Solo Vagabond CEO

Vlog Gallery from the Road 40 months of travel…

Second trip to Bangkok, entry March 9th, 2023, previous entry was December 10th, 2019… just before travel during coronavirus!

Next… India… a country of significant monuments, population and a lot of dirt and trash… (but the photos turned out well!). I really hold a neutral opinion of the country but it does have pluses, such as the food, price, and weather forecast.

Saudi Arabia stopover and Romania stopover, my second time and meeting an old friend! My original flight from Saudi to India got canceled so i decided to stay at the airport for 1 day, then take an earlier flight. Flight on Jan. 30th, 2023. Flight to Bucharest from Athens dated Jan. 25th, 2023.

Next up in reverse, order Athens, Greece! Flight in from Tirana, Albania! Nice to be on the road again! Flight via Wizzair on Jan. 7th 2023. It was snowing in Bucharest so had to plan for winter and summer once i get to Thailand, a few stops away! Left Athens on Jan. 25th, 2023.

Stopover/Rest Albania, Tirana, visit #3 … I spent this time to retool my clothing and my gear, and replaced or added some smaller items for my next unique adventure to Greece, India, and Thailand, and the Mideast! Entry to Albania from Milan Italy on … I had to look this up.. 11/08/2022.

Next stop in reverse order.. Italy, flew to Pisa from Tenerife on an affordable on Nov. 3rd, 2022, and bussed it to Milan on Nov. 7th, 2022, where I then caught a flight to Tirana on November 8th/9th 2022. The reasoning was to spend less time in more expensive countries my two stop Italy trip did not disappoint!

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, rewinding again (my second time in Tenerife (and 2nd time in London). I flew to Tenerife South airport from London Stansted on Sep. 9th, 2022, and from Tenerife South to Pisa on Nov. 3, 2022. Over here in Tenerife I was boondocking it for most of the 42 days that I was on the island.

Next up going in reverse the country of Poland… London was a stopover so not counting as a visit, i came from Krakow and took a flight to London, then another Ryanair flight to Tenerife. . My bus from Gdansk to Krakow was on Sep. 14th, 2022 via the Flixbus. The flight to London was on Sep. 21st giving me 7 days in Krakow… The flight to Gdansk was on Sep. 12th, 2022.

I took yet another Flixbus from Stockholm to Oslo, Norway. One of my most interesting experiencing camping in the wild woods in central Norway, I came into contact with some magnificent forests and a wild boar! I came to Oslo on Sep. 3rd 2022 from Stockholm.

Going back in time, the next country I visited was Stockholm Sweden. I came via Flixbus on August 30th, 2022. Here are some photos from Stockholm below…

Airport Scam in New Delhi & a strange scam in Thailand (Morocco, honorable mention)….

Hello all! I had quite a doozy of an experience coming into Delhi, India, let me tell you what happened. A little scary but it does make for a good story on my blog and other social media outlets! Over in Thailand, when i first started traveling back in 2019, I experienced a strange scam in my first 2 or 3 days within the country and strangely, after that, my experience was pretty smooth! Both of these scams were weird for different reasons and ill explain why in a bit!

Warning on the taxis at New Delhi airport, and also for the hotels in the Paharganj District – I wouldn’t advise staying here because it is dirty and crime ridden. Now on with the story. Someone on Facebook advised to take a prepaid taxi at Delhi airport for 500 rupees about $6 usd, so i did. I got myself a receipt which i still have, and jumped in the back of a white non-AC mini cab with an Indian driver who spoke English. Now Delhi is big and the airport is pretty far south. We left the airport and winded our way through some heavy traffic on windy highways, with tons of cars, bikes, and trucks. eventually getting clogged up a few miles from the Paharjanj District close to the train station in New Delhi and the New Delhi metro stop.

Coronavirus Shut down, road blocks 2023 .. So we ended up at a roadblock with one of those yellow police barricades and my driver announced that the coronavirus was shutting down the city and the road was closed. Keep in mind that there is no coronavirus in 2023, but because I hadn’t paid attention to the news media i had no idea, and I thought he was telling me the truth. One other big issue, I didnt have a SIM so i had no idea where i was in the city and I hadn’t downloaded the Google Maps offline on my Google Pixel phone, however i did have a reservation at a small backpacker hotel near the train station.

Ready for some more weird? My driver was asking for the location or phone number of my hotel. It was the Shiva Intercontinental Hotel – just a small cheapie place I got for 1 night. Apparently the driver had called the hotel, and spoke to them in Hindi. The hotel agreed to go along with the scam by coming to a government information registration center, to pick me up and accept me for 4 times what it was listed for on, its basically a 1 or 2 star place and they wanted about $40 for the night. We are really going downhill here.

Fake Government Information Center… ready for some more strange? The taxi guy drives me to a tourist agency. I never go to these because they just want commissions for something you can get for the same price online. I told the driver that it didnt look like this was a government office for registration of visitors because there was no government signage or employees. The person who was working there attempted to weave a series of lies about how most hotels were not accepting of foreign visitors. The driver didnt really know what to do. Now i was beginning to catch onto the scam because as i mentioned the office wasn’t real.

Distrustful of Indian people … who me? We drove to another tourist agency after the first guy did not come up with any place for me to stay. So for the second guy, i sort of let them continue on with the scam even though by this point i knew this driver was a total fraud. So the second agency i went to the guy told me some similar things about all the hotels being booked and id need to get a 4 star place. I also refused to buy a SIM card from this guy, i ended up buying one later at the Zostel. I just walked out of this office, and i ended up walking towards Connaught circle… The driver accused me of being distrustful of Indian people on my way out.

A stroke of luck, things looking up at Starbucks… Heres where i found a Starbucks where this wealthy Indian guy was sitting at a table near to me it was really crowded. I had told him what had happened and that i didnt have a SIM and didnt really know where i was going to stay for the evening. He helped me get a Wifi connection through his phone (cant use it without verification first in India). He also booked me a room at the Zostel WITH HIS OWN CREDIT CARD, isn’t that a nice gesture? He had some tourist biz and didnt like the fact the other Indians were attempting to scam me so he totally helped me out. Apparently this was a free room, and there were no strings attached, etc. I never heard from our good Samaritan but ill remember his assistance after I leave India…. and lastly the rest of my trip here in India has gone relatively smoothly, with no other major issues.

My travel history after leaving Albania in August… my stuff is still there… hopefully

Just to remind me and my readers of where I’ve been and to do a recap since its been a little while since I have posted on this blog… I wanted to do a look back at my previous schedule/travel plan…. it might give me some insights into future trip planning. This trip on its own was kind of a mammoth for anyone, but for me its just a few months out of the past 3 years. I left Tirana, Albania on August 19th…. oops little mistake here it was July 19th, the end of my de facto month to month lease (and just returned).

My landlord over in Albania was a bit stressed, but hopefully he’s still going to hold my stuff for me while im gone, the good news is, its not worth too much. Most of my valuable stuff is inside my backpack im traveling with. Its now October 19th, 2022, and I’m now planning on going back to Albania to sort out and repack my baggage. Next month itll be coming up on 90 days within the EU Schenzen Zone, which is a 26 country block i must exit every 90 days as an American tourist.

The plan was to move across eastern and northern Europe from Albania, via bus, plane, hitchhiking, car etc. The first was a Flixbus trip from Tirana to Skopje North Mac. Here it hit 108 degrees F in july, that was steamy hot. Tirana was also really hot back in July with temps topping at about 100F each day, just too hot to be outside during the afternoon. North mac has its charms its cheap, cute, friendly people, and interesting mountain scenery. After North mac i took another local bus to Sofia Bulgaria. Over here in Sofia I stayed at 3 different hostels, Kooltour, hostel Mostel, and another Italian hostel as well as an Airbnb near Lions Gate. I ordered a tent that I used later on in Denmark, and got my DjI Mini 2 drone repaired over 1 weeks time over Ring Center mall. It was a fun time hanging around Sofia for about 2 weeks.

Over here in Sofia, it was hot but not THAT hot, so the weather was more survivable. I saw some Roman ruins, took some tours, road the metro, and shopped at some malls and went for a few hikes up in the mountains. According my gmail i boarded another Flixbus from Sofia to Bucharest… on 08/18/2022. I made a few decisions regarding flights, hotels and countries while I was hanging out in Bulgaria. First i wanted to spend some time up in Scandinavia, and i successfully hit Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, before it got cold because I brought mostly summer clothing, and those countries tend to get a bit chilly FAST.

While in Sofia, I booked a flight from Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania to Billund Denmark for August 22nd, 2022. This gave me 4 nights in Bucharest, then a bus ride to Sibiu, and 2 nights there. Bucharest is bigger than Sofia and a bit more pricey, but cool in its own right, with lots of statues and fountains. From here i took a bus through the mountains. Sibiu is more of a mountain resort town with some gothic German architecture. I wish i could of spent a few more days here and ill definitely consider returning.

Next i took the flight to Billund Denmark, which is the home of Lego, and a resort town mostly for an amusement park for kids. I camped out here for 10 days and waited for my next move which was to save a little bit of money before proceeding upto the expensive and sexy town of Copenhagen where I would reside in a hostel for 4 nights. I stayed in Copenhagen from September 3rd to September 7th before I proceeded to make a move upto Stockholm Sweden.

Up in Stockholm it was getting a bit colder, luckily I had a change of winter clothing as well as a light jacket as well as a winter cap that helped me bear my 3 nights in Stockholm. The trip here went smoothly, and i enjoyed walking around the Venice of the north. Here i took a tour, and took a walk through parks, and malls along the Swedish coastline. Weather was getting a bit gloomy, but it was still exciting. On September 9, 2022 I took another Flixbus from Stockholm to Oslo, Norway, an overnight bus that went smoothly, there was no cross border check. I slept on the bus then took a minor walking tour of Oslo. This was 52 days into my tour of eastern Europe covering 6 new countries or an average of 1 new country every 8.6 days. In two days longer, I took another bus to Torp, Norway. just BEWARE… lists this airport as belonging to Oslo, but its in the country about 1.5 hours south of Oslo. A minor added cost to my trip, but still well worth the ultra-low airfare to Gdansk, Poland.

Welcome to Gdansk! The flight to Poland went smoothly and there was no border check. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice and clean, and well organized the country of Poland was as as well its affordability! The date arrival was September 12th, 2022. I spent two nights here then i took an 8 hour Flixbus to krakow which is near the sites of the concentration camps as well as a city with great historical significance. The only negative over here in Poland was the weather. Kinda dreary and cloudy, not really to my liking, but I did enjoy the historical tour as well as the shopping malls and my favorite Starbucks! While i was in Gdansk I purchased a flight to London Stansted, and another flight on Ryanair to Tenerife South, not more than about 2 miles from where I was staying 6 months in February and March of 2022. This flight i took on September 21, 2022, and here in Tenerife I’ve been enjoying the beach here for 30 days straight! Stay tuned for more travel in my unlimited plan to travel the world! Day 92 since leaving Tirana and day 1045 overall!

Returning to south Tenerife from London/Krakow – Travel plan, itinerary, my experience with Ryanair!

Hello All, today, I’ll be blogging about my experience traveling on Ryanair to London, then transferring and traveling on Ryanair from London to south Tenerife Airport. I have to admit that yesterdays travel plan left me a bit frazzled even as an experienced budget traveler and I’ll tell you why, but otherwise it did go fairly smoothly. I also had the pleasure of meeting 3 good Samaritans along the way who helped me a little bit. I am now sitting in a coffee shop in Los Abrigos, south Tenerife near the airport, on the windsurfing side of the island.

So what was my plan? Well first of all i usually browse websites like and to see what flights are available for my reemergence in Tenerife! Let me give you some more background information. I was living in south Tenerife during February and March of this year, so I am no stranger or rookie to this place, I know my way around the south part of the island pretty well! I enjoyed it so much that i decided to come back yesterday on September 21, 2022.

I bought two flights on Ryanair (they do not do connections). The total price to make it to Tenerife was about $100. $100 is not as cheap as some other flights I’ve taken on Ryanair but i have a few tricks to save a few bucks after the flight. My trip was booked as two separate tickets. Its an island off the coast of Morocco, so its not a super convenient place to travel to although the weather is stunningly gorgeous. I wanted to conclude my Scandinavia tour in Krakow by way of Oslo and Gdansk then move somewhere warmer. The cheapest way for me to get to Tenerife was via a 7am flight from Krakow to London Stansted.

The Bus to the airport…Krakow 4 zloty / a little less than $1

I am a budget traveler, so for me its all about saving a few bucks. A few times I’ve walked to the airport (Marrakech, Sibiu), but this one is 7 miles away. In Krakow i took bus 208 from near the Galleria Mall at the center. I decided to leave about 2pm after checking out of my room at 9am and stopping by Starbucks to charge my electronics. The bus arrived about 240pm; I didn’t have the exact schedule but i think this is not a frequent bus. The fare was a whopping 4 zloty which is less than $1 or 1 euro. Notice that I decided to leave about 240pm the day before my flight in order to spend the night at the airport. The bus took about 45 minutes. It does stop at the terminal, and there were plenty of other passengers with suitcases just waiting to get off at the last stop (it was a local bus).

KRK Airport …. sleeping at the airport in Krakow

I arrived with a few snacks i bought at a local grocery store near the Old Town in Krakow. I consumed these between about 4pm and 9pm and bought one other item with the last of the zloty coins I had in my pocket (advise – dont use airport exchanges offices, the rates are horrible). A little boredom but for me since travel is my fulltime job I didn’t mind putting in some extra elbow grease. Here i met a Ukrainian girl who decided to sit next to me waiting for her flight that was at 10pm at night to Germany. She eventually left, and two other Ukrainian women decided to sleep next to me on the bench. I hooked up my PacSafe bag to my belt to avoid theft and the airport grew quiet. There is a game room upstairs as well as bathrooms and extra benches if you need it. The airport here in Krakow is quite nice, I would not mind sleeping here again sometime.

Flight from Krakow KRK to London Stansted STN at 7am

I instructed one of the Ukrainian women that I was a bit nervous i wouldn’t wake up at 3am or 4am to check in for my 7am flight and sleep past the flight so she set her alarm for me just in case – Samaritan #1. The good news here is that some people came by about 3am and disturbed me from my sleep so I just decided to wake up about 3:15am and wait in a line for check in by 4am, which was the time other airline travelers arrived, many of them waiting for LOT polish airlines. I was near the front of the line for Ryanair and completed check in about 10 minutes after 4am, then i went through airport security screening in about 15 minutes. I exited Polish/EU immigration at about 4:45am. I later waited airside for 1 or 2 hours, then boarded the flight smoothly about 630am.

Landing at London Stansted – Let the fun begin!

Our flight took 2 hours and 20 minutes. We actually arrived a little early. take off if im not mistaken was at 7:05 AM and landing at Stansted was at 8:20 AM, with the time change, technically this was 9:20AM Poland time. Tenerife also happens to be on London time since it is a little bit further west. Once in Stansted, I had to pass through UK immigration E-gates. Here there was a huge line, so it took me some time. I passed the gate with a facial recognition scan and passport scan at about 10AM London time so that took awhile waiting in line. Here at Stansted i was also able to grab lunch, a sandwich and Pepsi 0, as well as some chips for a reasonable price of about 5 British pounds (reasonable by airport standards).

London Standsted, check-in at RyanAir for Tenerife

Here at Stansted the airport can be a little chaotic, so make sure to show up with plenty of time to spare before check in. Over at Ryanair they have a screen that show you which desk to go to to check in and they dont allow us to check in sooner than a few hours before the flight. My flight to Tenerife was at 2:30PM. Around 11:20 it showed my check in desk as 69-79 so i got in a long que of passengers and waited my turn. Around 12pm i reached the check in desk for a documents check. Ryanair does not allow an E boarding pass for American citizens because we are neither EU or Uk citizens so i had to have my boarding pass printed here, even though i am not checking any bags. The time at security clearance was about 12:10pm.

Boarding, Flight to Tenerife, and Spanish Immigration 2:30PM to 6:50PM

Part a Standsted Airport: Security screen at London Stansted was smooth and relatively easy. I usually put my wallet and phone in my backpack, while i have to take my shoes off and all metal items, and my laptop out of my backpack. I passed with no problems and made my way to the shopping/waiting area of Stansted, it was super crowded, which increased my stress level a bit after such a long wait. I was tired there. On my way to the waiting area, i stopped by and went into a woman’s clothing store and asked the male salesperson whether i could go in and change my clothing into shorts for Tenerife in the changing room he said yes (meeting good Samaritan #2). Changing into shorts felt great indoors and suits the weather in Tenerife just great. The flight boarding was around 1:45 PM, so i had a good 1.5 hours to wait in the waiting area.

Part b flight to Tenerife: The flight was a long one, 4 hours 20 minutes time, so landing at 620pm. Now what is just spectacular about Ryanair is the super low price as compared to doing business with airlines in the United States whose prices are just ridiculous. Ryanair unfortunately does not have a lot of leg room on its flights. On my flight i got the middle seat in between two other dudes, one from the UK and the other guy im not sure, both of them were taller than me. I normally put my 45L backpack in between my legs or under the seat, its a bit big so that’s where the leg room issue comes into play, but this minor issue is totally worth the cost. In my experience almost every single Ryanair flight is sold out, so they must be doing some seriously good business.

Part c: Passing immigration. The good news about arriving in Tenerife was the weather was just plain gorgeous and sunny as it is typically. I mentioned i spent about 7 weeks here back February and March. Now for the reason for a little bit of stress I was experiencing… immigration. Theres a few reasons i was a bit concerned about passing Spanish immigration – at this time i did not have a set accommodation but i did have a place that was willing to rent to me (the Treehouse hostel up above the town, in El Medano), stayed here back in March. I also did not have a return ticket away from Spain, and did i mention i dont have a full-time job either? So yes you can see why I was a bit nervous about not being able to prove my worth as a tourist inside of Spain (no full-time job but i do have enough assets to prove at least that I can sustain myself for awhile). I was in luck, the immigration guy at Tenerife South did not care at all, he just looked at my passport and gave me a stamp and that was it … oh just one more thing, I need to make it off airport territory….

Trip from Tenerife South Airport to either El Medano or Los Abrigos…

The airport is only about 1 or 2 miles from either of these towns. I tried to walk away from the airport, that didn’t work out so well, because there is a highway on the way. I then tried to flag down a ride with about 20 or so cars passing me. I got so luckily here because i had about 2.8 euro in my pocket and the bus costs 2.4 euro. I took it to San Isidro, i then needed to transfer to make to El Medano, that’s only about 1 mile up a hill from El Medano, the surf town. I started walking down the hill, instead of taking the transfer since i dont mind. Here i passed a number of farming greenhouses and this utility truck driver saw me walking by one of the greenhouses, in the middle of nowhere. he stopped and in broken English he invited me to come with him. He took me to where there was a turnoff between El medano and Los Abrigos, i got out here, and i walked another 2 blocks and that led me inside of my favorite town, El Medano. The rest is history, im in beach town.

My Favorite brand names for Travel Related Items/ travel related websites, companies etc

Travel related websites: For flights, hotels, and transportation. As a full-time budget leisure traveler, I use these as often as everyday. First flights, for travel within Europe, I most often use Ryanair because it is the cheapest airline and has a decent service level. I sometimes use Flixbus depending on the cost, and including inter-country transfers. Sometimes Ryanair with the cost of the priority carry on luggage can be a bit more than Flixbus so it really depends on the route. Below are some website i use to search flights.

Flixbus – They offer a high service level for bus travel that rivals air travel in my opinion. The interior of the buses is nice and the prices are reasonable. They are very well organized and always seem to be on time. Ive taken the Flixbus from Sofia to Bucharest, and also from Gdansk to Krakow. Here’s a few things i like about taking the Flixbus in Europe: #1. They dont make me place my backpack under the bus where it could be stolen (it is 45 liters). #2. They are always on time. #3. prices are reasonable. #4. The interiors of the bus are nice and safe, clean and new!

Ryanair – So for me, these two companies are just about neck and neck in terms of my travel $ and usefulness. So far I’ve traveled to about 30 countries and 90 cities or so, in 34 months. For air travel in Europe Ryanair just has a lock on budget travel. The reason is that they are 90% of the time the cheapest airline on a route. Occasionally i do see fares from competitors like Wizzair, but for me, when i add the priority bags into the cost, Ryanair always comes out on top. The only exception is when they dont serve a particular airport.

Travel Websites: I like is probably my #1 for flights. Why do I like it? here is why… a user can enter something like fly from Europe to Asia, or Europe to Thailand or Europe to Bangkok. The website kiwi will then decide which airports offer the cheapest prices for the dates that you need. A user can also search by connection, for example limit the @# of connections to 1. I have lately been tooling around for a return trip to Thailand or a related trip to Vietnam, Philippines and so on, just to see what was offered (I am as yet undecided as to whether i will take that segment of the trip). Also included in the ability to search, a user can choose which airlines to limit the search to. Runner-up choice for flights:

Google Flights. Google flights has some of the same functionality as, Second runner-up: This of course searches only Ryanair branded flights. It does have a feature for searching around any place that Ryanair flies to, mostly within continental Europe. This feature suits me because my timeframe as well my locations are flexible while my price is usually towards the bottom end.

Lodging – is number #1. They by far have the best selection of listings for nightly rates in this phase of my travel. Because i have a lot of stays, i get a deep discount compared to other travelers. Sometimes ill check competing sites, apps, Agoda, and Hostelworld and Airbnb to see how they compare but usually comes out on top. Beware, one tip, sometimes if you pay in cash, a hotel or hostel will give you a higher exchange rate, so they end up charging you more than you would otherwise pay online.

Hostelworld – this is a good section option. Sometimes there are places listed here that are not listed on, hostels of course. I also like the option to pay a down payment ahead of time then pay the balance upon arrival. Occasionally i will get a better deal here than i would on

Airbnb is also a good option. I usually use this for long term stays as these offer by far a better value than nightly rates, but here, it really depends on the location and the landlord, sometimes these rates can be hard to come by.

Greetings from Skopje, Macedonia!

I made it via the Hak bus to Skopje from Tirana Albania. I booked the ticket through Flix bus website because that seems to be the easiest and most trustworthy. I was also concerned about insurance and I do know that Flix bus does offer some insurance for lost luggage! A few details about my trip… The bus route was pretty hilly but not as crazy as over in Montenegro. I left at 9am and we arrived about 5pm. I went over from here to the Hostel Valentin 2 near the bus station, in fact within about 3 blocks.

A few things i first noticed about Skopje…. were all the monuments and statutes. Most of these were newly created to beautify the downtown of Skopje and also to attract tourists like myself and I must say that i am totally impressed with this for such a small country as North Macedonia. Another thing i noticed is that there are backpackers all over the place… everywhere i turn, granted it is the summer travel season but i have to say wow, a lot of fellow company here on tour.

A few things I noticed part II. I have to say that I like Skopje better than Tirana, granted Tirana also has its charms. Skopje wins with the monuments, the castle, the river and the faux ships that are floating along the river which are actually restaurants. I also really like the cheap prices. Even the touristy restaurants and the old town are around $2 for 1 meal. It reminds me a lot of Belgrade via the communistic or modernistic architecture and the green areas, and the store names for example Jumbo and DG. I really enjoyed my time in Belgrade. I was there for 2 months in the summer of 2021 if you recall. Check my walk around a local neighborhood where i was browsing for a cheap local restaurant here on youtube.

My visit to Durres, Albania, bus trip from Tirana!

I spent one morning taking a bus from Tirana to Durres Albania beach resort. Durres, Albania is a coastal/beach resort city of over 100,000 that is about 30 miles from the capital Tirana. The best thing about it is that its easily reachable for a day trip from Tirana on a local bus for only 150 lek which is about $1.33, and the same price on the way back. The trip only takes about 35 to 40 minutes via highway. You can also watch the video i filmed in Durres on my Youtube Channel for more of a visual and audio tour here and read a little more of my life in another post on Albania, here.

A few logistical concerns… on the bus to Durres.

Just be advised that at present time the bus and the weather outdoors in Albania is a little hot and sunny, so you may need to dress appropriately or rent an umbrella at the beach or even cool off in the water. I took a long walk from the Qyteti Studenti neighborhood near the University of Tirana to the north south bus station. If you are not a fan of walking you can take a local bus or a taxi cab at extra cost, but I decided to tough it out before the sun got too hot. Now on the bus, i was forced to put my expensive backpack under the bus and not in my lap or near my feet, this was not cool. I think next time I will just take a towel, as well as a smaller bag with a few personal items to avoid having to stow my bag (to avoid theft of my expensive items).

Now for the good news for my visit to Durres! There are a few cool sites to see in Durres, namely the beach resort, and if you want to take a swim its an easy ride! Its the beach, one of my favorite places. There are some nice chairs and some small restaurants. The water is easily swimmable. The coolest historical site is the amphitheater and ill detail that site below. I chose to hit the beach for awhile and to walk the entire length of the beach 3 to 4 miles but probably I would have been better off going to the amphitheater first then heading to the beach due to the heat.

durress albania
the beach resorts at Durres, Albania

Now on with the Amphitheater. If you go to the center of town near the port of Durres, you will see a sign near some of the public buildings on the location of the Roman Amphitheater which was built all the way back in the 2nd century AD and used to the 4th century. Its the largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans, about 200 feet wide. An interesting fact is that it was not rediscovered underneath the ground until the 1960s. It is basically a ruin now that is being restored, but very cool looking, see images below….

roman amphitheater in Durres, Albania
durres albania bus trip
roman amphitheater on my trip to durres, albania
tiled fresco painting 4th century chapel inside the amphitheater

Once you visit the amphitheater, you can see that there is a fresco painting that was created in a Christian chapel in the 4th century after the Romans stopped using the amphitheater, this is very cool indeed! Enjoy.

Packing List Update, Eastern Europe backpacking tour, Summer 2022, and

Hi traveling guys and gals, here’s an idea of what I’ll be bringing on my next adventure. In fact here’s a photo of my stuff so far (although some items are not pictured). I decided to keep the 45 liter bag since I’ll be bringing some new camping gear, which ill describe below.

Note a few major changes. The target weight is a base weight of 20 lbs, while wearing about 8 lbs. I’m going to add a lightweight sleeping bag (not yet pictured). I am also taking a light jacket for camping in Sweden during summer, and the winter hat too! One change that I’m making is that I’m going to take 1 less outfit than originally planned to save a little bit of weight.

One other note about the containers, I will be holding a 20 liter stuff sack during my walking that I bought from Decathlon. This bag is very durable and I’m sure it could hold a lot of weight. I’ll probably split it up 5 lbs in the stuff sack and 15 in the backpack.

packing items list for backpacking adventure, eastern europe
45 liter backpack packing items

The backpack is the Pacsafe VentureSafe Exp 45, which I am still satisfied with. Its very durable. The weight is 3.6 lbs. In the photo you can see that I am also carrying a laptop, the Acer Swift 3 that weighs 2.7 lbs, lightweight, but there are also other laptops out there that weigh less. I am satisfied with this one.

Categories Weight:

The total weight of a few of the categories are as follows; electronics, 5.29 lbs, backpack and containers: 5.34 lbs, this includes the drone case, backpack, 2 toiletry bags and 2 stuff sacks that you see above. Camping weight is 5.28 lbs which include the new sleeping bag; pants and shorts: 2.13 lbs; shirts and tanktops: 1.69 lbs; underwear and socks: .56 lbs, this includes lightweight polyester underwear and cotton socks; the Columbia sportswear jacket that you see above weighs 18 oz. The total base weight should be about 20.37 lbs.

On the link here, you can see the actual but not final list, enjoy: lighterpack.

Planning a backpacking trip to Eastern Europe, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland…

Hello traveling guys and girls! Its now time to get down to brass tacks again and look at my travel planning and ill tell you what I plan on doing, when, and how, and by what modes of transport. This is for me just my personal travel plan to eastern Europe. It should be exciting and perhaps for you somewhat informative.

Now you may have heard the news that travel this summer in Europe is really going through the roof, with a lot of Americans now visiting Europe because the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. This has caused the price of accommodation to rise if you are looking for something in a major tourist destination like Paris. So the plan for me is to stay in eastern Europe most of the time because its significantly cheaper than western locations.

So on with the plan, I did some research on the country of North Macedonia, here. It’ll be my first destination via bus. The bus will cost 20 euro/$22 USD and the good news about going by bus is that usually a traveler can get a seat on the bus the same day, so i dont plan to have to take it way ahead of time like a flight, and there is no security. Now the bad news about bus travel is that its significantly slower than airline travel. Why am I taking a bus? Because I would like to enjoy the scenery out the windows and enjoy the ride. The ride to Skopje will be 8 hours, that’s quite long for only traveling for 289 km. I figure I can cover a few major sites in North Mac in 3 to 5 days time, in fact I will probably only do Skopje and then exit the country via another bus trip.

Now let me check the prices for the second bus fare. The good news here is that the cost of the second trip to Sofia, Bulgaria will be $21 and takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. So far I’ve heard a few bad things about Sofia as a tourist destination. The city is supposedly heavily disorganized but I’m fine with this. There are a few seriously instagrammable sites including the cathedral that I mentioned in my research here. Over in Bulgaria I’ll definitely be spending a bit more time in the country and cover perhaps 3 or 4 cities and locations. I want to see Varna and perhaps Sunny beach, Plovdiv, and Ruse near the border. So we can give this country 1 to 2 weeks worth of time. So this puts me exiting Bulgaria around July 25th to August 1.

*** Note that with bus travel, I wont be planning any hard and fast flight dates, as I think its more convenient to just play it by ear. If i like a country perhaps ill stay a touch longer, and if not, then leave a bit sooner, train will also be considered as a mode of transport ***

The next country after this will be Romania. I’ve actually heard some cool things about the coast, a place called Vama Veche, which is a hippy hang out along the Black Sea in Romania that is not a very far distance from the country of Bulgaria. I would like to stay here at least a few nights and possibly longer and may use my tent, to save a few bucks, we will see. I also definitely want to check out the region of Transylvania although its not Halloween yet! I always thought the myth of Dracula was interesting. So thats 1 to 2 weeks in Romania then ill be switching to Hungary via bus, i just recently checked some prices on Flixbus, and this company is more than reasonable. I was looking at Flixbus between Bucharest and Budapest and the price is 30 euro, about $33 USD.

Future destinations… I do plan on continuing to move around Europe after Hungary, I’ll go to Slovakia then Poland. In Poland the prices are more than reasonable for hostels. After this I may head to a place like Sweden or Finland, then at the conclusion of my north tour, I’m going to head for Italy! Stay tuned, thanks. Map for reference:

backpacking tour ro Romania and Bulgaria

Planning a trip to Skopje, north Macedonia, backpacking summer of 2022

Hello traveling girls and guys! This week I plan on doing a little bit more research on the country of North Macedonia since that’s my first stop away from Albania later this summer.

Let us look at the cost. Not unlike its neighbors, North Macedonia is really cheap as compared to the USA. I see on that there is a youth hostel that has shared rooms in Skopje for only $5 US. That’s really appetizing for me as a budget traveler, and while shared rooms might not be the most comfortable place to sleep for a 40s something non-partying male the savings is good enough for me for the short term.

I walked over to the international bus station in Tirana, behind Ring Center shopping mall where ill be catching the bus when the time comes. Prices are in the range of $21 from Tirana to Skopje, really not close to the $4 local buses to places like Vlore and Durres, but still not too bad.

So, let’s take a look at a few other things, just to make sure it’s a good location. A few things I look at are geography, crime, transportation, weather, then after that the fun stuff I can do while there.

Crime in North Macedonia … Is it a safe place to visit?  Let’s check North Macedonia like we did for Bulgaria. The homicide rate for North Macedonia on Wikipedia is listed at 1.2 and on Nation Master, 1.94, whereas the US is at 5. Next, we take a look at total crimes per 1000 on Nation Master, North Macedonia is at 9.55 whereas the USA is at 41.29. North Mac is lower than Bulgaria and the USA, so that’s perfectly fine, next….

Now on with the tour de North Mac, Geography, population, GDP, weather, anyone? – In terms of area Macedonia is 9900 square miles so we can assume something like 90 miles wide by 100 miles tall, basically shaped like a blob, with no coastline. Two major features are that it is landlocked and that its very mountainous. Now I’ve got to check the weather to make sure its not too cold for my summer wardrobe… the average high in Skopje in July is 90 and the average low is 71 degrees; however, some mountain peaks might be significantly colder. I’ll bring a light jacket as well as a hat (I mostly need these for Sweden) for when I hike these peaks.

The population is 2 million, so smaller than Albania, and a bit larger than its tiny neighbor, Montenegro at 620,000 people. Now the GDP of North Mac is $5,880 versus $5,215 for Albania and $7,666 for Serbia. We can make the assumption, it’s a bit of a low-income country as compared to the good ole USA. In my experience GDP per capita is roughly related to cost of living, but I like to do a bit more research just to make sure on expenses, on with this in a bit.

The fun stuff, tourist attractions in North MacedoniaI like to mix it up, so ill probably be choosing some outdoor locations first, like mountains, some historical sites like old ruins or castles, perhaps some shopping and some city life here … now here’s the list of top attractions…

  1. Lake Ohrid – looks interesting and scenic and not within the city of Skopje. There’s a cool looking monastery nearby.
  2. The old Bazaar, Skopje – this looks like my top city attraction in Skopje since I like to window shop and wander streets
  3. Vodno Cable Car – this cable car is actually similar to the one near Tirana, its close to Skopje so this would be a cool place to wander to.
  4. Kale Fortress – a fortress/castle that overseas the entire city of Skopje, another easy one to see and take some photos.
  5. Monastery of Travesic – this looks more like some of the monasteries I saw over in Montenegro. Scenic views are nice, then we head on over to Bulgaria next.