The only clear corridor I found in Athens
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It’s all Greek to me – travelling in the land of the gods

‘It’s all Greek to me.’

This saying really hit home after travelling in Greece, the land of the gods. Gods who certainly had a different idea of common sense than I do.

I’ve travelled all over Europe, but this was my first time in a country where I wasn’t only unable to speak the language – I couldn’t even read it!

Staying in Athens, it was all I could do to remember my stop to get off the metro – the one with the two upside-down ‘y’s and the funny ‘O’ – Kallithea (Καλλιθέα).
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Arriving in Greece by ferry
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Mr ‘Stranded’ American and the ferry from Italy to Greece

I wasn’t expecting it to be quick. I wasn’t even expecting it to be on time.

Travelling within a slightly disorganised country can be difficult enough. But taking a 16 hour ferry from one chaotic (but beautiful) country to another? Good luck.

My expectation for the ferry’s timeliness turned out to be well-founded on a long overnight ferry from Brindisi, Italy to Patras, Greece. But the 16 hour journey was difficult enough to begin.
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Pashka knitting on the go
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Albanian hospitality – Çift, çift?

Albania is a great place to be a tourist. While some may associate Albania with communism, the country’s citizens greet visitors with welcome arms and open borders. And plenty of curiosity.

Albanians are anything but shy. Soon after crossing paths, you’ll tell them about your trip, they’ll get excited about the regions in Albania you’ve visited (‘shumë bukur’‘very nice’, should follow as a description of each city) and eventually, inevitably you’ll get the question:

‘Çift, çift?’
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Thrown in jail?

Guilty until proven innocent?

When I arrived back in the States after 20 months in Europe, I had no way of getting a hold of my dad to tell him my flight had arrived at the airport and I was through security. I hadn’t planned ahead so I didn’t have any American dollars to call from a phone booth. I decided to do what I had done many times with a language barrier but without hassle. I decided to borrow someone’s phone to call him.
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My Rick Steves book contribution

Perhaps my luck in the travel world started from birth. I grew up a few hours from Edmonds, just north of Seattle, the home of Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door where hundreds of travellers and like-minded individuals work tirelessly to constantly update and improve guidebooks for those who want to enjoy Europe on a budget.
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Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

London’s other side: What to see if it’s not your first time

To say London is large would be an understatement. The city is massive and it is stuffed to the gills with people from all over the world. Needless to say, there’s a lot to see.

While guidebooks can direct you to the major tourist areas, I like the off-beat sites and experiences. Here’s a list of some of my favourites.
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Swiss sledders
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Switzerland’s Glacier Express

Switzerland is well known for it’s trains. Efficient, punctual and comfortable, the only thing to not like is the price! For just an hour and a half InterRegio train direct from Berne to Zurich, it will cost 47 Swiss Francs (€37 or US$52)! Most things in Switzerland are expensive so if you want to travel in Switzerland on a budget, you have to look out for the deals.
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