Introducing The Flying Vegetarian!

Update

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!

Wish me luck!

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 | 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 | Bran Castle

After my failed attempt to visit Bran Castle yesterday, I managed to successfully visit it today with my new Australian friend. 

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.

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Day 19 | Bran Castle”

Europe By Bus | Days 16-17 | Brasov, Transylvania

Let’s pick up where we left off in Brasov, Transylvania.

 

 

Brasov is the perfect medieval town. 

They do have an Orange shop, a Mcdonalds and their fair share of tower blocks, but the buildings inside and around the walls of the Old Town are still magnificently old fashioned despite the modern purposes those buildings are now used for.

Brasov is the Transylvania from my dreams. It looks how you might imagine Transylvania would look if your only experience with the region is from American horror movies.

It isn’t hard to imagine that vampires (or Strigoi as Romanians, unfortunately, don’t tend to believe in Vampires themselves) are lurking around the corner, but aside from the slightly spooky element, I have to say that I felt pretty safe in Brasov.

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Days 16-17 | Brasov, Transylvania”

Europe By Bus | Day 15 | 473 EN Train From Budapest To Brasov

November 6th 2016

I’ll admit that I was really nervous about boarding the over night train to Brasov.

 

 

Prior to booking my train ticket, I had spent some time googling the best (and cheapest) way to get to Romania by land. Before I’d even come to Europe I had talked about the prospect of getting a train to Romania with my friend from Prague, and he told me that the trains would be old fashioned, they wouldn’t have charging points, the trains would always be 3 hours late, and they would almost certainly break down.

He told me that traveling around Romania counted as ‘advanced level’ traveling.

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Day 15 | 473 EN Train From Budapest To Brasov”

Europe By Bus | Days 13-15 | Budapest

Did I mention how awesome my hostel in Budapest was?

I stayed at Friends Hostel & Apartments. This hostel is literally two minutes walk away from Oktogon station on the Metro, it’s within easy walking distance to most of the places you’d want to go, it’s literally five minutes away from the best vegan burger place ever, and it’s also five minutes away from Haus of Terror.

I stayed in the six-bed female dorm and it came with sofas, a chandelier, mirrors, comfortable beds, a kitchen (although the microwave did not work), and it’s close to loads of shops and takeaways. This was one of the nicest rooms I have ever stayed in and it only came to £5 a night!


 

 

Continue reading “Europe By Bus | Days 13-15 | Budapest”

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?

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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!