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Up the Coast!

I finally left! And I am now back in Albania. I spent a solid 21 days in total in Corfu and I can’t say I regretted it. It was truly an amazing time and wasn’t easy to move on but I have done it. My last few days in Corfu I met a girl, a solo traveler named Ella from England, who was traveling up the Adriatic coast like I was planning on doing. So since we became friends in Corfu we decided to travel together. It gave me the push I needed to finally leave Corfu and go out and see more of the world (Europe..).

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So far we have gone up the coast of Albania together and are currently in Kotor, Montenegro. We have learned a lot about Albania during this trip and its a very interesting country to say the least. I have become a pro hitch hiker because thats one of the only ways to get from place to place since the Albanian bus system is very unorganized, crowded, and unreliable. We stayed in a beautiful quaint village named Vuno on our way up the coast where our hostel was an abandoned school.

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No wifi, no problem. This place was quit the chill hang out spot that was really away from civilization.

After Vuno, we went to the north of Albania and visited Shkoder. The journey to shkoder took 8 hours by a bus with NO A/C…… With temperatures reaching 97 degrees here you can say its quite hot. On the bright side Albania is probably one of the cheapest countries I have ever been to. That being said we have been eating at fine dining restaurants for the price it would cost to get a large deluxe burger meal at mcdonalds. We are eating like kings. Sadly the lux lifestyle has gone as we are in Kotor, Montenegro.

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And WOW is Kotor stunning. It is a small city with a long bay completely surrounded by mountains. The city is mainly composed of an “old town” which is inside old fortress walls. Our hostel is extremely nice and is within the beautiful old town. I cannot explain to you how surreal this place is. Its one of the most beautiful cities I have been to so far. IMG_9798

I will be heading to Dubrovnik, Croatia in a few days then to Bosnia, then most likely back further into Croatia. That may not make sense but if you look at a map you will understand why I am doing this.

Thanks for checking in!

-ColeB

I Tried to Leave

Hello all.  After spening a good week and a half in Corfu I decided it was time to leave. So I hopped over to Albania unexpectedly. I had never thought about going to Albania originally or planned on it but since the Island of corfu runs along the coast of Albania I decided it would be the quickest and easiest destination to reach.

If you don’t know, Albania was freed from communistic grip in 1992. It has just recently in the past couple decades been open for travel. It is a fairly poor country with many unfinished buildings and poor infrastructure. The roads are chaotic and unkept, combined with inexperienced drivers and no street lights. It is primarily a muslim country and is often referred to as Europe’s India. I can tell you from being there it does not feel like a European country. That said, I did enjoy my experience there thoroughly.

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This was my view from the hostel. It was a very unique hostel named Sunny Side Up, where every morning they served eggs as you could imagine. The hostel is owned by a very nice relaxed man named Gabrielle. The hostel is primarily ran however by the volunteers he takes in. During my stay I was delighted to have three british girls volunteering. They were a lot of fun to get to know and even cooked me my first curry for dinner. To be honest, It felt like I was chilling in these girls apartment during my stay.

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Me and two of the british girls took a trip out to a beach near the city. The small village before the beach which we walked through was nearly abandoned and in ruins with only a few people living there and cows!

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So this family is an example of confusing generosity from strangers. As we were walking down the beach the man to the left of the british girls on the bench, who appeared to be the father of the group, motioned to me with a plate of grilled fish. None of them spoke any english but before I knew it we were all eating lunch on the beach with them. Through a series of smiles and confusion we got the memo that they wanted us to eat with them. The man had just caught the fish in the sea and cooked them on the beach. They loved us and were delighted we accepted their offer. After some time we found someone who spoke Albanian and some English who helped translate our conversations. The family offered to bring us home back to Saranda versus us getting a taxi. They really wanted to bring us home and to not offend them we accepted the offer. We admit we were a little sketched out by them being so persistent on bringing us home, and most people from home would think accepting something like this from strangers would be dangerous but to our surprise it was fine. They brought us home and all was well. What a generous family. A lot of people back home sometimes think that Europe is a dangerous place, and I can tell you from being here over a month that my hometown is far more dangerous than any place I have been to in Europe. The people here genuinely just want to help you and be friendly to you. It is a different culture.

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I also visited a magnificent site in Albania called the Blue Eye. It is a natural spring which pumps out a huge amount of freshwater and the center of the “eye” has been recorded to be over 50 meters deep! The center is the deep blue part of the water, and yes so much water comes out of the spring that it immediately creates a wide spring.

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So heres the deal. Im back in Corfu. Yes again! I was so upset about leaving Corfu and I absolutely loved the place and my hostel so much that I decided to return. This has been my favorite decision of my trip so far and I am so happy to be back. I keep trying to be a beach bum but every day ends up being filled with adventure and wild things. The picture above was a 5 hour hike I took with some people to the top of a small mountain in Corfu.

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So I will be in Corfu until I am ready to leave. I love the people I meet here, the hostel, my hostel volunteer friends, and most importantly this beautiful place. To be open with you, two days ago Paige ended our relationship together. It was quite a surprise to me and I am still in shock as to why this has happened. I am in a place that I love and will continue to stay here until I feel I am emotionally ready to move on. I appreciate all the support my friends here have given me through this time.

Theres no need for me to be upset or mad though. I must respect her decision as I understand being mad or angry at her will not help our relationship or fix it, nor will it help my situation in Europe. Im keeping my head up and looking forward as much as this situation genuinely sucks.

 

So you could say my life is truly changing.

 

-ColeB.

Paradise.

So for those who may not know, I am currently on the Island Corfu in Greece. After Belgium I made a quick two day stop to Cologne, Germany specifically to watch the Germans take the world cup win! That was an amazing atmosphere to be involved with. Think of it like the saints winning the Super Bowl times 100.  It was absolutely nuts how crazy the Germans were over the win.

I decided to make a drastic jump in my travels which is why I am in Greece. I was tired of moving from city to city and only staying for a few days at a time. I wanted a change of pace and scenery.

So I escaped to paradise! CORFU!

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I  have currently been here for 7 days and will stay 10 days total. I originally was not going to stay here for this long but I fell in love with the island and my hostel. Every morning I get to wake up and order delicious breakfast from a french girl as I proceed to sit down on the balcony of the hostel and look at this view.

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This photo was literally taken from my seat on the deck of my hostel. Every day I get to wake up to this beautiful view then spend my day down at the beach below.

SO lets talk about Corfu. The place is the closest thing to paradise that I’ve ever been to. Wild grapes and peaches and olives growing everywhere. The weather is absolutely perfect. The water is very cool, crystal clear, and deep blue. The cliffs and mountains that overlook the sea are stunning and there is so much adventure to be had.

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Me and some friends I met took a paddle boat out into the sea to get to this rock. You have to swim in between the rocks and climb up it. Then you jump!! It is about a 30-35ft high jump. Probably one of the most terrifying things I have ever done yet was SO worth it when I actually managed to do it.

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The Island of Corfu is one of the larger greek Islands. We rented a car yesterday and explored a large portion of the north of the island. There are so many beautiful villages like shown in the picture, with cobblestone streets and flowers in full bloom.

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This place is something out of a post card it seems. This is a double bay, where the beaches are back to back. It took a decent hike to get down to this beach but just look how beautiful the water is!

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This is an underwater selfie of me, a german named Renee, and a french girl named Aurelie as we explored the clear waters of a rocky cove. I had to wear goggles due to my contacts if I wanted to see underwater. As presented in the Gopro shot above, the water is literally crystal clear, with fish swimming all around you and such. Such a cool experience.

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Also every night I see the most picturesque sunset from my hostel. I cannot explain to you the beauty in this place, and my pictures could never do it justice. The world is so beautiful and Im so thankful to have the experience of seeing this place. I do not want to leave, but I believe I will explore more of Greece after this.

-ColeB

Chocolate. Waffles. Beer.

BELGIUM!!

I am in Belgium. Brussels specifically. Which is the nations capitol city.  The title says it all in a nutshell.

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I might pack a lot of things in this post but I will make it short and sweet and add more pics than normal.

Ok so to backtrack really quick. London was amazing. Beautiful city with wonderful sights and things to do. I was able to see the changing of the guards at buckingham palace, tour the city, and also see the stage 3 final of the Tour de France race which ended in front of buckingham palace.

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The front gates of the Buckingham Palace were incredible!

Okay. So now to Belgium. I decided to go to Belgium because I had several friends recommend it to me and I could not justify the ungodly prices of hostels in Paris. So Brussels it is. I am very happy with this choice to come here. Like my title states, they are crazy about chocolate, waffles, and beer. To put this into perspective for you, almost every street here has one or two waffle and chocolate shops. They are absolutely everywhere and yes they are better than you can imagine. Belgians eat their waffles plain. They are very sugary and sweet as it is so syrup and butter is not a thing here like home. Also the chocolate is unlike anything I’ve ever had in the states.  And the beer. I am no beer fan, but beer is crazy here. I went to a bar where they have somewhere close to 3000 types of beer to serve. UNBELIEVABLE.. You go in and wouldn’t even know where to start. Its a world famous bar called Delirium.

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I was not able to get lucky with weather here though. The weather has been.. depressing in a sense. BUT regardless of weather I truly have had a blast here in Brussels and enjoyed its beauty. The tall tower you see in the scene is where my hostel was. I can walk out the front door and see that building. Its call the Grand Place.

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Better view of the Grand Place.

Ok so today, I took a day trip with some friends I met to Bruge, Belgium. It was about an hour away by train and let me tell you.. It is absolutely beautiful. Aside from the cloudy misty day, the city is literally straight out of a storybook. Its unlike anything you have ever seen before and my pictures could never do it justice.

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It is a small town, with cobblestone walkways, old style flemmish buildings, canals and bridges. It is stunning. Me and some friends I made at my hostel spent the day exploring the city.

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This is us!

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We wandered and got lost in alleys and the streets. You could just walk past a cool looking alley and decide to go down it to see where it takes you. You never know what beauty you could find in this place.

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My time has been great this last week or so. Im ready to see what is in store next as I tell the friends I made goodbye and move on to the next place. Which is Cologne, Germany by the way. I figured watching the world cup final game in a German city was the way to do it. From there I will head south east most likely. I, of course, will do my best to keep you guys updated!

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-ColeB

Update 4: London!

Okay! So I left Bath for Oxford. I can’t tell you anything about Oxford because I literally slept through that stop. Blame homesickness and sleepiness?

Regardless, I packed up after one night of Oxford and now I am in LONDON!

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I somehow met a girl from New Orleans who was traveling to London from Oxford also so we teamed up and have been checking out London together. Big Ben is much bigger than pictures make it out to be. The London eye was a very awesome experience. I also went to wimbledon where the pro tennis players were currently having a match. Of course we did not go inside but the atmosphere was awesome especially when the roar of the crowd was heard.

Oh and walking around Wimbledon upped my class…

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Tomorrow I will get to witness the end of the Tour de France which ends in London. Seeing that will be an awesome experience.

I cannot lie. These past few days the sense of being homesick has really set in. I’ve had some ups and downs. Nobody said traveling to Europe for 3 months would be a breeze and I can definitely tell you first hand its not! Meeting people isn’t always the easiest. Eating alone really sucks. And having to decide every aspect of your unplanned trip as you go isn’t always easy.  My blog title undertaking travels is exactly what this is. It’s a challenge for sure that I chose and will stick with. Its not always fun, and yes its an undertaking. But how can you experience any potential in yourself if you don’t really put yourself out of your comfort zone right?

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-Big ben from the London Eye

Ok well thanks to any readers that enjoy my updates. Its probably just family but thats perfectly fine by me! Feel free to contact me on Facebook, email (hoonigan23@gmail.com), or through commenting on my blog. Id love to hear any suggestions or whatever you may want to say.

-ColeB

 

Update 3: Bath Spa Awaits

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Okay! So Bristol was different. Very nice city, with some very scenic views. I will say I checked into the crappiest hostel I could have ever imagined which was definitely a turn off for this leg of the trip. The outside looks like a rundown old building. The inside doesn’t look better. No shower curtains. Everything smells. I honestly feel like I am staying at a homeless shelter.

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Nevertheless I found the beauty in Bristol today and really enjoyed myself. I wandered around the city until stumbling upon the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Which was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!! Looked As if it was something out of a painting and I am ashamed that my pictures just won’t do it justice.

 

Tomorrow I am going to catch a train to Bath, England, where I will visit the ancient Roman bathes. After Bath I will be going to Oxford, England, then to London for a couple of days. Will post another update soon after Bath to let everyone know how it was.

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-ColeB

Update 2: Dublin Is Alive

Ok. So Dublin is amazing. Life is amazing!

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First few days were rough needless to say. Im still tired today and have been taking it easy.  BUT these last few days have been amazing. I’ve made many memories and friends and finally got a proper nights sleep last night.

I probably won’t always mention the people I meet. But I seem to have been meeting some really awesome people. I had some awesome roommates thursday night, whom I made friends with. We all went out to and old Irish Pub called the Brazen Head and ate fish and chips and listened to live irish music. There was nothing quite like that experience. I can’t quite explain the authenticity and surrealism of being in such a unique place halfway across the world.

The next morning after an incredibly horrible nights sleep, I met a lovely girl named Michelle. We went out for breakfast together then took a walk in a beautiful park we stumbled upon. I really appreciated making friends with her! The sun came out while we were walking for the first time since I have been to Ireland so it was quite a relief. Sixty degrees is apparently warm for Ireland yet to me its freezing, so it was nice to have the sun shining.

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Later that day I met some of the most Incredible, fun, kind, and genuine people I have ever met. They were my new roommates for the night who were dutch speaking Belgians. Needless to say we made good friends and all went out for dinner where we laughed and talked. Later that night we went out to the Brazen Head Pub for drinks where they laughed at me trying to say dutch phrases which are not easy for an English speaking native.  “Hoe gaat het” means “how are you in Dutch!” So there is a fun fact for you.

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Jens, Laura, Aricia were their names. I hope to meet more people as awesome as these guys. I wish they did not have to return to Belgium but maybe we will meet in the future!

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OK so an update also on my next travel plans. Im staying in Dublin for 3 more nights. On Tuesday next week I will be flying into Bristol, England, where I will stay for a few days until moving east.

-ColeB

Update 1: Landed and Jetlagged

So after a 3 hour flight to New York, a 7 hour layover, then a 6 and a half hour flight to Dublin, I have made it! Landing in Ireland was mentally a satisfying feeling. Although exhaustion from only sleeping 2 hours before my trip then not sleeping during my flights or the layovers, I was still excited. I didn’t know quite what to do, so I just walked where other people did, found immigration, got stamped, easy. I do not even know why I worried about getting through immigration ever. I exchanged some money and got some euros. Which are so much more fun to use than american money. I enjoy using the new currency for whatever reason.

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If the exhausting trip was not bad enough I had to wait until 2pm to check in to my hostel… and I landed in Dublin at approx. 5:40 AM… So another 8 hour wait until I can sleep… Well I rode a bus from the airport to near where my hostel was. I got off and wandered around the city, trying to get a feel for everything, until I found it.

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Surprisingly the hostel is very nice! Fit with a bar, cafe, lounge area, 24/7 service, with key card access to everything. All for 12 euros a night!

I stopped off at a cafe nearby to get some coffee and breakfast, which consisted of a big delicious cinnamon roll I happened to settle with.

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Most of the day I just wandered around Dublin and went back to the hostel to sit and wait. Once I was finally able to check in, I immediately passed out on my bed at 2 and woke up around 5… Well I just so happened to think it was 5 AM the next day. So since I was so pleased with my long rest I got up and got my toiletries to go take a shower. I took a shower, came back to the room and got dressed to go out for the day and possibly find some breakfast. I go down the elevator to the lobby area and surprisingly see a ton of people talking. Which is weird for 5AM.. That is when I realized it was PM not AM.. and that instead of sleeping through the night and getting fifteen hours of sleep I got three… The fact that no one was sleeping in beds at my hostel did not give it away which should of been a sure sign. Needless to say I was completely smack dab out of it. Even after taking a shower and waking up and seeing this australian friend I met awake in bed I did not realize it was not the morning.

THAT is my definition of jet lag.. So as I write this its 10PM and still daylight.. Ireland is different! Goodnight.

-ColeB

I Leave Tomorrow

Well this is it.. 7 months of planning, preparing, and learning has led me to today.  Tomorrow I embark on my adventure. I could never put this feeling into words it’s so surreal. I feel like a mad man.  3 months on my own starting tomorrow at around 4:30 AM.

I’ve said goodbyes to such a loving and generous family I have. All my family and friends could not have been more supportive. I’ve had many people praying for my Journey and I am very thankful for that.

It’s weird to do this all for the first time. Having the emotions of anxiety and excitement blend into one, which just ends up stressing me out. I am numinous. But everything’s going to be great, I know, but you can’t help but get a little shaky before something like this.

You can’t connect the dots of your life looking at your future. Only when you look at your past can you see that every event I’ve been through, my failures and successes, has somehow connected to be who I am today. So I must have faith that no matter what happens, the dots of my future will connect. 

Thanks for all who have supported so far.

I will keep you updated.

Tomorrow I am off for Dublin!

 

-ColeB

Nominated for the Liebster Award!

Liebster award

I am so very proud to announce that my friend Michael Huxley at Bemused Backpacker has nominated me to receive the Liebster Award. This award is given to travel bloggers from other travel bloggers to show appreciation for each bloggers hard work and dedication to their site. So I am very happy that, even though my blog is in such an early stage, I have friendly bloggers out their checking it out and appreciating the work I’m doing.  Michael at Bemused Backpacker is running a great and experienced blog, complete with free health and safety information for traveling via a travel clinic, and, as a published writer, he has numerous books regarding backpacking and travel.

Rules of the Liebster Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back up to his/her blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate other bloggers for the award.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

So now to answer the questions presented by Michael!

1. If you lost your passport somewhere and had to be stranded, where would you choose and why?

I would choose a tropical Island. Something about being stranded on an Island just seems right.

2. What is your most embarrassing travel tale?

First thing that came to mind was the time I was at the beach in Destin, Florida and a jelly fish somehow got into my swimsuit.. It was a moment for sure.

3. If your boat sank and you could rescue only one item from your backpack apart from your passport, what would it be?

Ugh. Hard one. Probably my external hard drive, I feel memories (pictures, videos) would be the only non replaceable thing.

4. If you were made the boss of an airline for a day and could make one change to make passengers lives better, what would it be and why?

I would play Daft Punk over the intercom during the flight.

5. If you could visit any country in any period of time, where would you go?

Believe it or not Id probably choose to visit the US in the year 3000. Id want to see how crazy/different things are in the future.

6. What is your favourite thing about being a backpacker or traveller?

As I am new to backpacking I really cannot tell you a direct answer. The anticipation of my first solo backpacking trip is what I love the most so far.

7. What is the thing you hate most about being a backpacker or traveller?

Again, the anticipation. Its a love hate thing. Im so excited but hate the fact that I have to continue waiting for my first backpacking trip to start!

8. Why do you write or blog about travel?

I chose to write about my travels because its something that inspires me. And I want my family and friends to be able to see what I’m up to.

9. Where would you like to see your blog/website in a years time?

Simply filled with beautiful pictures and adventures

10. Is travel how you define yourself?

Not yet! We will soon see.

 

Ok so thanks again to Bemused Backpacker for the questions and I hope you guys enjoyed reading the answers.

Time for my nominations:

I Sign I Wander

Bridget Without Boundaries

Outbound Adventurer

Circa 35mm

I was introduced to each one of these blogs through meeting these awesome people on Nomadic Matt’s Forums. They all have very great blogs and reasons as to why I chose them for my nominations.

Here are my questions for you guys:

1. If you could be any specific place other than where you are now, where would that be?

2. What is number one on your bucket list?

3. In one word explain what travel means to you.

4. Whats the best thing thats happen to you through traveling?

5. Worst thing?

6. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

7. Do you know any foreign languages? If not, which one would you love to learn?

8. If you could drive any car/motorcycle/bike across the US for an extended road trip what would you choose?

9. What is one piece of advice you wish you would’ve known before you set out for your first adventure?

10. Where are you going next?

Let me know if you guys answer my questions because Id love to read them. Keep up the good work with each one of your blogs too.

Id lastly again like to say how much I am appreciated to be nominated for the Liebster Award!

-Cole B

 

 

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