Pages Navigation Menu

Welcome to Rome

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

We have arrived in the city of pizza and piazza, the place of sophisticated cultural sights and historic relevance. We dived right in, luggage in tow, leaving Fiumicino airport with a warm breeze blowing through the exit gates, only to be stopped by taxi touts, blocking our way to the ticket vending machines for the train. First lesson learned: taxi drivers act suspicious, will stay away and use public transport in Rome. Using public transport was a wise choice. .   There were various ways to obtain train tickets at Fiumicino. Facing the entrance to the train platforms were vending machines, as well as small shop stalls and one Trenitalia ticket counter. The vending machine charged 8 Euros from airport to Trastevere per person- but basically to tutte le statzione in Roma (so the ticket says), the shop stalls...

Read More

Transportation in Lisbon and Porto

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

The first day we arrived, we used public transport in Lisbon and bought tickets from the driver. We rode the bus, the train, tram and the old tram but if you buy single tickets on board you pay a lot more. We weren’t in the know. Locals were using the better alternative, a travel card which they scanned when boarding buses and trams. You can buy a travel card for 0,50 Euros, then top it up anytime at ticket machines. To get a travel card, we went to Cais Sodre Metro Station (but I think most stations do the job). At the ticket window we were informed about the price for a ride with a card, which was 1,40 Euros and I think it was double that without a travel card. To top the card up, you can either...

Read More

Biking Tokyo’s Shibuya & Shinjuku at night

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

This year our fantastic three storey Tokyo townhouse came with two bikes and we are enjoying the city more than ever. We were provided with new bikes by our hosts who are like genie in a bottle. Quick rant on our gorgeous house in Setagaya Three storeys does sound awfully grand, and in Tokyo terms it is, but it is funny to see different reactions from friends. Japanese: “Wow, you live in a house – that is a big house for you two.” European: “It is a house and only has two rooms?” Hilarious. As for my part, I already got used to Japanese proportions and started to love the compactness of Tokyo and its one family house units. The garage takes up all of ground level, second floor is occupied by the kitchen, dining table, toilet and couches,...

Read More

Car rental in Japan

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

We went to Nagasaki for the weekend, that is on Sunday. We tried to spend as little as possible and decided to rent a car and share it with two more people. Car rental agencies and costs. Rental agencies are easy to find – we had three just around the corner. We rented from Budget in Tenjin/Fukuoka. We paid 6.500 yen for the car (including insurance for the day), 3.000 for gas, and there were also bills for various highway tolls. In the end, we paid about 4.500 each (four people sharing the car). The train ride would have been about double that per person. Our incredibly cute car. We were wondering if it was considered a gaijin colour, as all the other cars picked up by Japanese was black or beige. The car was just perfect for four,...

Read More

Seoul’s metro & traffic curiosa

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in All posts, South Korea | 0 comments

The great thing about the metro in Seoul is that you can travel anywhere in the city, walking through metro stations without having to worry for your personal safety. If you are one of my faithful blog readers, you already know of the advantages of our metro T-card from the convenience store. Today, I am going to show you how to top the T-card up at a metro vending machine. I have collected some fun peculiarities of Seoul’s metro for you! However, in Seoul, other means of transport (cars, bikes) do have an essential impact on pedestrians as well. You will see. First, the metro. An extensive and convenient underground (and sometimes overground) network. Way more accessible than bus service. Buses do not always stop at bus stops (first hand experience). This is why we use the metro everyday....

Read More

Perpetual travel tips: cheap flights and air travel advice

Posted by on Jan 26, 2013 in All posts, Perpetual travel issues | 0 comments

We are what can be considered frequent flyer customers due to our pursuit of constant travel. Because we travel with various airlines and are not loyal to any particular airline, we are not into saving-miles programs. We are more sensitive to prices than airline service and happy economy flyers. But true romantics, which means window seaters, enjoying breathtaking satellite views above the clouds (and a heck of a lot of radiation on the plane), risking to pee our pants rather than squeezing past other passengers to the lavatory. It is all about being rewarded with one of a kind flight perspective, if stunning 30,000-foot views are any indication of why I love to fly. Windows give me comfort. I am distracted from the fact of being stuck in a metal tube cramming over a hundred strangers with weird behaviours...

Read More

Two days in Cambridge: Sights, Shopping, Lodging, Transport

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in All posts, England | 0 comments

CAMBRIDGE is a secluded little wonderland of 19th-century splendour and Victorian façade. The town’s name stands worldwide for egalitarian students in smart academic dress with ties and gowns attending Cambridge University. Surprisingly I learned that presenting itself as one renowned university to the world is  foremost good PR – well okay, it does have some historical relevance as well. But, what the world perceives as the one Cambridge University is a variety of 31 Colleges, the oldest being Peterhouse dating back to 1284 and the most famous embodied by King’s College with its stunning late Gothic architecture and Trinity College, the smarty pants leader with the most Nobel price winners of all. Nobel prizes have been awarded to affiliate colleges of the Cambridge University for the discovery of DNA structure, the development of a national income accounting system and...

Read More

First day in Vilnius: taxis, home rental, food and a lot of snow

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in All posts, Lithuania | 3 comments

After two months we left Athens and have just arrived in Lithuania at around midnight. My first impressions of this town is that it’s tiny and that there are not as many people nor cars around. The streets are vast and sort of empty contrasting with the densely populated Athens where scratched and bumped cars are blocking your way. The airport is small and looks more like a train station.   Tada! I hereby present snow and my well-adjusted (fake!) furry winter coat.   We will be in Vilnius for two weeks which is the capital with only about half a million inhabitants. Here is how we rented a flat, some pictures of Lithuanian food probes and a word on taxis. TAXIS IN VILNIUS We were advised not to flag a taxi down nor to take a taxi from...

Read More

Train Fetish: Railway Stations and Museums in Budapest

Posted by on Nov 10, 2012 in All posts, Hungary | 1 comment

I was just reading about the extraordinary world of train fetishism, brought to perfection in Japan (of course! I love the Shinkansen, too!) and will never again be able to enter a tunnel on a train without ‘second’ thoughts. I was wondering if the infatuation with beautiful railway stations marks the beginning of a train fetish? It could do. And I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Budapest is to blame. The railway and metro stations have a long history here and are worth a visit, no matter if you will be boarding the train or not. We didn’t use the train but marvelled at huge halls with interior design from the end of the 19th century, nothing short of aristocratic ball rooms. This is not a palace. This is Nyugati Train Station.   It is a luxury to...

Read More

Public transport in Budapest and the Universe

Posted by on Sep 15, 2012 in All posts, Hungary | 3 comments

Let me tell you: the Universe works in mysterious ways and everything is wonderfully interconnected… in Budapest… when using public transport! If you came to this post to find out how to get around and how much it costs scroll further down for sheer facts on Budapest’s public transport. Otherwise, you are welcome to enjoy our story first.   ON THE MYSTERIOUS WORKINGS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN BUDAPEST Walking past a movie theatre, Tomek and I decided to enjoy some straight forward action with the Bourne Legacy, not taking into account that the metro in Budapest closes at midnight. Entrance bars were just being lowered, when we arrived at the metro. But we weren’t bothered, because there are plenty of night buses, that run at least once every hour. Unexpectedly, there was a vehicle from the heavens, standing in front...

Read More

Transport & taxi scams in Malaysia

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in All posts, Malaysia | 1 comment

Hey folks, this post is a summary about all means of transportation we used when traveling in Malaysia and mainly around the capital, Kuala Lumpur. You will also find out why I now have taxi phobia. Arriving by PLANE. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is the main gateway into the country, operated by most international airlines, from where you can get the KLIA Ekspres train and make 55 km to Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station in 28 minutes. We came in via the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) flying Air Asia, a budget carrier, 20 km from the main airport, from where we took a ten minute bus ride to Salat Tinggi train station.   Airport Bus Transit from LCCT Budget terminal.   Salat Tinggi. From here, trains frequently run to the city. We boarded the KLIA Transit train and...

Read More

Come sun, come rain… public transport on Koh Samui

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in All posts, Thailand | 0 comments

To make the most of our stay on the island we decided to rent a motorbike. Renting is a great way to escape horrendous taxi fares on Koh Samui. Because on the island, there is no real public transport. You will notice this, right after you have landed.   Airport Transfer Tourist Rip At the airport, the only available means to get away are airport taxis or airport minibuses, which can be booked from the transportation counter at the airport.   The airport taxis have no meter, despite carrying the roof top sign ‘metered taxi’ and demanding fares that are somewhat difficult to justify. A taxi ride to a hotel at Chaweng or Lamai – about 2-3 km away from the airport – will start at 400 Baht. The price is equivalent to a 30 km taxi ride in...

Read More

Singapore – on shopping for clothes and cars

Posted by on Jun 2, 2012 in All posts, Singapore | 0 comments

I was a bit disappointed with the shopping variety in Singapore’s fashion stores. Singapore, the rising country, that created wealth out of nothing, with no natural resources and limited space, lacks shopping individuality.       Even though it was the countries super sales weeks, walking through Singapore’s malls was not the slightest bit impressive. Many ageing big malls with store chains I knew from home or England. Some of those buildings were just undergoing major reconstruction. But even the newer ones were ghostly abandoned looking with strange interiors and misplaced passages that made me feel uncomfortable and conveyed coldness in design.     I walked down the acclaimed Orchard shopping strip and returned without a find after my habitual shopping treasure hunt. I missed originality in interior design and clothing. With limited alternative to the haute couture and...

Read More

Singapore – on safety and security

Posted by on May 27, 2012 in All posts, Singapore | 0 comments

Safety is a big thing in Singapore. I was impressed by the amount of security cameras and massive conglomerations of hanging city surveillance, the most I have counted were eleven in one place. I was reminded of my student times in England, where almost every inch of the university city of Manchester is watched through video cameras. Walking in Singapore means that you will have to circuit around a lot.  Residential areas are fenced in, display warning signs and seek protection through high tech bollards to keep unwanted persona out. With a top literacy rate, almost no unemployment and a small proportion of low income earners – who is to be kept out? Immigrants? Surely not the business immigrant bringing foreign investment into the country since Singapore’s economy relies on capital inflow and skyscraper office renting. The average income...

Read More

Singapore – on hotels and taxis

Posted by on May 26, 2012 in All posts, Singapore | 2 comments

There are two sides to how Singapore presents itself. The super expensive side with (probably) excellent service for the rich and the highly overpriced sector with medium to appallingly bad service for average pockets. This is how accommodation for the tourist can be classified. Since we knew that Singapore was going to be expensive we were prepared to pay a lot more than what we usually intend to spend on hotels. We were even a bit frantic to enjoy a bit of Singapore’s luxuries and splash out on a superb room. However, having found a cheaper place with excellent descriptions and nice photos while browsing through the net we thought ourselves lucky, booked online and ended up in a hostel that featured a room for 75S$ without en suite facilities. For that price and with more people using it...

Read More

Siem Reap from a tuktuk driver’s perspective (part II)

Posted by on May 13, 2012 in All posts, Cambodia | 0 comments

By sunset we had found out that our tuktuk driver Chang was 44, that he enjoyed to picnic with his family and that he was going to show us his special picnic place. It was also going to be a great position to watch the sunset. It sure was! A lively area composed of two parallel streets that come to life at night with a major number of food vendors, clothes and toys stalls framed by uncountable blankets and rugs being unfolded to make up the picnic seating for each family. A small funfair was another bright attraction for children featuring a merry go round, car scooter and over-dimensional swans at the adjacent lake, taking youngsters for a boat ride. Chang would drive up to the picnic sites and chat up randomly selected people, showing us what Cambodian people...

Read More

Siem Reap from a tuktuk driver’s perspective (part I)

Posted by on May 12, 2012 in All posts, Cambodia | 0 comments

Worn out after the six hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap but not tired enough to go to sleep, we took a Tuktuk driver and gave him a task: to show us around your city till sunset. Chang, the tuktuk driver, enjoyed the freedom but was struggling with responsibility and started driving very slowly because nothing came to mind. Finally, we proposed some temples. Glad he had a clear destination, Chang showed us the wats along the way, one by one. There are so many little wats in Siem Reap! Most are not mentioned in the guidebooks for a reason :) However, it was a relaxing ride to see Siem Reap’s quiet and almost empty side, as tourists only come here to go to Angkor Wat and hang out at crowded Pub Street in the centre...

Read More

First Cambodian bus customers

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in All posts, Cambodia | 0 comments

Booking our bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap the travel agent gave us a new brochure with a sleek silver limousine coach picture. For 14$, only 4$ more than regular buses – it did not take long to convince us. What the travel agent didn’t tell us: the bus company just started to operate one day before our departure and we were amongst the first six clients that were boarding that bus. Out of the wrap sparkling bus. Protecting plastic stickers still covering electrical equipment, shiny seats,  spotless panoramic windows. We were going to be grateful test customers. Picked up by a black limousine beamer from our hotel to get us to the bus, we did not have to bother with bags or tuktuk haggling. Bus staff was outnumbering passengers and on their second work day presented...

Read More