All posts by Joan Katrina Cruz

Viajera is a travel blog by Joan Katrina Cruz, a Pinay nurse currently stuck in London. When she isn’t out saving lives (literally), she finds time to catch up on her reading list and books flights to places she’s never been to. ***During her interview with Times Magazine about her travels, she said “Europe is an interestingly exciting experience – especially when your phone dies and you have no access to Google Maps. Try getting lost in a place you’ve never been to with people speaking a language that sounds like a vehicular accident. You’ll know what I mean.” This blog is a compilation of her happy travel stories – and mishaps. ***This only happened in her dreams

My 2016 Travel Highlights

Until today, I was not planning on a 2016 highlights article. But as I was thawing the frozen chunks of meat I plan to cook for Media Noche, a couple of thoughts sprang on me. Sure, this year may not be the best year of my life, but the relationships I have formed and the friends I gained were undeniably treasured. Above all, I’ve gathered enough of myself this year to finally push through launching my blog (hooray!), something I have been procrastinating about for the past years.

Most bloggers I know have already published an annual review and indeed a yearly look back is a beautiful reminder of how the past 365 days have been. All those happy memories, great time spent with the people you love; maybe you broke your heart or you spent a quarter of last year fighting your way out of struggles. All these conjure to this very moment, and most importantly how we are left wiser and stronger by everything life had to offer.

At a glance, my past year was not bad at all, however, it was just lackluster in comparison to the year beforehand. In so many ways, 2015 is still the best year of my life because it allowed me to save up and travel more, achieve professional advancements and on top of that I was reunited with my partner who I am proud to say, has also become a nurse here in the UK. And yet, even with that said, I realized that the friends I found and the travel experiences I went through this year were just as meaningful. And with my blog finally rolled out into reality, how can I not love 2016? I’ve picked out the top moments of my travels this year and I hope they make you smile as much as it warmed my heart reminiscing all the good times I was so blessed to have.

[  5  ]  Foodtripping in Cardiff

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We went for a city break  to Cardiff last March and were pleasantly surprised by its thriving food scene! It was exciting to try all the local flavors and not to mention the desserts that were prepared extraordinarily. Foodtripping in the capital city of Wales made it on my top 5 because aside from all the delicious food everywhere, I realized that a great way to know a place is through one’s taste buds. My personal favorite is a cheese shop called Madame Fromage which serves this addicting Dragon Rarebit – a savory twist to Cardiff’s infamous local dish. Equally impressive and edging on the magical was Science Cream where your sweet cravings are created right before your eyes through the use of liquid nitrogen. Yeah, you read that right.

Also read: EXPOSING CARDIFF’S WELL KEPT SECRET, A FOODIE PARADISE IN THE MAKING

[  4  ] Witnessing the Iconic Tour Eiffel

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I am going to be honest here, I am not very fond of Paris. For something so well-talked about, the city was well below my expectations. Rock bottom low. The only upside was when I got to gawk at the Eiffel Tower in real life – it really is bigger than it looks in pictures by the way. This tower is an icon of the world, and I am simply glad to see what they hype is all about (not very much honestly). On a completely different note, it is also in Paris where I had another travel mishap that taught me a lesson the hard way. My entire bag got swindled away from me on our first day, together with all its contents: flat keys, Pandora bracelet, money and bank cards. I replaced all the lost items sure, but I was traveling that time on an expired travel insurance policy so I could not even make a claim for my loss. Lesson learned: update your travel insurance and make sure you are protected when traveling. And beware of thieves when in Paris.

[  3  ] Ultimate Thermal Bath Experience in Budapest

 

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I welcomed 2016 with a travel escapade which led me to the unforgettable city of Budapest in Hungary. I was captivated by a lot of things in Hungary (Palinka!) but the Szechenyi Thermal Bath reigns closest to my heart. It was a social experience I will never forget and it widened my perspective immensely while enjoying the entire time. I never knew that I had it in me to wear a proper swimsuit at freezing point weather and jump to a hot, steaming pool. Irreplaceable time of my life.

Also read: TOP TEN MOMENTS A TRAVELER MUST HAVE IN BUDAPEST

[  2  ] Brunch while overlooking the beautiful city of Prague

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Sightseeing in Prague during Autumn was great but for some reason, this particular travel  story of mine was made special by the small, random moments we spent in the city. Of course, we saw all the major tourist attractions but what made my heart swell with joy was the tiny moments of peace and admiration that sporadically graced our trip. Here, I was able to indulge in imbibing the city atmosphere as much as I want to because of how relaxed our itinerary turned out. I can vividly remember this warm autumn day like it was yesterday, where we chanced upon this restaurant that overlooked Prague like no other. I happily chomped on my Beef Goulash and proceeded with dessert coffee, breathing in the view like my life depended on it.

Also read: TOP 5 PRAGUE EATS

[  1  ] Cavorting in Sanremo

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My top travel highlight for 2016? It can only be my Sanremo adventure! Last August, I decided to go back to the French Riviera (it has become an annual thing) and catch up with a good friend. The Riviera did not disappoint as usual, but when we crossed over to Italy to visit Sanremo – I was blown away! I live for days under the sun, sprawling beside the beach and a for such great views. This place was like an answered prayer to my life. Absolutely stunning views, the sun blaring on our sticky skins and all cocktails somehow taste better when drank by the beach. Catching up with my friend Ricky was a bonus and although he had finished his Masters with flying colors (as expected) and is now back in the Philippines, we still keep in touch. Because real friendship defy distances as vast as the oceans.

Also read: WHY SANREMO SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT ITALIAN DESTINATION

Maybe 2016 was more of a working year for me – at least that is how it felt. But I cannot deny that there were blessings that came along with it and at the end of the day, it made me a better person. I wish anyone reading this a prosperous 2017. And as for me, I am looking forward to next year with a smile – and maybe a new passport holder and a shiny luggage bag. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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How To Spend Your Money Wisely When Traveling

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Every wandering soul wants to make the most of every trip whenever possible, and this is often done by stretching every penny we intend to splurge. More often than you’d expect, this heeds merging your street smarts and bargaining skills and putting them into good use. Who knows how far you can go when you stretch that budget just a little bit further? Read on and allow me to elucidate on some ways to avoid squandering your pocket money into smithereens.

  1. Eat like a local

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They say much of our lives is spent choosing what to eat, and I couldn’t agree more. Our moments abroad are not exempted from this and we are often faced with the undying question: Where do we eat for lunch? If you want to get your money’s worth then avoid tourist hotspots vehemently. The restaurants and cafes which have easy access to promenades and city centers most likely offer the most expensive comestibles in town. It is not much of an issue of tourist trapping but more of supply and demand really. Observe the locals and follow their tracks where they head for a good meal. Be brave and randomly ask for advice, you might even gain a friend.

  1. Explore your options with accommodation
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The methods by which tourists can save on travel accommodation is expanding and the offerings are endless. Airbnb has taken the industry by storm and has changed the way we choose temporary abodes. Here you can even save more money by booking a private room instead of an entire place. Hostels and bed and breakfasts are also economical for some and provide bare necessities. For the frugal traveler, a hotel booking is not prime choice for sure – there are cheaper alternatives available that will slice your expenses by at least half. While these options may not provide the same luxury and hospitality service a five star hotel takes pride in, their value for money cannot be denied.

  1. Get to know their public transport

The internet is a formidable tool and travelers now have full capacity of devicing their own itineraries, including how and when to reach them. Taking time to discover a city’s transportation system can save you a lot of money by arriving to your desired destinations utilizing public transport. There are travel cards valid anywhere for 2-5 days that you only need to pay off once and, depending on your choice, you can ride all the buses, trams and trains with the same ticket. This eliminates the need for hop on hop off bus tours that charge an estimate of £10 a day. Example: A day trip to the Stonehenge in Bath may cost as much as £50 when booked under a travel agency. However, an advanced booking for a national express coach to Bath is only £5 and the adult entrance fee is £15.50. That’s a thirty quid difference.

  1. Do some shopping at the airport
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Okay, now I know this does not fit well with beginnings of saving money haha. Shopping is an easy way to rationalize unnecessary expenditures you may acquire as your trip goes along. However, if you keep a calm state of mind, I suggest you take a good perusal of the tax free goodies around the airport. The fact they are tax free leaves room for big discounts and if you chance upon big sales, there might be bargains that are too good to ignore. I scored my Go Pro in London Gatwick Airport during a mega sale that left it selling for half the original price and they threw in a Go Gear accessories kit for FREE. A thing to ponder about: It is only a good deal if you were intending to buy it in the first place.

  1. Check for free walking tour offers

Do not forget to check if your destination of choice has free walking tours. Basic city tours are often available at no cost, although they may occur on certain schedules. The aim is to get the clients to return and book a paid tour under the same agency – like advertising themselves by investing in a traveler’s good faith. I’ve done this in Prague and the tour guides were nothing short of brilliant and witty. It did not feel like a free tour at all. Our expert guide, Dave (He wanted to be called Colorado Dave, haha) even quizzed us in the end and I won a beer!

  1. Look for online deals

They might be scarce but last minute online deals are pretty sweet – if you manage to catch one of them. I am a big planner so I have never had the benefit of this at all. But judging by the prices, it does pay off to be spontaneous from time to time. Browse lastminute.com or similar sites.

It pays off to be ambivalent when it comes to money matters and I hope these few travel tips allow you to expand your travel budget that extra mile. What is the harm in getting more of your money’s worth? Absolutely nothing. When this is combined with all those priceless experience and memories gained through the gift of travel then there is no argument at all: it is worth every centavo your money can buy.

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How To Save More Money For Travel

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Saving up since forever for that dream getaway? If your answer is yes then read on for some tips and tricks on how you could finally achieve your travel goals. Whether you have been postponing that trip because of insufficient funds or you simply have been dipping into your travel jar (naughty!), I am sure these ways of growing your savings will definitely be very useful. Most of them are based from personal experience and are tried and tested by yours truly. It’s time to evaluate yourself and save up big time for that dream destination!

  1. Open a savings account
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This is very basic but as simple as it is, there are advantages into creating a separate account for the sole purpose of saving. This promotes motivation and a positive financial mindset. Then there are the interest rates, which no matter how low, is still free money. The goal is to build a habit of stowing away a specific amount that you will not use for anything else. When I get my salary from my full time job, the first thing I do is allocate to my savings account, then I pay all my bills then I live with what is left of my hard-earned money. Keep in mind: Live within your means.

  1. Get organized with money saving apps

There are helpful applications out there for free that can help you keep track of spending or even manage bank accounts from your smart phone. Make the most of this technology to keep an eye on your monthly expenses – watch out for overlooked minor things that accumulate overtime. Usually these are unused memberships or subscriptions that you most likely do not even remember. Download a mobile bank app if possible and check your available balance regularly to make sure you only spend within budget.

  1. Watch your daily coffee habit
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I am guilty of this one, after all who can resist a good cuppa? However this proves to be an expensive habit overtime, not to mention the calories packed in a single venti. In London a coffee shop charges an average of £2.50 per cup. Even if I reduce it to four times a week that still translates to £40 a month. SOLUTION: I decided to invest in a coffee machine and it is still paying for itself tenfold.

  1. Buy in bulk.

There are non-perishable goods that when bought in bulk can really give you a run for your money. Among these things are tissue paper, office supplies, beverages, batteries or even toothbrushes. The good thing is, you can order most of them online too. Saves you the money and effort.

  1. Keep track of your transport expenses

We have a variety of options when it comes to going around these days and transport expenditures are easy to overlook simply because we deem them a necessity. Make sure you make use of travel cards if it is cheaper in the long run. Avoid taxi fares by getting up early to catch your train on time. Always ask yourself: Is this cost efficient or simply convenient?  

  1. Consider takeaways a treat every fortnight.
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Face it: eating takeaway regularly is a major cause of the depletion of your savings. Which is why you should consider it a treat every two weeks if you cannot just do away with it completely. Who knows what culinary skills you have hidden inside you? Cooking and meal prepping is one sure way of gaining control over your spending on food.

  1. Never watch movies for full price

I am not a movie person but in case you are, then get this. You can cut off your cinema expenses by half and see the exact same movie. For example in London, Vue Cinemas partners with Y Plan from time to time and you can buy tickets for £7 instead of £14. Also, I acquired a Tastecard membership which allows me to get 40% discount on certain cinemas nationwide. Or you can just stream online for free. And cut off your cable – Netflix is waaay cheaper.

  1. Explore options for passive income
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Earn extra bucks  on the side even if it is only until you reach your goal. This may be hardwork for some but nothing is too difficult if you badly want this trip to happen. A few ideas are babysitting, dog walking or even hosting on Airbnb.

  1. Scrap off your credit card debt

It is hard to save up for something when credit card debt takes a massive chunk of your income. And don’t you even think of booking that flight with your remaining credit balance. The last thing you want is paying off lots of interest over a debt you can easily take care of. You HAVE to prioritize scratching it off so you can focus on your financial plan.

  1. Sell those pre-loved items

Have a good look around your room. Chances are you own stuff you haven’t even touched in a year. Rethink your need for these items and explore how comfortable you are with selling them. It could be an old bike, an unwanted gift or a camera you aren’t using anymore. Hold a small garage sale or get put it up on ebay.

  1. Resist the upgrade.

Two months ago I resisted the temptation of upgrading my phone contract although I really wanted the latest handset model. In the end I talked myself out of it because my phone was in good condition that you would think it’s brand new. I downgraded my contract instead and this alone will save me £360 a year. If you have a smartphone that is working just fine, I recommend doing this immediately.

  1. Get rid of some bad (and expensive) habits
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Going out for a few drinks every now and then is harmless right? Wrong. With the costs of basic commodities on the rise, so is the price tag on alcohol and cigarettes. These items are usually taxed because of their nature, making them even more pricey. Smoking is a luxurious habit to keep and in London alone a smoker who consumes 1 pack a day will spend approximately £300 a month. Your body will thank you for it!

And there you have it, twelve ways you can save more money for that well – deserved holiday! Remember, every little bit counts and it all boils down to how it all sums up. Don’t be that person who thinks saving small amounts of money counts for nothing – spare as much as you can. Ultimately, every bit is an inch closer to your goal and before you know it, you’d be booking that plane ticket with a wide smile on your face. Happy travels!

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Five Travel Essentials

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While the idea of going away for a holiday may be exciting, preparing for that much anticipated trip can be a bit of a task. And as much as you just want to fast forward your life into your well deserved vacation, well the truth is you have a few bases you need to cover. So while you tick off your to do list and finish packing that luggage, I am going to share with you the five items that have become staples in my travel bag. Some of them are quite unlikely items but believe me, they are life savers!

1. Baby Wipes
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This is one of my personal favorites and my trusty pack of wet wipes have saved me from a lot of sticky situations. It is a very versatile item that I use for cleaning personal items, taking care of accidental spills and even as simple as sanitizing my hands. Got a spot on your shoe? No worries as long as you have this on your travel bag. PS: I even used the ones with aloe for quick relief from sunburn!

2. Sewing Kit
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I always keep a mini sewing kit with spare safety pins and buttons on me when traveling. It’s an unlikely item for some but it can make your life ten times easier should your OOTD decide to malfunction. Most wardrobe issues that happen on the road can be repaired quickly with a few stitches and all it takes is a few minutes. So do yourself a favor and have one with you on your next getaway.

3. Scarf
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When traveling to places that are notorious for temperamental weather, my go to item is a scarf. Pick one that goes well with most colors so you can pull it off with any outfit. You don’t need to have it on all the time, just roll it neatly and tuck it in your handbag in case the weather gets a bit chilly. Heading off somewhere warm? Summer scarves would definitely complete your look.

4. Power Bank
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An average person nowadays will own anywhere from two to five gadgets. The unfortunate truth about them is, they run out of juice eventually and more so when you are traveling and using apps for directions. Luckily, there are a lot of different power banks available in the market today which allow you to charging your most important gadgets on the go. This technology is more necessary than convenient depending on how bad you need access to your phone’s content. Another option would be to pack an extra battery.

5. Water Bottle

Going back to basic things: Hydration. Cities with high costs of living can take a toll on your pocket money even on purchasing small items like drinks and coffee. Going places with your own water bottle not only keeps me hydrated – it saves me some money when I find myself in touristy places and a small bottled water is selling for 5 euros. When it adds up, you could use that money instead for some cute souvenirs.

So there you have it, my five travel must haves especially for you. I hope you keep some of these travel staples in your bag the next time you pack for a trip. Happy travels!

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Copenhagen In Retrospect: First Impressions and Overview of the World’s Happiest City

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My first moment in Copenhagen was met by the utter lack of chaos in Kobenhavn Airport. Everything was operating smoothly in an environment I could only describe as lustrous. I left this country without seeing dust and I had dinner at an underground restaurant at some point. Imagine that. Maybe this was how the rest of the world could look if only people respected personal space on a regular basis and did not impose their lives on other people as much. In Copenhagen there is always ample space to live in – even in trains and escalators I had an arm’s length of distance from everything. Meanwhile in London I don’t even dare walk slower than the human behind me in fear of losing my right to exist in that living space. So far, so good.

The Danish are reserved people but very approachable and especially helpful to us when our map reading skills were failing. Their emphasis on simplicity was something I always felt and it truly is inspirational to an extent. If I had to guess, expectations of public decorum (most definitely) included not being too loud. In fact, I witnessed no boisterous laughter in public at all and it is still a wonder to me how I couldn’t overhear ANY conversation – not even from those talking from a mere foot away.

The general atmosphere was pleasant and navigation was easy with the straightforward public transport. It is a small, walking city that we were able to see most of within our first day. I highly recommend exploring by foot if you have a great appreciation for architecture and beautiful narrow streets. As one of Europe’s oldest cities, this Danish capital is home to intricate buildings from the 17th century and an amusement park dating back to 1843. To me, this is simply remarkable.

Things to see

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Standing centrally in Copenhagen is its City Hall which was constructed in the late 1800s. It is open to the public but it is just as a memorable when viewed from the City Hall Square.2016-24-11-11-39-55

2.Nyhavn
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The colorful facade of houses in Nyhavn

Another must see is Nyhavn, a 17th century canal and entertainment district well known for good food and music alongside that laidback atmosphere. Fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen lived in this area particularly in numbers 18, 20 and 67.

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3.Rundetaar
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City overview

If you are looking for a good viewing point of the city then enter the Round Tower otherwise known as Rundetaar. Its shape make it almost impossible to miss and expect to be rewarded with brilliant panoramic views of upon reaching the top.

4.Little Mermaid
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Little Mermaid Statue

The Little Mermaid Statue is a symbol for this city and is unsurprisingly one of most visited attractions. Fans of the Disney animated film Little Mermaid should definitely put this in their itinerary. Yet even as one of Europe’s prominent landmarks, it is relatively unremarkable from the outside and smaller than one would expect. However, this original statue has stood the test of time and celebrated its 100 years last 2013 after being restored many times due to acts of vandalism and mutilation. It has been put back together time and time again to return to Langelinie Harbour, where she seems to continue longing for to be part of another world. This context alone makes it worth seeing in person because this Danish landmark is definitely a survivor.

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Langelinie
5.Freetown Christiana
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Simple rules of Christiana

Feeling adventurous or ready for something out of the ordinary? Then strut over to Freetown Christiana. It’s a neighborhood in Copenhagen that will leave you feeling like you have gone to a completely different dimension. Before entering, we were met by an arch welcoming everyone into this controversial chunk of Copenhagen. But let’s just say that you do not need signs to know you’ve crossed over somewhere different – oh trust me you will JUST KNOW. Aside from the independent shops and stalls and quite radical taste for art, Christiana is a hot topic due to the trade of things that may or may not be illegal. Inside, there are very specific rules we all had to abide by for everyone’s safety (mostly ours). The place had a certain feel of danger to it but simply follow the laws of Christiana and you’ll make it out alive. Wink wink.

6.Tivoli Gardens
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Magical Tivoli Gardens!

There is only one answer to the question what is the best thing to see in Copenhagen. It’s Tivoli Gardens! What makes it one of a kind is not the fact that it’s the world’s second oldest amusement park, but because Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen actually spent time here. The place is not just dreamy, it’s where makers of fairy tales as we know it went for fun. Now if that is not amazing then I don’t know what is.2016-24-11-14-09-42

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The Garden’s magic continues at night
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White Christmas

Christmas in Tivoli is unmissable and it was indeed one of my main reasons for flying to Denmark. My friends and I wanted to imbibe on a yuletide vibe that can be quite elusive in London despite the grand display of lights along Regent Street. The Garden was themed with Christmas in every corner and the experience was truly unforgettable. To top this all off, we found Father Christmas! And he took a picture with us to remember this by.

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Merriest Christmas!

Copenhagen is a destination better explored when a traveler has a deep sense of context about the capital. This city is remarkable in itself but even more so because of the talent that nested and thrived within its humble walls. It’s where people who created magic sought inspiration and ideas and where testaments from centuries ago managed to defy time.

It is a place I see myself coming back to, even if I have to do it alone. There is no special reason underneath, it’s just a place I feel comfortable in with its sophisticated airport and hushed citizens. There was a certain level of ease brought about by the unpolluted air and general mood of the locals. I guess they did not dub this place Happiest City on Earth for nothing. Theirs was a different kind of happy because if you ask me… Copenhagen was full of peace and quiet. It is quite hard to imagine Hans Christian Andersen’s talents flourishing anywhere else.

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Until we return, Copenhagen!
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Autumn Travels: Discover the Magic of Prague

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Their history is studded with events of random defenestration and for that reason, (among others) Prague had my full attention. Once upon a time, the leaders of their society had such a bad day that they decided to take an obvious solution: throw their enemies out the window. I know this was cruel, and too bad for you if you were the one being thrown out, but if this was made legal nowadays, life would be so much simpler. Because today, idiots just seem to be everywhere – but so are windows. Problem. Solved.

On a serious note though, Prague is a beautiful city with a history that is just as colorful. So colorful indeed that some of the truth got mixed with a couple of myths and the interesting part is – it could still be hard to tell which is which. When travelling, I have always considered a day trip into the itinerary but this time I was too smitten to go away even for a day. I ended up staying there all week, day by day walking along Old Town and ravishing random street food I could find. Smiling at random strangers and finding delight in the talent of the street performers. The beautiful architecture, abundantly consumed beer and the meat-based diet made it hard for me to leave – so hard indeed that I never looked back to say goodbye as my plane flew back to London. But if there is any truth about the plate of St. John of Nepomuk in Charles Bridge, then farewells were not yet in order anyway.

With the -ber months here once again marking the start of a new season, the warm air has dissipated and there is finally relief from heat wave season. In so many ways, Autumn is a great time to travel, not only because of the pleasantly cool weather but also because of the beautiful landscapes and views undergoing seasonal transformation. This may as well be the best time of year to travel around Europe. And if you’ve never been to Prague, then why not make it your destination this fall? Here are a few things I adored about the city that come highly recommended!

1.Old Town Square

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Dreamy scenario captured in Old Town Prague

Almost constantly buzzing with tourists is Prague’s Old Town Square, a place that resounds of places we thought only existed in fairy tales. There is never enough space between the tourists and the random street performers trying to earn a buck or two. But there is a reason for all that chaos. Surrounded by structures rich with stunning composition and historical affiliations, Old Town is simply magnetic.

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Some of the buildings surrounding Old Town Prague
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Old Town Hall

2.Astronomical Clock

2016-30-10-11-11-51Among Europe’s iconic landmarks is Prague’s Astronomical Clock – a clock that has a rather whimsical and medieval appearance. But being the world’s oldest working clock is enough excuse for this.  It stirs into life every hour with its much awaited mechanical show of the Apostles and figurines. This makes it a tourist hotspot every time the hour hits its last few minutes. The mechanical show itself may fall below the expectations of gawking tourists, but the clock’s design, together with its history and context, still makes it worthwhile for curious travelers like me.

3.Prague Castle / St. Vitus Cathedral

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Prague Castle as seen from Charles Bridge

Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world that is still in operation. It is undeniably an important symbol to those who live in Prague and remains relevant even in today’s times by being the Official Residence of the President. It is best described as a castle complex, comprising of various grandiose buildings and palaces. I found this a truly beautiful destination, with stunning architecture and such lush gardens that offer unparalleled views across Prague.

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Overlooking view of the city
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Clockwise from left uppermost image: Castle Courtyard, St. Vitus Cathedral, Statue of St. John of Nepomuk and rear view of St Vitus Cathedral.

4.Charles Bridge

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Charles Bridge

Next to churches, I have always admired bridges across Europe. Among my personal favorites are Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Szechenyi Chain Bridge of Budapest and of course London’s Tower Bridge. In my country, I equated bridges with being dilapidated, low – cost or unnecessarily blundered with a politician’s name from end to end in all caps. It was therefore a pleasant surprise that in this part of the world, they have become one of the things I look forward to, enchanted by the charm it adds to a city’s ambiance. I find that it lends over a dreamy factor because it usually crosses a body of water. Prague’s Charles Bridge is no exemption indeed, rich with detailed architecture that is truly one of a kind. Guarding it bilaterally are Baroque statues that usually represent something significant from history, one of which is St. John of Nepomuk. Touching his plate supposedly garners good luck and ensures your return to the city of Praha.

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Charles Bridge as seen from the banks of Vltava River. The plate of St. John of Nepomuk is one of the highlights of the bridge, attracting tourists from all over. Notice how the color has changed in the middle due to the number of tourists rubbing the famous landmark. It is said that touching this ensures a traveler’s return to Prague in the future.

5.Czech Cuisine

Prague’s food scene is brilliant and even more so if you are a fan of a highly carnivorous diet. I am talking about delicious slabs of meat, succulent, juicy and not necessarily in healthy portions. I especially adored the Roasted Pork Knuckle and the traditional Medovnik Cake. More details about my favorite Czechia Food here.

6.Lesser Town

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Streets of Lesser Town

If you are looking for a little freedom from the hoards of tourists trooping around then Lesser Town Prague just might do the trick. Sure, you’d still find a tourist here and there but not in volumes that they are in Old Town Square. Walking around Lesser Town is a great way to get a closer look at Prague and appreciate its streets, hidden corners and medieval charm. Be sure to find and drop by St. Nicholas Church.

Viajera Travel Tip: Food is cheaper in Lesser Town so be sure to feast upon some delicious Czechia food!

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St. Nicholas Church

7.Vltava River

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The calm currents of Vltava

Overflowing with a sense of tranquil, the Vltava is one of the highlights of my journey in Prague. It is almost romantic, how this river cascades so placidly, evoking thoughts about how in the end, things always fall in the right places. Because destiny. Because no matter how chaos we generate in this world, the unseen forces of the universe somehow always win.
Walking along Charles Bridge, one can already admire panoramic views of the river but it is best appreciated aboard one of the boat tours. There is the option of booking a lunch or dinner cruise, but as an alternative an hour long cruise without food is also available. Discovering Prague from this vantage point gives you a chance to see the city from a different angle and could prove to be a great opportunity for taking truly unique photographs. Be sure not to miss this!2016-30-10-13-28-02


2016-30-10-13-58-16Autumn is undeniably a great time for travel. The trees are painted with various shades of yellow and brown, the landscapes panning out in glorious fiery colors. Personally, I love traveling during fall because the views are just outstanding. This season doesn’t just prepare the world for winter – it acts as a constant reminder of how some truly elegant things emerge from change. Wherever life takes us, the beauty of it is in how we can always look forward to the good things that are yet to come. Ultimately, this makes it the most important journey each and every one of us if ever going to make. And for as long as we are unsure as to whether there are future lifetimes ahead for us to live, then make the one you are in right now count. Because I still believe that if we live this one right, this one – way ticket is all we are ever going to need. 

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Where are you headed off this Autumn? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Stunning Sceneries From Scotland to Fuel Your Wanderlust

The movie Braveheart may come to mind when Scotland is mentioned – alongside bagpipes or men in checkered skirts. Their past of conflict and bravery is both enthralling and tragic with story lines that easily remind me of Game of Thrones – only with real tempers lost and unbelievable amount of bloodshed. And although that era of violence is now just another page in their rich history, much of it is still remembered as they are still deeply rooted in the unparalleled landscapes found here. From Ben Nevis to the scenic Glencoe – Scotland is truly a one of a kind destination.

Here are a few snapshots of Scotland that just might give you the extra nudge to finally book that ticket for your next adventure. These photos were taken during summer, but I was told that Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands are just as stunning on winter time. I love looking back at these pictures and recall how truly one of a kind Scotland’s landscapes are. I hope you find a little bit of travel inspiration in these photos and I wish you many happy travels ahead.  Go ahead and fuel you wanderlust!

The city of Edinburgh is a walking city and a tourist can easily navigate around and hunt for picturesque corners. You will never run out of things to point that camera to when in Scotland’s flourishing  capital.

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Calton Hill
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National Monument of Scotland
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Scott Monument
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Streets of Edinburgh
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City Center
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Statue of Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch

The Scottish Highlands is a paradise of rolling mountains, pristine lochs, meadows and endless stretches of foliage and trees. It’s a great destination for those longing for a break from the suffocation of concrete jungles and busy urban crowds. The vastness of The Highlands alone is enough to make you take deep breaths and forget city life for a while.

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That Scottish Highland landscape
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Loch Lubnaig
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The Highlands
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Enveloped between the tall trees of the Highlands
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Sunset
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Edinburgh Skyline

The world is full of unseen places, waiting to be discovered by curious minds and hearts awaiting to be captivated. For me, the best destinations are those we did not intend to see, those we ran into by accident or some form of destiny. In these places, sometimes we meet new people who stay in our lives as friends and then there are those lucky few who finally meet themselves for the first time. Happy travels dear reader, and sooner rather than later, I hope you find what you are looking for. Continue reading Stunning Sceneries From Scotland to Fuel Your Wanderlust