Balkan tour part II: Greece

I’ve always wanted to see the north of Greece, since it seemed like this special place that less people travel to. After waking up in Sandanski we hit the road towards Thessaloniki, a city I knew very little about.

I was quite frightened for the bus ride, but luckily I could always sit in the front. Thessaloniki turned out to be a busy and big city. Like in Sofia, the more historical buildings find themselves hidden between apartment blocks spread out all over.

We ended our stay in Thessaloniki with a boat tour so we could see the coastline in a better way. I experienced quite a lot of social anxiety during my trip. It was a group tour and I found myself avoiding people as I didn’t want them to ask me what I do in life (I am currently unemployed due to my mental illness). It is very hard for me to make conversation in general, but the unemployment thing somehow made me more insecure.

Anyways, the next day was a rest day in Paralia. I just enjoyed the sunshine and the sea. It was lovely to have a break especially with the great wheather. Then the next day we finally went to visit the Meteora, which has been on my bucket list for quite a while now. As I thought it would be, the landscape was stunning, I took so many pictures since every corner was beautiful out there. We visited two monasteries and drove around to see the monasteries from different viewing points. Also our hotel had an amazing view.

Have you ever visited Greece? What places would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Balkan tour part I: Bulgaria

In the late evening we catched our flight towards Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. I was very nervous for the flight, especially not knowing if we would be seated together or not. Luckily a lady was so kind to switch places so I could sit next to my mother. All in all, the flight was quite alright and I didn’t have as much fear as I normally have. Usually I take medication against nausea beforehand but I didn’t do so this time and I am very proud of that. Once arrived in Sofia it was already past midnight so we just made our way to the hotel for a couple of hours of sleep.

The hotel was quite luxurious, something I am not used to, we usually go camping. After the lovely breakfast we were headed towards the city center for a historical tour.

At the very heart of Sofia you can find a triangle of religion, namely a mosque, a synagogue and a church. This is where we started the walking tour.

Sofia appears to be a very pleasant and clean city. Not too busy, and I’ve only noticed one biker the entire time I was there. Along our walking tour we also noticed various buildings from the communist period. The more authentic buildings were hidden between the modern ones. The orthodox churches were new to me. I did like their exterior architecture but the interior was a bit too much for me.

The next day we made our way towards the Rila mountains, where we would visit the Rila monastery. The scenery along the way was very beautiful. It’s always nice to see the countryside of a country, it gives me more of an authentic feel. Once arrived, I was amazed by the beautiful landscapes surrounding me, much more than the monastery itself.

I haven’t been in Bulgaria for a long time but I did like my stay there. If I ever return I would love to see the city of Plovdiv, where our local guide was from. After visiting the monastery we stayed the night at Sandanski and prepared ourself to cross the border with Greece the next morning.

I got a puppy: our first weeks together

A couple of weeks ago I got my very first pet, a cute little miniature poodle I named Ragnar. I had been thinking about getting a dog for a while now. I informed myself on which type of dog might suit me best and then finally the moment was there…

I never had the responsibility over another life before, and it did feel quite overwhelming at first. My anxieties kicked in and I panicked, did I make the right decision? Am I good enough to take care of a dog? I was feeling down by all the negative thoughts that ran through my head. But luckily I am doing better now. I am gaining more confidence as we spend more time together, and I see all the good things about Ragnar instead of worrying about what might happen in the future.

Ragnar sure is the cutest dog I have ever seen (totally not biased here), it is so cosy to cuddle up with him, I can spend hours looking at him. My “beauty” sleep on the other hand hasn’t been going well since I have Ragnar. The first nights he didn’t sleep well and he did not want to be in his bench. Slowly he has gotten a bit more used now to his bench and he can already sleep until 5 AM. I have been spending my nights on the couch to be closer near him.

A not so cute side of having a puppy, you find his pee/poop in the most unexpected places. Just taking your eyes off for 15 seconds and there it is. He has now been learning to take it outside.

Ragnar is a very calm dog, he is so well behaved. He does get a little crazy whenever I am cleaning the apartment or when I am doing yoga, which is a very fun thing to watch. I also noticed that having a dog makes it easier to connect with other people. Whenever I go outside to take him for a walk I have a chat with anyone who crosses our path. About what a nice dog he is, what his name is etc. Another aspect of taking him out on walks is that you notice how much litter there is everywhere, he takes it all in his mouth!

I have been going more outside since I have Ragnar which is definitely a good thing, but I haven’t been going many places further from home since I don’t like to leave him alone. Friends and family do want to come and visit him which is another bonus, as connection is so important in these corona times.

This week I just starting taking classes with Ragnar, and the first one already went very well. He is doing so well and that makes me so happy!