A day in Athens

Sometimes people ask me why I stay such short time in some cities – and I fully understand that they are asking. For me there are mainly two reasons for this. When you travel you want to keep costs as low as possible, and cheap flight tickets usually mean a transit or even two in order to reach your final destination. When I see a cheap flight, with a long transit in a city I haven’t been, that’s perfect for me. I get to my final destination at a low price – and at the same time get a glimpse of another city or country. The other reason is simple: in some places you don’t need more than one day – Athens is one of those.

My flight from Tallinn was 03.30 in the night or in the morning, depending on how you look at it. Also another thing with cheap flights; the departure times suck! Usually I sleep like a baby on airplanes, but this time I didn’t catch a second of sleep – ironically thanks to a baby. In the seat behind me there was a young mother, with obviously a much younger baby – perhaps a little too young. This baby constantly from the second it entered the flight until it left, probably set a new record in screaming which kept me and rest of the plan awake for the entire flight. However, I’m not bitter and I don’t complain – I’m just telling the story. I’m extremely grateful being able to live this life of traveling and I want other people to enjoy traveling as well. But on the other hand, I still question people traveling with young infants.

Let’s face it; for whom do you think the parents decide to travel – for a 1 year old kid that can’t enjoy, appreciate or remember anything of it – or for their own ego? It’s as obvious that water is wet. They are doing it 99 % for themselves! No one really likes flying, buses, taxis or many things that’s a part of traveling – and especially not small children. And also, when they can’t even remember anything of it – is it really a good idea? I would say no and here is my suggestion. Wait until the kid is 3-4 years old. Take the money those travels would have cost, put them into a fund and when the kid is 20 years old that would probably be enough cash for the upfront payment of an apartment – which I think the kid will appreciate A LOT more than a bumpy flight to the Mediterranean that it can’t even remember.

So, not so many word about Athens in this post and there is a reason for it – it simply didn’t make any impression on me. Or at least not a good one. Simply just a big, busy and also pretty ugly city bowl. When I write this, of course some people will say that I’m such a jerk judging a city after only one day. But as I’ve said before; I don’t need to eat a whole pizza to tell if I like it or not it’s enough with a slice or maybe two. Also, there are MANY cities that I literally fall in love with after just one hour. If I get no positive emotions at all after one day – I’m not negative – just honest. Although I’ve met some people that say it’s a fantastic city, and I respect that people are different. But if Athens is fantastic, I really wonder with which word they would describe cities like Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, San Diego, Barcelona or Vancouver to name a few.

 

Thoughtful in Tallinn

My last evening in Europe I watched a beautiful sunset over the Baltic sea. On the other side of that sea is my home, Sweden. For 10 months this is the closest I’ve been to home, when it comes to distance and perhaps also mentally and that because of two things: Tallinn is pretty much like Scandinavia, and I admit, for a second I actually considered going home.

I’m glad this is my last European stop because I’m pretty tired of these capital visits now. They are pretty much all the same, and in many ways good places to visit, but perhaps not when you visit 8 of them in a row and especially when you appreciate nature more than urban areas.

So, it’s time for some “wilder” and more unexplored countries now again and I’m really looking forward to some adventures. But as I mentioned, there was a second when I considered going home. I mean; 30 Euros and an hour in a plane and I would be home, in perfect timing for the summer as well. Family, friends, summer, sunshine, beaching, barbecues, mountains, hiking, wakeboard and the list of temptations goes on. Also I must admit that lately I’ve been a little tired of living in a bag, taking buses, flights, arriving late, checking out early to catch another bus, no privacy etc. These are also things that made me consider going home at least for a while. Comfort, privacy, maybe join some friends to Spain later this summer and some other to the USA. In my measures; a normal and good summer. But, I’m not a totally normal guy – I know that by now. I’m a little wilder and more seeking. I mean, how many 30 year old guys do you know that travels the world? How many do you know that are willing to pay 10 000 dollars to in order to freeze your ass off and feel like shit when trying to climb a mountain for 3 weeks? Not many, I suppose.

So a few more countries in Asia, and then my plan is to take a long summer holiday. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Been traveling for almost a year visited the most amazing places on earth and I’m planning a summer holiday?! Yes, you read right. Traveling for a long time has been amazing and incredible in many ways and I’m so grateful for it – but on the other hand it’s also hard and tough some times. No matter how weird you might think this sounds; I actually think that I deserve a couple of weeks in the Caribbean and a roadtrip in the US – my favorite country in the world! But first; adventure calls – Georgia next up!

Reunion in Riga

My visit is Europe is getting closer to it’s end – and for that I’m glad. What makes me even more glad, is that this stop was not a typical backpacker / tourist / traveler stop, since a good old friend from Norway visited me – or should I say; good new friend.

I would guess this is the stop so far with the least culture, history, exercise, hiking, photography etc. but I really didn’t mind. Not at all. Sometimes, and especially now lately, I’ve struggled to find energy to take photos and I actually think it’s because of the  destinations. I’ve said it before and say it again; Europe is the least adventurous continent. So then it was perfect with a weekend of socializing!

A guy I met at my last employer came to visit me in Riga this weekend and it was hilarious fun. Just stroll around, eat, drink, prank, people-watch and of course; share gossip of people back home (everyone does that, don’t even try!). It’s funny somehow that some of the people you connect best with; you meet somewhat late in life. Growing up in a very remote place, I couldn’t really choose my friends – since there were very few children living out there. I had to stick with the few “nearby” and with nearby I mean 4 kilometers of mostly uphill by bicycle. Eventually when I moved to town for high school, I had so many people within short distance so I could choose who I wanted to spend my time with or not. In that way I could spend time and build bonds with the ones I really had a chemistry with – and also people more like myself.  There I met some of the best friends in my life – and we still are. But also, it’s nice when you are 29 and a “new” person enters your life and becomes a truly good friend.

One more “civilized” stop coming up and then I’m finally off for some adventures again. Can’t wait!