Tag Archives: city

My friend and I were planning our trip to Albania. We needed some beach time, but the popular beaches like Sarande were a little too far for our liking. With the short time we had, we needed something a bit closer to the capital. What about Vlorë? Vlorë? Vlora? What’s the name of this place? Why does it have two names? Vlorë. It’s the third biggest city in Albania and about midway between Greece and Montenegro. Why not. Getting to Vlorë from Berat was easy enough. Only, our van had us waiting for several hours until it was full and ready to depart. After all that waiting we ended up with too many passengers and a family we picked up along the way had to sit in the aisle, with the mum on a tiny fold out stool. The poor little boy got car sick and we had to stop…

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How I ended up spending a long weekend in Coimbra The pandemic grew into the second wave in Europe while I was traveling in Portugal. In early November there was a long weekend due to a public holiday and the Portuguese government put some measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID. Therefore the local population wasn’t allowed to leave their respective municipalities for the long weekend. Shortly after it was announced, they decided to exempt tourists from this rule, but it just felt wrong to travel. And this is how I ended up spending some extra time in Coimbra. And look at this beauty! It certainly isn’t a bad place to be ‘stuck’. With around 106.000 inhabitants, Coimbra is still pretty small, but it is rich in monuments and beauty and has plenty of entertainment, restaurants and shops. For the budget traveler there are many hostels to choose…

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Banja Luka is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second biggest city. It’s located in the North of the country, close to the border with Croatia. I had never thought to go to Banja Luka and it’s certainly not on the tourist radar where I am from, but I wanted to explore a different side of Bosnia and found out that Banja Luka has an airport. It may be a tiny airport, but there are about two flights a day and on Sunday, one of them goes to Berlin. So I ended my one week trip in the Republika Srpska. From Sarajevo I decided to take a train to Banja Luka. I bought my handwritten ticket in the window and walked to the train. As soon as I entered I felt like I’d entered an ash tray. It was clean enough, but the smell was quite overwhelming. Luckily it got better as we…

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After visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina as a tour leader a few times, the country has simply stolen my heart. Ever since setting foot in it for the first time, I’ve been wanting more. I can never get enough of Sarajevo, with it’s gorgeous old center, the many shops, the fabulous food and the friendly people. With one week off I decided to explore some more. I flew into Tuzla or a low cost carrier to start off my holiday. When I got into my taxi I was immediately reminded of why I love it there so much. At first it was quiet, but then the driver asked me a question in Bosnian. I said that my initial ‘Hello’ and ‘Center’ were about as much Bosnian as I could speak and feared I was now going to be ripped off. My driver surprised me with excellent English and gave me a…

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Browsing on Bookme, a website with discounted activities, trying to find something to do for the weekend, I came across rap jumping. So on Sunday morning I went into the city to walk off a building. I was greeted by a young guy who told me to wait until everyone had arrived. Once the whole group was complete, we got the introduction, making sure that everyone knew what they’d signed up for. We then took the elevator up and took the last stairs up to the roof. There we got harnessed up and got told about safety. Our harness was put on backwards, because we needed a belay loop in the back. After all, as opposed to abseiling, in rap jumping you descent the building facing forwards. The young guy who had greeted us went down first to show us how it was done. He casually walked down. Well… maybe…

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Savannakhet, or Savan as it’s mostly called, is a sleepy, provincial capital city without any famous attractions. Yet it’s the third largest city in Laos. It’s bizarre, because it seems so quiet. Arriving by bus, I see some big companies, like the Nikon Laos headquarters. I guess the location is strategic, not far from the Thai border and relatively close to Vietnam. Savannakhet used to be colonised by the French and you can see it in many of the buildings. Some have been restored, but many are various states of decay. It’s a strange mix with the old houses on stilts, modern houses and the Lao lifestyle. People here enjoy sitting in front of their houses in the late afternoon, seemingly uninterested in what’s going on. They might look if you pass, and some might should a friendly ‘Sabai dee’. The streets are full of big white cars and colourful tuktuks. Sidewalks are often broken…

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The hostel I stayed at in Yangon was a really good place to get to know other travellers. The first night I met Douglas, who was also interested in riding the circular train, so after breakfast we walked to the train station. We almost walked past it, but I noticed a poster inside a building that looked like a train map. We had a look inside and a man was sitting in a cubicle, behind green bars. He made a circular motion with his hand and we nodded yes. It was easy enough to get the tickets. On the platform they were working, improving the drains it seemed. I got super excited when the train arrived. We climbed in and found a seat. The train had some fans on the ceiling, but most of them didn’t work. We really crawled through the city, stopping often to let people on and off.…

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For some cities I just don’t know what to write. I don’t know how to explain why I loved this place and why I think everyone should go there. A place can be so beautiful and yet when people ask me why I recommend going there, I can only say “it’s just so stunning”. It’s a good thing we’ve got cameras, because Cienfuegos in Cuba is one of these places. It’s not a huge city, and you don’t need a whole lot of time to explore it, but there is a reason all those cruise ships dock here for an afternoon. I arrived in Cienfuegos by shared taxi. I shared it with my travel buddy and two girls we’d met in Playa Larga on a dive and snorkel trip. They had booked accommodation in Punta Gorda and we had no clue where we were going to stay. So we got off…

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Christchurch has certainly become a colorful city after the earthquake. In between the demolishing and building, colorful artwork like this pops up everywhere.

Not many people have gardens in the big cities. To get some green into the CBD and give people a chance to get their very own piece of green, Melbourne has come up with a great plan. In the heart of Melbourne you can find these crates with little veggie patches and gardens. You can rent one and take care of your own public piece of garden. On the concrete of this parking lot you can see little bumble bees. Now that’s endearing!

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