I got a message today from a friend of mine who has been following my Twitter updates for the past week or so. It read: “Your travel rate is straight up off the hook! What is going on?”
Actually, a lot has been going on and my travel rate has not only been off the hook, it has been off the Richter scale! Here’s a quick recap:
I made the decision to put off looking for a job in Sweden and go back to California mid-December. I couldn’t think of a better way to leave Europe than with a bang so I decided to pack my bags and hit the road. Of course I had to say some goodbyes so from Stockholm I made my way down to Malmö with a quick stop in Gothenburg.
What’s up, Warsaw
From Malmö I flew to Warsaw, Poland where I spent a couple of hours getting from Chopin International Airport to Warszawa Zachodnia Bus Station. I had just enough time to see the illuminated Palace of Culture and have a Turtle Latte at Coffeeheaven, Eastern Europe’s version of Starbucks (they are now following me on Twitter, weird).
Overnight Bus from Warsaw to L’viv
This is where my week gets interesting. Drastic times call for drastic measures so I decided to head east and out of the Schengen Area since my time was running out fast. See, on a normal tourist visa you are only allowed to be within the Schengen Area for 90 days out of every 180 days, not 90 days in each country like I originally thought. I had to move fast if I wanted to be able to stay on the European continent legally until mid-December.
The nine hour bus ride I took from Poland to Ukraine warrants a completely separate blog post; all I can say is that it could have been a lot worse, but it also could have been a lot better. In any event, I arrived in L’viv at 6:30 in the morning with not one wink of sleep and the worst backache ever. I’m still wondering if it is normal to smell vodka on a bus driver’s breath in Eastern Europe, hmmm…. Oh well, thankfully I made it there in one piece so who cares.
I’m in Ukraine
Odessa, Ukraine, to be exact.
It’s funny how one month ago I knew nothing about Ukraine. Researching Kiev for my blog post Back in the U.S.S.R. is what sparked my interest in visiting Europe’s largest country and now here I am! Ukraine has a lot more to offer than just Kiev so I’m pretty sure I will find plenty of things to do with my time. I’m also hoping to revive my fading Russian skills from college, and maybe even learn some Ukrainian.
Judging by how insane my past week has been, I can only imagine what crazy adventures are in store for me this month and I can’t wait to share them with the world. Stay tuned!