So Ready for Barcelona

After the short bus ride to Paris Beauvais airport, and after the hour long flight, we touched down in Spain and quickly learned that Uber is banned. This was different since we were so used to using Citymapper and finding other ways to get around, but an easy change of pace and we settled for an expensive taxi, called with the app Cabify. Barcelona ended up being our trip of surprises and you’ll find out why. It was dubbed our relaxation part of the trip for the hot beaches but we stayed pretty active the entire time.

Beaches

Over the first few days before our activities, we decided to cool it and spend time getting to know the beaches of Barcelona. We spent time Platja del Bogatell, Platja de la Barceloneta, and Platja de Sant Sebastià. It was extremely hot of course, with regular announcements made over the loud speaker to stay out of the sun as much as possible and to wear sunscreen. It felt as though I was buying a new bottle of sunscreen every other day.

We found a nice little convenience store by the beach that was also selling hot food. So even though the heat was enough to incapacitate us, we got some hot food, covered ourselves in sunscreen and went to relax on Platja del Sant Sebastià until sundown. Most beaches in Barcelona don’t close, so the party continued on for other people. There was music being played loudly from far away, giving beach day an awesome vibe. There were people going around selling their wares; beach blankets, trinkets, cold water, and massages.

Barcelona was very diverse and nearly everyone that we encountered spoke at least enough English to hold a conversation with us. I did my best even though my Spanish is a little rusty, but we ran into problems when they tried to speak English to us. So before taking anything from them, such as massages or anything that you cannot just give back, make sure that they take the form of currency that you are carrying, or you’ll be leaving the beach to find an ATM.

Bus Tour

We woke up one morning wanting to see more of Barcelona besides the beaches, and needing a little break from the heat, so we decided to take a Big Bus tour and sit up top to catch some breeze and see some historic site such as, La Sagrada Familia. Along with the most famous and beautiful church in Barcelona, we saw Park Güell, Port Vell, and various other Gothic structures.

Kayaking & Snorkeling

We met our tour guide at Port Olìmpic early in the day and took an hour long car ride to Costa Brava. On the way there we got to get to know the others in our group a little better. When we stepped out of the van, we got blasted by the heat as well as the beauty of the coast. I was almost out of sunscreen and I continued to go without because the shops there by the beach were selling sunscreen with a 25 euro price tag for a tiny bottle that would have only been enough to cover one of my legs. I used what I had left, sparingly because we would be out on the water for at least 4 or 5 hours.

Our valuables got put away, along with anything else that could be lost to the beautiful waters of Costa Brava, then headed to the beach. We got a quick lesson from JB, our guide, on how to properly paddle and how to get in and out of the kayak without flipping it over (which my friend and I almost did). Got all our gear on and moved over to the water. We got in while the staff held the kayak and then pushed us out into the water. It started out slow because a couple of members in our group needed to be towed.

We paddled out into open water, careful to watch for swimmers, until we got to more narrow areas behind small cliffs that beach goers were jumping off of and into the clear water. We found a few, sort of hidden caves that we could squeeze ourselves into and see all of the life there. Tiny crabs and the like. After seeing a few cave dwellers, it was time to snorkel. We tied our kayaks together to one huge rock and put or masks on. The water wasn’t too chilly but colder than I expected. I saw little fish feeding on the coral there, and even an eel upon further investigation of the reef. It was massive and we turned right around and swam in the other direction.

The only downer to this, the BEST part of my trip, was seeing the reef and how it appeared to be dead and dying. Every thing was brown and beige and dull., not the vibrantly colored reef that JB told us used to live there. He told us that the reef was slowly dying because of pollution in and around Barcelona. Pretty sad if you ask me.

We got back into our kayaks and paddled out of there and back to shore, careful not to get in the way of any yachts or speed boats that were zooming by. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the beach with sea breeze, beer, and lunch prepared by JB himself. A day that stood out for me and I’m glad that I made this memory.

Calm, Sunset Boat Ride on the Mediterranean

We walked through Port Olìmpic and met our host at the boatyard after walking past all the boats at the dock. Marc and Paola were super welcoming and as soon as we were on board, drinks were served. Beer, white wine and tapas, but even so, I knew from the start that the boat ride was going to be the best part of the trip to Spain. Before we even left port, Marc created a relaxing atmosphere with his great taste in music, playing a little Bob Marley here and there. We loved the music enough to ask Marc for the song names and he was nice enough to send his Spotify playlist. After we got our drinks, Paola brought out some awesome tapas for our group. Different cheeses, salami, carrots, humus and chorizo.

We enjoyed the gentle swaying of the boat until we were far out enough for a good swim. I have never had a swim out in open water like that before, so jumping off the side of the boat into the blue nothingness was a bit of a terrifying rush! But I loved it and I jumped a few more times with our fellow boat mates. We climbed back on board for more music and snacks, and as we continued to sail, we looked back to see tuna!

They were amazing to see and very fast. I was happy to be back on the boat at that point. Our sail took us out and around in front of the beaches, making for an awesome sunset view of Barcelona before heading back into port. If you haven’t already, book a sunset boat ride in any city where it is possible. It was one of most relaxing evenings of my life and I can’t wait to do it again.

Calella

The next day we decided to take in the city and walk around as locals on what we thought was going to be our last day in Spain. We walked past shops and restaurants and got more tapas. We made our way back to the airport, checked in, went through security, and headed for our gate. All boarded and waiting for take off.

Then everyone was taken off of the aircraft and told to wait by the gate.

So we waited…

and waited…

and waited some more…

Then finally after a ton of prying, it was announced that our flight had been canceled. Everyone was instructed to go back down to check in, where it took forever for us to get any answers. After walking up and down Barcelona airport, we were told that we would all be boarding a bus to a beach town that was an hour away from the airport.

We were the first ones on the bus and not held up like everyone else because they couldn’t get to their checked luggage which wasn’t being handled because of airport strikes. At that moment we were very happy that we decided this should be a backpacking trip and I was very happy for my bag that held all that I needed for 15 days in Europe.

We arrived, aggravated, at Hotel Mar Blau, at around 3am. Thankfully we were checked in quickly and went straight to our room. Norwegian covered our room, every meal for 5 days, and transportation to and from the airport. Our re-booked flight was much smoother after feeling like we would never leave Spain. But it was a fun and interesting few days in Calella.

While stranded in Calella, we decided to make the best of our stay by visiting the beach every day, visiting local bars and restaurants, and eating tapas. Our first day on the beach there, we didn’t think to bring cash with us and the men renting beach umbrellas only took euros. He was kind enough to let us enjoy our day and umbrella and let us get the money for him later. The next day we had our cash ready for him and he was happy to see us. Later on, we realized that we were tired of seeing all the trash on the beach and we cleaned up a large area. The umbrella rental guy came over with a bag to take the trash from me, told us how awesome we were for wanting to see the beach clean, and gave us a free ticket for the next day.

I would like to point out that the waves that we experienced in Calella, were nothing like the calm and gentle waves of the beaches Barceloneta and Olìmpic that we had enjoyed a week prior. In Calella, I got scorpioned pretty hard by one particularly aggressive wave. We did our best to swim but repeatedly got the wind knocked out of us. Eventually we gave up and retreated back under our beach umbrella to simply enjoy the SOUND of the waves.

If you ever visit Calella, I encourage you to try some tapas. We stopped at Cantinflas & Grouchos for a bite and found a small restaurant being run by a happy little family.

On our last morning in Spain, it was calm and serene with the waves in the background and the sun starting to peek over the horizon. We left early, so no shops were open, no one was walking about and as we drove down the coast back to Barcelona airport, the beaches were empty except for one or two early morning fishers. It was a nice morning but still bittersweet. We had been so ready to go because we missed home, but ending a trip is always so hard for me. All the more reason to book my next trip. The flight went by smoothly with a 3-hour layover in Copenhagen. Not enough time to leave the airport and explore BUT we did find out that Copenhagen airport is HUGE! Like a mega mall but still very easy to find your way around. After finally touching back down in the U.S., I was very happy to make it to my own bed.

The City of Love

We arrived at Charles de Gualle airport very late, caught an uber and met up with a friend of ours that lives in Paris. We walked 5 minutes over to the Eiffel tower to catch the dazzling light show that starts at around 1am right before the lights go off for the night. We made our way for the Airbnb and ended our night.

The next day we met up with our friend again and made our way in another Uber to Sacré-Coeur basilica. The area outside of Sacred Heart is a super hub for pick pockets because of the number of tourists that frequent the place, as well as the many people selling trinkets and souvenirs. We climbed to the top of the hill to find Sacred Heart sitting pretty and white in the sun. There was a line to get in but it was worth it once you got inside. The interior is beautiful and way bigger than I had imagined.

Sacred Heart church, which is also known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a Roman Catholic Church, which has been constructed to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is one of the most popular landmarks that you can discover in Paris as well. In addition to that, Sacred Heart church is call as the second most visited monument located within the capital of Paris as well.

The Sacred Heart church is located on the top of Butte Montmarte. This is the highest point of Paris as well. It is a religious building, which was constructed in the year 1885. In addition to that, Sacred Heart church is also called as a place that shows cultural and political importance.

History of Sacred Heart church

The construction activities of Sacred Heart church were started in the year 1884. The piece of land, which is on the top of Montmarte was owned by a private party. Hence, a public utility was passed in order to seize the piece of land. Then Paul Abadie worked on the design of the basilica. In fact, a competition was held back in the day to figure out the best design. 77 architects competed for it. Out of them, Paul Abadie was able to end up as the winner.

There were numerous delays in assembling the project back in the day. In fact, the initial foundation stone was laid in the year 1875. However, numerous factors pushed the beginning of construction activities at Sacred Heart church.

Around seven million French Francs were used for the construction of Sacred Heart church back in the day. It was constructed entirely from money that was collected through private donations. Ever since the construction of Sacred Heart church, it is known for attracting tourists and guests. In fact, the popularity of Sacred Heart church boosted along with time. That’s how Sacred Heart church was able to become the second most visited monument in Paris as well.

Few interesting facts about Sacred Heart church

If you are planning to visit Sacred Heart church, you would be interested in going through these few interesting facts. They will help you to make an informed visit to Sacred Heart church and enjoy the best out of it as well.

You will be impressed with the unique architectural style

During your visit to Sacred Heart church, you will be impressed by the unique architectural style. As mentioned earlier, a contest was held back in the day to determine the architectural style of Sacred Heart church. From that contest, Paul Abadie was able to become the winner. Paul Abadie is one of the most known architects to live in Paris back in the day as well. In fact, he actively participated in the restoration of Perigueux Cathedral as well.

It was a Pagan shrine before the Christian area

You can now see a church on the top of Montmarte. However, it was bot a church back in the day. Instead, there was a Pagan Shrine. Numerous resources say that druids sued to worship this shrine. In addition to that, Romans have gone ahead to construct temples, which are dedicated to the gods Mercury and Mars back in the day as well.

Republics built the church

The project to build Sacred Heart church was initiated by a group of influential people. They had two main objectives to go ahead and work on the construction of this church. The very first initiative was to make a National Vow in order to develop a church, in case if Paris escaped untouched during the war that they had with Prussians Army during the years 1870 and 1871. The second objective was the defeat of French Army, which took place in 1871. In fact, Sacred Heart church was called as a moral condemnation of all the sins that Paris had accumulated.

In the year 1873, the National Assembly got together and discussed about this project. That’s where approval was given to go ahead and start the construction activities of the project. They wanted to develop a church, which is clearly visible from all parts of Paris. That’s how the location was selected in the hill of Montmarte. As you can guess by now, it was the French Republic, who took the initiative for construction of Sacred Heart church.

This church looks as white as whipped cream.

The Sacred Heart church looks pretty much similar to as it is covered with whipped cream. In other words, Sacred Heart church delivers a bright white appearance. This white appearance has been obtained from a unique stone obtained in London quarries. The wet weather available in the quarries have contributed towards the chalky white color of Sacred Heart church as well.

You can witness Paris from above.

All the people who visit Sacred Heart church will be provided with the opportunity to get unique sights of Paris. In fact, you will be able to take a look at Paris from above. This will be a unique view, which you cannot get from anywhere else in Paris. You will be able to notice the breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower and la Defense while you are at Sacred Heart church. If you can take a pair of binoculars with you, you will be able to take a look at all the monuments that are located in Paris as well.

It has the largest bell of France

Last but not least, you need to keep in mind that Sacred Heart church holds the largest bell that you can find in France as well. This bell comes from the Alps. In fact, it is a present that is given by the four dioceses of Savoie.

As you can see, you will be impressed with the unique views and architecture offered at Sacred Heart church. Therefore, all people who visit Paris should think about paying a visit to Sacred Heart church.

Upon leaving, the bells began to ring. We rounded the corner behind the church to find a very narrow and very busy little street that led to nice restaurants and markets. We stopped at a crowded place for a bite to eat where I decided on a crepe since it is my first time in Paris, I’d like something authentic. I’ve had crepes at home before but this one was the best quality that I’ve tried. I ordered one with Nutella to satiate my sweet tooth and waited for my friends to finish their food.

After we ate, we continued walking on and wandered into a quaint little art market where artists had their work on display and were doing caricatures of the folks walking through. We then walked down another art filled street to find a man with a wheel barrel cart, selling all kinds of incense, spices, natural remedies, and even natural make up. Continuing down the street we found a statue of Dalida. It is a tribute to the late singer and it is believed that rubbing her chest brings luck. On our journey down the hill we came across the home of Vincent Van Gogh. Our touristy excursion ended with the red light district. We hung out over a huge air duct in front of Moulin Rouge because of how hot it was that day.

Months in advance of my trip, I booked a session with a photographer local to Paris because I wanted some decent photos of my trip that weren’t selfies. The photographer and I met up in a nice quiet part of town and walked to a sweet market where I got a few photos in front of some elaborate pastries. I got a few awesome views of the Eiffel tower and a few shots in front of the home of famous writer and playwright, Honoré de Balzac. We then walked under the Mission Impossible and Inception bridge and then finished with some photos on the Bir-Hakeim bridge.

One restaurant that I enjoyed was the Dogstar restaurant. I chickened out on the escargot but I did manage a crepe into my diet. But I inevitably fell back into my comfort zone and ordered some spicy chicken nachos that were made with some of the freshest ingredients. I would highly recommend the Dogstar to any other nerd that happens to be in Paris.

UK London

We arrived at London Heathrow Airport and used this amazing app to avoid expensive Ubers and taxis, called City Mapper. It had step by step directions to get you exactly where you need to be. One of my traveling companions told us about this app and it sounded easy before ever using it, and I am not great at understanding the subways. So we shuffled to the underground, bought our Oyster cards and made it to the Airbnb for about £5.

We arrived at the White Hart hotel very late and our host was up waiting for us. We had a cute room, just enough space for the three of us. No A/C, but since it is London, the weather was somewhat cool, even in mid summer July. We also got a 10% discount at the White Hart bar downstairs. Over the next few days we visited Secret bars, took a ride on the London Eye, and went on a Harry Potter tour. Our London trip was just packed enough to keep us busy without tiring us out too bad.

Our first day in London was the day that we planned to take a harry potter tour, which was awesome because most of my friends are fans. We got a bit turned around when looking for the address, which happened to be where Harry Potter and the cursed child was, but we knew we weren’t looking for that so we continued on down the wrong street and found a nerd haven store called House of Spells.

It was mostly HP but there was something in there for every nerd. I’m a huge GOT fan so seeing the iron throne was pretty cool.

When we finally found our group, (on time, thankfully) we were all sorted into our houses by reaching into a bag to pull out a card. I was very happy to find that I had pulled my house, Ravenclaw, out of the bag.

We saw St, Paul’s cathedral which could be seen from the “wobbly bridge” or Millenium bridge that was destroyed by the Death Eaters in the movie.  The Millenium bridge, nicknamed the “wobbly bridge” got its name because it actually used to wobble back and forth when anyone would try to walk on it.  Apparently the architect said that people just weren’t walking across it properly. (??) Kind of funny because then our guide said that we would all now be cartwheeling across the bridge in unison. The bridge also happened to be right next to The City of London school where Daniel Radcliffe attended.

We spent a little bit of time in the Borough Market. We saw all kinds of things being sold from knickknacks to fresh fish, clothing stands to delicious street food made fresh in front of you.

 

Across the street from the market was the room that harry stayed in before the school year in the Prisoner of Azkaban. The train that runs through the market, is the train that can be heard from Harry’s room. We saw the actual filming location for what served as the entrance to Diagon Alley, as well as Kings Cross Station. We learned that the filming for platform 9 3/4 was actually filmed between platforms 4 and 5 instead of between platforms 9 and 10.

The day after, we decided to do a secret bars tour of London where we found amazing drinks in hidden and very cozy areas. You could walk into a regular restaurant or little cafe and the entrance would be cleverly hidden in plain sight. One of the bars that we visited, described their drinks by their taste rather than with what they are made of.

The bar keep came over with the most amazing looking and tasting drinks. And each came with a story. The “drink” that I got was actually a scoop of alcoholic gummy bears which was great for me  because I love gummy anything and they gave me a nice buzz. At the next bar I ordered a fizzy, lavender drink. Pretty purple and was very refreshing with a citrus taste to it.

After our bar tour we spent some time in Trafalgar Square, near the building that looks like Gringotts bank.

Trafalgar square is the epicenter for festivities in London. When you are exploring prominent tourist attractions in London, you should never miss it.

Trafalgar square was created back in the 1800s. It was constructed in order to celebrate the victory of British Navy, when they won the Battle of Trafalgar during Napoleon Wars. The entire area went through a massive redevelopment during the 1820s. Since then, people in London are using it as the epicenter to organize a variety of festivals.

It is possible for you to discover a large number of monuments located in Trafalgar square. Out of those monuments, the Nelson’s Column, which is located in the center is the most prominent one. It has got four different lion statues in the base. In addition to that, you can also discover a fountain created by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

You can also discover many sculptures and statues in Trafalgar square as well. The statues of General Sir Charles James Nepierby, statue of George IV and stature of Major General Sir Henry Havelock have received lots of attention out of them. You can also discover three different busts of admiral towards the north as well. When you take a look at the southern side, you will be able to see the bronze equestrian statue of Charles I.

The National Gallery can be found in front of Trafalgar square. During your visit to Trafalgar square, you should think about getting into the National Gallery as well. That’s where you will be able to discover the St. Martin in the Fields Church. On the other hand, you can discover Canada House on the west.

Since Trafalgar square is the epicenter for festivities in London, you will be able to discover many events taking place in here on a regular basis. You can think about attending those events and enjoying your moments as well. From the year 1947, a Christmas tree is placed at Trafalgar square. It was initially provided to London by the government of Norway, with the objective of showing support provided by Britain during the Second World War. This tree is massively decorated during the Christmas Season and you will be impressed by the sights of it.

You can also think about visiting Trafalgar square during the New Year’s Eve. That’s because an annual fireworks event is hosted in here. You will be able to gather near the fountain and dance along with locals, while enjoying the fireworks show. The fireworks show will be demonstrated in a massive screen as well.

On 21st of October, an annual parade is organized by Sea Cadet Corps at Trafalgar square. It is organized with the objective of honoring the anniversary of Admiral Lord Nelson. In addition to that, the Victory that British Troops obtained during the Battle of Trafalgar is celebrated on 11th of November.

You don’t need to purchase any tickets to get into Trafalgar square. It is open 24/7 and you can walk in at any given time of the day and enjoy the time that you spend. You will also be able to find a variety of scenic backgrounds, where you can capture some breathtaking photos as well.

Trafalgar square is attached to a mall as well. You can think about going for a shopping spree after you spend your time in here.

During your stay in Trafalgar square, it is important to keep in mind that it is completely forbidden to feed the pigeons. You should be mindful about it while you spend your time there.

 

After sitting in the square for a bit, we headed down the Mall towards Buckingham palace, an awesome sight at night. We took pictures of the Queen Victoria memorial and enjoyed our short time outside of the Queen’s home.

The next day we decided on a shopping trip to Primark in a quieter part of town. I found some amazing clothes for prices that I never would have found in the U.S. We spent a few hours just hanging out before heading over to the London Eye. It was bigger than I expected which naturally got me some great views of London. We went up at sunset and the sky looked calm and beautiful.

I spent a little bit of time in Picadilly Circus where lots of people go for some great photo shoots.

Piccadilly Circus is one of the most popular tourist attractions that you can find in Piccadilly Circus. It is sitting near the popular Eros statue. If you are looking for a place in London to entertain yourself along with your loved family members, you are strongly encouraged to think about visiting Piccadilly Circus in London.

What exactly is Piccadilly Circus in London?

Piccadilly Circus is called as an icon of modern London as well. That’s mainly because of its location, which is lit up with Neon signs as well as multiple displays. When you walk inside Piccadilly Circus, you will be exposed to a variety of entertainment options, including restaurants, theatres, shops and cinemas. In addition to that, you will also be able to witness one of the most popular English pubs in here as well.

The area surrounding Piccadilly Circus is identified as one of the liveliest neighborhoods that you can discover in London. People in London get attracted to this area in order to go ahead with partying. In addition to that, we can also find how a large number of external guests are attracted to Piccadilly Circus, where they can enjoy their time like never before. At Piccadilly Circus, you will be able to discover a variety of venues, which offer discounts to the guests. Therefore, you can enjoy your time at Piccadilly Circus without spending a fortune.

History of Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus has a long history, which dates back to few centuries. In fact, the origins of Piccadilly Circus are connected to Piccadilly Hall, which was constructed back in the year 1626. It was a house owned by Robert Baker, who sold piccadills.  In fact, the term piccadills was used to refer to collars back in the day.

Piccadilly Circus was created back in the year 1819. The original location of Piccadilly Circus was Regent Street. It was constructed under the plans of John Nash. Along with this construction, a massive traffic congestion took place in the junction. As a result, it was moved to a new location.

The Piccadilly Circus Station was opened in the year 1906. Few decades later, it was reconstructed in order to accommodate a bigger traffic. The very first electronic billboard in the junction was set up back in the year 1910. Since then we were able to see how numerous electric billboards started popping up in Piccadilly Circus.

Along with time, the popularity of Piccadilly Circus further increased. By the year 1960, it was getting lots of people than it could accommodate. Hence, the operational team was forced to redevelop it.

Some interesting facts about Piccadilly Circus

Now you have a clear understanding about the history of Piccadilly Circus. While keeping that in mind, you should go ahead and take a look at few quick facts about Piccadilly Circus in London. Then you will be able to go ahead and explore it and walk back with a bunch of memories. In addition to that, these quick tips can assist you to get the most out of time that is being spent in Piccadilly Circus as well.

Piccadilly Circus was not the original name of this centerpiece. It was initially named as the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. In fact, it was named under Anthony Ashley Cooper, who was a well-known Victorian philanthropist to live. The construction of Piccadilly Circus was financed through a public subscription.

The statue of Eros, which you can find in Piccadilly Circus is not really a statue of Eros. Earl of Shaftesbury was more into humanitarian work. That’s where he went ahead and worked on the construction of a statue, which represents Anteros.

The oldest sign that you can find at Piccadilly Circus is the Coca Cola sign. In fact, this sign has been implemented in Piccadilly Circus from the year 1955. As mentioned earlier, the initial promotional activities took place in the year 1908. Perrier and Bovril were the pioneers of these promotional activities at Piccadilly Circus in London.

The Second World War created a massive impact behind the operational activities of Piccadilly Circus. In fact, they were forced to shut down all the lights. Not even the corporate giants were able to take control over it. After World War II, lights at Piccadilly Circus have been shut off in two different instances. First instance out of them was for the funeral of Winston Churchill. Then the lights were again switched off for the funeral of Princess of Wales, Diana, back in the year 1997.

When to visit Piccadilly Circus?

Piccadilly Circus is open for the guests throughout 24 hours of the day. Therefore, you will be able to come here and enjoy the entertainment options offered at any given time of the day. Due to the same reason, you will be able to find Piccadilly Circus filled with crowds throughout the day.

If you want to get the best possible experience at Piccadilly Circus, you are encouraged to think about making your visit in the evening. That’s where you will be able to see the brightly lit advertisements in the junction. These signs are in a position to adorn the buildings that are located in the intersection as well. It can deliver a unique and a one of a kind appearance to Piccadilly Circus, which you will fall in love with.

You will be able to keep yourself busy throughout while you are spending time in Piccadilly Circus. You can discover numerous bars, restaurants and theatres in the neighborhood. They are in a position to provide a great overall assistance to you with killing your time. You will be able to entertain yourself at Piccadilly Circus and you will love to call it as an ultimate entertainment and amusement arcade located in London. Due to the same reason, tourists who visit London can also think about travelling to Piccadilly Circus.

 

We wrapped up our time in London with a somewhat authentic English breakfast of beans, sausage, tomatoes and black pudding at Jenny’s breakfast cafe. So good, that when I came home i tried to recreate my plate from the cafe and did an okay job.

 

How To Save Money On Accommodation When Traveling Abroad

When you are traveling abroad, you spend a considerable amount of money on the hotels. However, there are some effective tips, which you can follow to cut down these expenses. To make the life easy for you, we thought of letting you know about some guaranteed methods available to score cheap hotels. Any person who travels abroad can follow these tips and you will be able to end up with outstanding results at the end of the day.

Look For Last Minute Deals

Searching for last minute deals is one of the promising methods to secure a cheap hotel. There are some dedicated websites and mobile apps, which can provide you with the ability to go ahead with last minute hotel reservations. It is better if you can start using such websites or apps to locate the last minute hotel deals. Hotel Tonight can be considered as a perfect example for such an app that you can try. By using Hotel Tonight, you can reserve a last minute hotel up to 7 days in advance.

Use AirBnB

Instead of sticking to traditional hotels, you are encouraged to take a look at AirBnB as well. AirBnB came up with the amazing accommodation sharing feature. Therefore, you will be able to stay at a home, while sharing it with the owners. AirBnB also caters group travel. In fact, you will be able to reserve an entire home. This is a cheaper option available to consider than staying at a hotel. Therefore, you will be able to end up reserving your accommodation at an affordable rate.

Use Hostels

If you are a backpacker, of if you are traveling for business purposes, you are strongly encouraged to take a look at the hostels. That’s because you are spending very little time in the accommodation. In fact, you need to accommodation only to spend your nights. The hostels can provide a great assistance to you with that. You can also discover capsule hotels in many parts around the world. A capsule hotel is more than enough for you to spend the night and you can go ahead with it without keeping any doubts in mind.

Go For A Different Neighborhood

The hotels in some neighborhoods have a very high demand. As a result, reserving a cheap hotel room in such a neighborhood will never been an easy thing to do. If you are looking for deals, the best option available would be to look for an alternative neighborhood. When you are staying out from the city center, you can save a considerable amount of extra money. However, you need to make sure that you are not spending more than that to cover up the transportation expenses. Therefore, you need to do a proper comparison before you select a hotel located outside the city center.

Compare Different Sites

While you look for cheap hotels, you are encouraged to open few tabs in your browser and spend some time with comparing the deals. Then you will notice that the same hotel is being priced in different apps for different prices. If you can compare these sites, you will be able to end up with the best possible rates at the end of the day.

Try To Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees

When you are booking a hotel in a foreign country using your credit card, there will be a foreign transaction fee. You need to be mindful about this. That’s where you can do your own research and figure out what credit card can provide you with the lowest possible foreign transaction fee. If there is no foreign transaction fee on a specific credit card, you can go ahead with that. Or else, you can select pay later option if available and make the payment using cash when you are checking into the hotel.

Sign up for a hotel loyalty program

If you are a person who travels abroad frequently, you are strongly encouraged to think about signing up for a hotel loyalty program. The hotels love their loyal customers. As a result, the hotels tend to provide a variety of exciting discounts to them. When you sign up for a hotel loyalty program, you can go ahead with these discounts. You can look for more information on these hotel loyalty programs on the hotel website or in third party websites.

Use Your Miles

If you have airline miles, you can simply use them to get discounts on the hotel rooms as well. You just need to look for the opportunities that allow you to do it. Most of the airlines are partnered with the popular hotel chains out there in the world to provide you with these deals. This is another effective tip that frequent travelers will be able to try.

Find Credit Card Deals

Your credit card comes along with a variety of exciting deals. They include out of country hotel deals as well. All you have to do is to visit the Offers page of your credit card on the internet and search on what deals you are entitled to. You can also call your credit card and get more information on the offers that are available. These credit card deals can provide you with the chance to save a lot of money as well.

Final Words

As you can see, saving money on hotels when traveling abroad is not something difficult. You can do it without facing any hassle or frustration at all. All you have to do is to locate the right method and secure the deals that are available. Then you will be able to travel on a foreign country and enjoy your time, without breaking the bank.

Top 11 Safe Travel Tips

Top 11 Safe Travel Tips

Traveling can be considered as one of the best opportunities available for you to gather new experiences and enjoy your time. Unfortunately, a lot of people who travel the world end up with frustrating situations. That’s where you need to know about the best safe travel tips. Then you can simply book your travel itinerary and go ahead with the journey, so that you will be able to get the most out of time you spend.

Get Travel Insurance

First of all, you will need to obtain travel insurance. It can be considered as the best method available for you to overcome hassle and frustration during your journeys. On the other hand, the travel insurance can contribute a lot towards your security as well. It can come into your survival during canceled flights and lost luggage. Hence, you will be able to keep peace of mind while you travel as well.

Download The Safety Apps

A large number of anti-theft safety apps are available for the travelers to download to their devices. You can think about getting your hands on such apps as well. Uber is a perfect example for such an app. You will be able to make sure that you can reach to your destinations safely without compromising the security with Uber. BSafe is another useful security app that you can get to your mobile phone. When you feel unsafe, all you need to do this to share your location with the loved ones through this app. Then they will be able to inform the relevant authorities about your location and send help on your way.

Be Extra Careful When You Are At Bars

While spending time at the bars, you need to be extra careful. It has been identified that a lot of tourists become victims of scams when they get drunk. As a result, the scammers prefer to hang around in the bars. If you can be extra careful while you are spending your time in a bar, you will be provided with the chance to ensure your security.

Minimize The Number Of Electronic Devices That You Carry

All the people who travel the world are strongly encouraged to minimize the number of electronic devices that they carry. If you are a tech savvy millennial, this would not be an easy thing to do. But if you are concerned about your safety during the vacation, this is something that you must do. When you are carrying a lot of electronics, you will become an obvious target. Hence, you will end up losing your electronics during the journey. Therefore, you must always try to minimize the number of electronic devices that you carry along with you.

Get To Know About The Embassy Information

When you come across an emergency situation, you will need to notify the embassy of your country. Hence, it is important for you to get to know about the contact details of your country’s embassy. In addition, it is better if you can do your own research to figure out the location of the embassy as well. Google Maps will be able to help you with that. But during an emergency, you will not be able to use Google Maps. That’s where you need to save the location and the contact details on your phone.

Always Be Conscious About Your Health

Your chances of getting an illness is high when you are spending time in a foreign country. Due to this reason, you are strongly encouraged to be more conscious about your health as well. Even if you get a scratch or a bug bite when traveling, you need to seek the assistance of a healthcare professional. Neglecting them will not just lead you towards serious wounds, but can also give life to many other frustrating health conditions in the long run. To overcome frustration, it is better to obtain a health insurance plan as well.

Never Get Distracted By Others

While you travel, you should never allow other people to distract you. If you get distracted, there is a high possibility for you to end up with pain and frustration. This happens mostly at the tourist hotspots. Sometimes, an innocent looking woman with a child will approach you and try to get your sympathy. During such an attempt, another person can quickly grab your wallet and run away. Hence, you need to stay alert at all instances and make sure that you are not getting distracted.

Wear Appropriate Dresses

All the travelers are strongly encouraged to wear appropriate clothes, so that they will be able to ensure their safety while traveling. Before you visit the destination, it is important for you to do some basic research to understand what the locals are wearing. Then you will be able to invest your money to purchase such clothes. With that, you are less likely to become the prey of predators. Along with the dresses, you can also purchase an anti-theft backpack.

Always Be Aware Of Your Money

You should never carry a lot of cash in your hand while you travel. It is always recommended for you to take a small amount of cash along with you. In addition, you are encouraged to take backups of your credit cards and IDs as well. You must also inform your bank that you are traveling. Then you will be able to freeze your transactions, in case if you become a victim of pick pocketing.

Buy An RFID Wallet

Purchasing an RFID wallet can be considered as a great method available for you to stay away from credit card scams while you travel. The RFID blocking capabilities of the wallet can make sure that no person can read your credit card information. Therefore, you will be able to keep the peace of mind.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

All people who travel are also encouraged to minimize the conversations that they have with strangers as much as possible. At all times, it is better if you can avoid communications with the strangers at all. You should be extra careful to walk away from the strangers, who would approach you while you are traveling.

Essential Items For An Overseas Trip

Essential Items for an Overseas Trip

You got your passport; you have explored your destination, booked your tickets, now comes the time to plan for the tiny details of traveling abroad. One of them is to make sure you have the right equipment to bring on to your trip. Here are a few of the items that might come in handy.

Different Power Outlets

The outlets in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe all have different outlets. So, why take a chance and waste valuable travel time on a hunt for adapters on your new destination. It would be very inconvenient to be in Germany with UK plugs for all of your devices.

My step down converter is something that I never forget to take along with me while I travel. It’s super convenient and easy to use; simply plug your device into the appropriate attachment or into the usb port. If you want one for your next expedition, you can get it from here: 

https://amzn.to/2ID8lr3

Anti-theft wallets

As technology continues to evolve, data protection becomes more and more important. But do you know that your sensitive information can be retrieved right from your pocket without your knowledge? It would be really unfortunate if you get stranded alone and penniless in an unknown place. Fortunately, there’s security by way of ‘RFID wallets.’

RDIF wallets go a long way. There are so many scammers and thieves out there, and they are getting more and more creative. An RFID wallet is a good way to protect your personal and financial information. So make sure to buy one the next time you decide to travel. You can easily find a very good one right over here!

https://amzn.to/31mx3Tz  in black

or

https://amzn.to/2ZZat6B in 36 colors

Comfort on the Go

Traveling is never easy. It tests your strength and your limits. But one thing that always comes handy when it comes to comfort is super cheap and fluffy neck pillows. It was very useful for me when I was stuck in an overnight 9-hour bus ride from Edinburgh to London.  

Not only do they provide comfort, but they also give your neck the support it needs while you are stuck on a bus, train or on a plane in an upright seated position for hours. If you are a sleepy traveler like me who prefer comfort even while traveling then you should definitely have one of these with you. You can get one here.

https://amzn.to/301osZA

Hope this will help you the next time you plan to go overseas. Always be prepared when you decide to embark on your new journey especially when you are going solo.

Bon Voyage!

Faithful traveling companion

Traveling becomes fun if we have a trendy, stylish, sturdy and spacious companion who offers everything and more. If you are a person who travels light, this right here is a winner for you; your essential traveling companion.

 

It’s important to have a reliable suitcase when you’re on your travels. But every trip and vacation is different and depending on your plans you may need to switch up your gear. So you need to spend on something that’s reliable and yet attractive. This purple beauty here will not only help you to pack light enough to avoid checking luggage but will also leave enough room for all the goods that you acquired on your way back.

 

Eye-catching

 

A little color never hurts the eye and it also saves your time while you are searching for your suitcase in a long line of suitcases. It’s purple but it sure will turn everyone green with envy when you will travel with it. Besides my amazing purple carry on suitcase, I also have a bright red suitcase with golden elephants all over it and I never miss that thing at baggage claim.

 

Size and dimension

 

This gorgeous purple carry on suitcase allows you to take everything with you when ever you need to and wherever you need to go, but stylishly and fashionably. It keeps you organized with its internal pockets while getting compliments from everyone on its durability. It’s a super spacious with 13in x 21in x 9in dimension.

 

In my past travels, carry on bag was my sole luggage and that was more than enough for me. For my UK trip, I fit two weeks’ worth of clothing into it along with the things that I bought like my waterproof ear, Scotland t-shirts, toys for my son and chocolates from Oban. So never underestimate the power of a good carry on suitcase.

 

Invest in a lifetime deal

 

This carry on suitcase is a deal of a lifetime. Of course, there is a wide price range for luggage out there, but a reliable suitcase with the cheaper price is an opportunity that should never be missed. I, myself could never spend more than maybe $125 on luggage but this suitcase comes not even close to that. If you want to invest wisely and don’t want to get into the hassle of buying another one for a long time then link on the link and get yourself a deal of a lifetime.

Pick up convenient carry-on luggage for your next trip! https://amzn.to/301pa9c

Be Sure to Have Waterproof Gear!

Ah! The joys of rain…

We all love and enjoy a good downpour in summers but if you are traveling and not properly equipped to tackle that heavy rainstorm then you are definitely going to have a downpour of your own in some balcony of a hotel.

My trip began when I landed in Edinburgh in the middle of a heavy rainstorm. I survived that, but it was just the beginning of a rain-full adventure in the beautiful mountains and plains of Scotland.

Hiking tour:

Because of my love for hiking and scenery, I absolutely needed to go on a hiking tour in the West of Scotland and that meant getting rained on repeatedly. So, I decided to buy a waterproof jacket and pants, that were right measurement and not flimsy.

I was struck with some bad luck at first. I ordered a couple of waterproof suits, one of them was way too tight around the chest (we definitely don’t want to suffocate in the middle of nowhere) and loose around the stomach (little fitting never hurts). The other one’s material looked as if it would be torn to bits even if I try to breathe in it.

Frogg Toggs

I knew I would never be able to enjoy the scenery and the experience of visiting Scotland if I wasn’t geared up with proper clothes. Being rained on and soaked every day until I got back to my room, would not have made for a good trip.

So, I decided to order one more jacket and pants combo. This one fit way better around the chest and the pants weren’t too long either. They definitely came in handy towards the end of the hike on the Quirang. You can buy some here!

https://amzn.to/2ObYwnh

The view up there was well worth the hike and getting rained on.

It was still raining while I waited for the Hogwarts Express to go by! Still, tons of fun…

Heading down to London

My waterproof gear continued to be of use after my hiking tour was over. I headed down to London from Edinburgh and was welcomed by none other than the rain again. So I was happy to have paid for a full waterproof suit on because the umbrella just couldn’t cut it.

It wasn’t all grey and blues throughout the trip, I did have a couple of sunny days as I made my way back up north through the birthplace of William Shakespeare; Stratford-upon-Avon and the city of York, then back down through the lake district, which was another beautiful area with amazing scenery.

 

So I think a waterproof suit is a fine investment if you don’t want to dry your clothes in front of a wood stove every night and still pack them up all wet and damp.

P.s: always be prepared

Make sure to look up the weather of the city or country that you plan to visit!

Bon Voyage!!

Backpack Search for a Trip to Europe

Who loves to carry and drag heavy suitcases while jumping on and off of planes? (Of course, no one) So, If you are planning for an upcoming trip to Europe like me and have to take different flights between countries than you don’t need suitcases that have the tendency to get lost in the blink of an eye. All you need is a backpack that carries your world while you travel the world.

 

If you plan to travel with a backpack, you need the best kind because essentially it’s going to carry all your worldly goods safely inside during that trip.

So, before jumping onto a plane, I searched weeks for that perfect match and for that, I had to go through the painstaking journey of online search.

So began my journey; the online world:

When I started, I had a clear picture of what I wanted. I wanted a backpack that was;

Anti-theft

Durable

Had enough space for 10 days of clothing

Worth the price

 

Most of my search led me to the ones that were not durable, and their material was flimsy even in the photos and the ones that looked a bit decent were way too expensive. Then on Amazon, I found my perfect match. Even though it was a little over my budget but it offered everything I needed; from its good spacious size to amazing anti-theft feature.

 

Pacsafe Venturesafe X40:

 

On Amazon, I found this backpack and instantly loved everything about it except that it was electric blue (on the bright side, you can’t lose it in all the grays and blacks and also the black one was priced $100 more.) If you are looking for a backpack that will stand the test of times then look for one made out of durable material. The extra money will definitely be rewarded when your backpack would be still in one piece after years of use.

 

The best part was that it was too spacious, with measurement 21.7 x 11.9 x 8.7 it accommodated everything that I required for the trip. I was surprised when I got space left even after putting:

 

7 pair of leggings

10 shirts

2 pair of jeans

About 3 weeks of underwear

My electronics and toiletries

When they say anti-theft, they mean it:

 

The clip was a little tough to undo but then again it was new and it wasn’t that hard. On each compartment of the backpack, the zippers meet, and the two are looped through an extra piece and hooked, making it almost impossible for anyone to quickly open it while your head is turned.

 

Slash proof:

 

The material they have used is termed slashed proof as it stops the thieves from slashing it open. Another feature is the waterproof cover which you can be found at the bottom of the backpack. If you need to carry around a cell phone, camera or tablet, a waterproof pouch can help keep your possessions safe. Nothing is worse than finding soaked clothes and cell phone after a surprise downpour.

 

Happy shopper:

 

It’s not easy to find a product online which provides you with everything thing you need. I am usually hesitant when I have to make a purchase online. I don’t buy anything without doing thorough research. So this backpack sat in my Amazon shopping cart for about two and a half weeks, and after looking everywhere I still came back to purchase it. So far I have been very happy with my decision to buy it and if you don’t want to waste your time looking for backpacks then I suggest you click on the link 🙂        https://amzn.to/2LuvE7S

 

 

About Us At NTT

  1. Hey everyone, and welcome to Nerds That Travel where I will be posting about my trips as well as any reliable travel gear/nerdy gear that I come across. I would love to hear of everyone’s travel stories!

My Personal Travel Experience

I am just starting out on what I hope will be many years of travels! I first traveled to Costa Rica in my teenage years, zip lining over rivers, riding horses and enjoying hot springs and mud baths. My family and I stayed in a private villa at a very nice resort in Tamarindo, where we witnessed a wedding on the beach.

In 2016 I visited the Blue Hole in Jamaica where I got to swing into electric blue pools and climb down waterfalls (which was thrilling!). Shortly afterwards I went to two beaches in Mexico. Costa Maya and Cozumel were both beyond beauty. White sand and perfectly clear blue water. Perfect for relaxation.

Last year I made a leap and decided to Visit the UK alone! I spent two weeks making my way around England and Scotland and it was a great experience. I booked a hiking tour in Scotland and a sightseeing tour in England. History is another topic that holds my attention like no other so naturally a historic tour from London to Edinburgh was a good time. Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and the best way to see it is with an awesome hike. There’s a certain magic. Not to sound to cheesy.

The very next trip in planning will take my self and a few friends into the rest of Europe where we will not only visit London, but Paris and Venice! we might even try to fit Barcelona in there somewhere.

I am also a huge Nerd deep down. So any Marvel, LotR, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and any historical dramas, make me very happy. I plan to visit a few famous movie and TV show places. In Scotland, I visited Doune castle which was used in the filming of a couple of my favorite shows. It was featured as the keep at Winterfell in Game of thrones and as Castle Leoch in Outlander.

 

Travel Community

I myself don’t like guessing which gear is reliable or which places actually look like the pictures that they post and I plan to document everything and give the best advice that I can find. I will be adding new content regularly and in the meantime would love to meet other nerds out there and hear their stories.

 

My Goal

My Goal is to not only find good travel gear and information, but to also mark some of the nerdiest activities to be found in each city that I visit. And meet fellow traveling nerds along the way!

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Catherine

Nerdsthattravel.com