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From Rijeka to Grenoble in 26 hours


I decided to move to France, after visiting country and my friends for several times during past year and a half. Evelyn and I took another long trip to get to Grenoble from Rijeka, where we visited my sister 🙂

2014-02-15 11.57.342014-02-15 11.57.47So here is how the trip went.

We were gonna start by taking a train to Slovenia and then hitchhiking to Italy, but train was not going due to some issues with the lines, instead they had a bus taking us to our destination in Slovenia. We were lucky that they let Evelyn on as usually they wouldn’t allow dogs on board.
At that point I felt that the trip will go smoothly as it started so well 🙂

2014-02-15 15.01.21We met three interesting girls from France on the bus who fully enjoyed two days they spent in Rijeka and after an engaging conversation we went out in Postojna, where we walked to the hitchhiking spot I knew from on of my previous trips.

It took only ten minutes before a car picked us up, mum and her daughter who were taking a plane in few hours to go for a weekend in Paris, that’s what I would call synchronicity 🙂

2014-02-15 15.43.11They were kind and dropped us directly to the Slovenian-Italian border where we got another ride in a short time. This time we only went few kilometers to Trieste where I planned to board the train.

2014-02-15 16.33.022014-02-15 16.44.18We had a short break for food and beer 🙂

As I traveled this route before and I was very familiar with Italy’s train connections I decided to by a ticket for a train to Venice, but only to a place called Portogruaro to save some money. In my experience they check tickets after few stations and they wouldn’t ask again so we could safely stay on board until we get to Venice.

2014-02-15 16.58.342014-02-15 19.29.14Everything went smoothly and we came to Venice in early evening just in time to see a city full of people in carnival mode, we were traveling on a Valentine’s day 🙂2014-02-15 19.31.41

 

 

 

 

2014-02-15 22.42.51There we got another train, this time to Milano and I bought a ticket to Verona. I was hoping to maybe meet a friend in Verona, but as she didn’t answer I stayed on board and we arrived in Milano around 10pm.

2014-02-15 22.54.23I was really hungry at this time, so I searched for a place to eat and as there was no other options I went to McDonalds, which I usually would never do. After eating my first Big Mac meal in years, I was again surprised how they manage to taste exactly the same no matter where you by them 😛

2014-02-15 23.30.58After a meal, we went back to Milano train station and bought a ticket for a train tomorrow morning to Torino. When you have a train ticket you are aloud to stay and sleep on a train station, so we went to the same spot we used on one of previous trips with a friend. I had a sleeping bag and after feeding Evelyn I lie down to read a book before falling asleep.

2014-02-16 06.40.042014-02-16 06.41.40We got up at 5am to catch a first train at 5:18, this time my ticket said we are going to Vercelli 🙂 but the conductor came after this town so we had to leave the train in a place called Santhia. Never mind as we used this time to go for an early morning walk before taking a next train to Torino, but this time I bought a ticket to our final destination in Italy, Bardonecchia, a ski resort on Italian side of the Frejus tunnel.

2014-02-16 07.26.062014-02-16 10.54.51In Torino we took another short break as we waited for a regional train to our last Italian stop. As we were approaching it, it snowed and we had a beautiful view of the mountains around. When we got to Bardonecchia I quickly went to check if there is a TGV train passing on the way to Paris. And it was in 8 minutes 🙂 I have used this train to cross in France through the Frejus tunnel, several times before and I never had to by a ticket. We boarded and next stop was Modane, but I decided to try my luck again and stay on till Chambery where I would catch a direct train to Grenoble.

2014-02-16 12.59.102014-02-16 13.11.32Again we were lucky and we got ourselves a free ride to Chambery as no one came to ask for a ticket. In a happy mode we waited our last train, for which I bought a full ticket 🙂 I think Evelyn remembered that we were before in Chambery and that we slept on this train station when we went on our big trip around Europe in the beginning of 2013.2014-02-16 13.11.53

2014-02-16 13.47.462014-02-16 13.19.45It was 2pm when we arrived to Grenoble, no one checked our ticket and because I didn’t validate it I will be able to get some money back when I return it as unused ticket.

 

2014-02-16 14.06.58I was very happy to be in this city surrounded by beautiful, majestic mountains and a place where I have some really good friends.

2014-02-16 14.47.052014-02-16 14.50.57We took a tram and a bus to get to a house where my friend lives now, and surprisingly we found it without a problem. As we were approaching the house, my friend’s dog Aya noticed us and started wagging her tail excitingly and Evelyn responded in a same way. We were surprisingly quick in our arrival to my friend and I was happy after an enjoyable and easy going trip.

2014-02-16 16.12.13Nearby there is a big park so we went for a long walk that Aya and Evelyn fully enjoyed playing with each other.

That was a good start to our new adventure in France.

As I write this I am taking a break in my French lesson, expect me to start ecrit en francais a bientot 🙂

Greets from two of us to all our followers and virtual friends 🙂

From GRAZ to ZAGREB and HOUSE of HOPE…DAY 34


Back to the stories about our adventure from the beginning of this year.

Link to TIMELINE of our 62 days long journey 🙂

03.02.2013. GRAZ – MARIBOR – ZAGREB : DAY 34

Our short stay in Graz was lovely in a great company of our host.

Digital StillCameraAfter a quick breakfast she walked with us to the bus station where we  took a bus to the hitchhiking spot. We took a goodbye photo before leaving 🙂

Digital StillCameraOn the way to the bus I have seen a Bosnian food place with the name of my birth city 🙂 Sarajevo was still a place to visit on our route and this reminded me how excited I am about it. I haven’t seen it for 9 years and I was looking forward to meet some family and friends.

Digital StillCameraHitchhiking spot was bad or we were just unlucky, so after more then two hours, I decided to go back to main train station center and hope on S-Bahn that would take me nearby Slovenian border where hopefully we will have more luck getting a ride.

Digital StillCameraWhile we were waiting Evelyn got a nice treat and she fully enjoyed it

Digital StillCameraWhen we got there, there wasn’t much traffic so we went on a another train for a short ride to Maribor. I had to ask a conducter to let us travel for free as I didn’t had enough money for ticket and I had to save some for food too.

Digital StillCameraShe wasn’t too happy, but she let us go to Maribor.

At this stage I was already getting very stressed about not making it on time to Zagreb and I am sure that this unnecessary stress affected our luck with hitching a ride that day.

This whole trip couldn’t be really planned in any details as I only had a route in mind but without any arragments in advance of how we will travel and where we will stay. And it was working great for us as I wasn’t stressing at all about when I will arrive to the next city, up until this day when I put a pressure on myself trying to get asap to Zagreb.

At the end I relaxed after exchanging few messages with my friend Danijel who was waiting for me.

Digital StillCamera Digital StillCameraAnother try to hitchike was not successful so eventuallyI got a ticket for a local train to Zidani most, where we got Intercity train to Zagreb. Another talk to the conducter and a little longer chat with Slovenian border police who were not happy that I stayed few days longer in EU over the limit of 3 months for tourists. But at then end they decided not to fine me. I didn’t even realized I broke some rule until they mentioned it.

Digital StillCamera

So finally after all day on the road we were in Zagreb and I was very happy to meet my dear friend Danijel at his workplace in “Dom nade” ( House of Hope) where I shared stories from the trip so far and got all the news about the project of DAILY CARE CENTER for homeless in Zagreb.

More about that project you can read on a blog of our non-profit association.

Please  have a look at the link  DOM NADE

Goodbye to VIENNA and good times in GRAZ :) – DAY 33


After a long time, I finally continue writing about our journey around Europe that lasted 62 days 🙂.  

I have been busy outside of blogosphere and I have decided to take a break from posting regularly. One of the reason for a break was lack of laptop. I have been blogging since last summer without my own computer and sometimes beacuse of that I haven’t been able to write as often as I wanted.

I am writing this post on a laptop that I received as a donation last week 🙂

More about that in the next post… now back to a story about DAY 33 of our special journey 🙂

02.02.2013. morning in Wien, evening in GRAZ

Digital StillCamera

We had delicious breakfast prepared by our new Polish friends and we enjoyed it together with our host Ash.

After checking the best hitchhiking spots in direction of Graz on Hitchwiki.org, I said goodbye to my new friends and went on S-Bahn that stops nearby reccomended hitchhike spot.

Digital StillCameraEvelyn had a really nice time playing with Ash’s dog and now it was a time to say goodbye to him until next time 🙂

I got a bit lost coming of the S-Bahn, which Evelyn enjoyed as she got a long run around, we eventually got to our spot where I put my finger up. It was raining, so Evelyn was resting in bus station.

Digital StillCameraIt was a busy road, but no one seemed to be bothered stopping. And then after an hour wait, we got our lucky ride in a pickup car, where there was a seat in a back for us 🙂

Digital StillCamera

Two guys were going to do some work in Graz, so they dropped us right in the center near train station. I arranged with our couchsurfing host Antonia to meet there. She has invited us to stay for night after seeing our open request for Graz and I was happy to accept it and continue next day towards Zagreb.

Digital StillCameraAs we were waiting, Evelyn got a little treat of very nice meat that she enjoyed with pleasure and played afterwards with the package 🙂

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCameraIn Antonia’s place we had a lovely dinner and later that night we went for a walk around Graz and joined her friends for a beer.

 

It was a Saturday and next day I had to be in Zagreb to see my friends in non-profit organization “RCCG Dom Nade“, so I knew there would be no opportunity to meet people behind the street papers “Megaphon”.

51ac784a5b890“Megaphon” has been around since October 1995 and currently they hav 180 street sellers who receive half of  2,50 € for each paper they sell. Current sales are around 15000 copies monthly, which proves that concept is recognized by the community.

Here is a link to official website of  “Megaphon”, it is in German.

Maybe next time I am stopping in Graz, there wuld be a chance to meet them and talk about their work.

I was excited about next day, as the plan was to get up early and try hitchhiking to Zagreb to arrive their in late afternoon. Zagreb is only 188km away from Graz, so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to get there on time.

I wanted to meet my colleagues and volunteers in “RCCG Dom Nade” which works with homeless people in Zagreb and share the stories from the trip.

Please have a look at our blog where you can see more about our projects.

So as it was first time I was rushing somewhere, things didn’t worked out as planned. More about that in a next post about our trip.

Special thanks for this day goes to our host in Wien Ash and to fellow couchsurfers from Poland, two guys that gave us a ride to Graz and our host in Graz, Antonia. 🙂

 

Great day :D


sunshine-award1

First I got a Sunshine award from a dear fellow blogger Jill London (have a look at her blog)… THANKS

later I will do my sunshine award article 😀 to busy drilling at the moment… hahahaha

BESKUN~1and few hours ago an article about the trip Evelyn and I did around Europe was published on Croatian news portal…

Here is the link to the article on T portal news site

THANKS to Marko, the journalist 🙂

DAY 32:in WIEN with Ash and two new friends from Poland… visiting AUGUSTIN;street magasine


01.02.2013. VIENNA

Sorry for lack of photos from this day as I have forgot camera at my host place 😛

A day started with a surprise 🙂 but we got used to them on our journey…

Previous night I came home on my own as my host left me keys and he stayed out.

So I am fast asleep when the bell rings and I get up thinking its my host. So I press the button to open the door donwstairs and I leave the flat door opened too as I go for my morning pee.And then a couple walks in as I am coming out of toilet and they greeted me as I am the host. They were from Poland and also couchsurfers 😛

So after some explanation and laughs we spend morning together and then Ash,the real host, arrived.

article_1968_augustin-liebhaber_innen-_160It was our second day in Vienna and time to visit the organization that is publishing a street magazine and also running a radio and TV shows related to the problem of homelessness in Vienna.

article_2196_aug_340_cover_180The organization and the street magazine is called AUGUSTIN and in the afternoon we went to see them hoping that someone will be available for a talk.

When I arrived to reception they told me that someone might have 15 minutes for me as they were very busy preparing the new edition of their papers.
It was cool to see that they publish two issues per month.

I was welcomed by very nice gentleman and at the end we talked for an hour as he shared a lot about their work and I shared some of my ideas and stories about other organizations I met during this trip.

AUGUSTIN is an organization that has started publishing in 1995. With such a long existence they have gained a lot of local support. As their magazine sales have gone down during last year they have asked a local community for direct monthly support to their organization and the RESPONSE was amazing. They have asked for 333 contributors to make a monthly commitment to support their work. And in two weeks they received more then 600 offers. So now they have a waiting list for people who would like to contribute in the future.

They were pleasantly SURPRISED with this response and it was a good indicator how much their work is VALUED in Vienna.

I have to mention that besides the magazine they also produce a radio show and a TV show. In both media they are focusing on social problems, mainly homelessness.

He was very kind to offer me copies of their older magazines and I took 3 copies including their FIRST issue 🙂

It was a pleasure visiting them and I hope in the future we will have opportunity to do some projects together.

Digital StillCameraThe day has finished with a very enjoyable few drinks with our new Polish friends and our mutual host Ash. Evelyn and her new friend got a lot of attention in a bar we went too 🙂

IMGP1465Just to remind you that I am VOLUNTEER in a small organization from Zagreb that is called DOM NADE or HOUSE of HOPE and we have just started OUR BLOG yesterday.

We will try to share all the work we do and connect to as many people around the world who are passionate about SOCIAL PROJECTS.

From Grenoble to Zurich in a day


18.3.2013. Monday

We are revisiting some of the cities we have seen during our big campaign trip in January and February. 

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Today we left Grenoble that said goodbye with a morning snow 🙂

 

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We passed through Geneve, before stopping in Laussane to see two dear friends we met in a first week of January.

It was great to see Peter again, our host that time in Mont-sur-Rully and I shared some of the stories from the trip and we remembered a good weekend we spent together in Lausanne. 

And then I met my dear friend Kiki, amazing lady that speaks 11 languages; here is a reminder how we met.

 

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And we finished the day in Zurich, where we are staying at Rene’s place. A great friend from my Dublin days 🙂

We have great memories of Zurich too; stories here 1 and here 2

It was a wonderful day and reminded me of our awesome trip that finished not so long ago.

Please keep following this blog for more stories from that adventure and campaign for homeless people.


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DAY 30: with PROTI PRUDU in BRATISLAVA and back to TRNAVA


Digital StillCameraWe woke up happy to be together again and after I shared breakfast with the host he took us for a walk around town before going to a hitchhiking spot to BRATISLAVA.

Digital StillCameraDigital StillCameraEvelyn played with his dog while we had a good chat and Jozef took me for a beer and Borovicka in what looked like a newsagent.

It seems to be a place where many people come for a short break as the prices are very low (
0.60euro for each). Quite dangerous if you have an alcohol problem.

Digital StillCameraThen Jozef walked with us to a good hitchhiking spot for Bratislava and we got a ride in less then 30 minutes.

Digital StillCameraI have arranged in advance a meeting with someone from PROTI PRUDU organization that is doing a lot of work with homeless in BRATISLAVA.

Digital StillCamera

marec-2013-titulka

I have purchased their magazine NOTA BENE the day before while searching for Evelyn.

It is a monthly magazine that focuses on social issues and it is sold by street vendors which receive half of the money for all the magazines they sell.

As I was on my way there, my meeting was cancelled as the person I was supposed to meet had an emergency with one of the clients.

I decided to visit their office anyway and just get as much information as possible.

Digital StillCameraAnd I was very lucky as a gentleman who was working at the desk has offered me a coffee and we started to chat.

Digital StillCameraAt the end he was very helpful and I had to chance to have a look around as he was talking about different aspects of their work.

He showed me the computer room where there clients can use the internet and they also provide IT workshops.

 

 

Digital StillCameraTheir clients are able to receive all the mail in the office of Proti Prudu as they obviously don’t have a permanent address.

Digital StillCameraTheir is a daily living room where they can socialize and it is also occasionaly used for presentations or screening of movies.

obalka_jelaI was pleasantly surprised when he gave me their newest published book called “ZÁZRAČNÉ DIEŤA” that was written by a lady who lived for most of her life on the street and she has also been suffering from mental illness. She writes in the book about her life and experiences in different mental hospitals with honesty and criticism of the system. I will make an effort to read as it is in Slovakian, a language I am only starting to know.

This was already their fourth book published and they also published audiobooks and music cd’s. He was kind to give me one of these two and two booklets about their past projects in Slovakia.

There is also a theather called Divadlo bez domova (Theather without home)

This project was started by PROTI PRUDU organization but now it is running independently but still with the support from organization. Currenlty they are showing a play based on a book “ZÁZRAČNÉ DIEŤA”.

Digital StillCameraAs I was saying goobye we all witnessed one of their cars being damaged as the snow has fallen from the roof.

I was very happy to learn about their work and grateful for all the material they gave me.

Digital StillCameraWe then went to say goodbye to Janka in her office and thank her again for all the help. Evelyn had a good time playing there with few treats that she got 🙂

It was already evening when I tried to hitchhike to Vienna, unfortunately the spot that was recommended on Hitchwiki.org just wasn’t busy enough at that time of night so I had to ask Jozef to stay an extra night in TRNAVA and thankfully he was very kind to accept us even though we came late at night.

That was the end of another exciting day on our adventure.

 

DAY29(2/2): after rejoining we visit TRNAVA :D


29.1.2013.

Digital StillCameraOur little drama has finished in late afternoon in Bratislava and as we were rejoined it was time to visit a new place, so we went to TRNAVA where our host Jozef was waiting since yesterday for us. Jozef was our fifth couchsurfing host and I was happy to see Trnava as it sounded like an interesting place.

We took a regional train as it was cheap and our host waited for us with his dog so we walked through the old town to get to his flat.

Digital StillCameraTrnava is full of churches and I took few photos during our walk. Dogs were happily playing in the snow and when we got to flat they went a bit crazy in play 😀

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCameraWe went for a local beer in a Slovakian pub and there I met more people and we had interesting conversations.

Digital StillCameraOn the way to pub we came across Evelyn’s name on the building

It was a good finish of the day and I was happy that we are back together 😀

 

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