World: Athens, Greece

If you are following me on Instagram you may know that I went on a short trip to Athens, Greece in February.

My decision-making process kinda went like this: “I’m bored, I don’t have much money, I don’t want to wait for someone to join me… – wait! I don’t need anyone to join me… let’s go!”

So within a week I ordered a little travel guide, booked a hostel and a flight, packed my bag and went my merry way

It really is as easy as that. And it should be.

Here are some impressions of my time in Athens – a wonderful city with a lot to discover!

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World: Togo – Activities

Since I was only in Togo for a short two weeks, and since we spent most of the days teaching, we didn’t have much time for other activities.

On our first day in the village, which was also a Sunday, we went from church to church to introduce ourselves to the people. There were a lot of churches. However, we were always welcomed very warmly; church in Africa is drastically different from what I’ve known church to be elsewhere. Women dress in their finest, most colourful clothes. They sing and dance and it’s a totally different atmosphere.

We also managed to spend an evening/night in the capital city, Lomé, and one weekend in Kpalimé.

We caught a community bus to Lomé where we went for dinner at “Al Donald’s” –a pretend McDonald’s. We then went to a Reggae bar and met up with some friends. We danced and laughed and had a lot of fun. At around 3am we caught a cab back to the village–but the cab driver got lost in the African bush. A trip that could take around 30-40 minutes took us two hours. We did manage to get back safely though ;)

The morning after – or should I rather say afternoonwe made our way to Kpalimé to the waterfall. On our first night we went to a bar where we spent another night dancing and drinking – we met another group of volunteers and… believe me when I say that those Togolese guys have some serious dance moves going on. I kid you not, they’re incredible and passionate dancers.

The next morning we got on taxi-motos and went to the waterfall. This taxi-moto thing… well let’s just say it’s probably not for everyone. Let me tell you that I feared for my life the entire time.

The waterfalls were gorgeous, secluded with clear, ice cold water.

Other than that, we regularly danced around the fire to the beat of traditional Togolese drums, and met up with the group of volunteers we met in Kpalimé. As it turned out they stayed only a short walk away from us ;)

However, most days we were just crazy exhausted and more than happy to go to bed at 9pm.

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[Above: our group of volunteers with the kids.| Below: community taxi to Lomé.]

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[Above and below: Al Donald’s!]

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[Above: rainy street in Lomé at 3am.| Below: dancing and drinks in Kpalimé.]

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[Above and below:the waterfall.]

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[Above: waterfall fun.| Below: Moise, Laura and I on a taxi-moto.]

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[Above: Sunday at church. | Below: an evening together with the other group of volunteers.]

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[More Togo-travel posts: The People | Life in the village | Reflection | All Around | More photos here.]

World: Piran

In May 2011 I went on a roadtrip with a couple of friends. Our destination was Trieste, Italy but we spent one day in Piran, Slovenia. Piran is a charming little city – magical, really. We walked around town, through tiny alleys and along the boardwalk. We ate gorgeous food and had a very intense water fight. I truly have only fond memories of this trip.

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[Above: Piran at our feet | Below: details. ]

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[Above: delicious lunch. ]

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[Above and below: water fight!. ]

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We took our car from Vienna to Trieste (had to pay for parking in Trieste, but only around 3€/day). We divided petrol cost through four so each of us only had to pay around 20€. We stayed in a small hostel near the city center – meals not included.
We made a day trip to Piran with a short stop at Hrastovlje, a small town in Slovenia with a cute medieval church. We hiked around the hills there for a while and bought a bottle of wine from the church. Parking in Piran was a bit of a challenge but we managed to find a parking lot not too far off.

World: Togo – People

Last August I was volunteering at a tiny village in Togo (which you might have gathered from the post Reflection“).

In this post I’m going to tell you a bit more about my time in Africa.

We had no electricity (awesome when it’s pitch black at 7pm), no running water (cool when you have to walk 15 minutes to fetch it for showers and cooking) and no proper toilets (but who needs them anyway when you can share a corn field with some chicken?) I was looking for an adventure for a long time and oh boy, was this trip an adventure.

I went so I could practice my French and I thought – what better way to practice French than to spend time with people who speak French. Then I thought: well, going to France is boring (remember, I wanted an adventure) and this is how I ended up in Togo.

Just a few words to the topic of volunteering, because I know that it can be a touchy subject. This was my 2nd time volunteering (I went to Thailand for 5 weeks 2 years ago) but I don’t do this to save the world. Frankly, if you do it for this reason you are very misguided. I also don’t do it so I can tell everyone what a good person I am, because to be honest, I rather not tell anyone that it was volunteering. The point is, you don’t save the world. You maybe give back a bit and do your part but – I repeat: you’re not saving the world. For me it is simply an opportunity to see a country I wouldn’t have otherwise, experience in a way that you can never as a tourist and – in this case – learn a language.

Here some more pictures of the people I met in Togo.

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[More stories (and of course pictures!) to come so stay tuned!]

[More Togo-travel posts: Life in the village | Activities | Reflection | All Around | More photos here.]