The last time I updated this blog was all the way back in September. That’s a long time. In fairness, I haven’t done all that much in the meantime. I spent all autumn and the start of winter volunteering in Thessaloniki, and December and January back in the UK.
After hanging out at the hostel almost everyday I decided I wanted to do more for the hostel and so I moved in and started helping out properly. The work itself was straightforward, I was usually stood behind reception. Basically I was supporting the staff by cleaning the rooms, working behind the bar and chatting with guests. There was a fantastic cross-section of people in the hostel, from the staff that were as crazy as I am to the missmatch of international guests. It was amazing to live the hostel life again but without the hassle of moving all the time.
After almost 3 months there I knew I had to pack my bags. I had promised family, friends, and myself, that I would spend Christmas back in the UK. I booked a flight in mid-November for the start of December. It rolled around a lot quicker than I expected and the day before the flight I had nothing prepared. Due to runway maintenence at Thessaloniki airport, EasyJet refused to depart from there. Instead I had to get to Kavala airport, 2 hours away by bus. Luckily they were well prepared and were running a shuttle bus directly there from SKG. However, this meant I had to be at the airport almost 4 hours before my flight. I made my way to Thessaloniki airport and found where I was supposed to go to get my coach. The rest of the flight was pretty straightforward and landed back into Manchester around 3pm. As ususal, I got the first train back to York station where I met my adoring family.
Over the course of the next few days, I took some time out for myself and booked a coach down to Exeter. I loved being back in Exeter as I got to catch up with old friends, and make new ones. Towards the end of my time in the south, I even popped into my old office and annoyed them for a while.
On the 23rd of December I headed back up to York and prepared myself for the festivites. I spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day with family and then barely left the house until the New Year. On the 2nd of January, I knew I had to move on again, I was getting itchy feet. I had decided on Romania as my next destination and so I emailed a lot of hostels in the country but didn’t really get solid responses from them. This was pretty disheartening as I thought it would be quite simple to find work. In hindsight, I’ve now realised that most hostels would have worked secured for January already or, with it being the winter, closing season. Instead, I opted to find something on the road, it worked for me before, why not now?
Apart from sitting around in my pyjamas all month, I went into York and took a walk around the city walls with my Mum, we had a lot to chat about and discussed the history of the city on our tour, both York history and personal anecdotes. It was nice to see the city with new eyes.
I found a cheap(ish) flight to Cluj-Napoca in the north of Transylvania by WizzAir. There were only two direct flights a week so on the 20th, I was chauffered to Doncaster airport and boarded my flight. Arriving in Romania was immensely, immediately, intimidating. The border police stared at my passport, and then stared deep into my soul, back to the passport again. After what felt like a month, they let me pass. I collected my bag from the luggage carousel and had to find a way to my accomodation. I considered walking from the airport, but I was tired from the flight and didn’t really want to trudge the 9km walk into the centre. I bought a bus ticket, for 2 Lei, instead and made my way into the centre of Cluj. I found my hostel and checked in…