Our Zilina couchsurfing host Michal had said that he would meet us at the train station and we had no problem spotting each other. He asked what our plans were and we really didn't have any, so he suggested that he show us around a little bit. Okay! So we got acquainted with Michal while wandering around. He works for a large industrial company, but he's on the road a lot and works mostly from a home office. Zilina is a fairly industrial town and there is a Kia car manufacturing plant here that employs 3,000 local people. Michal has a wife, Ivona, and a two year old son Daniel. But Michal has also taken courses to become a certified tour guide for the area, and he was practicing on us. We think he's going to be very successful! We decided to visit another castle about 15 kms away called Strecno Castle. We parked the car and it was going to be an uphill 20 minute walk to get to this fascinating castle! We spent the evening talking about travel and what to do in the area. There are some gorgeous hikes within 35 kms of here and Michal showed us some pics of the area so we'll know what to expect
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289 Kms from Zilina
New Years Eve BratislavaNew Years Day a very hungover group of us set off on the train to Vienna, the Capital of Austria. It appeared to be a charming city steeped in history, but in our post party haze we just couldn’t do it justice. This has been added to the list for a re-visit at some point when we’re feeling a little bit fresher!The rest of the trip was spent back in Bratislava sampling traditional Slovak food such as hearty meaty soups and stews with dumplings.FebruaryFebruary was a quiet month on the travel front, except for a cheeky girls trip to London to see Eddie Izzard for a friends birthday. Other than that it was full steam ahead with the planning and preparations for our big adventure. We began to think about how we were going to get to Cambodia, and more importantly we brainstormed and made some decisions on how we were going to fund the trip and what we would do with our house. Brainstorming to Travel, and Live and Work AbroadAndy completed a 120 hours TEFL Certificate, to enable him to teach English abroad. His YouTube Channel ‘GOING NOMAD…aka pigs on bikes’ was also born (his first vlog was a review of his TEFL course), and I began to create this blog.March
195 Kms from Zilina
During my student exchange in France, I hung out with quite a few Hungarians and one thing was for sure – Hungarians knew how to have fun! And why wouldn’t they ? With a country that offered cheap food and drinks (I paid lesser for a fancy brunch in Budapest than in India!), had a unique nightlife and known for its spa culture, it would be really hard not to be fun-loving.And this fun and beautiful place set the tone for our 18 day Central Europe trip. Here is my 2.5 day Budapest Itinerary followed by some travel and stay tips. Happy reading ????
163 Kms from Zilina
The Much-Talked About Culture
164 Kms from Zilina
Krakow was such an amazing historical city and I felt so alive having gone there by myself and seeing all of these incredible sights and making new friends. It was the first time I opened up on my travels and I was kicking myself that I hadn't done it earlier.I discovered I shouldn't be so shy and to open up more to strangers, because other people can really make your trip so much more special. Now it's what I love the most about travelling and thinking back to that particular day always gets me so pumped and energised for new adventures ahead.
218 Kms from Zilina
Bratislava is simple old world charm. I can't stress how friendly and helpful the people are. They are simply waiting for you to ask them directions! While entering the city, the Brastislava Hrad (castle) is an imposing sight and the Old Town is enchanting. When backpacking in Europe alone, chuck other cities to definitely stop by Bratislava as it will welcome you with open arms.Getting around in BratislavaWalking around the Old Town is your best option. A good walk will get you all around the historic centre, main square and by lanes that are open for exploration. To get around the city, buses are the best bet. Tickets are available at magazine shops or most bus stops have a ticketing machine. Again, don't forget to punch in your ticket. While Slovakia uses the euro, it's much cheaper than other neighbouring countries.Accommodation in BratislavaThere are tons of good hostels near the Old Town and the Castle. A personal recommendation would be to stay in the hostels to get a feel of the pulse of the city. Other than that, Airbnbs and hotels are the usual options. Just remember that there are plenty of walks uphill and downhill so it will be easier on you if you're a bit fit.What to eat in BratislavaWhile most dishes have meat, carbs like potatoes, bread and noodles are staples. Dairy products are also very popular. When backpacking in Europe alone and you find yourself in the Slovakian capital, try the Bryndzové Halušky or potato dumplings that are similar to gnocchi served with sheep’s milk cheese. The goulash is also very popular which is a Hungarian specialty.
239 Kms from Zilina
People there make it worth a stay.
134 Kms from Zilina
Since childhood I have always been fascinated by mountains. Family trips of summer in the lower Himalayan hill stations like Darjeeling, Gangtok, etc. in India, has always been stuck in my mind and played a very important role in making me a genuine lover of the mountain and hilly landscapes.So it comes as no surprise that wherever I go to travel in the world, I always search for hills and mountains near that place. That is why, when I went to live in the lovely central European country of Poland, I could not hold myself to check out it’s beautiful mountain range called the Tatra mountains.Tatra mountains are part of Carpethian mountain range and situated in the south of Poland, marking it’s border with nearby country Slovakia. In the valley of Tatra, the town of Zakopane is situated which is arguably the most famous hill station of Poland both in summer and winter. Thousands of mountain lovers visit the town everyday to trek in summer and for skiing and other winter sports in the winter.I arrived to Zakopane in the beginning of August with my girlfriend, with the goal to trek and explore the beautiful Tatra national park and its mountain peaks for a week. Zakopane is just a couple of hour bus ride from the most famous city of southern Poland Krakow.We booked a room is a family-run hostel on the southern edge of the town, just half a kilometer away from the entrance of Tatra National Park. All the trekking and skiing trails of Tatra mountains are situated inside the national park and for better maintenance of nature and wildlife of the park, the entry is partly restricted and 5 złoty (Polish currency, 1 euro = 4.2 złoty) ticket need to be bought for entering the park. After entering the room we opened the back door to a lovely terrace where the beautiful view of the national park was waiting to welcome us.