Asia Itineraries (coming soon)

travel

It’s no wonder that Asia is a popular travel destination for those with a month or more to spend adventuring.

As I move through each country I will provide rough itineraries and reviews that may be useful for creating your own travel plan.

Thailand

  • 1 month in Thailand
  • 2 months in Thailand

 

Vietnam

  • 1 month in Vietnam
  • 2 months in Vietnam

Prague at Christmas: Top Tips

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During the Christmas break in 2019 we set off for a three day trip to Prague to celebrate all things festive.

Here are some of the highlights and advice for you if you are thinking of going to Prague for a festive break next year, or the year after, or the year after etc.

Tip 1 – How long to stay

Personally I think that three days in Prague is a great amount of time to visit the Christmas markets and all the other wonderful things that Prague has to offer.

Roof of the Christmas market at noon

Get ready to explore the Christmas markets

If you arrive early on day one you can easily make it into the old town for some general mooching around the shops and museums before visiting the Christmas market when it’s dark and the lights are at their prettiest.

My mum travelling in Prague in front of Christmas tree lights

The streets are full of fantastical Christmas lights

For day 2 and 3 leave plenty of time for looking around the Jewish Quarter, getting some high end shopping done at the Palladium shopping centre, visiting the palace, and of course… more Christmas market shopping.

Tip 2 – Activities in Prague

At Christmas time there is lots to be done. Aside from the obvious Christmas markets why not take a short boat ride on the river? It was far too cold for us to jump on a boat, so instead we opted for a reasonably priced indoor Christmas concert where we listened to Vivaldi and other festive songs for a couple of hours. The concert will have you clapping one minute and being lulled gently to sleep the next. I definitely recommend!

Blue chimp with golden balls

Why not check out the local street art.

If you are looking for things to do in the day, the streets are full of museums and historical buildings if importance. Don’t forget the famous astronomical clock in the old town square and get there early if you want to be up front when it chimes.

Astronomical clock in Prague.

Make sure you are there to witness the clock moving

Tip 3 – The Jewish Quarter.

Did you know that much of the Jewish quarter and Prague’s Old Town was left untouched during WWII? Neither did we before we visited, and we sure weren’t ready to learn why it was left untouched. The answers, you will learn, are disturbing.

Visiting the Old Jewish Cemetery is a must in Prague

Visiting the Old Jewish Cemetery is a must

Make sure you spend half a day or more visiting the synagogues and museums in the Jewish Quarter. Be savvy and purchase a multi ticket which will allow you access to 5 or 6 of the Jewish Quarter’s buildings rather than paying for each building separately.

Statue of man on headless giants shoulders in Jewish quarter Prague

Exploring the Jewish Quarter

Tip 4 – Tours are worth it here

Unlike most places I have visited in Europe, I would highly recommend that you opt for a tour guide in some areas such as the old Jewish Cemetery.

Grave stone wolf symbol at old Jewish cemetery in Prague

Get a guide and learn about the symbols on the gravestones

We had entered the cemetery and began admiring the grave stones unsure as to what the writing really meant. Then, we bumped into a small tour taking place in front of us and well – the entire experience changed. Naughtily latching onto the tour in front of us we learnt a lot! The cemetery has some truly incredible information that simply must be listened to.

Tip 5 – Getting in and out of Prague

Ditch the expensive taxi now! Getting into central Prague from the airport is very easy by bus and tram. Ask for information at the info desk in the airport and expect to arrive into the centre within 45 minutes of landing.

If classic cars are your thing then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the random vintage motors offering rides around the city. Approach one and ask for a price to jump in.

Tip 6 – Leave your diet at home

Forget salad leaves and superfoods. Sugar and buttery snacks await you.

Sugary food in Prague

Delicious!

Everywhere you go you will find eye catching treats to feast on whether you are looking for breakfast, dinner, or lunch

Spiral chips Prague

Spiral chips make the perfect snack

Street food is available throughout most of the markets and affordable too!

Tip 7 – Wrap up warm

During the winter months Prague much like the rest of Europe endures freezing temperatures which drop further at night.

Warm by the Christmas tree in Prague

Keeping warm by the giant Christmas tree

Bring your gloves, a hat, and get those layers on to stay warm and ensure you aren’t moaning about the cold instead of enjoying your surroundings.

Wearing 5 layers of clothing so you can just bring hand luggage will be TOTALLY worth it!

Tip 8 – Save some space

Prague’s Christmas market is full of beautiful hand crafted souvenirs. Make sure you save some space in your luggage to ensure you have enough room to bring back plenty of Christmas presents and souvenirs for yourself.

Half moon Christmas tree decoration is blue and fades into white. Has a small cabin drawn on with “Prague” written at the top.

Our new tree ornament is it’s rightful place

Tip 9 – Bring your walking boots

Prague is the perfect city for long walks and climbs up to excellent viewpoints. Make sure you have a pair of comfy shoes with you to ease the foot pain!

People on the steep stairs in Prague

Up we go!

Tip 10 – Enjoy Your Trip!

Don’t plan too heavily. Tourist centres are easy to find and very informative. Grab a map, take it as it comes, and have a wonderful time in Prague.

Orange building in Prague

Just one of the many beautiful buildings in Prague

PeruHop – Peru Journey Plan

2 weeks, a month, backpack, backpacker, backpcker, beaches, couples travel, holiday, hostel, itineraries, itinerary, return, review, travel, whirlwind

A colleague of mine. and fellow Peru lover, had recommended PeruHop following her trip to the incredible country.

Whilst I am usually the “you can go your own way” public transport kind of gal, I was also aware that I was attempting to see the whole of Peru (well as much as possible) in just over two weeks – just under half the amount of time that she had spent exploring the diverse country.

Expect to be fully immersed in Peruvian culture

With such little time, but so much we wanted to see and do, we figured that the sensible option was to book with PeruHop – the seemingly smooth sailing company, for ease of travel.

Planning our route

After trawling the PeruHop website for which bus route we wanted to take we decided on the ‘Full South to Cusco’ option. The payment was quick, and when weighing up how much it would have cost us to take separate buses, flights, and taxi’s we were satisfied that the cost justified the journey.

The optional yet included cultural bus options, whereby the PeruHop gang whisk you away on a mini tour or take you for dinner en route, only further affirmed our ‘bang for your buck’ rationale.

Pisco tour sign at the entrance in Peru

One of the excursions included a free tour to learn about the creation of Pisco

The dashboard and PeruHop interface online is basic (in a good way). Your itinerary is laid out really clearly and you can change your pick up locations, dates, and times really easily.

Wanting to have as stress-free of an experience as possible, we organised most of our pick-up locations and hostels before arriving in Peru.

Tip; If you change your mind about where you want to stay, or be picked up from, you can always opt for editing your choices closer to the time which is great for rogue wanderers.

Hostel Pick-Up Points

My partner and I aren’t what you call “party people” so for us we were a little worried about the recommended hostel lists provided as pick up locations by PeruHop as we had heard that many of them were quite rowdy.

Instead of plucking any hostel from their lists uninformed, we did a little research into each hostel settling on some of the quieter and less popular options.Whilst you can book a hostel that’s not available on the pick-up list, we decided that we simply couldn’t be bothered with lugging our backpacks to and from pick up points, hence the choice of PeruHop’s.

Bananas hostel in Huaccachina Peru

Bananas hostel in Huaccachina was B-E-A Beauuutifulll

The Overnight Bus

During the two weeks we spent two nights on the PeruHop bus. We considered this another justification as to why this was worth the money. We would have paid around £20-30 for a private room anyway so this was definitely worth the money -that is, if we had a decent sleep whilst aboard.

Luckily enough the bus ride was smooth and we managed to sleep for a decent enough proportion of the night. The seats were

Arrivals and Departures

Having spent time in various places around the world I am all too aware that not everyone operates with the same efficiency in mind. With this open minded attitude I anticipated long delays, slow drop-offs, and late pick-ups. Yet, to my surprise, the bus was always pretty much on time and always where they said they would be.

Getting that free T-shirt

If You take the route that we took you will end up in Cusco. From the Main Square the office can be found by walking up the narrow alley until you eventually turn left.

Upon arriving at the office you will be welcomed by a friendly PeruHop member of staff. Then you be asked to complete a short survey about your PeruHop experience, (make sure you take note of the hosts names as you will be asked to provide feedback on your favourite guides).

So they complete its time to try on some shirts and select the comfiest size!

Is PeruHop for you?

For us, PeruHop Offered us an incredible service that made it easy to see everything we wanted to see and more in the diverse land of Peru.

Along the way we met many travellers that had used public transport for the bulk of their journey, but had decided to give this service a try to finish up their trip comfortably. The resounding reviews seemed to be very positive.

I’d seen on the website that many people had made lots of friends during their trips. Whilst this wasn’t our main aim when choosing PeruHop, we found ourselves heading to the market with a lovely Canadian couple, adding friends on Instagram, and joking around with people on the bus when they reclined the chairs just a little bit too far. Our Machu Picchu Pals

We loved PeruHop and we think you will too.

Luxembourg City – Long Weekend, Travel Recommendations

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If you are looking for somewhere to spend a long weekend in Europe then look no further than lovely Luxembourg.

Here is a guide for getting into and around this tiny city, and some ideas of activities you can do to make the most of your time there.

Recommended time here

2 days for Luxembourg City.

4 days or more for Luxembourg City and the wider country.

Getting into Luxembourg City

The airport is teeny tiny and you will have no problems getting into the main city. Ditch the taxi and jump on a bus directly outside the airport. If you need to arrive right in the city centre then be sure to jump off at Hamilus. The bus costs between €2 and €4.

Passport stamp from luxembourg

How to get around

Many cities claim to be “walking cities” and many are lying to you. Luxembourg City truly is a walking city. You will be surprised how easily you can walk around the entire city without feeling ridiculously tired and over-walked.

The hop on hop off buses here, in my opinion, tend not to be value for money comparative to other larger cities that are navigable by road. As the majority of the city centre, and therefore many of the main attractions, are inaccessible by road this really is a city best seen by foot.

If you are branching out to see Kirchberg (just outside the main city) you should however jump on a bus to save time.

Heading further north, south, east, or west? Many buses can be caught from most of the main roads surrounding the city centre which will take you to the train station.

 

Choosing your hotel in Luxembourg

Something I learnt very quickly was that the map of Luxembourg City makes the city look a lot bigger than it really is. This should aid you in choosing the most cost effective accommodation.

Any hotel listed as being in a ‘good location within the main city’ will be within walking distance of all the main attractions, so you may want to save some cash and opt for the cheaper ‘inner city hotel’ option available.

Staying in a hotel right near the centre is a good idea for those with one and a half, or two days here.

Looking over the grund in Luxembourg city

Staying for more than 2 days?

If you are staying in the city for more than 2 days I recommend staying a little outside the of the centre. This is not only a little cheaper, but will also provide you with a little ‘escape’ from the busy tourist scene as you wander back to the hotel in the evening.

We stayed in a hotel to the north of Parc Municipal which gave us the nice 15 minute walk to and from the centre via the park each day.

 

Attractions in the city

History, science, and art museums are easily found here with many offering free admission for international students.

In Kirchberg, Fort Thüngen has been converted into an art museum, and whilst art museums aren’t my idea of a holiday activity, seeing an old fort certainly is.

Luxembourg City History Museum was our favourite museum due to it’s variety of topics covered – despite there being no information provided in English. The funfair exhibit on the top floor was nothing less than random, especially when we couldn’t translate the supporting information.

The Science centre/ museum is also a great way to spend a few hours with workshops taking place throughout the day.

A girl stands inside of a blue arty circle

Visiting with children

The capital city of Luxembourg, aptly named Luxembourg City, makes for a wonderful weekend trip whether you’re on your own, with friends, in a couple, or with the family.

If you are travelling with children, you can expect to spend hours at the huge pirate park in Parc Municipal playing with water and sand, sliding down the huge slide, and swinging from mini ropes.

Pirate park in Luxembourg Municipal Park for children

Aside from the incredible pirate ship park, the science museum, and local history museum offer plenty of opportunities for your children to get involved and learn a little about Luxembourg along the way.

The city is very family friendly and during the summer months you can expect the community to run events and mini shows for children to get stuck in to.

 

Do you speak Ger-Fren-glish?

The perplexing mix of germanic/french languages can be confusing and sure kept us on our toes. Many of the restaurant staff spoke French as we entered but switched to English when they realised how poor our French was.

Strangely, despite everyone approaching us in French, most of the writing that we saw on shop windows and on numerous menus was in German… Google Translate app at the ready!

Street view in luxembourg

 

Other activities in Luxembourg City

Bok Casemates – With the weather forecast not looking so good for our second day, we saved our visit to the Bok Casemates for the second day. As the Casemates are at the edge of the city, you can grab a bus here, or a taxi for a reasonable amount.

A woman looks over the town from the casemates

The Casemates are interesting but sparse on information. As you enter you should take a flyer (not available in English) and attempt to learn a little about why they are there.

The Grund and Neumunster – This UNESCO Heritage site can be seen on foot, or better yet from above. We took a walk through the Court of Justice of the European Union, past the fountain there until we reached some benches where we sat and admired the Grund and Neumunster in it’s entirety.The grund in luxembourg. Water reflects the trees

From the Casemates you will inevitably find yourself walking down and up the walls of the Corniche where you can grab some incredible panoramic views over the Grund atop of “Europe’s most beautiful balcony.”

Cathédrale Notre-Dame – This is only in France right? Wrong! The cathedral is huge and beautiful on the inside and out. Whether you are religious or not you are sure to find the underground crypt interesting.

St Michaels Church – As the oldest church in Luxembourg, this beautiful piece of architecture should not be overlooked. Take the look at the stain glass windows and admire the interior for a while before heading to the next place of interest.

Grand Duchal Palace – Why not spend time visiting the home of the world’s only Grand Duchy. This building, despite having “grand” in the title, is easily missed as it blends into its surroundings (especially on days where the guards aren’t stationed outside!).

Grand duchal Palace luxembourg city

One last thing

Enjoy your time here and make sure you make the most if your days in the city. We found that we visited all of the main sites and more within a day and a half. Considering we were leaving the hotel at around 11am, stopping for a good hour for lunch, and longer for dinner, it’s safe to say that if you are in Luxembourg for longer a day trip out of the city may be the best option for you.

Have a fabulous trip!

Animal Lovers – 4 places to go in and around Nairobi

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Whether you are an animal lover or not, the pull of magnificent wildlife in Kenya is hard to resist.

The Giraffe Centre

Rothschild Giraffes reside here as part of an incredible conservation effort to increase their numbers. For less than $15 you can enter the Giraffe Centre, feed them, and admire them as they chill out in the sun. If warthogs are more your scene then you’ll appreciate the few that scuttle around under the Giraffe’s feet.

Giraffe kissing someone at the Giraffe centre in Nairobi I said no tongues!

No shouting or loud noises should be made in the centre as the giraffes are easy to scare. To see what else this amazing centre does for the Rothschild Giraffe visit the website: https://www.giraffecentre.org/our-sanctuary/

Giraffes standing to get food from people at the centre in Nairobi

Come face to face with giraffes.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Open for just an hour or so per day, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust opens its doors for feeding time in a successful effort to raise money to support the elephants that they care for. At around $10 to enter the centre there’s simply no reason not to go.

Elephant drinking water from the hose This cheeky elephant helps himself to the water supply

Tourists pile in the doors to witness the feeding of young elephants and learn about the reasons they live within the trust. Despite the high presence of tourists this centre is not to be missed. It is vital that all generations are continuously reminded of the importance of elephants and the need to conserve them in their entirety… tusks and all.

For more information visit the website and make sure you arrive on time or face disappointment at being turned away: https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

Enough words… just look at these adorable elephants enjoying a drink!

Elephants cool in off by drinking water at the Sheldrick Trust in KenyaTime to cool off

Nairobi National Park

This National park is nestled within the city of Nairobi. It’s bizarre to drive so deep into the habitat of lions, water buffalo, wildebeest, and more, but to still see skyscrapers on the horizon.

The safari is pricey in comparison to the smaller rescue and conservation sites, but the expense is well worth it. With a good driver you can expect to see a lot of wildlife. We even managed to see a rare rhino!

Water buffalo in the sunshine at Nairobi national parkThere are plenty of water buffalo to see in the park

Within the park rests the historic ivory burning site. Marked as a picnic site you can take a moment to learn about the tragedies of Ivory poaching and Kenya’s role in preventing the practice. End ivory poaching. Kenya sign in Nairobi national park.

Elephants are worth more alive…

Lake Naivasha

If you love birds, gazelle, zebra and hippos then Lake Naivasha is he place to go. The lake is north west of Nairobi and best accessed by bus or private car.

The boatmen are full to the brim with animal facts and will assist you in identifying the creatures you see.

Hippos has n the lake. A pod of them you can just see their heads. A pod of hippos play in the lake

Pulling the boat up close to the hippos will be enough to set your heart racing. They will also strive to hep you experience the swooping of an eagle as they throw a fish into the water just meters from where you float. The payment for a boat tour around the enormous lake is per person and lifejackets are supplied. Learn more here: http://www.kws.go.ke/park-activities/viewing-lake-naivasha

Birds gather on lake naivasha in Kenya

Birds galore in Lake Naivasha

Have an excellent time animal spotting in Kenya!

Budapest: Feeling Outdoorsy – Top 5

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Feel like exploring the great outdoors? No problem. This guide will help you in finding the best outdoor activities for you.

I had a tough time choosing just 5 of the top outdoor activities! There are so many more but these should get you started…

No. 1 – Heroes’ Square

As you walk up to the entrance of City Park it’s hard not to miss the impressive structure that is Heroes’ Square.

This historic Square is significant to the history of Hungary playing host to statues of several important Hungarian leaders.

Heroes Square in Budapest Hungary.

Just one part of this huge square.

Travel Tip: If you don’t want to walk up to hero’s square then jump on the metro to Hősök tere where the Square will be waiting for you directly opposite.

No. 2 – Gellerts Hill, and the Citadel

In the morning head up the steep steps and slopes of Gellerts Hill for incredible views over Budapest and a close up view of the Liberty Statue.

The liberty statue in Budapest Hungary with blue skies

The Liberty Statue in Budapest, Hungary.

During the uphill climb there are benches scattered throughout so that you can chill out whenever you need to.

One you get to the top real the benefits with a stroll around the fort to admire the view.

View over Budapest from the citadel where you can see the Danube river. Hungary.

Worth the hike? Definitely.

Travel Tip: Toilets are situated directly in front of the walk-up entrance but you will need to pay to go.

No. 3 – The Danube River Promenade

We unintentionally found ourselves walking across the Danube river multiple times to admire the views on foot rather than from the tram.

Head for the Pest side of the river and admire the statues and memorials by the waters edge.

Sunset in Budapest from the promenade with a statue sat on the fence.

Ain’t no sunset like a Budapest sunset.

Keep walking and you will encounter the Parliamentary building in its full glory. If looking at it from the outside isn’t enough then get online and book onto a tour.

Parliament from the other side of the river

Travel Tip: Short on time? Jump on the tram to get from one side of the river to the other.

No. 4 – City Park & Vajdahunyad Castle

If the weather is nice take a stroll through City park and discover Vajdahunyad Castle and it’s fairy tale style grounds.

Jemsadventures girl with statue sat down in Budapest castle

Take a seat and admire the view

If you are a lover of architecture, moats, and selfie-worthy statues then the castle grounds are easy to spend an hour or so milling around in.

The park itself is large, family, dog, an bike friendly. If you want to cover all areas of the park then bring a picnic and allow a couple of hours to chill and enjoy the fresh air to its fullest.

Travel Tip: In low season the moat may be empty!

No. 5 – Buda Castle & Fisherman’s Bastion

One of our favourite activities whilst in Budapest was strolling around Buda Castle.

Whilst there’s lots to do inside the buildings within the castle we much preferred walking in between the main attractions.

Soldiers display at Buda Castle.

Soldiers march at Buda Castle.

Don’t underestimate the size of this giant castle. We spent a whole 3 hours here one day and even popped back for a further 2 hours on our last day.

Travel Tip: Fisherman’s Bastion is just behind Matthias Church. It’s easy to miss so keep an eye out!

Not our style… But you might enjoy

Monument Park

This was on our backup list if we ran out of things to do. Unfortunately we missed this attraction but we did hear good things about it. I’m summary (As told by our hostel) ” basically they just took all the old communist statues that no one wanted to look at any more and dumped them in a park”.

The Music Fountain

The music fountain is (as told by the hostel people) “Yea its a cool colourful fountain that lights up at night. Don’t go there in the day because it’s boring.” Take this advice as you see fit.

Budapest: The Great Indoors – Top 5

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Welcome to the indoor activities of Budapest!

Here is a top 5 guide to staying indoors and having a great time whilst there.

These activities are perfect for when you are feeling adventurous but the weather just isn’t on your side.

No. 1 Szimpla Ruin Bar

“What is a ruin bar?” I hear you ask.

Ruin Bars are what they say on the tin- bars that have been built within the ruins of abandoned buildings in district VII of Budapest. They aren’t just your typical bar that you would find at at home.

Budapest is buzzing with ruin bars and they are well worth the visit.

Our local (and favourite) Ruin Bar had to be Szimpla. Upon entering it was a feast for the eyes, ears, nose, and any other sense you had yet to discover.

Szimpla Ruin bar during he day. Art work and graffiti on the walls

Szimpla’s walls come to life with art and graffiti.

From the outside you could be fooled into believing that you are about to walk into a steampunk underground rave.

An exciting line up of activities, performance, and other goings on can be found on the website or on the program guide.

Whilst we were there, this gem of a building played host to life drawing classes, open mic fun, Kraft beer, cocktails, foozball, art showings, and so much more.

Szimplas shisha pipes under a vintage “angels” sign

It’s never a dull night in the shisha room.

Travel Tips: Go at night for the full effect, and poke your head in during the day for a brighter perspective. The food is a little pricier but it’s also super yummy.

Entry is free of charge and you can expect a quick frisk search if you are coming in later in the evening.

Szimpla Kert website: https://szimpla.hu

No. 2 – Dohány Street Synagogue

The largest synagogue in Budapest is easy to miss nestled in amongst rows of buildings upon buildings on Dohány Street.

The outside is beautifully designed, and the inside is a treat that is well worth the admission fee.

The main room of the Jewish synagogue on Dohány street.

The main room of Dohány Street Synagogue.

Upstairs you will find a quaint museum where you will learn all about Jewish culture and the history of Jews in Hungary. Downstairs you can admire the many memorials and learn about the tragic past of the Synagogue by way of countless memorials and photographs.

Memorial for Jewish people that have passed away.

Memorials to those Jews who have passed.

Travel Tip: Men will be asked to cover their heads with a card kippah given out at the entrance, or (if you have one) you may wear your own hat.

No. 3 – House of Terrors

This museum offers an interactive and fully immersive education through activities, slow moving lifts (you will understand once you’ve been there), and excellently themed decor.

House of terror in Budapest outside view.

This exterior roof makes The House of Terror hard to miss.

Whilst inside you will learn about the fascist and communist regimes in 20th century Hungary like never before.

Once you have paid admission and left your bag with the free cloakroom you will be directed to the top floor before working your way down until you are in the basement of the museum.

Inside the house of terror in Budapest is a tank and a wall of victims faces.

Many of the victims and a tank are visible as you enter.

Travel Tips: On a budget? Rather than pay for an audio guide, read the sheets of paper situated on the walls of each room and read about everything for yourself. Hungry? A small cafe is located inside the entrance.

House of Terror website – http://www.terrorhaza.hu/hu

No. 4 – Matthias Church

If you think this church is grand from the outside then just wait until you get inside.

Located within the centre of Buda Castle this one is pretty impossible to miss. The funky colours of the external roof tiles are just the tip of the design-berg as you are greeted with a splash of colours within the church walls.

Matthias church from the outside you can see the white spires and mosaic roof

This impressive church is hard to miss!

Head upstairs for information on the late Queen Elisabeth and information about how the church was built and its history.

Statue of The late Queen Elisabeth of Hungary in front of stain glass windows

The late Queen Elisabeth of Hungary.

Travel Tip: The church is made child friendly by its array of interactive touch screen games in the upstairs rooms.

Matthias church website: https://www.matyas-templom.hu

No. 5 – The Labyrinth

This underrated attraction is enough to make a grown man fearful of the dark. When we had purchased our tickets the woman on the front desk told us the following…

1. Don’t panic if you get lost because we can see you on the cameras

2. You will have no phone signals don’t worry.

True enough, but when you can’t tell your left from your right because it’s so dark; knowing that someone is probably laughing at you in a cctv room offers little comfort.

Opera re-enactment within the Labyrinth

Do you hear opera music?

Why not pay an educational visit to these dark tunnels whilst up at Buda Castle to spice things up a bit. Yes there will be moments of “are we going to be stuck here forever” but if you follow the arrows instead of winging it you will be just fine.

Travel Tip: Your phone torch won’t work in the tunnels that are full of smoke! The light bounces right back at you.

Labyrinth website: http://labirintus.eu

Not our cup of tea… But it might be yours.

Thermal Baths

During our stay in Budapest the question of whether or not to enjoy the thermal baths cake up a lot. Ultimately we decided it just wasn’t something we wanted to do. If it is your kind of thing then Király and Rudy and Gellert Thermal Baths came highly recommended by numerous people.

Opera House

Feeling fancy? If you are then head for the Hungarian State Opera for a tour. Admiring the outside was enough for us, but you may want to witness its grandeur from within.

Hungarian State Opera website: https://www.opera.hu/programme

Whatever you end up doing you will have a wonderful time in Budapest I’m sure of it.

12 Travel Essentials

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I’ve unknowingly become the type of traveller that religiously takes specific items with me everywhere I go, be it close to home in Europe or further afield in Asia or Africa.

Here are 5 things you should always take on your travels according to me.

1. Micro fibre towels

Even if a towel is provided at the accommodation I will always pack my microfibres. One large body one, and a smaller hair towel. It makes your luggage lighter, and day trips to the beach nice and lightweight.

Image result for microfiber towel trek

The most convenient way to travel is with a lightweight towel the size of your purse.

2. A travel wallet

Since my first solo trip I have always carried a wallet with me that consists of multiple sections. The original wallet I had was black, boring, and had five sections for money, cards, and anything else small enough to fit it.

Since then I’ve upgraded to this beauty. With several pouches, pockets, and storage slots it’s a dream for any organisation freak such as me.

Travel wallet images front back and open

My overly organised travel wallet

3. Mini sorting bags 

This one is for the ultimate neat freaks and the clever time savers. Ever witnessed someone in your dorm room scrambling around at 8am in the morning looking for a pair of socks? Don’t be that person. Be ultra prepared and pack your bag in sections by filling it with smaller bags. One bag for your socks, one for your pants, another for your hair bands, etc. If it fits – put it in a bag. Want to be really organised? Why not go Monica Geller style and label every bag? Sandwich bags are great, but if you want to help save the planet them opt for small cloth bags.

Image result for monica geller label maker meme

4. Padlocks

Most Hostels provide a locker of some sort. But not every hostel gives you a padlock to seal it, or they want a deposit. Save yourself the hassle and bring a couple with you.

Image result for padlocks in hostels

5. Passport copies

I hope you already do this! If you don’t, please start. Before you leave home place 1 or 2 photocopies of your passport in your main luggage and one in your hand luggage. You can thank me if your passport goes missing!

Image result for passports

You only need to copy the photo page that contains your personal information.

6.Laundry bag

When travelling the dirty washing builds up fast. If you are far away from a dry cleaners, or decide to save cash and take it all home with you then a plastic bag is the perfect item for locking away the smelly socks at the bottom of your bag.

If you think that’s gross then you’ve probably never had the luxury of staying in the jungle for over two weeks without a flushing toilet or working shower!

Fry from cartoon with a laundry meme

7. Baby Wipes

Simple but super useful.

Mess up your trainers? Baby wipe them.

Water stopped working in the hostel? Baby wipes help you freshen up.

Spill food down you? BABY WIPE IT

Mud on your backpack? USE THOSE BABY WIPES!!!

I rest my case.

Image result for baby wipes

8. Insurance

Sorry to get all boring but you should 100% get travel insurance before you go anywhere. I am still working on sticking to this one, but it does have the potential to really pay off if you ever become sick or are involved in an accident. During a trip to Portugal I broke my toe whilst surfing and wasn’t insured… I learnt the hard way. Don’t be like me – get the insurance and save your toes the 5 day wait until you get back home.

Godzilla mama about travel insurance

9. Camera

If I had to choose between taking my phone or my camera away with me I would always select my camera. Phones are great for obvious reasons, but they are also a barrier to really connecting with the people you are around and the place you are in. Next time you are lost in a new place try and find your way without your phone.. You may not find your way quickly, but I garuntee it will be a better story to tell than ” we used Google Maps”. I full recommend the Nikon Coolpix for underwater shots.

 

THE best camera I’ve ever owned.

10.Charging Pack

If you are taking your phone along for the journey then make sure you have a charging bank/pack. It sucks when you run out of charge just when you need it most. Always have a backup.

 

It’s easy to find a decent charger for under £10 so shop around.

11. Reusable Bottle

Save money and the environment by taking an empty bottle away with you. Fill it up with the tap in your bathroom (provided the water is safe to drink) and buy a slice of cake instead. of spending money on water.

12. Extra Socks

I don’t care if you are going to the Bahamas or the Antarctic – ALWAYS bring socks, and make sure you have spares. There is nothing quite like relaxing in the evening with socks on even if you do spend 99.9% of your time bare foot usually. If you are headed for colder and wetter climates then always anticipate that you will probably step in a puddle of which you have underestimated the depth.

Happy travels. Now go write a packing list!

Is there anything that you would never travel without?

A little bit of Augsburg in my life…

1 week, long weekend, review, travel, whirlwind

It was an unexpected pleasure that I had ended up in the little-known historical city of Augsburg, Germany. Visiting Germany in the winter months has become a sort of an unplanned tradition for me, and despite being one of the largest cities in Bavaria I have yet to meet anyone that has actively travelled there, nor stumbled upon it during their time in the country.

I had come to this little gem, just a stones throw away from Munich, for work purposes, and so there was very little time to explore. But hey! That’s what evenings and early mornings are for… exploring.

With this being my third time in Germany I had some expectations; friendly people, giant beer glasses, a bratwurst dominated menu, Gothic architecture, and cold weather. I was mostly right and the main sites were worth bracing the cold weather in the afternoon!

Augsburg could easily be missed, but if you’ve run out of things to do in Munich then a half day/ day trip here wouldn’t be a mistake. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Mozarthaus

Leopoldo Mozart (Mozarts dad) was born in this humble home, tucked away in amongst surrounding shops and houses. Tours and audio guides are available for those who want to soak in as much information as possible.

Mozarthaus augsburg Germany red museum front. Composer mozart's father was born here.

Mozarthaus museum in Augsburg

2. Maximilianstrasse

Two words, night life. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, party, dance, or drink then this is the street for it. Maximilianstrasse is full to the brim with excellent bars, restaurants, and necessary chip shops to soak up the German beer. Despite getting lost looking for the “Oyster Bar” which turned out to actually be called the “Auster bar” we had no trouble in finding dinner here.

Just some of the quirky menu options on Maximilianstrasse.

Just some of the quirky menu options on Maximilianstrasse

3. Perlachturm Tower and Town Hall

The 70 metre tall ex-watchtower is a sight best viewed from one of the restaurants below in the square. Situated next to the Town Hall I recommend that you sit down for a snack or a beer and enjoy the view for a short while before continuing your tour of Augsburg. For a small fee (1 Euro for students) you can enter the town hall and learn a little more about he history of Augsburg.

Augsburg the square Town Hall and watch tower at night

Evening view of the town hall and the tower

4. Augsburg Cathedral

The enormous Roman Catholic Church is hard to miss. The architecture is so varied that our will be left questioning when on earth it was built. Augsburg cathedral Germany

Augsburg cathedral

5. Dorint Hotel Tower

Ok, so this may be considered an eye-sore to many, but if you can manage to get yourself up to the top then you will be presented with a view that is simply the best in Augsburg. I found the building itself to be quite interesting especially following some research on what it is and why it looks the way it does. This tower is known by locals as the ‘corncob’ and has a large open park at its base, perfect for a picnic or afternoon stroll.

View from the dorint hotel augsburg corncob tower

The view from one of the Rooms in the tower that was being rented as an Air bnb for the week.

With little time to explore I sadly didn’t get to see much else in Augsburg, just enough for a half day visit.

If you have longer to stay in this lovely place then why not check out the highly rated Fuggerei, botanic gardens, or many interesting museums.

Want to explore more of Germany? Have a read of this