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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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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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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Picking, packing and pimping your pack

Preparing for a trip is a great feeling. There’s a lot to do and a great buzz of impending departure. One of my favourite things to do (besides hopping on the plane) is pack.

I know this sounds crazy, but I really do enjoy it. Making sure I have everything that I need, but not things that I don’t need (even though they still sneak into my bag somehow) and that my pack can still be closed is a huge equation that I thrive off of.

I know some people hate it. If I could pack for them, I would. Maybe they just haven’t found the right method or they don’t have the right luggage.

Choosing your luggage, your packing style and even changing your pack to fit your needs can hugely influence whether packing will be fun or torturous. It’s different for everyone, every trip and every location. I’ve found what works for me and by following a few general pointers, packing can be quick, easy and relatively painless.
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Vampires, Gypsies and horse-drawn carts: false images of Romania

What images come to mind when you think about Romania?

Thieves? Dracula? Castles? Poor, rural life? Country-side?

I’ll admit that before I went to Romania, I planned on watching my back around Gypsies, getting a hold of some garlic and holy water to keep the vampires away and riding on horse-drawn carts around the country.

Luckily, I didn’t get any bite marks, I held on to my wallet and I moved between cities quickly on Romanian motorways.
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3 pre-trip tips for leaving stress behind

Planning a trip can be stressful. Especially long-term trips. There are so many things to figure out for the time you’ll be away and many more things to get in order so when you come back home, nothing has fallen apart or gone haywire! Getting things lined up and having the right plans made can make your trip significantly easier and less stressful.
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