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From Venezia to Genova, Italy, December 8th 2019

From Venezia to Genova, Italy, December 8th 2019

January 2020 · 15 min read · Genoa

A self-portrait on the beautiful day on the beach in Castellon de la Plana, December 2019
A self-portrait on the beautiful day on the beach in Castellon de la Plana, December 2019

After only two nights spent in Venice, I decided to speed up my journey so I headed for Genova, passing by or through Mantova, Cremona and Piacenza and then following the valley of the River Trebbia, Twingo and I were slowly progressing towards Genova.

I was particularly impressed with the fort in Montagnana and the lake near Mantova. Having decided on making no stops, I didn't stop at Piacenza. I was just passing by and watching. That part of Northern Italy was pretty flat, all the way from Venice to Piacenza. Only after Piacenza did the hillsides appear. The flattened section was highly cultivated, from the well-maintained fields, roads, warehouses and farmhouses, preserved fortresses, and a million cars and other motor vehicles roaring tirelessly alongside of my Twingo.

I was carrying with me a couple of things from Croatia: some dry nettles from Klana, sage from Zijavica above Mošćenička Draga, a pomegranate from behind the chapel of St Lucius in Jurandvor, mint from my grandmother’s house in Opatija, some almonds from Dalmatia, the famous Brseč and Opatija garlic, some dried asparagus “tails”, some hydrolates of Opatija and Lovran laurel with all its oils intact... But what’s always most interesting to everyone is some Cannabis and tobacco! Naturally, I had some weed on me, but it was only enough to have a joint or two before bed. I DO NO HARM TO ANYBODY! In fact, weed gets me into a meditative state and relieves my back pain, and tobacco relaxes me and makes me remember my grandfathers – Nikola and Nikola – both passionate smokers, they have been indulging themselves in Opatija, Kolumbo, Filter 160, Zagreb and (the famous) Drina. And they weren't exactly minding the quantity! At the end of their lives, the doctors claimed that it was their passionate smoking that indirectly caused their deaths, causing a heart attack and a stroke. However, even when their doctors banned them to have cigarettes, coffee and alcohol, they continued to have them! One was hiding from his wife, smoking Drina, and the other would not have lunch before drinking at least 3 dl of his homemade wine. When I was at the Ayahuasca ceremony, they both visited me and left me knowing that it is through tobacco smoke that we connect with the spirits of our ancestors! The spirits are always shown as grey or white creatures, and it is these colors that make tobacco smoke! And there is another connection in the root of these words: to smoke is often say “exhaust”, especially in history. Also, we have the word “ghost”. (In Croatian “tobacco” is “duhan” and “spirit” is “duh”.) Do you think this is coincidental?! Croatian is an old language, as are many Slavic languages, which, dare I say it – all of them – have a strong link to Sanskrit!

It was Sunday, and I hadn’t bought bread to make myself a sandwich, so I had almost begun to despair how I will not be able to buy it at all because Italy is a “developed” country where bread cannot be bought on Sundays because “nothing in Italy works on Sundays”... And us, the poor Balkan people, over there in the underdeveloped Croatia, unpaved, not covered in concrete and not yet devastated, we have to work even on Sundays. Imagine that! In a developed country, you can't buy bread on Sundays, and in a non-developed country you can! And again the same root of these words is: developed – un – developed. Oh, I wish I could swear in situations like this, but who's would ever publish my vulgarities?!

And so I went, hungry for bread, in an (un)developed country where you cannot buy bread on Sundays, when all of a sudden, while driving through the middle of nowhere, I saw a bakery – OPEN ON A SUNDAY! Well, I’ll be! – It was an oasis in the middle of the desert! I thought to myself, “Perhaps they’re not so (un)developed?!”, and I went in to get some nice pastries, then back to Twingo, who was faithfully waiting while I took out all of the homemade, natural foods and products from my (un)developed Croatia. I then took my small, sweet knife, with blades approx. 22 cm and I made a picnic on the roof of the Twingo, swinging my cute knife that my dad gave me... Shortly after, well-fed and feeling fat, I headed further into the future...

The roads I drove on were quite wide and without a lot of curves, sometimes rugged, and usually full lanes with a 90 km/h restrictions. However, this did not stop the Italians from overtaking me and each other every chance they got, so I soon started acting the same. Not a sign of the police! Only in Piacenza they were stopping at two locations: at the entrance and the exit of the city, but they did not stop me. And as soon as I was moving away from Piacenza, I was driving on a road with the same restrictions when the Carabinieri appeared behind me. They came close to me with their rotating lights, and they were giving me some kind of signal... I thought they want to overpass me, so I moved Twingo a bit to the right, but they persisted in following me almost stuck to my car. Thinking they must want something from me, I saw a turn to the right and from about 110 km/h I switched from the 5th gear to the 3rd gear, turned on my right signal, pulled over and stopped. Immediately, I prepared the driver's and the traffic licences, while two 160 cm policemen came out of a Fiat Punto. They were armed to the teeth, no hats on their heads. One came up to me from the driver's side and the other from the passenger's side – lest I accidentally dropped something incriminating through the window... Cannabis is banned both in Italy and in Croatia – now I could start swearing again – what undeveloped countries! At that moment, I had maybe 0.5 g of very fine weed with me, but well camouflaged in a bag of tobacco, the buds mixed with the tobacco... I also had my small knife, an ax, a saw, and a whole lot of stuff in the trunk and on the back seat.

I handed over the documents to one of the dwarfs, who had carried them into their vehicle to have them checked. In the meantime, the second dwarf began in Italian: “Listen to me carefully! If you have any illicit items or substances, hand them over voluntarily and you will not have to take a lawyer and we will not press charges. If we find anything ourselves, then we will have to bring you in and you will have to take a lawyer... Blah, blah, blah...” They did manage to intimidate me slightly, as this was their goal, but I was also holding myself from bursting in laughter! Theirs were the same tricks that the Croatian police officers use, except the fact that Croatian officers come in versions approx. 20 cm taller than these two. Did they really think they could intimidate me like that?! Also, Croatian police officers do not drive a Punto! But well, I admitted to having an ax and a saw in the trunk and explained to them how those are my tools for agricultural purposes, and I used the knife to cut cheese and tomatoes. I also claimed that I had nothing else on me. Anyway, I think the law they enforce does not apply to me at all because I do no harm when I own some Cannabis. In addition, Cannabis is a creation of God and no earthly law can forbid it. Therefore, if you accept the laws of the earth, then you should not possess weed. But if you do not acknowledge and accept the laws of the earth, then you may own weed! Therefore, I consider Cannabis to be the holy plant of God and one of the greatest gifts that God has bestowed upon mankind, and by owning it I do not violate any earthly laws because I do not acknowledge and accept these earthly laws that I feel have been passed against man and against humanity. Furthermore, there is another important difference between a living human being and a person! Go and study that!

A bag with a sack of tobacco containing also a bud or two lay half open in the passenger seat, and one of the dwarfs asked me if he can look at the contents of that tobacco sack to which I handed it to him. To my overall excitement, after the dwarf’s “detailed” inspection, he returned the sack to me together with my documents, wishing for a happy journey and apologizing for the inconvenience...! This ended my first encounter with the police on this trip, and soon afterwards the landscape became hill-some and the got road narrower, winding and more dangerous. At this point, I was crossing the Apennines, heading for Genova. On my right, there was a deep cliff ending with the Trebbia River. I crossed several bridges so sometimes the river was to my left and sometimes to my right. This landscape seemed to me much more interesting, lively and dynamic. This made the ride more exciting. The day was cloudy and chilly, still. Occasionally the sun would come out; but as I approached the mountains and the river cliff, more clouds covered the sky as they began covering the mountain peaks, and a humid, thick fog began rising from underneath, from the river. It occasionally rained, so the road was damp almost everywhere. I did not have the opportunity to drive here in the 5th gear and barely made it in the 4th, driving no faster than 50-60 km/h. All these factors made my trip from Venice to Genova take around 7-8 hours.

I walked through many beautiful towns on the hills, by the river, towns that were made of small, sweet little houses – the same ones as in Drago Gervais' song "Pod Učkun kućice bele” (Cro. “Little white houses under Učka Mountain”) but the whole region looked deserted, as if God had said goodnight long ago, but, of course he had not!

Now I'm sorry I was in such a hurry, putting pressure on myself and not stopping anywhere to at least take a photo... But maybe I'll be back the same way, so I'll make up for it! Although, I don’t like taking familiar paths, to be honest. I prefer to discover new ones!

Almost all the villages and towns through which I had passed were deserted, except for the larger cities. People – nowhere to be found! Except, which surprised me slightly – the Sikhs! In almost every small village I saw one Sikh either walking or cycling. How did I know they were Sikhs? I can tell by noticing a very specific turban that they traditionally wrap around their heads. I remember them very well during my trip to India in the winter of 2013/2014... Especially when I visited the holy city of Pushkar in Rajasthan where they had the largest and most splendid temple among all the other Hindu ranks present there. They were always spotlessly clean and tidy, unlike other Indians. Also, they did not attack the tourist in the streets, pulling their sleeves and persuading them to buy something nobody had asked for at all. In the Sikhs-held restaurants, I remember having been given the most generous and inexpensive meal and it was delicious!

Sikh temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India, February 2014
Sikh temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India, February 2014

The last 50 km of driving is always the hardest, especially if the last 150 km you spent constantly switching from 1st gear to 2nd, to 3rd and back to 1st to pass through the serpentine Italian roads; and in total, when you have already driven approximately 400 km. I could hardly wait to get to Genova, to throw myself in the shower, eat something and go to bed! The hostel I booked had a multi-bedded room and I shared it with other guests. It was located, an information I only learned when I got there, right on the Victims of Mafia Square, which is so symbolically interesting to me – life almost always takes me to such places! The hostel was called Abbey – which, translated from English means “Opatija” – which is the name of my hometown so I felt somehow home again! The accommodation was quite decent considering the very low price I had paid for it. The staff was also very friendly and welcoming, but it could hardly surpass Stefan and the “Anda Hostel” in Mestre.

Unfortunately, as I had been hurrying unnecessarily, I stayed in Genoa for only one night. I took a walk around the hostel, the old town and the old port wharf. I have always admired the rare moored wooden vessels, slowly rocking in their nests. Of course I rolled up and smoked that piece of grass that my Carabinieri haven’t found. It is my natural remedy for back pain and getting better sleep. Let me say it again: Cannabis is a sacred plant that serves the well-being of every human being as well as some other creatures! If you have been taught that weed is evil, you should know that you have been taught wrongly and begin learning from scratch! Read only the verified literature, not the one funded by the pharmaceutical industry or some anti-cannabis government, containing no proof, coverage, references and reason!

The alley I took a walk in the old town was right next to my hostel and it was occupied by African emigrants – mostly black people, who have that direct approach through which they’re almost always trying to sell something, that is, make you buy it. Although this approach is extremely human and I like it as such, I still do not like the fact this “trade” always happens because of money, not because of humanity itself! But I understand that people are just trying to survive, that they have nothing I need, and that it was no time to offer anything to me because I did not come to shop! If I had, I'd be trying to find what I needed without anyone offering me anything! This way, they were just bothering me!

After smoking the holy blunt, and facing a hundred thoughts in that “new”, high frequency which had made the cells in my body vibrate, of course I got hungry so I ate a sandwich – another one I bought in that Middle-of-Nowhere, during the (non)working week... Later, I went to a Turk where I had a pistachio baklava cake... Mmm! After that I could sleep, peacefully...

Well, so much from me in this episode. From now on, given I have finally arrived in Morocco, I hope that the journey will at least become a little more relaxed and that I will have more time to write, photograph and edit many of the videos that I have recorded in Spain.

P. S.

Follow me on my social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram, my YouTube channel and the SteemIt blog, if you are interested to know about the further development of this big project. Thank you!

P.S., P.S.

It's my birthday today, January 22nd, so if you decide to send me a donation, now is the best time because it can also be a gift for my birthday! Usually, when I play on the streets of cities, I get an average of €0.5-€2 from each passing listener, so just imagine how much a donation of just €1 could help me if there were 100 to 200 of them, and this writing, photography, recording and video editing is as much creation as is music, so if this text touches you, flip a dollar in my hat! Thank you!

P.S., P.S., P.S.

Also, this project is still open to various types of collaboration, especially sponsorship, as it will take at least another year for me to write the book and produce the documentary so your company name and logo can be in the book and in the movie, as well as on each of my posts on social and other media with links to your web pages. Your logo can also be on my Twingo, which I am still driving around Africa and Europe! Just send me a graphic solution via e-mail and I will easily print and paste it wherever I am, as I did with my bronze sponsor stickers in Montpellier, France! And – feel free to contact me for more info on +34 655 301 320 or at You can also write to me at my social media profiles... I look forward to possible collaborations!

Most sincerely yours,

Nikica Karas

My Twingo jet parked close to the port in Genova, December 2019
My Twingo jet parked close to the port in Genova, December 2019

A bit more of my Twingo jet...
A bit more of my Twingo jet...

Warm welcome by the Spanish police on my 1st day in Barcelona:

1st connection on my trip happened with the girls from Circo de la Luna Barcelona:

Watching skaters at MACBA, Barcelona:

Interview with Dera Sol from Circo de la Luna Barcelona:

Wild mangel & asparagus in Tarragona:

Boarding the ferry in Algeciras:

silver sponsor – Gole Sport

bronze sponsor – Čisto Čišće d.o.o.

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