Snacks: Sunflower seeds, the favoured snack of every man aged over 55, at least in warm countries where you can sit in the sunshine and hull them with your teeth, leaving mounds of shells around park benches, a kind of compostable calling card if you will. There's a technique to opening them which involves cracking … Continue reading Ten things you’ll find in every Balkan supermarket (which you should definitely pack for a picnic)
Cities: Shkoder & Tirana Stayed at: The Wanderer's Hostel & Trip'Inn Best thing I ate:The breakfast at The Wanderer's Hostel, partly because it was so tasty but also because of the lovely courtyard surroundings and the amazing staff who serve it up. You get a huge piece of cheese burek, a delicious chocolate croissant and … Continue reading Pour yourself a glass of rakija, and let me tell you about Albania.
City: Budva, Montenegro Other places visted: Kotor Stayed at: Freedom Hostel, in Budva's Old Town. Best thing I ate: Cakes and wine. Wine and cake. Montenegrin wine is about €3.00 per bottle, and some of it even has a cork (POSH!). I don't know much about wine so I'm going to say that it was … Continue reading Montenegro: In which I drank too much cheap local wine and accidentally ordered a hamburger.
I've decided not to write up about travel days, because they've all been pretty much the same so far. So instead, here's the lowdown on what happens on bus journeys in the Balkans. You can play it like a game of bingo if you like, and treat yourself to an ice cream if you get … Continue reading Let’s play Balkan bus journey bingo!
City: Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina Other places visted: Mostar Stayed at: Franz Ferdinand Hostel Best thing I ate: Veggie platter and fresh lemonade from 'Falafel', in Sarajevo's Old Town. I'm also obsessed with a fizzy drink called 'Cockta', which is a kind of herbal cola - a bit like Sarsaparilla. Transport: Buses x 3, trolleybuses x … Continue reading Sarajevo & Mostar: Ottoman architecture, complex histories and turquoise rivers.
City: Split, Croatia Other places visted: Trogir, Krka National Park Stayed at: Tchaikovsky Hostel Best thing I ate: Gelato from Luka, a little place around the corner from my hostel. Transport: Buses x 5 The lowdown on veggie/vegan/special diets: Burek (filo pastries) with cheese or cheese and spinach are widely available for a tasty snack or … Continue reading Roman ruins, stray cats and sunny courtyards: 3 days in Split.
You can probably guess that I'm not actually writing this in Japan; in fact it's now April, and I'm sat on the balcony of my hostel in Split. The last 2 months have disappeared in a puff of coloured smoke, so I never did get around to writing up my last two days in Tokyo. … Continue reading Tokyo Day 7 – Spirited away to a land of soot sprites.
My original plan for today had been to go out to Hakone, to see Mt Fuji and do the tourist loop, which includes rinding on a cable car and a faux pirate ship, both of which were hugely appealing to me. However, I realised the night before that I was running out of time to … Continue reading Tokyo Day 6 – A haunted toilet, a picnic that went wrong, and another boiling hot bath.
I've been obsessed with the little white cat with a red bow since I was child, when Sanrio merchandise was far harder to come by. Whenever our parents took us to London, my sister and I would insist on a visit to Harrods or Hamleys, where I'd spend my pocket money on Hello Kitty stationary … Continue reading Day 5 – Your bow is red, your dress is blue, oh Hello Kitty, I really love you! (Valentine’s Day at Sanrio Puroland!)
After waking up far, far too early, I made the Imperial Palace my first stop of the day. I'd expected just to be able to walk around the surrounding parkland, but when I got to the gate I discovered you could have a free guided tour. The tour is in Japanese, but there's a free … Continue reading Tokyo Day 4 – Visiting the Emperor, travelling back in time and window-shopping for plastic food.