Europe By Bus | Days 28-30 | Frankfurt, Germany

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 was wrong.

 

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Days 28-30 | Frankfurt, Germany”

Europe By Bus | Days 25-27 | Vienna, Austria

The Roommate From Hell

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.

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Days 25-27 | Vienna, Austria”

Europe By Bus | Days 22-24 | Sofia, Bulgaria


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.

 

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Days 22-24 | Sofia, Bulgaria”

Europe By Bus | Day 20 | Bucharest, Romania

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.

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Day 20 | Bucharest, Romania”

Europe By Bus | Day 19 Part 2 | Stranded In Bucharest

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:
 

Number one:

I am terrible at reading maps.
 

Number two:

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.
 

Don’t do what I did.

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Day 19 Part 2 | Stranded In Bucharest”

Europe By Bus | Days 11-12 | Budapest

3rd November 2016

Oh, Budapest. Beautiful, cheap and historical Budapest. I am seriously considering moving here.The food is cheap, the metro system is really easy, the city is gorgeous and you can go to warm outdoor pools all year round. What more could you want?! Did I mention it’s basically a Mecca for vegetarians?

****

Traveling and working as a freelance writer is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean it sounds fantastic. Surely you earn your money back as you travel, actually do something productive whilst still seeing all the sights and you spend your days sitting in fabulous cafes daintily typing away whilst everyone admires you? That’s the dream, right?

In reality you either end up neglecting the sightseeing because realistically not everywhere has WiFi and spending all your money at cafes kind of defeats the point of earning the measly fees that my sort of entry level freelancing brings you, or you neglect the writing in favour of sightseeing and end up panicking at your blank pages and long to-do list.

Even though a tablet is a lot more convenient and generally safer to travel with, it is a bitch to write anything lengthy on. My tablet randomly decided to delete my words, change my letters or just invent new words of its own and so half the time I end up shouting at it and then realizing I’m in public and everyone thinks I’m insane.

I’m still loving the freelancing dream, don’t get me wrong, and it’s been really helpful (especially as I only started buying food to cook at the hostel rather than eating out two weeks into my trip), but it’s not as easy as people think.

***

On my first proper day in Budapest, I went for a walk and stumbled upon this great little vegetarian cafe. They sold samosas, pakoras, vegetable filled pancakes, veggie burgers, stuffed zucchinis and loads of salad. They did put carrots in the samosas and pancakes (which is a huge turn off for me) but that’s just my weird prejudices more than any reflection on the food. It was nice, healthy and at around 2100 forints pretty reasonably priced.

It was nice, healthy and at around 2100 forints pretty reasonably priced. The only drawback was that their wifi flat out refused to cooperate so my plan of working in quaint little veggie cafes just did not work out.


 


 

Oh, the health.


 

 

After that, I somehow ended up walking to Nyugati pályaudvar and went to the big West End shopping center which is packed full of shops (some like H&M are pretty standard and some I can’t remember seeing before) and ended up giving my tired face a complete makeover with the makeup testers. Apparently, that’s allowed which makes me wonder why anyone buys makeup if you can use all the brands for free, but realistically they’d catch on quite quickly and bar you for life.

Next, I ended up going into this indoor marketplace. Not the market that Google tells you to go to, I don’t even know what this one was called, but it was still pretty cool. I got a huge beer for 350 forints (about £1) and ended up doing my work at a little table via their surprisingly sprightly wifi.
 

 

Next, I ended up going into this indoor marketplace. Not the market that Google tells you to go to, I don’t even know what this one was called, but it was still pretty cool. I got a huge beer for 350 forints (about £1) and ended up doing my work at a little table via their surprisingly sprightly wifi.


 


 

 

I hadn’t planned what to actually do when I got to the other side, but there was a slope clearly leading towards the massive beautiful building on top of the hill so I walked towards it. There is a train you can get which will take you up the slope but I really don’t see why you’d pay to use it when the hill really isn’t hard to climb. And I really, really hate hills so that is saying something.


 

 

I didn’t actually know what the massive building was at the time (I figured it was a castle of some sort) but it was pretty so I just walked towards it.

 

The walk isn’t long at all and when you reach the top you have an amazing view of the city. It turned out the big beautiful building was Buda Castle (duh) and the walk takes you right up to the Budapest History Museum.

The museum is really impressive. It’s all inside the former palace itself and the first floor talks about the history of the palace and who lived in it. All that stuff is pretty standard but when you go downstairs things start to get interesting.

There are loads of relics from the original palace (it’s been destroyed and rebuilt a few times as I recall) and then if you go down done more stairs you end up in an uncovered old part of the palace complete with a chapel, sellers, and a prison.


 


 


 

 

 

There was also a really interesting gallery which explored the role of children in art and how they have been depicted throughout history, and another exhibition called ‘Light and Shadows’ which looks at Budapest’s history from Roman times to the end of communism.

I walked in not knowing anything about Hungarian history and left with loads of new knowledge. Budapest had not had a peaceful history. Budapest (or rather Buda, Pest, and Obuda) has been at war pretty much consistently until very recently. They got invaded by the Ottoman Empire, they got taken over by the Nazis and they suffered under communism to name a few.

It’s amazing this city is as beautiful as it is considering how many times it’s been at war. Budapest’s history could rival Game of Thrones.

After the museum, I walked around the rest of the castle area. The viewing platform is amazing and it definitely highlighted one of the bad things about traveling alone; no one to take pictures of you and selfies just is not the same.


 

 

 

 

 

 

My day ended with an awesome burrito from Gringos Amigos, an awesome Mexican fast food place just a few minutes away from Deak metro station. It’s not that cheap for Budapest but it was really needed and very tasty, plus it’s still cheaper than it ever would be in the U.K so you can’t exactly complain.

Europe By Bus | Days 7-10 | Prague & Budapest

November 6th 2016

I’m afraid I’ve been lumbered with work for the last couple of days and so I’ve been neglecting this blog. Updating it every day might have been a bit of an ambitious idea, but I’m going to try harder so don’t give up on me!

Today is my last day in Budapest. ?

 

I’m in this restaurant on my own and the waiter guy was so clearly judging me for going there alone (or more probably being a woman eating alone) which is weird because the whole reason I decided to come in here was that there were two other people on their own. Actually strike that, another lonesome guy just walked in so there are THREE of us now.

I don’t normally eat in actual restaurants alone, I’m more about the food courts, cafes and informal places without waiters, but I’ve been walking for about four hours ever since The House of Terror and if I didn’t eat and drink soon I was going to go mad and/or collapse. To make up for the awkwardness I’m trying to look all sophisticated and writery so they think I’m reviewing this place so they stop judging and start giving me free stuff.

So on with the blog. I’ll get to the beautiful city which is Budapest (or rather Buda and Pest as it used to be) in due course, but first, let’s catch up with the last few days in Prague.

Halloween

People in Prague really don’t celebrate Halloween. Or rather they do but apparently, it’s on the 2nd of November and is more of a ‘day of the dead’ type thing. So it was a bit weird bring in the hostel and seeing everyone else Halloween photos from back home when I literally just saw one group of people dressed up here and realistically they were tourists, but the night was still quite fun.

I ended up drinking with some Spanish and German people in the hostel kitchen and played an array of confusing drinking games.  I also went over the bridge onto the other side of Prague and walked up a very big hill to get an amazing view of the city. The lovely Kavita took me up there as she was somehow already an expert on the entire city (make sure to look at her blog).

 

1st of November

This was my last day in Prague and I’d finally got to grips with the city (with a lot of help from Google maps, of course, thank God for 02s European travel offer) so I made my way back across the bridge to take a look at John Lennon’s wall. There was a guy playing the guitar and singing his songs and it was a beautiful example of street art.


 

 

 

I accidentally ended up having the healthiest lunch ever mostly because I went into this healthy foods cafe place because I wanted to charge my phone and they had plugs and so I ended up having a meal made up entirely of vegetables. It was really nice though.

 

I ended up getting a private tour of the Alchemy Museum led by a really hot Czech guy as I was the only one there for that particular time. The Alchemy Museum is pretty cool. You go underground and see these little rooms where they used to make alchemy positions without anyone ever finding out until last century, and you get there through a real life revolving bookcase!

The fumes from the potions they were making used to waft up into the streets and they made everyone so high that they kept hallucinating and apparently they were all convinced that these fiery goats were coming at them.

Apparently, the philosophers stone from Harry Potter was a real thing( or person) which goes back to the BC times (maybe that’s common knowledge, I’m not sure). In any case, the tour was really interesting and I highly recommend it.

Oh, and on my way to the Alchemy tour, I stumbled across this art gallery which was full of neon heads and mechanical legs.

After the tour I met up with my local friend and we went to a bar/restaurant place that did loads of vegetarian options (there is nothing quite like a free burrito when you’re traveling!) and we went to a German bar and this awesome little tiki cocktail place. It definitely helps to know a local who can show you all the stuff you’d miss as a tourist.

On my way to the Alchemy tour, I stumbled across this art gallery which was full of neon heads and mechanical legs.
 


 


 
Prague is a really good place for vegetarians. They price the food by weight, but my plates were pretty packed and they were still really cheap.

 

 

Summary: Prague

Prague is a beautiful city which literally looks like it fell out of a fairy tale. It is a very popular tourist destination (even though I went in October/November it was still pretty rammed) and it’s not as cheap as the rest of the Czech Republic, but it is still one of those places that you have to see to believe.

 

Check back soon for my entries on Budapest, Brasov, and Bucharest!

Europe By Bus | Days 6 & 7 | Prague

  • 1st November 2016

Prague is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The architecture doesn’t seem to have been marred by the 1950s concrete horrors and the strange glass towers that so many other cities (including my very own London) are full of.

In Prague, pretty much every building, even regular shops, and houses look like it fell out of the 16th century. Prague feels like it has been untouched by every war and major tragedy of Europe’s recent past. It basically looks like a real life city version of Disney World, and it’s awesome.


 

 


 



 

Before I came to Prague, I was starting to worry that I was going to have a very lonely time in Europe. It’s not like I didn’t speak to people at the last two hostels, but I didn’t exactly go anywhere with anyone or really spend any time with them.

All that changed in Prague. My hostel was small, cheap and fairly basic, but the people were great. I actually knew someone in Prague already so my solo traveling was about to become (at least temporarily) much less solo.

One of the other people staying in my hostel in Prague was Kavita. When I met Kavita she was still making her way through Europe, but now eight months later she has been through Russia, she caught the Trans-Siberian Express, she has been to China, Japan, and SE Asia.

She is literally living my dream and I am incredibly jealous of her. Y’know when someone is more successful than you but you can’t hate them because they’re nice? In all seriousness though I’ve only met a few other travel bloggers during my hostel stays (perhaps people don’t want to bring it up because you don’t want to be that guy) and I’ve really enjoyed following Kavita’s brave and crazy journey. See here for Kavita’s take on Prague.

On my first night in Prague, I went for Indian food with my roommates and played strange Australian/American drinking games. After that, I met up with my friend from Prague and we went to Prague’s Radio One station where we sat around drinking beer and taking legal highs whilst these guys did their radio thing.

After that, we went to this pub which apparently never closed and I ended up falling into bed at 4:30 which meant the next day I was very hungover and only managed to stagger out of the hostel at 3:30 pm in search of vegetables. I did discover a very rejuvenating vegan buffet though (my first and only ever experience of Loving Hut) and all the beautiful buildings in the old town square including the astronomical clock perked me up somewhat.


 

 

Prague has a lot of overpriced weed products which don’t actually get you high. You can get the cookies and lollies that they sell in the shops in Amsterdam and they also sell this absinthe and weed ice cream mixture which was surprisingly nice (although sadly not real).

 

 

Don’t Forget The John Lennon Wall!

Summary

Prague really does look like a fairy tale city and I was lucky enough to go during October/November when there are fewer tourists so you can actually see things. They also have a lot of busking and amazing warm wine which works out to around £1.10. Seeing as it’s normal for me to pay £6 for a glass of wine at home this was very exciting.

The one downer that happened in Prague was that my phone decided it didn’t have enough space for me to take photos and, considering that 1) I don’t own a professional camera so I basically rely on my phone and tablet for photos, and 2) I was making a travel blog which is kind of pointless without photos it really was quite distressing. I had to delete pretty much all my apps and it was still touch and go for the rest of the trip. These are literally the epitome of first world problems, but somehow it doesn’t feel right to see the world if you can’t also save it for later.

Keep your eyes peeled for alchemists, bus journeys, and Budapest!
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Europe By Bus | Day Four Part One| Berlin

This post was originally published in October 2016. Roaming charges in Europe are now free for other European citizens (which includes the U.K for the moment).

October 26, 2016

My feet are aching.

I’ve finished my work for now so today was my first real chance to see Berlin properly. I am pretty hopeless at regular maps and I didn’t want to end up lost in some strange suburb so to get to the Berlin Wall Memorial I ended up spending £13 on the data for Google maps before remembering 02 does European add-ons for £1.99 a day, so that’s just fabulous.

When I first got to the wall I thought I was in the wrong place. I’m not totally sure what I was expecting to see but somehow I wasn’t expecting to see.. a wall. Like a regular concrete wall.

I’d thought the East Side Gallery and the Berlin Wall Memorial were the same thing so I actually went into the Berlin Memorial Museum to see how I could get to the main wall before realizing that what I was thinking of is about an hour’s walk away in a totally different direction.

Even if wasn’t quite what I was expecting I’m still really glad I saw the Berlin Wall Memorial. I’ve done a lot on Nazi Germany but I didn’t know much about the cold war and the time of divided Germany so I learned quite a lot today. They have all these individual accounts of people living on the wrong side of the wall and there’s a viewing platform where you can normally see way past the wall to the surrounding landmarks.

Walking around the wall, reading all the information and seeing the memorial to the people who died is quite intense. It seems so crazy that all these people were shot trying to get to the other side of the street and you just can’t imagine now how that would work or what that would be like, but it was only about 60 years ago. It’s even crazier that some people *coughTRUMPcough* still want to build walls today.

 

Getting back from the wall was way trickier than it should have been. I somehow ended up on this long distance train going to Oranienburg because I thought it was the station just outside where my hostel is when it’s actually not even in Berlin.

I realized a few stops in and then has to get the underground allllll the way back to Alexanderplatz and then Another train back to the hostel so I could get some wifi and collapse on the sofas with one of their €1.80 beers.

After some recouping time (and a cheeky beer or two) I went back out to see Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust museum, and the Fuhrerbunker. Checkpoint Charlie is about half an hour away via foot from the hostel but it’s literally down one massively long road so it wasn’t exactly complicated. On the way, I stumbled across some beautiful buildings.

Checkpoint Charlie itself is worth seeing and its another reminder of this divided Berlin that is so hard to imagine now, but the nearby museum was about €11 and the act of paying for museums offends me as a Londoner so that didn’t happen.


Berlin is an amazing city which is full of history, beauty, and tragedy in equal measure. My original blog post was a lot longer than this, but I’ve decided to break day four into two posts as the next one (the Holocaust Memorial) should really be read on its own.

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