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Interrail Europe - Summer 2011 - Barcelona

Barcelona is definitely a very interesting city, full of life, peculiar buildings and secrets to discover.

I had some great moments there that vary from climbing the walls of Gaudi's Parc Guell to drinking traditional sangria on rooftops with stunning view to the city of Barcelona to an open stage reggae party, where I danced until my feet wouldn't hold me!
And there are definitely a lot more for me to discover.

The most interesting thing about the buildings in Barcelona for me was to find a way to climb on them!
Next time I'll try to get permission to climb on top of La Sagrada Familia,
but until then L'Arc de Triomf...

Climbing on L'Arc de Triomf Barcelona, Spain
Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain
...and Parc Guell was great fun!

Climbing in Gaudi's Parc Guell
Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain

Important for interrailers

Getting from Grenoble to Barcelona by train was not as simple as I first thought.
In Grenoble we were indicated a route that was supposed to be free of supplements for interrailers,
but it wasn't.

In the beginning everything seemed to work out fine...
Grenoble-Valence (free)
Valence-Avignon (free)
Avignon-Montpellier (free)

But then...
Montpellier-Figueres (+10€)
Figueres-Barcelona (+10€)

Finally after 5 trains and 12 hours on the road we arrived in Barcelona.

The only free of supplements route to get to Barcelona from South France is via Nice and goes as follows:
Perpignan-Port Bou
Port Bou-Barcelona

Sleeping in the airport of Barcelona

Arriving in Barcelona we had nowhere to go (again :P),
so we headed to the airport ("Barcelona El Prat") to try and get some sleep.
I had the best sleep of the trip under the staircase near the ckeck-in counters, but it didn't last for long!
Around 2.30am the security came and literally kicked us out, because we didn't have a flight ticket!!
So, in any case don't try sleeping in Barcelona El Prat, unless you have a flight next morning.

Hope these helped!

Interrail Europe - Summer 2011 - Zermatt

I arrived in Zermatt late at night.
I was planning to do wild camping, so I had no option, but wear my head torch and follow the hiking routes to get out of the village.

Wild Camping is not really allowed in Switzerland, but as long as you are up in the mountains it shouldn't be a problem to put your tent somewhere.

And so I did, the girls and I put our tents next to a river and fall asleep
accompanied by the sound of heavy rain.
In the morning the clouds had all gone away and we had the chance to see Matterhorn!

Matterhorn north face from Zermatt
Photo taken in Zermatt, Switzerland

This photo was taken just before the sunset of the same day.

No doubt, Matterhorn is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen.
I promised to myself that I'll climb on top of it someday...

But until then, I just followed the trail to Schwarzsee :P
It was an amazing day and the view of the mountains was breathtaking.
Although it was summer, there was a snowfall last night, which made the high peaks even more impressive!
The nature in full orgasm!
Flowers and butterflies, waterfalls and glaciers.
And we were there to see them and be part of them.

Photo taken near Zermatt, Switzerland

That was definitely one of the most beautiful days of the trip.
(not to mention my life...)

Interrail Europe - Summer 2011 - Florence

After Rome I took the train to Florence.
Getting there was a big adventure, which I'm not going to write down here.
The outcome was that I hardly got any sleep that night, I didn't have enough food left with me and I was feeling exhausted.
So, the first thing I did when I arrived in Florence was get to sleep.

When the girls and I woke up, we were all ready to explore the city.
Ponte Vecchio is stunning, but Uffizi gallery too expensive for me.
The Italian ice-cream delicious and the alleys are all very beautiful!

In every corner we turned we would find a concert! Indie bands, orchestras, covers of the Beatles!
Good music for all tastes!

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities I've visited in Europe
and it gets even more beautiful and charming when the sun starts to set.
This is when the magic happens!
It seemed to me like the city was built to be enjoyed that very moment, when the purple of the sky mixes with the grey clouds and the stone and wooden bridges.

Enjoy a couple of photos from under the bridges of Florence... :)

florence buildings sunset
Photo taken in Florence, Italy

sunset in florence under the bridge
Photo taken in Florence, Italy

Interrail Europe - Summer 2011 - Rome

If you are searching for a quick tourist guide to Rome, this is definitely the wrong place to be.

Rome... This is where the eurotrip started and thefore where I validated my interrail pass.
So this is a short report on my experience there.

I dedicated a whole day walking around to see the most famous monuments of Rome.
Most of the buildings were really impressive and elegant,
the whole city is a journey back in time,
but in the end of the day I wasn't really filled by what I've seen and what I've done...

...not before visiting csoa Forte Prenestino!

I was searching for the pope in the Vatican and I ended up finding him there.
Have a look...

The real pope sculpture
Photo taken in Rome, Italy

Interrail Europe - Summer 2011 - Final Map

I'm back from the eurotrip!
Must admit I had the time of my life.
My time around Europe with my best friends was priceless,
I met amazing and unique people,
had big adventures and learnt a lot from every single day.

My first days back home were quite nostalgic,
although I was very happy to be welcomed back by my friends and family. :)
From now on, I can only keep myself busy by making plans for the next journey!

Anyway- this is the final map of the eurotrip,
the actual route we took and even the trains we changed in order to avoid expensive supplements.
The following days I will be posting some photos from the trip and also a guide about the interrail and keeping it low-cost.

europe political map railway interrail route
Click on the map for better resolution

Traveling LOW-BUDGET: Backpack Gear List

If you want to travel on a budget,
you need to be as much autonomous as possible.
By that, I mean being able to carry in your backpack
the things that cover your basic needs from clothing to food to sleeping equipment.

I have a 60L backpack and I can fit pretty much anything I want
even for more than a month of traveling in it.

My backpacking equipment is simple,
good trekking shoes, tent and a sleeping bag and pad.

So this is my...

Backpack Gear List
Small paperback books that are easy to carry. I prefer thought-provoking books when traveling
-Plastic bags
To sort my clothes and separate dirty from clean
-Water tank
I have an 1L water tank and I think it's enough, 1.5L is good as well
-A small pot
For both cooking, eating and storing food
-Pocket knife
Can't explain much, everyone knows how useful it can be
I take only picture and leave only footprints
-Map and compass
To move around without getting lost
-Head torch
Way better than a simple torch but not necessary
Just for the fun of exploration
-Medical kit
With bandages and other simple medicine (just in case)

Then some things for hygiene:
-Green soap
I use it for everything from washing clothes to showering hair
Two towels, one for face-one for general use
Ok, you may be a real traveler now, but you still should shave once in a while
You don't want to be sweaty and smelly, right?
Bandanas are great. You can use them as a towel, sunshade, sweatband and a lot more
-Toilet paper/Wipes
No comments
-Mosquito repellent
Mosquitos can be very aggressive sometimes, especially when sleeping outdoors
You don't want to be sun burnt when traveling

And some bad weather additions:
-Fleece/wool sweater

This is pretty much everything I pack in my backpack.
I didn't mention clothing or food, this is up to you!
So, I think it is about time I start packing my stuff for the eurotrip.
I'm leaving tomorrow!
See you on the road...

Interrail Europe - Summer 2011

So, this is where I'm going to be for the rest of the summer.
I'll keep you updated with photos, tips and stories from all over Europe!

I will be backpacking with my best friends by train.
My interrail ticket arrived today and we are ready for action!

This is the list of places we're planning to visit


As you can see, we are going to visit some of the major cities of Europe
and two villages to take a break and enjoy nature.

Interrail was a dream for me and my friends
and it finally comes true!

Stay tuned for more about our Eurotrip!

Mare Crisium!

This is a different photo than any other photo I've posted.
It has nothing to do with backpacking, or does it?
But has a strong connection with traveling and exploring.

This photo was taken through my telescope using an adapter.
The photo is not well-focused or sharp enough,
but at least it is a good try to capture this part of the lunar surface.

This is the Sea of Crisis or Mare Crisium!
It is a crater of our natural orbiter, the Moon
and is 555km in diameter and 176,000km2 in area! 
Mare Crisium was also the landing site 
for Luna 24 on its mission to retrieve Lunar soil samples in 1976.

Mare Cirium crater moon
Photo taken in Moon

Sea kayak (THE EYE) and my shadow...

This is a sea kayak my father made for me and my siblings 
when we were younger!
He drew two eyes in the front,
that's why we call it THE EYE, the eye of the Aegean.

Every weekend we were going sea kayaking,
That's how I first learnt to paddle and surf the Aegean waves.

Nowadays I still go sea kayaking when in Chios.
In this photo you can see my shadow doing the peace sign!
I would love to do a trip around the island,
from beach to beach with minimum supplies and a fishing rope or something.
It is a great way to explore the Greek islands!

Photo taken in Sidirounta, Chios, Greece

Cappadocia - Air Balloon

This time a photo from Asia, Turkey.

There are two places I want to visit in Turkey.
The first one is Constantinople or Instabul,
don't care how you call it...
And the other one is the dry and rocky Cappadocia!

It is located deep inside central/east Turkey 
and you need to cross a long desert in order to get there from Europe.
Cappadocia is actually a big plateau over 1000m in altitude
that is pierced by volcanic peaks (highest 3916m).
Once you finally arrive, after crossing the desert,
the view is breathtaking!

This is a photo taken by my parents.
They did a road trip there along with their motorbike,
I would instead do it by bicycle.

Not only is it a rock climber's paradise,
but also very scenic, especially if you can afford taking a trip with an air balloon!

Photo taken in Cappadocia, Turkey

Leaving the mountain hut!

This is Kallergi mountain hut,
the best mountain hut in the White Mountains of Crete!
I spent a night there during a weekend excursion with the local alpine club.

The weather was very unpredictable.
Even just by looking at the photo you can't really tell what's going to follow.
We were caught in a storm somewhere around 1600-1800m high.
Must admit I had a hard time getting back to the hut.
I was feeling really cold and exhausted
and it was a big relief to return to the warm hut
and drink hot mountain tea!

What I learnt that day was to respect the mountains and nature's fury
and follow the guide,
in stead of my ambition to make it to the top.

Photo taken in the White Mountains, Chania, Greece

My first time rock climbing!

My first time rock climbing was less than a year ago in Therissos gorge.
I had already done some indoor climbing,
but it doesn't compare to the real thing.

I was lucky because the National Rock Climbing festival
was to take place where I was studying.
I had no equipment, so some guys from the UK
lent me their shoes, harness and helmet and belayed me too.

I tried to climb a 6a+ but only made it half way.
Still it was a great experience!

Since then I haven't stopped climbing!
Although I have no money for equipment,
I climb barefooted and with no ropes or security of any kind.
It's just me and the rock.
A test of will-power and self-confidence.
An exploration of nature and limits.

So, this is the photo of how it all started...

Photo taken in Therissos Gorge, Chania, Crete, Greece

This is madness.

Coming back home after two days of cycling and camping
was a sudden return to reality.

Strauss-Kahn tried to rape another woman,
South Korean marine killed 4 in shooting spree,
Chavez thinks that he's going to win some "battle"?!

...the hills and forests, where I used to go trekking and cycling since I was a child,
just 1km from my house, were on fire after ARSON!

This is madness.

The view from my balcony and a helicopter.

Locals trying to quench the fire.

Burnt up hills and a sad tree.

Under the sea...

under water where thoughts can breathe easily bubbles photo
Photo taken in Chios, Greece

This is obviously an underwater photo.
It was really dark, so I decided to darken it even more
and focus on the bubbles and the light coming from above...

I have been posting many photos from my hometown (Chios) lately.
That's because I'm stuck here until the 17th of July.
I really enjoy summer on my island anyway.

"Under water where thoughts can breathe easily.
Far away you were made in the sea.
Just like me..."
-Red Hot Chili Peppers (Parallel Universe)

On top of the hill...

...this is where I feel free.

I did it some free solo climbing again today.
I use no special equipment, just boulder barefooted.
The routes I pick are not very hard to climb,
but they are steep enough in order to give me the sense of risk.
This massive rock is standing proud in the water,
so it is not that dangerous to fall.
And I did fall once...

Photo taken in Chios, Greece

"Be careful down there on Earth. It's close to the ground and somebody could get hurt." -Mir crew

Traveling LOW-BUDGET: Couchsurfing

What is CouchSuring?
CouchSurfing is a non-profit organization that connects people, places and cultures around the world.

How does CouchSurfing work?
It's simple. If you have a couch anywhere in the world, that you are willing to share with foreign travelers, you pretty much a have a place to stay in every corner of the planet!

My experience as a CouchSurfer.
As soon as I got my own house in Chania (Greece), I started hosting people that I've never seen/met before.
In just a few months I hosted more than 20 people,
who I never will forget.
I made very good friends and very meaningful connections with some of them by having only one thing in common.
A never ending love for traveling and exploring.
CouchSurfing is a life changing experience.
Things that society is missing, survive in the hearts of CouchSurfers and travelers.

Is CouchSurfing safe?
Sharing your life with someone you have never met before sounds risky to many people.
CouchSurfing has a security system that is based on references.
Which means if I meet someone and have a positive experience with him/her,
I will write a reference saying that
"yes, you can trust this person, we had a great time together yada yada yada..."
so that other people know that this person is trustworthy.
Then there is a "higher level of security" called "the vouches".
Which means, if you highly trust someone you can vouch for him.
But you have the right to vouch for someone, only if you already have 3 vouches your self.
Another thing that people misunderstand is that, of course you can choose not to host or not to meet someone. And obviously you get to choose who you are going to be hosted by.

Anyway, this is a legit system, but once you become a CouchSurfer you will understand that this is not the most important thing. It's all about connections, tearing down stereotypes, getting rid of your fears and interacting with new people openly and with respect to each other.
Some people tend to say: "CouchSurfers are good people by definition." experience so far proves it.

CouchSurfing as a way of traveling.
CouchSurfing is indeed a cheap/free way to travel.
Although as I explained earlier there is a lot more to it.
I definitely suggest to anyone in the world to take advantage of it,
as long as you are willing to share experiences, feelings, adventures, food, sleeping surface, thoughts and dreams.
The world is beautiful indeed if you open your eyes and listen to what other people have to say.
"Love the universe and it will love you back."

Click the logo on top for more information on the vision of CouchSurfing.

Traveling LOW-BUDGET: Introduction

First things first.
Everybody has their own rate of travel spending.
Personally, by traveling low-budget, I mean spending as much money as I would normally spend in my hometown or even less.

Lately people consider traveling a luxury good.
Tourism industry is growing huge and many countries depend on it to survive during high season.
For people have lost the real meaning of traveling and tend to become senseless tourists.

In this article I will give you an overview of how I travel low-budget.
I'm not going to write down any details now since this is just the introduction,
but I'm going to explain some of the things mentioned here later in my posts.

So, let's begin with...

or should I say sleeping surface?

-Sleeping in the airport (sometimes)
-Sleeping in the streets (rarely)

And then...

or moving around.

-Ride sharing

And of course...

or filling the tank.

-Super market
-Raw/Vegetarian diets
-Sharing food and drink


And most importantly...

or meeting people and getting to know the locals.

-Couchsurfing (again)
-Bars/Clubs (now and then)

And Last AND least...

or killing time creatively

-Free goodies
-Selected tourist attractions
-Local guides (friends, couchsurfers, random locals)


You may be unfamiliar with some of these words, but keep your eyes open,
I'm going to explain them further the following days.

If I haven't mentioned something that you'd like to know,
please include it in a comment.

Ai Weiwei is lost in Berlin!


This is a good question,
because there are only two chances to find this piece of art in Berlin.
You are either lost or have a really cool local guide (like I did).
Of course I'm not going to give out any information about the place,
because this is one of the places that would be better without curious tourists!

Photo taken in Berlin, Germany

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist. Ai participated in designing the Beijing Olympic Stadium (also known as "Bird's Nest"), but after some time he distanced himself from the project for moral reasons. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights.
More info here.

...step into the Aegean sea.

One of the cleanest beaches I have ever seen!
Crystal clear water surrounded by wild trees and rocks.
It is located in the west coast of Chios island.
It's easy to reach by car or motorbike and... ideal for camping!

Photo taken in Chios, Greece

The cave of Gouverneto

Continuing from my last post...
In the last photo I uploaded you can see me walking towards a gorge and actually heading to a cave.
So, I thought I would upload the "sequel" of it, which would be me in the cave.
And this is it!
Beautiful decoration, isn't it?

Photo taken in Gouverneto, Greece

Sundays in the mountains!

This year I attended the Technical University of Crete for 2 semesters.
Every weekday I was longing for the weekend to arrive...
Especially for...
...Sundays in the mountains!

Photo taken in Gouverneto, Greece

"Take only pictures; live only footprints."

Me and the DRAGON!

Walking up the Swiss mountains.
Playing with happy cows! :P
Forests and green fields in the background...

Photo taken in Eggli, Switzerland

9 days in Switzerland

Photo taken in Gstaad, Switzerland

This is the place where I was living for 9 days last summer.
9 days of hiking, mountain biking and rafting.
Sleeping when the sun goes down.
Waking up with the first light after sunrise.
9 days accompanied with the sounds and forces of nature.
Feeling so real...

Turkey in the horizon...

Climbed up there with my best amiga.
It is noticeable that from this point of the island you can see both Greece and Turkey.
Can you locate any borders in between?
All I could see was pure nature, tiny little houses and the Aegean sea.
No borders, no war, no hate.

Photo taken on top of "The Sheep-mountain", Chios, Greece

"I refuse to believe in a risk free society where the thrill of living is traded for the safety of existence."
-Nick Ienatsch

Cycling Therissos gorge

Cycling up a hill on my mountain bike.
Crossing a very beautiful gorge of Crete with many rock climbing routes, called Therissos.
There is a very beautiful village on top,
where delicious Greek food is waiting for you!

Photo taken in Therissos, Greece

Rafting Guide School in Grevena

Being a rafting guide was something that both would help me enjoy nature and support my living as a traveler.
And therefore, I did it!
I attended my first rafting guide course this winter with Trekking Hellas Grevena,
and hopefully I'll find a job as a rafting guide somewhere in Europe in the future.

Photo taken near Grevena, Greece

First time hitchhiking alone!

Well, someone said...
"Once you put your thumb up, you don't know where and when exactly you will be headed...
...but you could rest assured that it would be an interesting journey."

I confirmed this myself, when the last prejudice disappeared from my mind and finally trusted a truck driver from Georgia to take me wherever he was heading to.
Photo taken on my way from Chania to Rethymno

Welcome to my world!

Hello probably strangers,
welcome to the world of a backpacker, the world of a new age traveler.
This blog is hoping to give you the chance to dream and the sense of a young girl’s freedom just by looking at your computer’s screen.
Photo taken in Chios, Greece

"If I was asked, 'Why do you go on journeys?' 
I would answer, 'I go on journeys because I'm a traveler'."
-Kino no Tabi