I have some exciting news! From the 17th of August until the 14th of September I will be traveling around the United States of America. I have never visited America before so I would be grateful for any tips you may have for my trip.
This blog is all about land based travel in Europe. I love this niche and I am going to continue updating Europe By Bus, but my American trip doesn’t really fit in. I want to keep this blog all about Europe and all about land based travel, so I have created a new blog which will focus on travels further afield.
This blog will also focus on vegetarian travel and vegan travel. I am a Lacto vegetarian, which means that I don’t eat egg, meat or fish, so I’ll keep you updated with the best places to eat as a vegetarian or vegan.
It would be great if you could subscribe to my new blog, or at least have a look at it, and please keep your eyes peeled for more updates!
Frankfurt was the place that surprised me the most.
I had never visited Frankfurt before, but I had been through it several times on the way to Munich so I had already caught a glimpse of the glass buildings and the river. I imagined that Frankfurt was kind of like a huge canary wharf. Upmarket, glassy, rich and a little soulless.
I’m going to tell you an uncomfortable truth. Girls snore.
I’ve stayed in many hostels during the past year or so and 99% of the time it’s fine. You may see more than your share of boys in boxers and you do occasionally get some creeps but, for the most part, you either meet people and have a good time or you just get a good nights sleep and explore on your own.
I stayed in Vienna City Hostel which has since closed down. The hostel was fairly nice in that Travelodge kind of way. It didn’t feel like your typical funky yet grimy hostel, and it didn’t have a particular social vibe either, but it did have a large dining area, the beds were comfortable, and it was close to the city center.
Those sorts of hostels always feel a little sterile to me, but it can be nice if you rank comfort and functionality over the vibe and character of a place.
It was very cold when I was in Sofia. Like, really cold. So cold in fact that sometimes you had to go indoors or even go back to the hostel because you couldn’t feel your hands through your gloves.
It snowed several times, it got dark very early and it was sometimes literally too cold to be outside. The good thing about that was that there were relatively few tourists, but that didn’t necessarily make up for the very real risk of frostbite.
Sofia does seem a little ‘further away’ than the other cities I visited in Europe. I think it’s because of the alphabet; everything prior to Sofia had used the same letters as English and so even if you didn’t understand it you could figure out some of the easier words just from your knowledge of English and common sense.
Sofia, on the other hand, uses the Cyrillic alphabet which looks quite similar to Greek and is much harder to decipher if you don’t know the language. Most of the shopkeepers and waiters do speak English (more so than in Romania) and a lot of the street signs are also in English so it’s not hard to find your way around, but Sofia does still feel very far away from home.
Bucharest is one of those cities that no one seems to really like. In fact, the best thing I had heard anyone say about Bucharest before I went there was that it wasn’t ‘as bad’ as they were expecting.
The Romanian guys who worked in the hostel I stayed in in Brasov seemed quite offended that I was going to Bucharest and kept going on about how ugly and dangerous they thought it was.
Bucharest really isn’t that bad, but it’s not that great either. The old town is pretty nice (although it’s too big and commercial to have the same appeal as Brasov) and they have a really vibrant nightlife scene with loads of clubs open until the early hours.
This is the story of how I got stranded in Bucharest, Romania.
In order for this story to make any sense, you need to know two things:
I am terrible at reading maps.
I had an irrational fear of taxies due to the fact that I’d read and heard so many warnings against un-booked taxis in Bucharest.
One of the guys who worked in the hostel in Brasov told me about some girl who had had to pay around 50 euros for a trip which should’ve cost 10 because the drivers hiked up the taxi price.
I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I was really wary of getting a taxi in Romania. It may seem a little paranoid (and it was!), but when people who are from the country you’re visiting keep warning you about the same thing in said country you do tend to listen to them.
If any of you get stranded in Bucharest, I recommend you do get a taxi and just have a clear idea of how much it should cost. Learn a tiny bit of Romanian, negotiate the price beforehand and go enjoy your night.
We went to the right bus stop this time. Remember that if you’re ever in Brasov and you want to visit Bran then remember that it’s Autogart 2, not Autogart 1.
The bus stop is a thirty-ish minute walk away from Kismet Dao hostel, and it was freezing, but it was still doable. The bus journey itself is really scenic and it’s a great way to see more of the Transylvanian countryside if you’re only in Romania for a few days. The bus costs around 5-7 lei, which is around £1.40.
Bran Village is beautiful with its mountains and vampire tourism. It was a freezing November day, but I think I think the cold weather adds to the Transylvania experience. I really cannot imagine Transylvania in the summer. I don’t think it would be the same.
Today turned out to be a bit of a fail if I’m honest.
I’d planned to go to Bran Castle (I know it doesn’t have much to do with actual Dracula, but it just seems like something you should do when you’re in Romania) so I walked to the bus stop and waited to see a bus with the word ‘Bran’ on it.