Tips, reviews and experiences of a 30 year old freelance journalist and traveller

Author: Joe (Page 4 of 5)

Eastern Europe, small visit to the East!

 I offer a short visit to three countries in Eastern Europe. A trip that can be done in two weeks in which you can get to know three different countries. A true adventure! 

Hungary, first stop in the East! 

My first stop is Hungary, more specifically Budapest. It is a city divided in two thanks to the Danube. I can enjoy both a modern and historical side. As it was my first visit to the east of the continent, I stayed for five days.

It gave me the time to visit places such as the Parliament, the Chain Bridge, Vajdahunyad Castle or Hosök Square, among other things. The city has a particular charm, a lot of history and perfectly represents the spirit of the East. 

Budapest, Europe, East.

Take a break!

To enjoy a little rest in this city, I visited green areas, such as the large Margitsziget park, located in the middle of the Danube between Buda and Pest. I also enjoyed the thermal waters of a Thermal bath. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is highly recommended. 

Slovakia, my second stop in Eastern Europe

Bratislava, just four hours by bus from Budapest, was my second stop. It is true that it is much smaller, but do not be fooled, it also has great charm and can be visited in just three days. The most important place to see is the Castle, located on top of a hill. From it, you can enjoy an excellent view of Bratislava and Austria, and if it is a clear day, even Vienna and Hungary. A part of Eastern Europe at your feet! 

For all the cat lovers like me in eastern Europe! 

 Going up one of the alleys that go towards the Castle, you will find a small bar with a normal appearance, however, when you open it, you will enter the cat’s paradise: the Mackafe! A few partners have built this place to protect stray cats thanks to the participation of the customers who go for a coffee or a snack. The ideal place for cats lovers.

Austria, the golden East

My last stop is in the famous Vienna, where it took me almost a week to see everything. Thousands of things could be said about this city, however, I will only say that you should have patience, that the distances are long, you have to walk a lot and use comfortable shoes. It is undoubtedly the least representative city of the East.

There are numerous monuments, museums, and cathedrals to visit. In my opinion, the most beautiful one is the Schönbrunn Castle and its gardens. Immense! 

 

Schönbrunn Castle, Vienna, Europe, East.

Last tip to visit Eastern Europe

If you have time and courage for another getaway, take the train and in a few hours from Vienna, you can reach the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. A visit not suitable for young children, but necessary for our memory and our History.

Would you like to travel far away from home?

Eastern Europe is not far away, but it is a good choice if you want to start traveling. Otherwise, you can always travel far away from the East, even from home, and visit other places, it is up to you!  I will always be here to help you!

Skywire Zipline: the best in New Zealand!

As you know, I am a sensation seeker! For this reason, when I was in New Zealand, I could not miss the Skywire Zipline. The country offers countless ziplines, on both main islands. All of them will leave you with unforgettable memories. But for me the Skywire has been a revelation: in fact, it is the only one you can do with your friends! Indeed, up to four people can go down side by side and this is what makes it so special to me. What is better than sharing your best adventures with your friends? 

What is a zipline

A zipline is composed of a cable and a pulley. A rider is safely attached with a harness and then pushed down. This is not as impressive as bungee jumping but still gives you chills! I love it and I recommend it to everyone, kids and families as well. There are so many all around the world, you can choose the speed and altitude.

Where to find ziplines

You can find zip lines all over the world, on every continent. Nowadays, it is a very successful activity. The most famous ones are probable in Costa Rica and New Zealand. In Puerto Rico, you can find the longest in America, El Monstruo! Will you dare?

The Skywire Zipline

skywire zipline

Now starts the fun! The Skywire zipline is located in Nelson, on the South Island.  It is recommended and easy to book your tour on their website. They are very convenient and can arrange a pick up and drop off point from town. It is very good when like us you don’t have your own car!

You will first reach the base of Cable Bay Adventure Park. There you will find a café and souvenirs. Toilets are also available. You will then start a 4 km ride through the native forest to the top of the sky wire. You can completely enjoy this ride: I was in the window seat and did not miss anything! The guide explains everything about the forest and the park.

When you reach the top, you stay in groups of 4. Our turn is coming! After a safety speech, the four of us take place on the sky wire. I was expecting the harness to be uncomfortable, like it is usually, but not at all. They count until 3 and … Let’s go !!

WOW! At first, we go high speed. The sensation is amazing! We are screaming and laughing at the time. Then we speed down, and we can enjoy the beauty of the landscape. The view is stunning. The trees are tall and so green. Before you can think, it is over. Oh, no! We are doing all over again, backward! Such a good surprise.

 

Some zip lines are longer, others faster, but this one is particularly amazing. It is a great feeling to share it with your friends. You enjoy the speed, as well as the scenery. Definitely in my top 10 best adventures (along with my Death Road experience)!

What about you? Do you like extreme adventures? Do you want to try the Skywire Zipline?

Ready for every fashion occasion: what to pack

As a full-time traveller, it can be harsh to keep stylish. I love fashion, and I won’t give up on it. Through time, I have found ways to be ready for every fashion occasion while avoiding overpacking. Whereas you’re going for a 2 days hike in India, a photoshoot on the beach or on a date in the Maldives, I will show you how to do! The key is to take only the essential. I now only travel with a 50L backpack. Indeed, it is much more practical. You have to think that you will be constantly moving and transporting your bag everywhere. 

What to load in your backpack

Of course, you can travel with a suitcase (or two!), but I would undeniably rather travel with a backpack for the practical side. It is important that it doesn’t exceed 10% of your body weight. I hear from all the travellers I meet how many troubles they have while packing.

What is essential, what is not? I have some experience in the matter and I will share with you my tips relative to outfits to be ready for every fashion occasion. You can also read my articles about what cosmetics to pack. Indeed, I live full-time with just one backpack as my wardrobe!

Ready for every fashion occasion:  clothes

ready for every fashion ocasion

Who doesn’t pack 3 cute dresses and jumpsuits for a simple weekend gateway? “You never know” is probably the phrase I was using the most until I severely injured my back. I am now very careful regarding my luggage.

Hence, here is what I always take with me to be ready for every fashion occasion:

  • A long jumpsuit: for a romantic date, a city break, chilly nights… This is completely a multi-purpose item! You can take as well a short one, I just haven’t found the right one yet!
  • Two dresses: a fancy one, the other for the beach. Make it match your bikini!
  • Shorts and skirts: for the beach, for exercise, a city getaway… Of course not if you’re visiting Iceland or Finland in winter!
  • A warm jacket and a long blouse
  • 2 Leggings: as the jumpsuit, it is a multi-purpose item
  • 5 tops: I pick and mix!

Ready for every fashion occasion: accessories

  • Shoes: a pair of flip-flops, a pair of comfortable trainers and my favourite black heels
  • Handbag: my favourite for a date is a small black case! Black goes with everything. I also take one to go on a hike as well, about 20L size.
  • Hair accessory: I like wearing a flower, and glittery gold straps in my hair. Of course, do not forget hair ties!

You understand: with experience, it is so easy to pack. Just take good habits from the beginning and it will soon become a game! I even happen to enjoy it, and I am really happy every time I come back and find clothes I haven’t worn in a long time. Also, black is your best friend!

What about you? Do you have trouble packing? What is the hardest part?

Andalusia: best tips for your holidays in Southern Spain

When I was little, I travelled so many times to Andalusia with my family. In fact, it was almost every year. We were going to a different camping every time and I remember having so much fun. Spanish are very welcoming and the country has so much to offer. It is easy to reach no matter where you come from in Europe (no more than 2 hours flight from South England) and the prices  are very low, therefore very helpful for a big family.

Best beaches of Andalusia

andalusia best beache almería spain

Andalusia has nothing to envy to the Caribbean littoral. In fact, several tourist guides and websites consider some beaches of the Costa Almeriense, Costa del Sol or Costa de la Luz  as the most beautiful in Europe or even in the world. I personally love the region of Cádiz and Tarifa. On the Atlantic Oceanside, it is a surfers paradise and the beaches are kilometres long. Furthermore, it is not much frequented by tourists and has kept its authenticity.

You will find amazing beaches on the Mediterranean side as well. Lose yourself driving around Nerja and Maro in the province of Malaga and you will find small wild beaches. You can also go to the famous Cabo de Gata, in Almería. They probably are the most Caribbean-like beaches of the Hispanic peninsula, hence there are many more visitors.

Culture and History

I’m always impressed by how rich Spanish culture is. History of the country is thriving and all the influences are still very present. Andalusia has long been under the domination of Muslims. Most of the monuments are preserved and without the shadow of a doubt, the Mezquita-Catedral of Córdoba is the most beautiful.

I recommend you take a guide to fully enjoy your visit. Do not miss the Alhambra of Granada and its architecture either; as well as the sunset from the Mirador San Nicolas. Sevilla and its square should also be on your list!

Food is an essential part of the Andalusian culture and oh my! you won’t be disappointed. You can eat fresh products in Chirringuitos, these typical beach bars. Do not forget to try local beers, wine and fish. Stay away from touristic restaurants in the centre.

They are expensive and often don’t offer good quality. You can check out my article about how to eat healthy while travelling. It won’t be hard in Spain, the country is full of fresh fruits and vegetables! Just be careful to choose raw olive oil instead of cooked.

The famous white villages of Andalusia

Andalusia white village spain

How many times have you seen a white village on a postcard? They are possibly more emblematic than the beaches.  Their walls are whitewashed in order to keep the heat away. My favourite one is Mijas! It is located on top of a mountain, overlooking the sea. Full of charm, you can spend an entire afternoon just walking about.

The botanic garden is quiet and amazing. You also have the village of Frigiliana, probably the most famous. Just over Nerja and its beaches, you can see both in one day.

In a word, if you’re looking for a cheap and spectacular destination, go to Andalusia!  I advise you to learn a few words such as ¡Hola! (hello) or Gracias (thank you). Locals always appreciate it and will be even more talkative with you. On the other hand, if you plan on only visiting (not everyone’s a beach lover as I am), I strongly suggest you avoiding July and August as the heat can become unbearable.

What about you? Have you been to Andalusia yet? Where is your favourite place?

Vegan: how to follow a healthy diet

I became vegan two years ago: I watched the documentaries Cowspiracy and Earthlings after my friend’s recommendation. I’ve always loved animals but I never realized how bad were the conditions they were living in just for our pleasure. In my opinion, there’s a severe lack of education in this field. Luckily, we are starting to recognize animals as living beings, and their rights, consequently, are ameliorating. Nevertheless, you need to know a few things before starting to be sure not to make any mistake and cover all your needs. Below I’ll share my tips with you! 

Why go vegan

Nowadays, we have so many alternatives that there is no reason not to go vegan! For me, it is evidence and the only respectful diet of all lives. It’s also easier to eat healthily while traveling when you’re on a vegan diet. Plantbased food is usually easy to find and also easy to pack.

vegan healthy diet food

For the animals

In the first place, we kill billions of animals each year just for the food industry, the fashion industry, or even hobbies. What I find revolting is not only the numbers but the conditions: 99% of them endure terrible pain. It is important not to make a difference between a dog and a cow, a cat and a pig: they all deserve to be loved!

For the planet

It is scientifically proven that a vegan diet reduces consequently your emission of pollution, as well as your water consumption. In my opinion, this is the best reason! We know that we have to change our way of living, and it can start with what we put in our fridge.

For your health

Countless studies have proven the benefits of a vegan diet for your body: lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or any kind of sickness. We know as well that cow milk is not made for us. Therefore, if well followed, it provides you with a general better digestive condition. Anyway, I love the plant-based drink so much! Hazelnut milk is my favorite!

A good vegan diet

vegan diet food burger

It is important to point out that vegans do not only eat salad! It is a rich diet but is important to keep a good supply of proteins. Among all, tofu, lentils, or peanuts are on my top list. Make sure also you get enough vitamin K (green vegetables). Women, more than men, are subject to iron deficiency: chickpeas, almonds, dried fruits are your best friends!

I usually take a good and rich breakfast to start the day with all the energy I need: I eat a banana with peanut butter, almonds, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Avocado toast also is a good option!

However, there is one nutrient you can not find in a vegan diet: vitamin b12. It is essential for you to take a supplement. Indeed, it contributes to the functioning of the nervous system. You can take a daily or weekly supplement.

To sum up, a vegan diet is rich and healthy. Nowadays, you can find all the information you need on the web, for example on the Vegan Society. If the transition interests you, I suggest you do it little by little. It’s good enough to start just reducing your meat or dairy consumption.

You can also try to eat organic and local food. You’ll feel way better: in your body, and in your head! Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any advice! I’ll be so happy to help.

What about you? Have you tried a vegan diet? If not, what is preventing you from doing it?

LGBT Pride in Brighton : a crazy event!

Every year, Brighton’s LGBT Pride takes place on the first weekend of August. Although it is officially a Friday to Sunday event, festivities last more than a week. The city is packed with thousands of visitors coming from all over Europe. It is without the shadow of a doubt the main and busiest weekend of the year. I was living in Cornwall, and with my friends, we’ve never missed one single pride! Below you can find out about my experience and why you should go at least once in your life.

What LGBT Pride is fighting for

LGBT is an initialism and represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Nowadays, I feel like it happens more and more to read in the newspaper about homophobic aggressions. These criminal acts are unforgivable and education is still necessary. It is also true that the more we take care of our own happiness, the more acts of love we do in the world.

Pride celebrates the LGBT community and, in general, love. It aims to remind everyone that we’re all equal, with the right to love whoever we want and that violence doesn’t solve anything. In my opinion, it is also an incredible celebration of life. I have spent the best moments of my life during Pride.

Brighton’s LGBT Pride

lgbt pride defile

Brighton LGBT pride is the biggest in the UK, for that reason it is divided into two parts: Preston Park and Saint James Street, in the centre. You need to buy a ticket (wristband) if you want to enter. You have the choice between park+centre, only one of them or even a VIP ticket which gives you access to private parties. More information is available on the official website.

Preston park

In this park, the biggest in the city takes place all the live music events. Every year celebrities and less famous artists give a show, such as Britney Spears in 2018 or Kylie Minogue last year. All day long, you can gaze as you want from one tent to another and just listen to music, dance, drink and just have fun! I love sitting in the grass with a beer and watching all the people wearing colourful outfits.

Saint James Street

This street is the heart of Kemptown, the gay neighbourhood of the city. After the traditional outdoor parade, everyone meets there, the vibrant point of the celebrations. Obviously, it is packed! In my opinion, it is better if you know what to expect. Then, at noon, start the festivities. Bars and clubs play music in the street, and everyone dances, eats and drinks.

Even if the weather is not always hot and synonym, it does not discourage anyone. People are not afraid to be cold to show their most beautiful costumes! It is such a mix of colours, glitters and fancy disguise!

To sum up, attending LGBT pride means having fun for a good cause! I recommend you book your hostel in advance because the city becomes very busy and full months before. Also, bring kids and all your family!

What about you? Have you ever been to a pride? In which city? If not, are you now considering it?

My Bolivia travel guide: what you need to kno

Among all the Latin countries in South America, Bolivia is often forgotten and underrated. For that reason, I want to share with you my Bolivia travel guide. The diversity of the landscapes and the kindness of its inhabitants made it my favourite country of the South American continent. Bolivia is rich in surprises and has many gems to offer. Here are my tips based on my experience. 

About Bolivia

Bolivia is a centre-west country of South America, sharing borders with 5 other countries. Its biodiversity is one of the richest of the continent and its extreme climate offers different landscapes. You can find high mountains (most of the cities are over 6,500 m of altitude) as well as deserts, lakes and of course the Amazonian rainforest.  Besides, History lovers will enjoy loads of Inca civilization archaeological sites.

General information

Bolivia travel guide llama

You have to keep in mind that Bolivia is a poor country. People work with their hands and except in big cities, they eat what they grow. Furthermore, this country seems intact from any American influence. Indeed, it is the only Latin country without any fast food or big American chains.

The indigene community is big and respected. As a matter of fact, everyone has always been so nice to me, because of this authenticity. The typical women you can see everywhere with their Chaplin hat and colourful clothes are called Cholitas. I recommended not to take a picture of their faces. According to their beliefs, the camera steals their soul. Please respect them!

You can easily travel within the country collectively, the name of shared taxis. You share them with other tourists or locals, on the main roads. Hence, it is not rare to share your seat with a cute baby animal! I was one day surrounded by llamas and a group of kids going to school. It was so much fun! They were so interested and fascinated by my stories.

What to do: my Bolivia travel guide

This country is so big, consequently, you can not see everything unless you spend months. In this travel guide, I will share with you some of my favourite places:

  • La Paz

La Paz is the administrative capital. With almost 3 million inhabitants, it looks like an anthill. You can just walk about the city and discover its hidden gem, or take one of the four cable cars. A lot of agencies offer touristic tours. My favourite one was cycling down the Death Road.  On the other hand, there are also tours to go to Madidi Park in the rainforest and watch wildlife.

  • Uyuni salt desert

boliva travel guide lagoon flamingo

Probably the most amazing landscape I’ve seen in my life. You can do a 1-day tour as well as four days. Pick up an agency in Uyuni and let’s go! Take warm clothes with you, sunglasses and altitude sickness pill. You will forever remember the ride through the salt desert.  The sunset is my favourite memory ever. It was so beautiful. The guide/driver takes a lot of photos and brings lunch.

  • Titicaca Lake

It is the biggest lake on the continent, therefore you can visit it from the Peruvian side or Bolivian. In my opinion, the latter is the most authentical. In fact, go to Copacabana and visit La Isla del Sol. I loved losing myself on this island and it is so rich in culture. Notwithstanding, you can only reach it by boat and the trip can be rough.

 

In a word: go!! You will be in awe in front of the charm of this country. I’m already planning on my second visit! This guide helped me a lot to plan my trip.

What about you? Have you ever been to Bolivia? What is your experience?

Homemade deodorant with only 3 ingredients

Aerosol, roll-on, gel, cream, antiperspirants… There are as many kinds of deodorants as there are of skins. I decided to share with you my homemade deodorant recipe because it can be tough to find the one for you in the market. It is the first cosmetic I’ve ever done! I find it fascinating to watch how products react with each other. Of course, I will give you the base and you can completely personalize it and find what really suits you. 

The recipe

There is nothing easier than this homemade deodorant recipe: you only need 3 ingredients for the base.  And you can always find them in your kitchen! So no more race to the store at 8 am when you realize you ran out of deodorant just before a long day out or at work. You need:

  • Virgin coconut oil
  • Alimentary bicarbonate of soda (thinner than all-purpose one)
  • Cornstarch

You can easily find these ingredients in specialized organic food shops or in supermarkets. You need to melt the coconut oil (in the microwave for example) and then mix all the ingredients together in an equal amount in a small jar. So 1/3 of each. I use a tablespoon to measure the good quantity.

Let it cool down for two hours in the fridge. It is now ready for use! No need to keep it longer in the cold once it gets a good texture. On your bathroom shelf, it is perfect.

You will be surprised how efficient this deodorant is.  Indeed, one application in the morning is enough. I guaranty that your armpits won’t smell at all, all along the day. It does not stain your clothes and you can dance until the end of the night!

How to use your homemade deodorant

The texture of this deodorant is very similar to a gel or a cream. You just need to grab a pea-sized scoop with your finger (always wash your hands beforehand) and spread it out under your armpit. If you prefer not to touch it with your finger, you can use a small stick. It could be a good idea to prevent the spread of germs to the whole product.

Personalize it

homemade deodorant recipe

It is easy to do your homemade deodorant depending on your “nez”. You can add essential oil. I like the smell of lemon and lavender, but you can use rosemary or ravensara. Essential oils also have antibacterial or medicinal properties.

I emphasized the fact that they are not cosmetics but medication and need to be used with extreme precaution (and never for kids, pregnant women, or animals). They also are a big source of allergic reactions and pollution. For this reason, I’d rather use fragrances.

 

I’m very proud to say that it is eco-friendly and economic: a small jar can last up to 3 months. Easy to transport and to travel with, it is an all-time item on my list of cosmetics and beauty products to pack. Your skin will be forever grateful and it also is a good gift idea with a cute little jar. All my family has already adopted it!

What about you? Are you going to try this recipe? Do you make your own cosmetics?

Cosmetics and beauty products: what to pack for travel

As a big fan of cosmetics and beauty products, I know the trouble when it comes to packing. At home, my bathroom used to be full. Between the makeup, the skincare, haircare, and much more. I had to make a very tough choice when I left. But reducing the number of products does not mean giving up your beauty routine. You just need to adapt and take only what you need! Here is my list of items that never leave my side.

First, I always suggest writing a checklist to be sure you are not forgetting anything. This is not only the case for cosmetics and beauty products but for packing in general. You can find lists on the web to give you an idea.

I remind you as well that in the case you’re travelling by plane, you can not have liquids over 100ml in your carry on luggage. You can buy empty 100ml and fill them up with your liquid. If you check your suitcase or if you buy something at the airport, then this restriction does not apply. It is easy to find travel-sized toiletries.

Cosmetics and Beauty products

In a matter of makeup, I used to have ten different colours of every kind. On a daily basis, I know only keep my favourite. Of course, I do not go anywhere with mascara on. This is my item number one! I also always have my favourite lipstick with me (a deep matte red).

It matches with every outfit and pretty much every colour, as well as a black eye-liner. I wear blush every day, and I prefer powder than cream. In my opinion, it is easier to travel with.

You can make your own solid deodorant (check out my recipe!) or buy one. The small jar lasts months, it’s natural and eco-friendly! In the same idea, I always travel with dry shampoo. it can be hard to wash your hair, the water is not always hot in hostels, nor the showers always clean… No problem: spray your hair with the dry shampoo and you’ll look like getting out of the shower! On a purely ecological point of view, this is also huge save of water.

Accessories

Cosmetics and beauty products travel pack

A folding hairbrush is essential. I’ve got one that fits in my handbag, so I always have it with me. You can also find microfibre small towel for your hair; I use it every time I wash it! They dry so quickly, and they come in every colour. Do not forget a razor. It is easy to use it under the shower,

It can be hard to pack only the essential but with a bit of practice, you will become an expert like me! If you forget something, remember you can always buy it in the airport or a supermarket. A lot of places produce artisanal cosmetics and beauty products made with local resources. As an example, there is the Savon de Marseille in France, which I love. It is so soft for your skin!

What about you? What are your essentials items while travelling? Is it hard to pack?

How Netflix saves my life while traveling!

Founded in 1997, Netflix has grown at a tremendous pace and became the biggest streaming platform in the world. At first, I was not interested at all. I’ve always liked going to the cinema with friends but it’s true that it is not something essential for me. But I couldn’t stop hearing about it from travelers I met. I finally decided to give it a go. Now, I can not live without it! It’s an incredible way to keep busy during some lonely nights.

Huge selection of films and series

My favorite thing about Netflix is the choice we have. There are thousands of movies and if possible, even more series. It is easy to find exclusive content. Indeed, a lot of series are produced by Netflix itself and are only available on their platform. It is the case of most of the documents for example or biographic stories. When I travel around the world, this is the one thing that keeps me company when I need it.

According to your preferences, all the genres can be found. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of action movies, romantic or comedy. You will always find what you are looking for! I, per instance, love sci-fi and fantastic cinema.

I have watched Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings sagas at least ten times each! But I love discovering new films which I didn’t have a clue they existed. The independent one “The discovery” for example was a real punch in the face! I absolutely recommend you check it out! On a lighter note, there are tons of comic series. It is hard to make a choice, but who is going to complain? Friends is always going to be my favorite one.

You can watch Netflix anywhere

You just need to create an account. Then there are infinite possibilities. You can of course watch directly with the Wi-Fi or your data on your phone. But the best in my opinion and what makes Netflix stand out from the rest of the market is that you can watch it literally anywhere. It is very easy to download your favorite series and watch it later.

I find it so useful when I have a 20 hours bus ride through the desert for example! This offline mode is definitely a lifesaver. It is also very enjoyable to share the TV screen with all the friends you meet in the hostel. I often organize a “cinema night”! We buy popcorn and pizzas and watch our favorite TV show. It is a unique way to bond with people.

Netflix travel mobile

 

Among all the streaming platforms, Netflix is an incredible discovery. I could not imagine going back to my life without it. It is also a good topic to chat with people you meet. I can now talk about the most famous movies, actors and directors, which I couldn’t before.

If you don’t have it in your life yet, I strongly advise you to have a look at the subscription offers!

What about you? Do you watch Netflix? What are your favorite series and films?

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2021 The Joe Review

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑