíg élek, hálás leszek ezért a kölyökért. Végül a 6 órás útból 12 lett. Reggel 7.30 körül érkeztünk meg Tusnádra, és azt követően az egész napot átaludtam.

A végére tehát az egész út egy igen kellemes tapasztalat lett, és nagyon sok jó élménnyel gazdagodtam. :)”

Hitchhiking in Romania

CAMPING WALKTHROUGHS NO. 6 (1)

Dear future volunteers of Baile Tusnad,

in this blogpost I would like to give you some useful information for hitchhiking in Romania, as well as share with you some of my own stories. Happy reading! 🙂

First of all I have to admit, that I am not an experienced hitchhiker (although by now, I could say that I am :)) and that I have never tried hitchhiking before coming to Romania. In my home country Germany, hitchhiking is not a very common phenomenon, and I would actually be more afraid to do it there, than here in Romania. So, all of the following tips and stories come solely from my own experiences and I can’t guarantee that the same can be applied to other hitchhikers as well.

In Romania, hitchhiking is a practice that people from almost all age groups do, rather than relying on public transport. It is, of course, a cheaper and faster way of transportation (don’t get me started on the Romanian train system…) and usually you can meet quite interesting people. It is very easy, especially if you are a girl. Also, the people here are probably one of the friendlest I know and on top of that very helpful. Of course, hitchhiking always means stepping into unknown territory, but what would life be without some risks?

1. Always make signs with the places you want to go to!

This tip can be used in other countries as well, but it can be especially helpful if you are an EVS volunteer in an unfamiliar country. In this way, people are more likely to think you’re a foreigner and can immediately see in where you want to go and if they drive into this direction as well.

2. Talking about directions: Romania doesn’t really have motorways, so there are mostly main roads which lead to bigger cities and they go through a lot of villages. So, in case you get lost in the middle of nowhere, remember to orientate yourself on these main roads and wait for a car there.

3. If you hitchhike in winter, remember to pretend that you are almost freezed to death and shake your whole body out of coldness.

I am not lying, this has actually worked a couple of times for me. On the other hand, you don’t really need to pretend that you are frozen, because Romanian winters feel like you’re stuck in a fridge for six months. But still you can try this method if you see, that after half an hour nobody takes you and you can also exaggerate your shaking a bit. Maybe then some driver will have pity with the poor, snowman-like volunteer. 🙂

4. Another tip for hitchhiking in winter: NEVER EVER forget your gloves and try to wear at least three pairs of socks…

5. A useful sentence in Romanian to tell drivers, that you don’t want to pay them: ”Nu am/avem bani.” (I/we don’t have money.)

Hitchhiking in Romania is somehow illegal, as it is seen as an unauthorized source of profit. The government tried to make a law against it, but hasn’t fully achieved it yet as far as I know. But actually nobody cares, because almost everybody practices it. You also shouldn’t feel obliged to pay the drivers, as hitchhiking should be for free in the first place and not a source of extra income to the advantage of the drivers. Of course some people give them a couple of lei and you can do too if you feel like it; but if you don’t want to , just say the sentence above and they (hopefully) won’t bother you about this issue anymore. From my experience though, the Romanian drivers usually never ask for money.

6. Always make sure you haven’t accidentally stepped into a long-distance-taxi or something similiar.

When Zivile and me hitchhiked back from Sighisoara, we were taken by a man who had a device, which suspiciously looked like a Taxameter. He also constantly talked with other people through a walkie-talkie-like device, which taxi drivers usually possess. So after realization hit us, that we could potentially be in a taxi for quite a long way, we decided to ask him. The answer wasn’t at all what we had expected it to be: The potential taxi driver turned out to be a policeman! He laughed at us at first and reassured us then that he won’t ask for money.

7. Romanians/Hungarian  drive like crazy.

If you want to hitchhike, be prepared that Romanians/Hungarians don’t really follow the driving rules. Sometimes they drove so fast and overran other cars, that I almost got several heartattacks and thought my last minutes had come…This can be especially problematic as the roads are very narrow and curvy.

8. Last but not least, hitchhiking in Romania is a very good way to practice your Romanian or Hungarian and get to know the people better.

When we volunteers go hitchhiking, it is usually me who speak with the drivers, because I speak the best Romanian from all of us. And as not all of the drivers can speak English and you can use Hungarian only in Transylvania, I am a lot of times forced to speak in Romanian. Which is a good thing in my opinion, because I don’t speak a lot of Romanian. Also in this way I don’t have the time to be ashamed of grammatical mistakes, because I don’t have another choice. So if you have gained some basic skills in Romanian or Hungarian during your EVS, I can only encourage you to try speaking, because I can assure you, it will be worth it. Once for example, when we hitchhiked to Sighisoara, a man from Miercurea Ciuc took us all the way. He only spoke Romanian and Hungarian and I talked with him almost all of the drive. Not only did I find out interesting things about Romania, which I didn’t know before, I was also very proud of myself to keep up a conversation in Romanian for so long.  After we came back to Tusnad, he wrote me on Facebook, that he looked on our Youth Centers page and is always very glad to meet volunteers, because he admires the energy we put into our work and do many good things in behalf of the community. On top of that, he offered to help us if we need anything at any time. So, this was probably one of the nicest experiences I had so far during hitchhiking.

I hope this blogpost can be somehow helpful for you, if you decide to hitchhike on a regular basis.

So in this case, have a happy hitchhiking! 🙂