Monday, 17 March 2014

First-Time HITCHHIKING/THUMBING - in BELGIUM: Make Me Marvellous with Minimal Money Mondays


 I DID IT!  I DID IT!  I DID IT!  I hitchhiked!  So, y'all, I'm in Belgium and as the unofficial queen of cheap (that's me) would have it, I wanted to travel even cheaper than Eurolines or the local bus company could offer...the thumb it was!   I, or rather we, my daughter and I, were blessed to be accompanied by someone, Dido, who had hitched before. 
     We started out slow and we were thinking this was a bad idea but then we got our first little the back of an even smaller car.  He took us to a roundabout where we were able to be picked up by a woman who brought us closer to our destination of Gent.  While in the car, we spoke with this woman (who also hitchhikes) about the paranoia which prevents some drivers from picking us hitchhikers.  She told us that she usually picks up hitchhikers in hopes of someone doing the same for her.  Remember that, anyone who reads this post, you know, that do unto others as you would have them do unto you thing  :)   After we exited this ride, we waited about 5 minutes before the next angel of mercy arrived to rescue us from our roadside waiting.  It was a father/son combo - I believe they stopped because they saw we were with a little girl (my daughter) and they felt a sort of connection.  This could be completely false but after this hitchhiking experience and considering the individuals and couples who did pick us up, I believe that's the secret to successful hitchhiking - finding that connection. 

     After this ride, we were picked up by a Turkish Belgian couple and while I feel he would have been just as content passing us by, the woman was more than eager to have the company.  This was the last hitch of this leg of our journey and we were kindly dropped off in the centre of town (Gent). 


After we had a late lunch, we headed off towards the west side of town in order to link up with the major highway to our next and final destination of Aalter.  SO many drivers passed us by and it made me realise why hitching at night isn't the greatest idea but we hadn't planned to be out so late.  I must say, though, that many a passerby offered us good advice like where to stand, once they saw our cardboard sign.

We set a time limit for ourselves (30 minutes) and made a plan that if no one picked us up within this time frame then we would just do the unspeakable and take public transport...but, ALAS, we were picked up with a few minutes to spare and dropped off a bit closer to Aalter.  About 10 minutes after that, we were picked up by our last car and dropped off not just at the city's edge but at the train station were a friend came and met us. 
All in all, this was a great experience.  We learned a lot about hitching, ourselves and surprisingly psychology...guilt is a powerful emotion, if ya know what I mean.  Until next time.  CIAO 4 NOW, Y'ALL!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The ABC's of Hostel Booking - G, H, I: Graciously Helping Individuals

So, you're travelling around the world, you're a globetrotter, a trendsetter, you stand alone, and on this particular day of all days, it's your birthday, and - you're in a hostel.  What to do, what to do?  What else, have a birthday party hosted by the gracious hostel owners at The Crib Hostel, DUUUUUUH!!!!!!!!!!  :)

A birthday dinner surprise for a former guest

Birthday guest and The Crib Hostel owner, Naj and Jotsko, respectively

Yeah, it's not a birthday cake but Naj is on his healthy path so Jotsko made a birthday fruit salad instead

A birthday fruit salad - side view
And, yeah, I know, not EVERY birthday can be celebrated but when you're alone, it's always good to know that if you drop a couple hints near or on your b-day, there's a hostel owner out there in Plovdiv, Bulgaria who just might be graciously listening.
Oh, by the way, he also helped my daughter find her inner Buddha:
If that isn't graciously helping, I don't know what is  :)
Thanks, Jotsko

Make Me Marvellous with Minimal Money Mondays: POSH THRIFT SHOPPING : Vintage louis Vutton at the Second-hand shop in Herenveld, Belgium...for 9 euros 50!

So, I'm at the second-hand shop, as I usually am, trying to find yet another bargain, then, BOOM, this beauty pops up.  YUP, that's right a genuine LOUIS VUTTON handbag for only 9 euros 50...take a look, :)

I thrift often as a way to stay on budget but I understand that sometimes you just wanna treat yourself...and this is still possible, even at the thrift shop.  I was SO excited when I found this LV treasure, I couldn't believe it.  But, then, I hear these things happen all the time.  So, make a day of it.  Put on your best (thrifted) outfit, throw on a smile, and walk or drive, into that fancy-shmancy neighbourhood and walk right past all those high-end retailers and right into their local second-hand shop and grab a vintage treasure for yourself - or a friend  :)