On our journey with our yellow van, we focused on the countries beyond EU borders. These countries are pretty close by, but they sometimes feel like a whole other world. The culture, people and history are interesting and differ from our Dutch culture. During our journey we tried to get to know our neighbors; the neighboring countries of the EU, but also the roots of our Turkish and Moroccan neighbors in The Netherlands
We started our travels in Spain and Portugal to chill out and get used to the lifestyle. In November 2017 we took the ferry across the Mediterranean sea to Morocco. It felt really weird to cross the Mediterranean, while others drowned in this sea, looking for a better life. Morocco turned out to be a very beautiful country with high mountains, wide desert, stunning coastal areas and beautiful buildings. Most of the people were very hospitable and friendly, but we also stumbled upon a lot of pushy sellers and beggars in the touristic parts of Morocco. Sometimes, the kids would run down to the van the beg for sweets, money or clothes. This was one of the things that impressed us. We had a good time in Morocco, but we were also very happy to take the ferry back to Europe.
After days of travelling we finally arrived in Albania. This country felt as a relief, nobody bothered us and there weren’t any other tourists around. Albania is stunning with her beautiful rugged mountains and beautiful seaside. The most interesting part of Albania is her communistic history. Around 25 years ago, the country opened her borders, before that, almost no-one was allowed to go in our out the country. This is why Albania is such a unique part of Europe. Our journey in Albania was a bit too adventurous due to snow, cold and rain. Luckily the spring had started so we warmed up a bit. We drove to Turkey and made a long stopover in Thassos, Greece to adopt our furry friend Tobi.
We didn’t know what to expect in Turkey, the media showed a lot of negativity about the country lately. But Turkey surprised us, the nature was so wide, open and beautiful. We’ve been wildcamping in the most beautiful places. The coastline, rugged mountains, wide steppe and interesting rock formation impressed us. We were surprised to see all the ruïnes of ancient cities, castles and monasteries. The friendly Turks made our trip through Turkey complete, everybody helped us out and greeted us with big smiles. Unfortunately we couldn’t visit all parts of Turkey due to the conflicts. Besides, the vibe of the border regions was a bit tense and the police gave us a negative feeling. We had to wait for hours to get out of the country and cross the border to Georgia. However when we think back about our adventures in Turkey, we think about it with a big smile on our face.
For months and months we were looking forward to the country most far away from home: Georgia. Georgia lies on the border with Europe and Asia. They see themselves as European, but some state that Georgia is part of Asia. Just like Turkey, there were some ongoing conflicts in the country. Two parts of north Georgia are now autonomous regions, getting a lot of help from the neighboring country Russia. The relationship is a bit tense, but Georgia is a stable country with a lot of friendly people. The snowy mountains in the north are breath-taking and the old churches and monasteries give the landscape an unique sight. Driving in the country was a bit of a struggle. Some places are only accessible with a 4×4 (lucky us!). After an adventurous month in Georgia, we took the ferry across the black sea towards Ukraine. To slowly drive homewards, driving into a new adventure: building our tiny house.