Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Where are you and where are you going?
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:00 pm

Congratulations on reaching early retirement. It sounds like your having quite an amazing time. And at hitting the millionaire mark sounds like you can relax and not need to worry much about finances.

The Old Man
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Re: Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Post by The Old Man » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:04 am

Dateline: 10 October 2017 – Belgrade, Serbia

The journey is the destination.

Greek ferry schedules for the winter are still not available - they have only been published through October 31. The planning for the next leg of my journey has not been easy. Have had to rely on various travel sites, forums, as well as web sites in a foreign language. This route is not well traveled by people outside the region.

Belgrade -> Bar (Montenegro): Day train available, although part of the journey will be accomplished by bus due to work on the tracks. Night train has been suspended.

Bar->Kotor: I’ll be staying in Bar, but will spend a weekend in Kotor. Multiple daily minibus departures available.

Bar -> Durres (Albania): Due to the complexity of the route, I’ve decided to go with the taxi option. They will provide door-to-door service, online reservations, and with the price fixed in advance.

Durres -> Tirana: Albanian Railways is operational on this route with a combination rail/bus.

Tirana -> Struga (Macedonia): This route was the hardest to research. Bus line available with a 9am departure, thus an early afternoon arrival. A lot of this information was in a foreign language, but was able to confirm validity on a travel website by people that have traveled the route.

Struga -> Ohrid: Multiple daily mini-bus departures.

Ohrid -> Bitola: Will be using the taxi option. Price fixed in advance. Taxi driver recommendation through a travel web site.

Bitola -> Florina (Greece): Public transit not available for the border crossing. Will be using the taxi option with the same driver.

Florina -> Thessaloniki -> Athens: Plan to use the Greek railways. The major risk being the threat of strikes, since there has been resistance to privatization. Buses available if necessary.

Athens/Pireaus -> Rhodes: Ferry schedules have not yet been published. In theory there should be a weekly service in the winter.

Posts: 680
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:01 am

From my research, once you've stopped living in California, as long as you have no license, insurance, library cards, voter registration, car registration, and a few other things, they can not tax you anymore as long as you have left with no intention of returning. Cool journey seeing the world. Thanks for sharing it, it helps us new ones see how to do it.

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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:33 pm

Re: Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Post by mxlr650 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:03 am

Not sure how much it would help now, but

In Albania, just make sure the taxi drops you all the way to the destination instead of stopping midway and sending you towards destination by one of the local buses . Outside of Tirana, Albania has pretty crappy infrastructure and it is not uncommon for Airbnb posting and pictures to be completely made up (reviews likely done my the hosts' friends). When crossing Albania border have few dollars so Mr.Immigration-rubber-stamp can send you off in a jiffy.

If you are a nature buff, Montenegro is awesome. Dormitor national park near Zabljak is awesome (by Balkan standards not North American/Australian standards) although it may be nearing closure by now.

Hope you are going to Skopje just to witness how pissing away millons of dollars will only make it look like a joke instead of a serious contender to Greek heritage.

Greek's unionized ferry workers go on strike in summer to have the most leverage, so while strike may not be an issue in winter, its pretty common for ferries to get canceled or arrive late, so keep itin flexible (airbnb accommodations with flexible cancellation will help).

While in Thessaloniki if it comes up in conversation, locals will greatly appreciate if you refer to Macedonia as FYROM (former yugoslavian republic). You may already know why :)

IME, Bosnia was depressing, Albania was just scammy, Bulgaria was overpriced and utterly boring, where as Croatia/Montenegro/Serbia were just awesome!

Safe travels!

The Old Man
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Re: Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Post by The Old Man » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:16 am

Dateline: 23 November 2017 – Bar, Montenegro

@mxlr650: Thanks for the advice. Will take into consideration.

Montenegro is a very nice place to visit. Bar is nestled amongst the mountains. Very nice scenery. Will soon be spending some time in Kotor – UNESCO world heritage site. Greek ferry schedules finally became available. Had some difficulty using their web site to buy my ferry ticket, so had to actually use a fax…haha.

Pricewise, in these low-cost countries I am finding that the bars and restaurants while being cheaper than the USA is not as cheap as you might expect given the differential in per capita income. Bars and restaurants must be comparatively expensive for the locals. Maybe it is just tourist prices.

The Old Man
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Re: Journal of the Retired Adventurer

Post by The Old Man » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:12 pm

Dateline: 6 February 2018 – Rodos, Rhodes Island, Greece

Winter in Rhodes is great. Temperatures typically in the 50s F. Old Town Rhodes is impressive. Tourism at this time of year is almost zero. My travels through the Balkans have been very easy. Language issues have been very minimal. Good transportation connections.

After Rhodes I will go back to Athens for a few days. Afterwards will head to Patras and take the ferry to Italy. Will spend a week in Rome and finish my European travels in Salerno. In Salerno I will take a passenger freighter back to the USA. Due to a change in the freighter schedule I will have spent 88 days in the Schengen Zone; however, the freighter will not depart Schengen waters (i.e. Spain) until after the 90-day mark – I am unsure if this is an issue. I’ve been debating whether I should see an Immigration Office while in Rome about the need for a possible Visa extension, or if I should just wing it. I will depart Salerno on March 30 and arrive in New York City on April 16.

My reason for returning to the USA was for taking care of a few things and to attend a conference. I will be returning to Europe.

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