Day 14: Camp Rock

Hi everyone,

Yesterday was my first day and night camping and today I paid the price. I have at least 30 mosquito bites on my body, awesome. Tonight I will head into my tent earlier so I won’t be eaten alive.

Today I had a quiet day, went to do laundry in the small city Lavrio and had a Greek lunch. I ate a Greek salad and Soutzoukakia (meatballs in tomato sauce), very tasty! After that I walked around a bit and had a great view of the harbor, really stunning scenery.

So now I’m back at the campsite, I won’t be doing anything special. Just hanging out and relaxing.

One more thing: happy birthday, Brenda!

Summer Villa

Dear everyone,

From now on I will start posting more frequently since my colleagues all went home again.

I won’t bore you with an insanely long story about the last few days, so here is a summary:

Wednesday I arrived at the villa in Lavrio, just after my colleagues arrived as well. We explored the gigantic villa for 80 people (we are with 40). Since the weather was beautiful we put on our swimsuits and went right into the pool. In the evening we had a pizza dinner and just hung out. A really nice start of the company trip!

Thursday we went on a boat trip to a private island, there we could swim, sunbathe, explore and relax. The weather was still pretty amazing so you can imagine everybody getting a bit sun burned. After that we went to see the sunset at the temple of posseidon, it was really beautiful.


When we got back to the villa, a Greek barbecue dinner was served. There was also some entertainment arranged for us! Three dancers were performing traditional Greek dances for us. We got to watch and then do it ourselves! It was really fun, pretty hard to learn so we all looked a bit foolish. We closed the night with some karaoke and a great party.

Friday was a ‘free time’ day. Me and some colleagues went to the village on the coast and had a lovely lunch in a restaurant. It was really Greek and really tasty. The weather today wasn’t that great so unfortunately no swimming or sun bathing. But that was probably for the best since the sun burn from Thursday! After we got back to the villa there was a traditional Greek dinner waiting for us, I don’t remember all the names of the dishes but it was really great. Especially the Moussaka, loved it. In the evening we played some games, had a lot of laughs and had some dancing fun! Let’s say it was pretty early in the morning when most people got to sleep.

Saturday was a relaxed day as well. We were all leaving at 15:00 but since it got so late last night a lot of people slept untill 12:00 or 13:00. So breakfast, shower, pack and goooo.
Ofcourse I didn’t join my colleagues going to the airport, instead I went to a campsite a bit more south. The tent is set, pepernoten in my belly and I am ready for a quiet night.

Pic with surprise kitty:

Hope you all had a great few days. Mine certainly were great!

Day 8: Kisses for everyone

Dear all,

Yesterday morning I said goodbye to the beautiful city and the cute old lady. She called her daughter, whose name is Christina (not SL hah), to translate. She said many thanks and good luck, then gave me a lot of old lady smooches.

In the afternoon I arrived in Chalcis where I got to stay in a great Airbnb, definitely recommend this one! I explored the city and then went to hang out in my private (!) garden. The Airbnb also has some wallart:

Today I hung out in the city, read my book, got a little sunburned sitting by the water, got a frozen yoghurt, nothing special but really relaxing.

Check out these cool pics from the boulevard:

Tomorrow I will drive another 1,5 hours to meet up with my colleagues/friends in a village below Αθήνα (Athens). Looking forward to seeing everybody again but I won’t be posting as much probably. Don’t be disappointed! I will try to keep you all up to date.

Cheers

Day 7: Grandma’s house

Dear all,

Yesterday I arrived at the coastal city Kamena Vourla. I had previously looked up a hotel, Hotel Nana, to get a room at. Great location, reasonable price, good reviews. I get there and walk up to the hotel when some lady (SL) yells at me in broken English. If I want a hotel? I am like, yeah sure, with hotel Nana if possible. She then proceeds to ask the cute old lady if she wants to take me in for one night. Unfortunately one night is too short for Nana, damn it.
Lucky for me, the parents of SL live nearby and own a hotel as well. She calls them up and her dad comes and get me by car, I follow him, SL explains.

Only 2 streets further and we stop near a house, park and walk up in to the garden. There I get asked to walk up the stairs and another cute old lady is making my room ready. Great!
She even has a fridge in my room, she shows me that she keeps coffee and cinnamon in open jars in de fridge for a nice fresh smell.

Since neither of the parents speak English and I certainly don’t speak Greek sometimes communication can be confusing but I had a great time here. For now, it’s time for a next place: Chalcis (Χαλκίδα).

Btw: I can’t believe it has only been one week since I left the Netherlands! Wow

Day 7: The mountain between us

Hi everyone,

Mid day post because I finally got that vacation-freedom feeling!

Check out this beautiful spot in Kamena Vourla, Greece.

The water is so clear! Might have to put on my swimsuit later.

If only I could convince someone to take me on a boat trip.

The whole bay is surrounded by mountains, really pretty. This is my lunch spot. 

I just saw someone paragliding with a motor or something. That means you can stay in the air as long as you want! Found myself another bucket list item.

Have a nice day, people.

Day 6: Village rockstars

Dear everyone,

It is now day 6 of my journey and I have taken a ‘rest’ day. This morning I booked an Airbnb (first time using it, yeey), ate breakfast and went on my way.

Now I am in the beautiful coastal village called Nea Agchialos. Enjoying the views of the ocean and having a quiet day. Did my laundry, grocery shopping, all of that boring stuff. Also I watched Despicable Me and wrote stuff in my travel diary. It was really nice to have a day without much travelling.

To make up for the lack of story I do have some cool pics. I will try to post them tomorrow because I have some internet issues and apparantly pictures are difficult.

Finally pics:

Day 5: Beyond borders

Dear all,

Today has been a crazy day but, I have good news and bad news. Good news: I made it to Greece. Bad news: I’m running out of ‘pepernoten’, please send more. It’s crucial for survival.

All joking aside, it really was intens. Let’s start at the beginning. I really saw a different side of Serbia today. Beautifull mountains untill the eye can reach, filled with the greenest trees you can dream of. It really was spectacular! I also found the first Serbian (is that right?) who speaks English! Woehoe, I had my first non-phone conversation with an actual human. He recommended me a delicious lunch snack, not sure what the name was but it sounded like ‘bghhggggjsj’. Also, what is up with people setting their crops on fire, it smells so bad and I am getting naucious again. Why are people putting gas in my car for me? So nice! And cleaning all the squished bugs of the windshield as well, thanks.

Then came Macedonia and the trouble. I drive into the border controll, handing them my passport, expecting a ‘Hi, where you going, ok, bye’ but instead got a question ‘Greencard?’. OK, it was more a statement than a question, she was not having a good day apparently and I was going to make it worse. I had no idea what she was talking about and trying to explain that in English. I get moved to the side and am to be returned. Ofcourse I start to freak out, what is going to happen? Am I going to get a fine? Can I even get through? Why are those people so super unfriendly? Like I am doing this on purpose, ofcourse not.

So I return to controll booth, I won’t go into the details because I’m not sure what happened exactly but let’s just say I payed the price and got let through. Now I’m just worried, how easy will it be for me to leave?

I enter Macedonia, nothing to declare. This declare guy is at least friendly and send me of to Macedonia with a smile. Only a few more kilometers and I will be in Greece.

Still driving down the A1 it slowly becomes more hills than flat road, suddenly there is blockage and a detour. Crap, I am no fan of detours.
And ofcourse it is a ‘highway’ in the mountains, those crazy people driving >130 km/hour there. My scared ass wasn’t going faster than 80 on the easy parts and 50 around the corner. Here are some pics of the view. Sorry about all the trash people aren’t very neat around here.

A bit worried about leaving Macedonia I decided to drive through the evening into Greece. It all went very smoothly at the Macedonia part. I showed my passport to the Greek border controll, all good. Ready to drive a way I make eye contact with some random dude sitting in a chair, he is in border control costume and calls me to stop the car. All I could think was ‘what now?!’. He started to ask me questions about my job (I don’t have any which might sound very suspicious?), how much money I am bringing (pointing at the mountain of receipts in the passenger chair), where I am going, what am I going to do there and why am I bringing so much stuff. So I explain I am meeting colleagues and showed him on Google Maps where that was. I tell him I am going camping and ask if he wants to take a look at it? He says no, enjoy and let’s me go. I only now realize that there was a blanket covering everything on the backseat and how weird that looked. Of course.

I drive into Greece, so happy I have internet again. Boy, did I miss that. But it really is a vacation when you have no internet without wifi, can’t understand (read or pronounce) the street names and when what day it is has no impact on your plans.

But now, it is 18:45, one hour later than in the home country. I am still a long way from finding a place to sleep. I drive on the highway, hoping to find a motel. Nope. Okay let’s search Hotel2night, Airbnb and Google maps. I find a motel on Google Maps and decide to drive there, 8 minutes, great!

Unfortunately, not so great. It doesn’t seem like there actually is a hotel there. Just an unlighted crappy road with nobody there. I thought, this might be the place to lure tourists and rob or kill them, awesome, let’s leave. But where to?
Thankfully there is a city nearby, Katerini, and it has a hotel! In the city center of course, 10 minutes drive, let’s go!

So this city is crazy busy, people everywhere, cyclists, cars, motorcyclists, people standing still in the middle of the road, you name it. No parking place to be found ofcourse. Let’s at least call the hotel and make a reservation! They say, park wherever. Hmmm, ok. Google maps says, no parking garages here. What now? Do it old-school! Follow the street signs. I am now parked I the smallest parking garage ever made and a 4 minute walk away from the hotel. Fingers crossed that nobody breaks in and I leave this place without scratches (on me or the car).

Today has been incredibly busy. Might need to take a day off from driving and just enjoy. Not knowing where to sleep is exciting but also a bit stressful, might book tomorrow in advance. Not sure yet. Thank you all for reading! Sleep now…. Zzzzz

Day 4: A Dog’s Purpose

Good afternoon everyone,

Today was quite uneventfull. Drove from Hungary to Serbia, in total 439 km and got my first passport stamp! That is #1 from the bucketlist, checked.

Serbia seems like a nice country. The landscape started of very yellow, dry and smelly but the further I got, the greener the trees and grass. Beautifull valleys of very healty green nature. Great views from the boring highway.

Totally forgot that I wouldn’t have internet in Serbia, the passport control at the border should have been a red flag, so I racked up quite the bill. For now I have found a motel to relax and sleep for tonight since I’m not feeling al to well. Not sure what happened but with a headache and the ‘warm-cold-warm-cold’ feeling traveling is not fun. Going to drown my sarrows in paracetamol and do nothing.

By the way, here is a pic of the cute motel dog (and the motel). She looks like she does not recieve enough pets, which breaks my heart. She started begging for a hug so ofcourse I gave her some scratches. But all good things come to an end, doggo. Sorry!

Dag 3: The hills have eyes

Hi everyone,

Today, the aventure really started!
I drove through three countries today, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It all went down hill (literally) when I decided to take a detour in Czech Republic to avoid traffic. I thought, well, going through some cute villages might not be a bad idea. I will leave the highway, see some stuff and go on the highway again. Boy, was I wrong. Ofcourse the detour excisted of a 17% steep hill, you should have heard me curse when I saw the sign. Besides that, I was not the only one whos Google Maps thought it was a good idea for a detour, so I was followed by 2 trucks and 5 other cars. Damn.

Well, there we go. I forgot everything I read on the internet about driving in the mountains. I went way too fast because I was panicking becasue of the other drivers, had to dodge a big car from the oncoming traffic and of course my brakes started to smell funny. Great. Lucky me survived and treated myself to some KFC lunch.

When I entered Slovakia, I was relieved. No more deadly detours and the country seems flatter than Czech Republic. Jeeh! Nothing more to report on this untill..

Welcome to Hungary! Where the speed limits are made up and border control doesn’t  matter. I think I already broke several laws here, which is a great start. Since there are no speed limit signs, I think I might have a ticket. Also, I accidentally drove on the wrong side of the road, let’s just say my fear of trucks is not getting better.

After all of the above, I finally started camping! Too bad it is in the dark but I am so glad it is not raining. Lets hope it stays that way. Something something, the ground is too cold and don’t trip on the lines. Got some flashbacks to when I was younger, camping was way different then. Warmer…

Almost forgot to tell you guys. Harry and I parted ways. I dont know why he left me or why he didnt say goodbye but I haven’t seen him since this morning.

Random thought: Why do Hungarians have really loud dogs? Please be quiet. People trying to blog here, thank you.

Day 2: Travelers

Hi everyone,

Today started off with a lovely breakfast in the highway motel.
I drove through some beautiful valleys with fall colored forests. The weather finally cleared up at the end of the day when I entered Czech Republic. I made it to Prague and I drove 438 km today. Lucky me didn’t forget to buy the toll vignette (toll sticker?).

I  also made a new friend, I’d like to introduce you to Harry.


Harry has been dancing on my car ceiling while I play the funky music. For now we are great travel companions and I already dread the day we have to part ways.

Tonight I am staying at a cute motel outside of Prague, for only 400 kroner (15€)! They only had a big room left so now I have 5 beds to choose from. The interior reminds me of my parents’ house, especially the cabinets and it smells like the attic of my grandparent’s home! So no homesickness yet.

 

I swear this closet could have been in my childhood bedroom.

The view from my attic motelroom:

 

Tip from today: Pack more than one pen and make sure it works.
Tip for everyday: Have at least one clothing item with pockets.

Day 1: The happening

Dear all,

After basically the busiest week of my life, I started my journey this morning. I left Bussum, the Netherlands and did 307 km to end today in a highway motel in Bad Camberg, Germany. Where I am writing this from.

Quick summary of today:
The weather was terrible, it was raining cats and dogs.
The landscape transitioned smoothly from flat to hills.
The toilet in my motel didn’t work but, thank god, it was easy to fix ha!

For now I am just going to relax, eat some ‘pepernoten’ (delicious Dutch snack) and watch a movie. Tonight I might check out the gorgeous gift my family gave me: a book with stories, quotes and pictures about me, my family and friends to read along my trip.

Can’t wait for tomorrow! Have a nice night, everyone.

The lovely gift:

View from the motel room: