Traveling – Tips

So far I’ve mainly posted pictures from places I’ve been to since 2014. Before that, I traveled mainly around Europe but since I was in Singapore in 2014, I started exploring the rest of the world.
Here, I’d like to give some advice on traveling – in general, in Europe and around the world. – breaking with the tradition of posting mainly photos.

Cities in Europe:
Europe offers many diverse and beautiful cities, most of which have quite a history and offer an ancient area with beautiful old architecture, heritage sites (and sights) and ruins.

Unlike mega-cities such as Dubai oder Kuala Lumpur, most european capitals have been around and growing for hundreds of years. Some were founded by Romans, like most italian cities and e.g. Trier in Germany; my hometown. These cities look back at roughly 2000 years of history, devastating wars and fires, growth and change. You’ll find ruins and churches from different epochs and distinctive areas/blocks that were built in a certain periods and offer diverse styles. Most cities still preserve the old town and city-life revolves around the marketplace / piazza del popolo. Where (asian) mega-cities impress with their skyline at night, european cities amaze with their diverse buildings and offer a ‘window in time’.

Planning the trip:

  • When flying, take note which Airport you’re flying into. Some are located quite far away and fast transfer to the city can be pricey, especially during night hours. Cabs in Europe aren’t as cheap as they come in Asia – using uber might save you some money but I’d advise to stick to public transport as much as possible.
  • Try to find an accommodation near the center or with good public transport Connections (subway station within 500m)
  • Book a hostel rather than a hotel to get to know others; explore the city together and get tips on what to see.
  • When traveling by bus: there rarely are semi-cama (comfy reclining seats) or cama (wide comfy seats with curtains around) bus-options in Europe so don’t expect them to be too comfy.

European cities are best explored by foot and it’s always a good idea to try to get a bird’s-eye view from a hill, a TV-tower (or a rooftop bar=) ). For the first day, I can highly recommend the ‘free’ walking tours offered via ‘sandemanns new Europe tours’. These tours exist in many cities and usually start around 11 near the main square / city center. Unless you’re a huge group, booking isn’t required and you can just show up and look for the guides in red shirts. These guides are mainly history or art students (I’ve also met engineers and teachers) who love their cities, know a lot about it and got certified as a guide. Since their only payment is the tip at the end of the trip, they are enthusiastic and try to give you the best experience they can. Feel free to ask them whatever you’re interested in; there’s a high chance they can recommend a place to go to. The tours usually take around 3 hours and finish at a bar with a special offer. In some cities, they also organise pub crawls in the evening. – Please remember to tip the guides according to your liking so they can keep the service running and others get the same chance to enjoy these tours.
I’ve done this free walking tour in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Munich, Rome and Prague. There might be other companies or freelancers offering free Walking tours – which might be great as well or even better – just give them a try.

When in Germany; take note:

  • not everybody understands English: (In my opinion, the all-dubbed-TV is the reason why especially the ‘older generation’ lacks English vocabulary unless they need it professionally).
  • public transport; especially the ‘Deutsche Bahn’ is complicated and expensive. Ask a local if you’re uncertain what to book.
  • Taxis are really expensive – stick to public Transport.
  • Shops are closed on Sundays. Except for ~5 Sundays/year (differs year to year and citywise), all stores are closed on Sundays. Only restaurants and gas stations will be open.
  • free WiFi is scarce!
  • try typical German bread: it’s the best in the world.

(more country specific advice will follow)

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