I always wanted to consider myself as a traveler, in every level. Exploration, change and learning are considered for me essential for heading in the future. This summer or 2008 i decided to try something new to me, something i have always wanted to do for a really long time: A small tour of Europe. The main reason for my traveling was Ozora Festival, an annual psy/ambient music festival held in the countryside of Hungary. It is considered one of the most important psychedelic gatherings in Europe and worldwide.
I had planned & booked everything i ought to (festival tickets, flight to come back and interail ticket) and i though i should leave the rest as it comes. I surely didn’t knew what to expect, but i thought that would be the most exciting part of this journey. So it all started in the 1st of August, packed with only a small backpack, a tent tied to it, a sleeping bag and strictly some few traveling essentials
1st Aug > 11th Aug
(Greece) Chalkida > Athens > Patras > (Italy) Ancona > Rome > Firenze (Florence) > Milano > (Switzerland) Zyrich > (Germany) Stugart > Nuremberg > (Austria) Vienna > (Hungary) Budapest > Symotinya > 5days stay at the festival > (Slovakia) Bratislava > (Greece) Athens > Chalkida
11 unique days, each one filling for the rest. I had never attempted solo-backpacking before though i think it was worth it. It’s the best reason for talking and getting to know other people on your tour. The 1st night was spent on the boat from Patra to Ancona, Italy. The 22hour sea voyage was fairly long though fortunately i spent a good 10hours of sleep. I can say that i’m used to boat trips after 5 yrs of traveling to Crete back and forth in order to attend my college course. On stepping foot in Italy i was somehow puzzled at start, though i found out soon enough that the best way finding your way around is by using a rail map and just asking whoever looks likely to know English. The first part of the train ride to Rome was somehow unlucky because of the 1hour train delay and because i had to get off in a small Italian town because of technical difficulties. The next train to Rome left in some hours so i decided to find a spot in the countryside and camp saving some money for staying in a hotel and gaining a new second night experience. Now thinking of what i did may sound foolish but i don’t regret on doing so. After Rome i head to Florence for sightseeing and then i decided to stay at a youth hostel in Milan. Staying there was surely worth it, as i had never been to one before. I instantly met my South Korean roommate and eventually met a group of Brazilian guys outdoors. It was surely a great night whereas i had the chance to meet people from all over the world and share our experiences and thoughts. Unfortunately the next day i was late to wake and everyone was gone.
Having some more days ahead of me till the festival started i though of going to Switzerland. The train ride to Zürich really paid me off. The scenery on the Italian and Swiss alps was breathtaking. The train infrastructure is so developed it really amazed me. The tunnels & bridges seemed to blend harmonically with the Swiss countryside. Arriving at Zürich i managed to find information on going to the youth hostel there. It was surely more luxurious and organized but i disliked the fact the atmosphere there was not so pleasant as in Milan. I had the chance to meet a girl from the US and a group of Ukrainian people who knew very few English. The next day i head towards Hungary through Austria. I found out that the faster way of going to Vienna was via Germany (Stuttgart & Nuremberg). It was a chance to go through Germany and arriving there earlier than going directly to Vienna. The German countryside was great though i did’t have any time to go sightseeing. On arriving to Vienna 10 at night i though i should better stay at a youth hostel. Unfortunately they were all full so i went back to the station and slept for free there using my sleeping bag. The train left 5 in the morning to i think it was worth that experience as well.
The 1st part of the traveling part of my journey was almost over though i was not disappointed at all because i knew i had a great festival ahead of me. I arrived in Budapest first thing in the morning. It was the first time i was so confused in my journey because i had to use the local currency, almost no one understood english and i had no idea how to get to the festival. I used an internet station in order to get more information and i found out that i had to take the subway to the other train station. On arriving there i met a Danish group that were also heading to Ozora fest and they told me that we had to take 2hr train ride to a village and then take a bus from there. So i did and was amazed when entering the festival area. Pictures and videos cannot describe that festival especially at night. For me it was the 1st major festival i had been to and surrely will consider going again next year. It was like living in an alternate society in a city of tents and music stages blending harmonically with the Hungarian countryside . The irony of this event was that everyone, involving me seemed to have a close connection to nature and technology. The dress code was utterly different to what someone would find everyday. People were far more willing to meet and help each other. It was literaly a tower of Babel. So many different languages could be heard though most of the people knew english especially those from western europe. I was glad to find some greek people as well. The music was so good and unique especially in the chill stage. 5 intense day filled with music, culture, diverse languages and a very inspiring vibe everywhere around you. 5 days is as much as someone could cope with, because of dirt and the exhausting dance stage timeline. It is really hard to describe this experience in words, but was surrelly worth the effort going there
The last day i decided to head towards Slovakia where was flight was leaving for Athens, so i woke up in the morning and packed all my things and head towards Budapest in order to find a train for Bratislava. Hungary left me with mixed feelings. A great impression for the festival and the countryside and bad regarding the fact that it was so hard to communicate with Hungarians in English even with young people. Slovakia seemed to have a better infrastructure from what i could see from the train ride. Finally i had to wait a couple of hours for my flight. The big journey all ended on the 11th of August when arriving back to my hometown, Chalkida from Athens
This 11day trip to Europe was one of the best traveling experiences i have had till now. I was far more easier than i had expected and is somehow cheap way for seeing so many places. The total amount i spent was 650 euros which is reasonable compared for a 11day holiday in Greece. For me this journey is just a begining and i’m surely willing to do so more exploring when i finish my military obligation next year. My main inspiration for experiencing this journey was i movie i was in June called “Into the Wilr”. It is a fantastic movie both in acting and photography. I cannot consider myself anywhere near to the true explorer of the protagonist of this movie, though i tried doing some extreme stuff as well. Throughout my journey i had the chance to meet people that were touring Europe for several months. Offcourse mine was in a smaller scale though i think for 11 days i saw and experienced as much as i could.
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