Vanessa Mae


Vanessa Mae

***Plotting my next trip***

<<Mar2011-May2011: Spain; Portugal; Donkey Rescue in Spain; Spontaneous trip to Romania; Gallivanting in Ukraine; etc...>>

<<Jan2010-Apr2010: Travel in Eastern Europe ; Dog sanctuary in Galati; WWOOF farming in Transylvania.>>

<<Oct2009-Jan2010: England and Wales>>

<<Jun2009-Oct2009: Backpack Central America; Animal "Rehab" centre in Costa Rica (more like a meditating petting zoo); Wildlife centre and turtle project in Guatemala; Day trip to Reykjavík, Iceland>>

<<Dec2008-Jan2009: Wildlife rehab centre in Ecuador, Amazon Rainforest>>

<<May-Aug2008 and May-Jun2009: Bear Sanctuary in northern woodlands, Minnesota>>

^Út Í Óvissuna^

Europe » Ukraine » Odessa June 20th 2011

Picking up where I left off, Jaco, my new Dutch friend who I met in Lviv then later travelled through Kyiv, Chernobyl, and the Crimea region with for the next 11 days of this trip.Since this blog is actually a few months behind, I will be quick just to get some pictures up… And most of this part of the journey was almost-adventures that ended in fumbles and laughter. Kiev is pretty worth-seeing city, but doesn’t beat L’viv’s atmosphere and feel. Did enjoy St Alexsander Street wandering the stalls selling cheap souvenirs and Ukrainian memorabilia. Went out for a fun night of drinking with several people we met, sampling several different beers and bars. First stumble was trying to get to some cave monasteries but somehow missed that metaphorical boat 3 times in one ... read more
Flower Clock
Water ball statue
Puzzle buildings

Europe » Ukraine » Lviv June 8th 2011

When on the road travelling and you have no plans, but then suddenly things do not go according to the plan of having no plans, what does one do? I know what I would do: Head to another country. And since I am not fit for working in a small farming village in Romania, and I have turned down all my suitors asking my hand in marriage, it only seems reasonable that I recover in a hostel for 5 days before packing up my rucksack and taking a rickity bus across the border of Suceava, Romania to Chernivtsi, Ukraine. At the border, the border officer looking at my passport asked me to step off the bus because he mistook my first/middle name and believed I was Vanessa Mae, the Asian violinist. In Chernivtsi, I hadn’t booked ... read more
Bus ride to Ukraine
Ukraine Flag
Chernivtsi, 200 years

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Mures » Reghin May 20th 2011

I have learned the bartering rate in a village in Transylvania: my life and hand in marriage is worth four goats or one 10year old horse. I have been in this small farming village of Idicel for a few hours, and already my WWOOF host (Graham) has been asked by the locals if he would trade me for livestock so I can marry a drunk, toothless, peasant farmer.. I can’t believe Graham turned down an offer like that!.. According to the elderly village members, I wouldn’t be very good for breeding- like the Aussie volunteer, Annie- but I would be good for milking, and I could use more work. Why, you may ask, am I now being sold off as a working slave wife in a Romanian village? Alright, let me explain... As my spontaneous-self has ... read more

Europe » Romania May 11th 2011

There I am, 3am, sitting on a bus for two consecutive days with nearly 10 more hours to go. I’m at the border with an officer walking his way down the aisle collecting passports. I look around and suddenly it hits me: “What in the HELL am I doing?” First of all, I am the only non-Romanian on this dilapidated noise-machine on wheels. I barely know enough Romanian to ask how someone is doing and order a beer. I have no real reason to be in Romania, nor do I have a good reason for not having spent the extra 20euro on a cheap flight from Spain. I can see how suspicious this must look to a border official… I have already been asked to be married to three times by two different people. There is ... read more
Donkey Siesta

Europe » Romania » Muntenia » Bucharest May 8th 2011

I have discovered the most effective way to get the stranger sitting next to you on a hot bus bothered enough to change seats and move away: start knitting. On the bus to Nerja, I sat next to the window for the nice views- the seaside, cliffs, green hills scattered with wild flowers and windmills, and houses (well, shacks, really) made of tin and tarp but with new fancy cars parked in the muddy yard beside them ... and- although the bus was not by any means full- some older, hairy, sweaty man opted to sit right next to me, despite the vacant seats around me. Usually I have my bag occupying the seat next to me to avoid this annoyance from happening, but on this particular ride it was at my feet. Then the chap ... read more
Doorway, in Alahambra
Pretty wall

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Málaga March 31st 2011

Lisboa Stopped a purse snatching! Outside of Praca Figueira with statue of man on horse and many animal rear-ends, I saw a man cramming a huge purse into his tiny hand bag. When he noticed me watching him, I asked him, "Is it yours?" .. it didn't look like his colour. He gave me an utterly surprised look, as "oh, how did this get in my possession?!" and behind me a woman was frantically searching for her purse, so i tried to get her attention. He then ran the massive hand bag back to her claiming some boys took it and he was a hero, then pretended to make a call on his mobile and blend in to the crowd. Schmuck.. But having done my good deed for the day, I treated myself to a Pasteis ... read more
Wonky sidewalk
Train station
Buses and trams

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto March 28th 2011

Oporto Ah, Porto, where the utterly confusing conglomeration of narrow, cobblestone roads network together, somehow, to make up this stunning city connected to (yet somehow removed from) the rest of the world. I discovered it is substantially cheaper to take several small bus/train trips from Santiago de Compostela to Oporto, meeting the same bus in Vigo, Spain that had left from Santiago de Compostela for the last leg of the journey. First impression seemed much like Basque country, but on closer examining discovered the sun is a bit hotter, the gulls are excruciatingly louder/larger/stupider, and the language is relatively different, though much of it is understandable. Also worked on toning my musculature by lugging my rucksack and always walking uphill, it seemed. LOVE the buildings in Portugal covered in Azulejos, hand-painted tiles ... read more
Oporto, Portugal
The streets of Porto
Along Rio Douro

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián March 20th 2011

Ralph here. It's a hard life travelling as a stuffed dog. Spend most my time in a huge rucksack with smelly socks and get tossed around in buses and trains and i don't even get to sample all the delicious food! And of course, whenever Vanessa sleeps, she nearly squeezes the stuffing out of me! And the snoring and drooling i have to endure is unbearable, but for free room/board and travel, i can't complain too much! Ah well.. Well, for those of you paying attention, we went from Girona baaaack to Barcelona, raced the slowly approaching darkness and scary people to the OTHER side of town to the safety of a bus station. However, the security man on duty spent the entire night chatting up the girl working at a sweets shop inside the bus ... read more
Interesting Topography
San Sebastián views
Rock cubes

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Girona » Girona March 13th 2011

Alright, gotten a little bored with myself and my entries, so doing this in the perspective of my travel companion/mascot/pillow/stuffed dog, Ralph. Woof! Greetings, all. Ralph here. We took a train from Barcelona to Girona and gotten a hostel dorm with 5 beds to ourselves for the 3 days we were here! Being cheap, she's washed all her clothes in the sink and strewn them all over the room to dry, but didn't bother to wash my shirt which I have been wearing since our Romania trip! How rude! Well, from where we left off: Train to Girona where, for some asinine reason, a ridiculous amount of tourists were travelling with giant suitcases on wheels, and none of them knew (1) how to navigate and watch for others (2) how to walk faster than a crawling ... read more
Street in Girona
Passeig, Girona Streets
Esglecia Sant Feliu

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona March 9th 2011

Spent a good couple days here in Barcelona. The thing that initially caught me off guard here was seeing everything in Catalan. At first I thought the Spanish part of my brain was on the fritz, then realizing it looked partially French, had to take me a moment to remember this area has it's own 'official' language that looks Spanish-ish but is not (Catalan). Some of the things are comprehendable if you understand Spanish, but not knowing French, I'm not sure if it resembles French (other than being another Romance Language).. But people do speak Spanish here. It took some getting used to the "accent" here- I had little difficulty in Central/South America, but here it is a bit more lispy and flowing... It's hard to explain unless you hear it. So, took a flight from ... read more
Arc de Triomf
Flower Man

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