Friday, July 31, 2009

Turkey, What a delight!

Hey hey,
So after sleeping on the beach in Kavala Greece we woke up and drove straight to Turkey. The sun was beating down harder than ever and the heat was so intense. We rolled into the border in the late afternoon. It took about an hour to pass through as we had to cross at least 4 different check points and pay 45 Euro for a visa! It took us another several hours for finally drive into Istanbul..
Upon arrival we discovered our two campgrounds in Istanbul from our "Europe Camping" book had been closed. We contacted Ben's German friend Daniel and headed to his place. Unfortuntately he didnt have room for us so after a night of drinking we got a few hours of shut eye in the Hajji in downtown Istanbul. In the morning we were all brushing our teeth on the street with people still sleeping on the roof of the van... we shook many Turks to their core, they had no idea what to think.
So yeah, Istanbul, always dreamt of going and it is an amazing city! So huge, so huge! So many people and so many cultures all mixed together. Mosques and churches and kebab stands clutter every street. We spent many an afternoon lounged on a rooftime sitting on big fluffly pillows drinking beer and smoking a water pipe! Very delightful! We did some sightseeing, to the Blue Mosque etc, went to the big markets and took a ferry or two.
Eventually we caved and got a hostel room for the first time on the trip, sleeping 5 people in the Hajji in crowded big city streets just wasnt cutting it...
So as time was slowly passing I was coming to the end of my trip, I was scheduled to leave on Friday from Istanbul and then Monday from Amsterdam... the thought of spending another 3 nights in Amsterdam turned my stomach. I was tired, dirty and ready to come home, so instead of delaying the inevitable, I changed some flights I flew home on Thursday! Where I am now, sitting in my parents house!
The great Africa Europe trip of 2009 has come to an end... what an unforgettable experience! As we always say in the Hajji, it is not about the places or things we see, it is the people we meet and travel with that are so amazing!

Watch my facebook for pictures....!

Addy in Calgary

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Greece is in the EU!

Hey hey,

Just a quick update, not much to report, no real crazy adventures in the last few days. We left Macedonia on Sunday and rolled into Greece just after midnight! Quite a beautiful country, as expected I guess! We spent two night at a really nice campground just outside of Thessalaniki. The Greeks are delightfully nice, they dont see too many young people at the campground so all the old folks were taking us in and feeding us feta, olives and ouzo. The hajji makes friends were ever she goes.
We rolled out of the city on late wednesday and arrived in Kavala, where we are now late at night. We slept in the parking lot of the airport so that we could get Jalil on his flight at a 6am. Latif left a week ago, but the addition of him and his friend Jalil was just an amazing blessing for the Hajji. Such cool guys, we will miss them greatly. Spent the day sleeping on the beach, just chilling with Benny in the internet cafe now. This city was founded in 14AD, so cool and old with big old aqua ducts running through it, right on the ocean. The plan is take off for Turkey tommorrow, but who knows when we roll in...
I am really looking forward to Turkey... and only one week till I leave the Hajji crew...

See yous soon,

Addy in Greece

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Serbia I hurt Hajji

Hey hey,
Wow, the last week or so in Serbia was out of control crazy! Exit fest was madness, the music was okay, nothing to really write home about. But Prodigy played on the last night to a crowd of over 45 000 people, I almost lost my shit and had to get the hell out of the crowd! It was intense! The campground was full of young brits filled with piss and vinegar, the festival was in a cool old fortress and the Serbs are super nice.
So we left Novi Sad on Monday and headed to Kossovo, we soon realized the main highway to Kossovo disappeared, as the Serbs no longer recognize them, so we got on some random back roads to a country we shouldnt be going too. Eventually we were thouroughly lost and in a small Serbain town late at night, we stopped and decided to spend the night. Then we heard a honky-de honk of a car and a large smiling Serbian man was saying hello. He recognized from Exit fest, as the Hajji was quite famous. He welcomed 8 of us into his house in this town, his whole family welcomed us with open arms. For two days they fed us, bathed us and gave us a warm place to sleep. Unreal hospitality, by far the nicest people I have ever met in the whole world, hospitality that we have no concept of in North America. Milan, is his name. The serbs talked us out of going to Kossovo so we headed south to Macedonia. Milan came with us and thank heavens for that! We ran out of diesel near the border, had to hitchhike to a gas station and fill up enough to get us to the gas station. We filled up, spirits were high and we would soon be in Macedonia. That is until Addy took the wheel of the Hajji... On a single lane highway in Serbia, I shift into third and the van goes wild! Its like the gas is being floored, the engining is revving so friggin high, sounds like the engine is going to explode, nothing I do will stop it. The Hajji fills with black smoke and the crew goes wild! I slamm on the breaks and turn off the engine and take out the key, the van still is going crazy and we are all certain the engine is going to blow... The crew opens the side door and bails, there was so much smoke they couldnt see the jagged metal guard rail on the side of the road, several crew members bashed their legs up real nice. I stayed with the Hajji till the end, along with a sleeping Marcus...
We thought Hajji was dead, towed her to a gas station, it was certain we need a new engine! I just ruined a trip for like 8 people, I was at an all time low, feeling like major garbage. Luckily, we started the Haj, rev'd her up and took her for spin! Miracle, she was resurected! Was running fine, we hopped in and were on our way! Needless to say I will no longer be driving the Hajji....
After a celebration dinner in the capital of Macedonia we head to a place called Ohrid, where we are right now. Outside the capital we were pulled over by the coppers. 300 Euro fine for not having our head lamps on... Luckily Milan was able to bribe the crooked cop... after much deliberation amongst the crew, we couldnt agree on what to do, pay the fine, bribe the cop or run for the hills.... He got tired of waiting and just sped off down the highway! Miracle!
So we rolled into Ohrid late at night, no place to stay, so as the crew crammed into the Hajji for a nights sleep in a parking lot, Benny and I snuggled up on a grassy knoll in the parking lot for the worst night of sleep ever, had ants crawling on our faces all night, Benny slept like a dream....
So then we got to a really nice campground with a nice lake... very chill and relaxing. And super hot, I think i saw a sign saying it was 40 degrees...
Anywho, leaving for Greece tomorrow...
On our way to Turkey...
Fly to Amsterdam on the 31st,
Fly home on August 3rd, back into the arms of my lover....

Addy in Macedonia

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hajji Knows where to go

Hey Hey,
Wow what a crazy last few days. Was out in Prague with the crew visiting a bar or two. Marcus Lauran and Paul were hit by a sniper out on the street. Some crazy fuck was shooting drunk tourists with a beebee gun, got them good too. Then we ran into an old chum from highschool, a Mr. Latif Nanji. So Latif and his buddy Jalil hoped in the Haj with us and we headed to Vienna. Spent a night in Vienna, had a feast at a sketch restaurant, had a snooze and drove to Serbia. Survived the scary crossing into Serbia and drove straight to Novi Sad, home of the EXIT festival. The drive through the Balkans was beautiful and peaceful. The Hajji can only do about 50km on any sort of incline, so we usually cause some traffic backup, especially on the autobahn in Germany, whoo boy...
So we are currently camped out with Haj and a few tents. This festival is massive, seems like hundreds of thousands people, but surely much less than that....
Last night we saw Lilly Allen and Artic Monkey on the mass stage, it was such a party, such a good time. Then I went and checked out the metal stage! This festival is inside a fortress at the top of a hill overlooking the city. So they have all these different stages and shit all scattered and tuked in all this crazy spot throughout the fortress, its unreall, and just so many people. Tonight there is no one super cool playing, but I am excited to catch some Norwegian death metal at the metal stage! Havent showered in awhile, stick like an old goat, the toilets are horrifying, pooping is a big effort. We are here unitl Sunday or Monday, so lots of music and shit to check out. Serbia is beautiful and very clean, which is very unexpected. You would never guess a mass genocide occured here about 10 years ago.
So after this we are not sure where we are going, we were planning on going to Kossovo but border crossing may be an issue, so we may got to Sarevjo or Crotia... The Hajji will know where to go...
Thanks for your messages people, they fill me with hope....

With love

Addy in Serbia

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hajji Lifestyle

Hey hey,
So I am in Prague right now, sitting in the apartment of Ben´s spanish friend from school in Sweden!
Pam and I managed to get into Fleet Foxes in Amsterdam and it changed our lives! By far the most amazing show I have ever seen! Without a word of a lie I was brought to tears during my favorite song! Words cannot even describe how heavenly the concert was...
I sadly said goodbye to Pamela on Saturday and jumped on a train to meet Ben and the crew in Maastricht. We started in the van and thanks to my navigation skills we drove 1 hour in the wrong direction... Thankfully thanks to my navigation skills we got on the right track and drove 7 hours to Nurenburg, home of Marcus´s family and the Nazi´s. All the major Nazi rallys were held there. We toured the city and ate some Braughtwursts and drank a beer and took off. We drove several more hours and arrived in Prague around 2am. However the city is the most confusing ever, as far as streets go, and took us several more hours to find Alavaro´s place. We slept something fierce and woke up and then toured Prague! Oh my goodness, probably the most beautiful city I have seen, it is so gorgeous it doesnt seem real, like it is a sound stage at Universal Studios... Today Marcus and Ben and I are going to Pilsin to visit the place where beer is made.
Tomorrow we are driving to Vienna, which is in Austria? I dont even know... We spend a night there and then we drive to Novi Sad in Serbia for 4 or 5 days at Exist Festival, for some sun and music!
Sorry I havent been personally responding to people, my internet time is so limited, people are always waiting to use the computer etc, or internet time is expensive blah blah blah
So brett, matty, niki tristan, anne, jill and jenn.... Thank you and I love you and I hope all is well!

Addy in Praha