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  • Navagio beach in Greece: best free location to see the shipwreck in Zakynthos island

    Oti overlooking the stunning Shipwreck coveOti overlooking the stunning Shipwreck cove

    You'll be impressed by the shipwreck in Navagio beach, its crystalline water and fine beaches, and Zakynthos island will be one of the highlights of your trip in Greece! Our suggestions will help you to get the most from your visit.

    We are not sure why so much accent it's put on the shipwreck, when all of the beauty of this stunning natural place is actually due to its incredible rock formation, the white sand beach and the crystal blue water. You might not believe it, but the colours of the photos are actually not retouched, the water looks seriously as turquoise as you can see in our pictures! We have never seen anything else like this in our trips around the world. The sea water is said to have this blue tone because of the sulfurcoming from the caves.

    Probably the modern popularity of the Shipwreck Cove is also due to the fact of having being for many years the main photo of Tripadvisor, the most used travel website for reviews of tours and attractions, so that even if you didn't know where was it, you have seen it regularly.

    It is possible to admire the best spot in Zakynthos Island (also known as Zante) for free from the top of the cliff, and we will tell you how, or by boat from the sea joining a tour, as we will discuss more in detail later.

    Why is it called Shipwreck beach?

    The shipwreck beach was originally named Agios Georgios, and it got its current denomination only after the MV Panagiotis ship got stranded in its white sands in 1980 while being chased by the Greek navy, they say. Supposedly its crew was trying to

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  • Our work exchange experience in the UK: plastering with clay a straw-bale roundhouse

    Clay sculpture Davide made on the interior of the roundhouseClay sculpture Davide made on the interior of the roundhouse

    After a couple of years of break from work exchanges, because of our 1 year scholarship in Indonesia and following trips, it was about time for us to start slowing down our traveling style and to learn new skills for our future projects.
    It was end of September. While being in Belgium, we took a bold decision and decided to turn West and chase the winds towards UK, instead of heading south for the milder upcoming Autumn and Winter seasons. We did that with one purpose in mind: to learn the skills on how to build our own house with natural materials through the few remaining work exchange projects about sustainable building still going on, late in the year. UK is the most active region in Europe when it comes to sustainable living, alternative communities, and natural building. Besides, it was the first time for both me and Davide visiting UK, one of the last unexplored pins on our European map. We felt curious, excited!

    THe lovely countryside next to our volunteering projectTHe lovely

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  • Living in a forest dome and experiencing community life in the UK

    View of the communal dome in the woodsView of the communal dome in the woods

    Taking part in a work exchange it’s not only about sweat and tiredness! We have already told you about the hard but rewarding work we did in the roundhouse, now it’s time to tell you more about the fun social aspect of the work exchange.
    To be honest the thing that attracted us the most about this project was not the work itself, but the excitement of living in community inside a Dome in the woods. That sounded basic, raw, rural, harsh but connected with nature, meaningful, and overall hippie enough for us to want to be a part of.  Joe and Steve, his best friend, built an impressively spacious dome structure and 2 other smaller ones on his family’s woodland outside an apple orchard out of pure excitement and will to do it. As simple as that.

    Harry, one of the other helpers, inside the temporary domeHarry, one of the other helpers, inside the temporary

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  • House sitting in Greece: Delenia, a hidden pearl on the Aegean Cost

    Stunning view from one of the bathrooms in DeleniaStunning view from one of the bathrooms in Delenia

    In the beginning of our travel in Greece, we were very lucky to spot a last minute house sitting assignment and be accepted for 2 weeks in Delenia: a remote rustic property on the island of Evia (Euboea in Greek), and a very special touristic resort for groups in the summer months, placed on the rocky shores of the Aegean Coast, like a kingdom facing the never ending turquoise sea beneath. The closest contact with civilization from where one can get his food supplies, was the village of Nea Styra 15 km away, an adventurous half an hour drive on dirt roads, sometimes winding along the edge of the steep cliff.

    Steep Rocky cliffs next to our house sitting locationSteep Rocky cliffs next to our house sitting location

    A village resort just for ourselves. Delenia real estate

    The estate consisted of 3 main stone houses, and a smaller, more

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  • View of Land's End arch and cliffs in Cornwall

    Photo of the best view in Land's end with the rocky arch and the waves against the clifsPhoto of the best view in Land's end with the rocky arch and the waves against the clifs

     

    Today we were lucky to manage to hitchhike to Land's End, one of the extremities of United Kingdom in the beautifully wild region of Cornwall. Every day we are impressed more and more by the beautiful views and majestic cliffs you can see along the coastal path. Interesting fact is that there is a visitor center with parking for cars about 20 minutes walking away from here, but we were basically alone because people don't like to walk and explore, but rather to take selfies with a stick where it's written Land's End!
    It's was also a good occasion to experiment with long exposures and a variable ND filter, and this is the resulting photo. More to come!

  • Transfagarasan road in Romania seen at night

    Transfagarasan road seen at nightTransfagarasan road seen at night

    I took this photo on my second night spent camping next to Balea Lake, after hitchhiking on the Transfagarasan Road, the most known high mountain road trip in Romania. It was taken shortly after sunset as you can see from the light at the horizon. The first stars appearing at the beginning of the night created star trails because of the long exposure.
    It is actually the longest exposure I have ever taken as far as I can remember, 539.48 seconds (8 minutes 59 seconds), still exploring my possibilities with my new (but second hand) travel camera, a mirrorless Olympus Om-d E-m5 Mark II. So far super satisfied!
    If you want to to more about the area, you can read this article about the Transfagarasan highway, or this other piece about easy hikes from Balea lake or again the best hike we did around Balea Lac!

  • Hiking beyond Balea Lac and experiencing our favourite views in the Transfagarasan trip

    Spectacular view of Capra Lake while hikingSpectacular view of Capra Lake while hiking

    After experiencing the most famous road-trip in Romania, the Transfagarasan Highway, we were not expecting to be even more impressed by the hiking possibilities in the surroundings of Balea Lake! We stopped at the highest point of the road, where this high mountain crystalline basin is delighting its visitors, and camped for one night with the intention of exploring further the area.

    Camping at night in Balea LakeCamping at night in Balea Lake

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  • Hiking around Balea Lac to Capra Lake. Was it worth?

    Camping tents at the Lake of Capra with some peaks on the backgroundCamping tents at the Lake of Capra with some peaks on the background

    A multitude of amazing hiking possibility with plenty of different paths for any level, all starting from Balea Lac, are waiting to be explored if you are planning to cross the Transfagarasan highway in Romania. You'll be impressed of how much beauty you can see with so little effort, since at Balea Lac you are already close to the highest altitude you can reach in Romania!

    Visitors arriving at Balea LacVisitors arriving at Balea Lac
    In fact reaching the lake of Balea was just the beginning of our experience on the Romanian Carpathian mountain. Of course the road trip on the Transfagarasan highway was the main reason why we came here and the one from which we had the highest expectations, but we eventually had to reconsider our priorities and find out that hiking in the

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  • Road trip to Transfagarasan highway, a scenic Romanian mountain road not to be missed!

    View of the hairpin turns on the Transfagarasan road from the viewpoint in Balea LakeView of the hairpin turns on the Transfagarasan road from the viewpoint in Balea Lake

    Since the first time I visited Romania 6 years ago, I started to hear stories about this mythical road trip on the roof of Romania along the Transfagarasan Road, that every adventurous visitor shouldn't miss on his journey to Romania.

    Transfagarasan road seen at night from the viewpointTransfagarasan road seen at night from the viewpoint
    This summer we happened to be in Romania to visit Oti's family at the beginning of the summer, and the period coincided with the opening of the road, usually accessible only for 3 full months a year (July to September). Access is restricted according to snow conditions, so be sure to check if it's open before approaching the Transfagarasan.

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  • Hiking from Valbona to Thethi: the beauty of the Albanian Alps

    Oti enjoying the view of the Albanian AlpsOti enjoying the view of the Albanian Alps

    Mostly unheard to people outside of Albania, the hike from Valbona to Thethi is one of the most popular in the Accursed Mountains and a not to be missed occasion to experience the beauty and traditions of this land.
    The hike from Valbona to Thethi (also spelled Valbonë and Theth) follow an old mule track, and represent a portion of the almost 200km long trekking ring called "Peaks of the Balkans" that trespass also in Kosovo and Montenegro.
    The route from Valbona to Thethi, both valleys declared National Parks, deserves all of its popularity for its amazing views accessible to everybody thanks to a well maintained trail suitable also for families and "Sunday hikers".
    It's easily completed in one day, requiring no need to camp overnight, if not desired: it took us a total of 8 hours with many stops to enjoy, eat and take photos.

    How to get to Valbona

    While the trek can be started from either end, we chose to start our hike from Valbona.
    Reaching Valbona is not extremely easy, but the effort is totally rewarded by spectacular views of landscapes and local people on the Koman lake ferry. Coming from Shkodër, the best way (best not only because we chose it) is to reach the harbour of Koman,  take a ferry to Fierze passing through the Koman Lake, artificially created in 1970 for a big hydroelectric plant, take a minibus to Bajram Curri, and

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  • Alcohol, illegal traffic and a gun: our worst experience ever hitchhiking, from Thethi to Shkod?r

    In five years I'm travelling hitchhiking, I've never felt like I was in a bad situation, and I've always, and I still, have considered it a safe technique. But just because of a matter of statistic, we eventually run into an incredible series of bad events, while in the Albanian Alps we were trying to go from Thethi to Shkod?r, that we remember so far as our worst experience ever hitchhiking.

    (Note: This post, rather than an immediate report, is a memory of events happened in June 2014)

    If you have read our previous story about our hike from Valbona to Thethi, you already know about the amazing sceneries we have seen and that Oti was eventually bitten by a dog.

    View of the Albanian AlpsView of the Albanian Alps
    While the story might look long, after visiting Thethi the next day, it was still morning time when we finished exploring the lock-in-tower, and we decided to leave Thethi to go back to Shkod?r the easy way, having had enough adrenaline the previous day.
    Easy way meaning going on the road where the bus was coming and trying to hitchhike only until the first bus would arrive. And so we did and a furgon soon arrived. We couldn't communicate in English but asking for Shkod?r the driver made a sign to jump in.

    "Local wildlife" in Thethi: Oti bitten by a dog

    Our first approach with Thethi, a village in the Albanian Alps, wasn't the best you could wish for.
    While we were hiking from Valbona to Thethi, we knew there were possibilities of encounters with bears, wolves and wild boars, but we didn't consider the possibility to be attacked by a Shepard dog.

    (Note: This post, rather than an immediate report, is a memory of events happened in June 2014)

    Sheeps on Thethi river bedSheeps on Thethi river bed
    After arriving in Thethi, we just hid our big rucksacks somewhere in a canal, and went to search for a camping place to stay. There were several options, still around 2$ per night, but we knew from our readings before the trip, that there were some free camping places in the village. Since we were not in a hurry, we decide to take a stroll, have a first impression of the village and consider all the accommodation options available.
    While on our way to the village a big dog passed just next to us, apparently scared of our presence. We managed to overtake him but once he was out of sight, Oti felt a sudden pain to her leg: for some strange reason the dog decide cowardly to bite her calf muscle before running away.

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    Koman lake ferry: how to get from Shkodër to Valbona

    The dam that created Koman Lake: on the right side the harbourThe dam that created Koman Lake: on the right side the harbour

    If you are planning to go visiting Valbona or hiking in the Albanian Alps, there is no better way to do it than taking the Koman Lake ferry, that guarantees impressive sceneries on the way. While not a direct ride, since the boat is connecting the two villages of Koman and Fierze, and other transportation options need to be used before and after, it's worth the hassle of changing vehicles many times.

    If you are planning to reach Valbona from other places than Shkodër, we suggest you to check also this article written by locals, with other transportation options.

    Shkodër to Koman by bus... missed!

    The bus from Shkodër to Koman is leaving in the early morning (before 7am) at walking distance from the pedestrian area in the center of the city, to be able to reach Koman before 9 am when the boats are departing.

    Make sure to always check locally all prices, schedule, and bus stop location, since they can change quite randomly.
    Sleepy and disoriented, we unfortunetely got lost in the center of Shkodër and missed the only bus going to Koman harbour: the only solution left was hitchhiking, since a private taxi was out of our budget.
    Not thinking too much, knowing that our time was limited, we started to walk out of the city trying to stop cars at the same time, and soon we got a ride to Vau i Dejes in our desperate attempt to reach

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  • Albania: the village of Thethi and its lock-in-tower

    The steep Albanian Alps on the background of the Lock-in tower of ThethiThe steep Albanian Alps on the background of the Lock-in tower of Thethi

    The village of Thethi is an isolated hamlet embedded in the Albanian Alps, that preserves ancient traditions and a well preserved lock-in-tower.

    We reached Thethi after hiking from Valbona Valley for 8 hours: an incredibly beautiful and easy route that I would suggest to anybody.

    Our positive energy was destroyed somehow in the evening, when while searching for accommodation in Thethi, Oti got bitten by a dog. But the next morning, after a restoring and calming night, we accumulated the energy needed to go and visit the village.

    View from Thethi river after reaching the valleyView from Thethi river after reaching the valley

    We found out that we

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  • A magic place in Kefalonia island: Melissani cave

    View of  Melissani cave in KefaloniaView of Melissani cave in Kefalonia

    We still have so many amazing places to write about, but time is not always our friend. Last spring we were in Greece travelling for some months and we still have managed to write just one article about Meteora, but we are still missing all the amazing beaches and landscapes we have sen in those months.

    Melissani Cave is found in the island of Kefalonia, Ionian sea, and it's easily reachable even hitchhiking as we did. After paying for an entrance fee (a little bit overpriced) a small tour on a rowing boat is included. Melissani cave is really beautiful, with a transparent deep blue water, and sunlight entering from the collapsed ceiling, but all in all the experience is lasting just 10 minutes and left us a little bit disappointed.

  • Window views in Norway: nature in the backyard

    View from a train window in NorwayView from a train window in Norway

     While traveling in Norway last year, we were impressed by the amazing views and luxurious nature that Norwegian people could enjoy daily. And the best part was that they weren't moving from home, but just by sitting in the comfort and warmth of their houses, they could stare outside at the magnificence of Mother Nature. During these moments I was recalling the view that I'm used to see from my parent's apartment in Rome, not the worst of the city actually, but still just a never-ending series of buildings; the same from the window of Oti's house in Romania with other communist blocks just a few steps in front to obstruct the view. The following is just a small selection, since only the one with the window frame visible were chosen, but it's probably enough to give an idea of the Norwegian spirit.

    The first image is showing the landscape also from a moving point of view: the window of a train. Traveling by train in Norway is like watching a National Geographic documentary, with the difference that what you are experiencing is real. Fjords, forests, rivers, snow, sun, mountains, sea: just a few of the beauties you can see directly from your seat.

    In the next photo is shown the apartment where we were hosted in ?verbygd. In the living room there was a huge window covering almost all the surface of the wall: the feeling was like being in the nature, even if we were indoor. You can sit on the couch and enjoy the river flowing through the snowy forest. Not bad isn't it?

    ...

  • Christmas markets in Europe: our Christmas Spirit tour

    Detail of a Christmas Tree in BerlinDetail of a Christmas Tree in Berlin

    Tivoli Garden in Copenhagen at Christmas timeTivoli Garden in Copenhagen at Christmas timeWhile we are not fans of the commercial aspect of the Christmas Markets, last year during our trip back from Norway to Romania, we passed at Christmas time through some European capitals, and we were able to experience some genuine Christmas Spirit. We are not pretending to say what are the best Christmas Markets in Europe, but we can give you a quite good overview of the places we were able to visit.

    From the German Christmas Markets to the less known local fairs, we were actually never looking for them, but they inevitably ended up in our route, being often placed on the main squares. We didn't buy anything, but we filled up our spirit with warm Christmas scenes.

     Christmas Market in Prague

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  • Our visit to Casino Constanta in 2013: Is something changed from the previous year?

    Casino Constanta seen from the seaside promenadeCasino Constanta seen from the seaside promenade

    Detail of one of the apsesDetail of one of the apsesSince the first time I went to visit the second biggest city of Romania, I felt in love with the majestic Casino in Constanta, lying on the seaside of the city.
    During our short trip in 2012 to admire the rare phenomenon of the Black Sea getting frozen, we made our first report of the Casino's conditions.
    In that occasion Oti wrote a very complete post with all the past history and information with photos of the interior and of the exterior. And the majesty of the Casino in that occasion was multiplied by the unique setting: the frozen Black Sea creating amazing icy sculpture. So if that's what you are looking for,

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  • Injections of happiness in our vains: couchsurfing experiences

    Nice and happy dinner table Nice and happy dinner table

    After a long period in which were cut off from our trips and dreams, and we couldn't think of anything positive, eventually we had some good days with our couchsurfing hosts.
    Some moments in which we could stop thinking about our problems and feel like if we are travelling, even if we actually are "stuck" in Romania for undetermined time, giving all of our support and energies.
    Since yesterday we are at Benjamin and Maria's place, a very sweet and interesting German-Romanian couple. The first day we shared the "brunch" table also with a French and a Polish hitchhiker. An unusual situation, with 6 hitchhikers, each one from a different country, and by chance sitting at the same table, sharing great stories at turn, enjoying each other without anybody being the "star" or doing monologues. Then a nice tea at Raluca's place, another nice couchsurfer that invited us at her place, taking care of an overactive and little artistic girl.
    Tonight the table was shared not only with Ben and Maria but also with a Taiwanese couple in their 60ies. They have been travelling for the last 7 years (6 months per year) enjoying their retirement period and still young and enthusiastic about life like teenagers. It has been really interesting listening to their stories but also enjoying their peculiar mimics and smiles. We even got our names written in Taiwanese!
    In this moment I have a nice feeling of satisfaction and peace, I've been missing this for a long time, and that's why it came the "inspiration" to share this moment of happiness.
    And previously another great couchsurfing experience with Radu, his

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  • Tree climbing and tree house building training in Czech Republic

    View of the tree house made of 5 connected platforms, we built during the trainingView of the tree house made of 5 connected platforms, we built during the training

    The completed tree house seen from the bottomThe completed tree house seen from the bottomWe are just back after another interesting experience in Czech Republic, an 8 days workshop to learn how to climb trees and build tree houses.
    Travel cost were reimbursed 70% by European Union, that is funding also lodging and board: a very good opportunity to make a new great experience and travel on a budget. Eventually even with this advantageous conditions, we spent our monthly travel budget in just 10 days, since we had to make travel arrangements overland last minute, but it was still worth it.
    We decided to go there just one day

    ...
 Oti e Davide Long Avatar We travel as cheap as possible, hitchhiking, and hosted by people. Our only expense is food: if you want you can help us with a free donation. Thank you, Davide & Oti  ♥ Contribute 

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 Where are we now: England

 Going to:  Wales, Scotland

View of Land's End arch and cliffs in Cornwall

  Today we were lucky to manage to hitchhike to Land's End, one of the extremities of U ...

Transfagarasan road in Romania seen at night

I took this photo on my second night spent camping next to Balea Lake, after hitchhiking on t ...

Fireworks in front of Castel San'Angelo in Rome

Since some years on June 29th in Rome, there is a historical representation called "La girand ...

Portrait of a local woman in a traditional Indoensian village

This is a portrait I took of a local woman in the village of Nage, in Flores, Indonesia. Nage ...

Sunrise in Jatiluwih rice fields in Bali

While we have seen many rice fields in Java and in the rest of Indonesia, the rice terraces o ...

Sunset between the clouds in Gunung Lawu, Indonesia

This year we decided to spend an alternative Easter. Far away from our families in the bigges ...

A magic place in Kefalonia island: Melissani cave

We still have so many amazing places to write about, but time is not always our friend. Last ...

Sunset in Kasongan, Indonesia: red explosion

After the previous photo of the day, picturing the sunset in Paragritis beach, this is the sh ...

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About Us

Davide Vadal? and Otilia Lefter

We are Davide and Otilia, an international couple with itchy feet, living a non conventional life traveling around the world and learning everyday something new....
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