Trekking Turkey part I

So the holiday season is once again upon us and since Turkey is one of the few countries that opened up their borders this summer, here are few tips you may want to read before you book that trip of a lifetime.

I had plenty of opportunities to come to Turkey as it’s a popular holiday destination and has been for a while now. With the abundance of beaches, crystal clear water, mountains, blue skies and sunshine all year round it’s easy to understand why.

Here are three reasons to make Turkey your bucket list destination:

-food! My mouth is watering just as I even mention it! Meat cooked and seasoned to perfection, plenty of fresh vegetables and variety of dishes depending which region you are visiting!

-landscape for everybody! You can go skiing in the morning and swimming in the sea later that afternoon! How amazing is that??? History buff? Plenty to see there too!

-value for money. Turkish lira offers you a great exchange ratio so you can have more fun for less!

Since I was already in Central Asia and wasn’t in a hurry to get to Europe, Turkey seemed like a perfect transition place. I wasn’t too happy when I found out I need to apply for a visa but the whole procedure takes less than an hour and you get your e-visa instantly upon successful application. Here is the link

Bear in mind that even tho the visa is valid for 180 days, as a British citizen you can only stay in the country for 90 days. It’s a multiple entry visa so you can exit and enter as you please. If you want to stay longer then you have to get an extension within the first month of your visit.

Local SIM card.

Turkey isn’t a member of Europe Union and roaming can be very expensive. Your best solution is getting a local SIM card which costs 100TL plus any packages. All you need is your visa and passport and visit a local phone store. Turkey has three major mobile operators: Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom.The main difference between them is price so chose which one suits you most. Yes,I strongly advise you to get a local SIM card especially if you planning on hiking in remote areas. Free WiFi isn’t widely accessible.

Make sure they will open the SIM card for you as a tourist and not a local. Otherwise your SIM card will expire after 30 days unless you will bring a residency proof. That exactly what happened to me so I had to revisit the shop and get it fixed.


Turkey has generally a good link of public transport made of buses, metro, mini vans. You will need a local travel card with prepaid value. Annoying part is that every region will have their own card: Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya etc. So you will need a bigger wallet to be able to hold all those cards:) On the plus side they will look good in your scrap book.

There are plenty of online apps that you can use to track public transport. Like I mentioned before each region will have different transport providers so plan accordingly. Also some apps only work in Turkish language.

IMPORTANT: ALWAYS carry your passport or copy of your passport with the visa stamp. It’s very common to be stopped by a police or gandarmeria and get id. They can stop and checked the whole bus as well (happened 3 times to me). You can get fined if you don’t have relevant documents.

Taxis are also very popular in turkey and relatively cheap. You can usually find special buttons on trees or lamp post that are connected to local taxi dispatch. I found that very useful because I didn’t have to call and explain my location etc. English isn’t widely spoken in turkey.

Turkey has to be amongst the countries with largest number of pilots. Flights are super cheap between cities and much faster than coaches.

I find it really weird that there are no trains in the whole country.

Here are some useful links to help you plan your perfect excursion: (great app since it also shows you plane tickets but frustrating to use without english option. Still worth checking the routes and options etc).

I used this app constantly whilst staying in Antalya region. It allows you to track the bus in real time so you don’t have to spend hours waiting at bus stops. You can also top up your card online.

Another excellent app but only if you are fluent in Turkish.


Due to the current situation Turkish government is using a mobile app to track passengers.

I couldn’t find it in Apple store and my friend suggested it may be because I don’t have Turkish SIM card.

This is what the app icon looks like:


I only hitchhiked in turkey once. I was hiking in a remote area and there was this massive dog that couldn’t stop barking at me and simply blocked my road. The first car didn’t even slowed down for me and it took 15 mins before there was another car coming. It was a massive lorry truck but the driver was super pleasant. Didn’t speak much English but understood that I was afraid of the dog. He gave me a lift to a safe spot where I could continue my hike. Quite often when I was walking by the road a car would stop and the driver would ask if I need help or a ride. Of course it was very sweet and made me feel welcome, but sometimes the driver didn’t understand I was perfectly ok and that’s what I found frustrating. My best advice: go with your gut and always be cautious. I had a guy offering me a lift in Cappadocia but it turns out he was just looking for tourist to sell ballon flights to so as soon as I said I’m not interested at this occasion, he literally stopped the car and told me to get out. One of my best interaction was in Fethiye when I was coming back from a hike and a brand new Merced’s passed me by. After few seconds I saw it slow down and reverse to where I was. I prepared myself the best I could:) the driver rolled down the window and in a broken English asked: do you want to walk or you need a ride? I simply said: thank you but I have an hour till my bus so I can walk. And after that he left. I loved it! Communication really is a key!


I was using Couchsurfing when I first arrived in turkey. Firstly because I wanted to save a bit of money and secondly I wanted to get that insider look into the country. Yeah…that did not go well at all. Turns out that most hosts use the app as a Tinder and they do expect you to sleep with them in return for free bed. Some are quite open about it, others are more sneaky. I have dozens of stories about my Couchsurfing experience but this isn’t the time nor place.

All I’m going to say is: always trust your gut. Check their references. Try to interact via WhatsApp beforehand etc.

I had a wonderful host in Ankara, Owz,and we are still in touch via WhatsApp. He has a vast knowledge about his country that he could fill at least 10 books with! And he also hosted like dozens travellers and simply loves interacting with people! If you ever in the capital I’m sure he will be more than pleased to grab a coffee with you or host you at his place.

I also had two nice hosts in Istanbul but Cappadocia and Antalya were a disaster.

During my 3 months visit I spent 2 of them staying at various Airbnbs. I found this option way cheaper than hotels and also I had the privacy and comfort I love. Hostels aren’t very popular in Turkey.


If you are using to book your stay in Turkey, you have to do it before entering the country since the site is blocked there.


Local currency is Turkish lira. Plenty of ATMs in big cities but harder to get cash in remote villages. Paying by card isn’t widely accepted so always carry cash with you and try to plan ahead.

I never once feared I may be mugged but that doesn’t mean I encourage you to flash your wealth.

Most locals never been abroad so you may want to “tone down” describing your travel experiences. I know it sounds dumb but it will save you in the long term.

Now I feel like I need to mention something about local men. Turkish men don’t have the best reputation in Europe and after 3 months in turkey I can understand where does the opinion come from. Turkey was the first place where I literally couldn’t use Couchsurfing to simply find people to hang out with. Even if I posted an open event for everybody as soon as a local guy joined, he would refuse to let anybody else in. And local men always asked the same question: are you by yourself?

They were literally like piranhas trying to cockblock each other.

I even got a warning message from Couchsurfing that they will remove my profile because too many users are blocking me. Why was I being blocked? Because I refused to meet up with a guy who came too strong aka I was being precautious. Cappadocia was amongst the worst places when it comes to interacting with locals. I feel like it’s a one giant mafia of local guys there who are just looking for naive tourist.

Now I don’t condemn all those people who travel and want to have fun. Go for it! However I would like there to be an option to opt out without being ostracised. And would be much simpler if Couchsurfing kind of had two options in their profiles.

Well I feel like I’ve given you an honest description of what to prepare for your trip. In my next post I will write about all the places I recommend to visit, all the hiking trails I’ve done and the delicious food I tried.


Travelling solo for long period of time: daydream or a nightmare?

I think we all had those gloomy Monday’s when our boss wasn’t happy with anything we did or our co workers irritated the crap out of us by simply breathing. Or maybe your boss is great or you are your own boss but you simply wondered if there is more to life than just paying taxes, searching for our other half and getting a mortgage.

At one point or another we all sat at our lunch break and considered packing our bag with essentials only and boarding a one way flight to another continent.

We all had a vision of ourselves sipping cocktails by the pool, dancing with strangers during the week, hitchhiking through most scenic routes, tasting new cuisines and star gazing, maybe living with a local family whilst learning how to horse ride:)

Exactly 165 days ago I’ve left London with one small backpack and a suitcase and one way ticket to Central Asia and this hasn’t been one long happy trip.

Between you and me I’m also surprised that I lasted this long 😂 I gave myself a month top lol was ready to fly back to safety after a week!

Btw that’s me on my flight… can you see the doubt on my mind!???

If you look at my Instagram you will mostly see pictures of beautiful scenery with the occasional smiley selfie and mandatory wise quote underneath 🙂 Believe me , it’s not always sunny and things will go wrong one way or another…

There will be rainy days, flights or buses will get cancelled, accommodation will turn out to be not so good, you will meet rude people, you will get injuries. It’s all part of the journey.

To date those are my injuries and downfalls:

-had altitude sickness twice

-one scorpion bite

-one bee sting

-one spider bite

-2 bruised bones

-one raven attack

-2 shepherd dogs attacks

-been scammed by a taxi driver

-met some unkind travellers

-almost got into a fight in a club

I thought saying goodbye to all my old friends and acquaintances was hard. I didn’t know that I will meet so many lovely people on my way and saying goodbye will become as common as saying hello.

People travel for very different reasons. I met married people who travel solo, couples who met whilst travelling, people who take break from the corporate world, people making their ways across continents. The youngest traveller I met was 21 and the oldest 74:) There is no such thing as the right time as you can see!

My reason? I love discovering new places, tasting new food, walking down a street and not be haunted by memories…

I was also tired and bored of having the same small conversations with the same people every day: how are you? When are you going back home? What will your next job be?

Unfortunately as a traveller I had to face even more tedious questions: where are you originally from? Why arent you married? When are you going back? Where are you travelling next?

I’m not even joking but some people asked me where am I from before they even said hello…

Im not saying I’m hiding my nationality (I’ve been accused of that!) I just simply don’t see how it matters to someone I just met? And do you know why it matters to most people? Because when you tell them where you from they will immediately put you in a box. Box full of whatever information or impression they have of that country and they will treat you accordingly. I hold two passports but frankly I don’t associate my nationality with my personality.

My favourite type of travellers so far are all those fearless independent solo female travellers. I consider myself a beginner when it comes to travelling and I’ve met women who are on the road anything from 2 yrs to 5 yrs. non stop! They always had a piece of advice and encouragement to share. Of course I also met fantastic males travelling solo. However they never encountered certain issues so I couldn’t ask for advice…

yes, travelling as a female can be a bit more challenging especially when it comes to safety.

I often get asked if I’m scared. My answer is always the same: of what?

The truth is of course I’m scared. I’m scared of dogs, bears and…people. I now carry a whistle and small knife with me. Rather as a precaution than a weapon. Had to use my whistle couple of times to draw attention of a sloppy dog owner and used my hiking poles to keep the dog away from myself. The knife is mainly for a survival emergency scenario like if I have to build myself a shelter (as if knew how to!).

For me this trip is mainly about discovering myself and letting go of any attachments. I also decided to face my fears such as claustrophobia. So far I got mixed results on that:) tunnels and small caves are still a no go…

Since I’ve mentioned downfalls it would be nice to also mention my small victories:

-done my first through hike (3 days)

-finally capable to walk 30km a day without breaking too much sweat

-I can pretty much navigate my way out of most forests or mountain areas (but still can’t find an exit out of shopping mall)

-I can live without cheese and be happy

-minimalist when it comes to clothes

-faced my fear of public speaking by volunteering at a school

-I learned to be happy in the moment instead of constantly fretting about the future and next step

But travelling solo for such a long period of time does take its toll on my mental health… I can rarely fully relax as I’m responsible for booking all accommodations, bus tickets etc… of course I became more relax when it comes to planning but still…it has to be done.

Sometimes, especially at nights, you will crave someone you can tell about your day…share the good laughs with or the tears. Journal can help with that a little bit:)

I know that for most people travelling solo is such a crazy idea as jogging is to me but if I encourage even one of you to take that step and do at least one solo trip, then I believe I fulfilled my life purpose:) no, I’m not saying that travelling as a couple of with a group of friends is bad… I’m just saying that everyone should at least try one solo trip in their life time!

The biggest fear many people have about this type of travel is that they will be lonely… trust me! That will be the least of your worries! Especially if you are a woman!

During my 165 days of travelling I had maybe 20 days when I was truly on my own. Oh, what a bliss that was since I’m an introvert :)) I needed that to recharge myself!

But believe me, you will always meet whoever or whatever you currently need.

Safe travels!

Has Dominica invented the perfect diet for me? Part 1

“Once a year go somewhere you have never been before” Dalai Lama

I’ve been to the Caribbean before but this time I didn’t go for the beach, the music, the sun or the rum. Dominica is the only island that has a long distance hiking trail that runs across the whole island. The Waitikubuli Trail is 184 km (114 miles) long and is divided into 14 segments from Scott’s Head in the south to Capuchin in the north. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it???
You will be walking through coastal villages, lush rainforest, past waterfalls, up Woodland Hills and straight by the sea. Dominica really has it all.

There is no international airport so in order to reach this beautiful island you will need to either take a boat or arrive by plane from another island. I flew from St.Lucia. I love island hopping by air and planes with propellers:)

The first thing you will notice is the lush jungle like nature that is so abundant in Dominica, or rather was. Sadly almost 80% of the trees were permanently damaged during the hurricane Maria. And nobody is planting new ones.
The best way to travel from the airport to the hotel would be a car or a shared taxi. Unfortunately in a low season that can mean sometimes waiting for couple of hours for enough people to fill up the taxi. Yep, solo travellers have all the perks😂
Once in the taxi I can start seeing the damage in the forests. It’s heart breaking. Not to mention how many people have lost lives, homes and family. My driver told me he lost his dog:(((
In the video you can see the beautiful pink house that is missing roof.
I based myself in Rosseau because I wanted to be close to public transport. At the moment there aren’t many hotels in Dominica but you shouldn’t have a problem with finding a private accommodation.

Rosseau is a small town and main hub for tourists since most of them arrives by sea.
TIP: make sure you are always carrying cash with you since cards aren’t accepted everywhere.
After checking in I decided to hit the trail straight away. Busses in Dominica are private mini vans, so most of the time they won’t have any numbers or indications which direction they are going to. They will have some amazing paintings sometimes and stickers. No need to panic tho. They will have their designated stops and most drivers speak perfect English. Locals are extremely helpful too.
To hike the Waitikubuli trail you do need a pass. You can get it either from designated offices or at crossing segments of the trail. Since I was in Rosseau i headed straight to the Forestry, Wildlife and National Park Division. Because I wasn’t sure the exact location of that office I asked a lady, that sat next to me on the bus, for directions. She not only told me which direction to go to but also offered to walk me to there. It happened to me every time I asked a local for directions. They would simply walk me to where I needed to be:)
Sadly I was turned away at the office with nothing. They wouldn’t sell me the hiking pass. The official excuse was that the trail is closed. I was devastated. More so because I knew it wasn’t true. My taxi driver gave me a number to a local guide who walks with people on the trail, and he told me that some segments are indeed closed. But not the whole trail. I simply wasn’t allowed to hike it on my own:( most likely because I’m a female who looks like a child😂
You probably are wondering by now why didn’t I simply hire a guide. Well because I simply like to hike at my own pace. Looking back I wish I was a bit more open minded and maybe did make an exception this time.
Very disappointed and quite upset, I didn’t want to waste my whole day trying to fight the system. Instead I took a bus and went to see the Trafalgar falls.


I will be honest with you, I don’t like that name. I didn’t travel half way across the globe to be reminded of London lol!
The bus stop for Trafalgar Falls is based on King George V Street, not far from the Astaphans shop and police station. The ticket is 4.5EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollar) which equals to £1.30 and it takes about 20 minutes to get to Trafalgar. From there is another 15-20 mins walk.

It’s a beautiful walk slightly uphill. You do need a site pass in order to visit the falls. From the office it’s a downhill walk.

There is no time limit on how long you can stay there. It’s a beautiful area, with lush green vegetation. All you can hear are birds, crickets and the roar of the water.
There are also list of crabs so be careful when you decide to tip your toes in the water.

I wasn’t even aware that this little fella was trying to catch my toe… Yes, Dominica is wild.
There was only one other tourist while I was there, and once she left I had the place all to myself. Jackpot!!!
I’m not sure how long did I stay there but once back up I discovered that the main office was closed and there was nobody around. Luckily they didn’t close the gate so I was free to leave.
I was heading back to the bus stop when I spotted a house hidden in the forest. Like how would they even build it there???

I was contemplating that idea when suddenly a car appeared in front of me. The driver noticed me and turned the car around so he was now driving by my side. Quite good looking male with one hand on the steering shell and the other holding a plastic cup with a rum. Drinking and driving…. when is that not a good idea? He asked me “are you here toying?”. I stared at him blankly because I couldn’t understand what was he asking about. I believe in being stupid once and ask rather than remain stupid without asking. I had to ask him three more times before he explained: “Touring+enjoying=toying”. Now, English isn’t my first language but even after over 12 yrs I was fairly confident I haven’t heard that expression before. After we established that I’m not that smart we had a little chat. I told him that I had a trouble to get the hiking pass and ask him for advice. He simply said they wouldn’t sell me the pass because I’m a female and I should get a guide. When I explained to him that I like solitude, he said with a knowing smile “A lone wolf” and drove off. I know, I’m such a hit with men… International hit one may say:) Rest of the way to the bus stop was uneventful. Just me and the nature.


The second biggest town in Dominica and home to Cabrits National Park.
To get to Portsmouth you need to find the bus stop on River Bank, near the junction between Roseau River Bridge and Great George Street. The ticket from Roseau costs 9.50 EC (£2.74) and the journey lasts over an hour, depends on traffic. There are no seat belts on the bus and they will be going super fast sometimes so just be prepared.
Most of the time there will be loud music busting through the speakers too:) It is quite different from the unlicensed transport I’m used to in England but tbh I do miss those mini vans sometimes:) it’s fun!
Since there are no bus stops with time tables, I would recommend to simply ask your driver about the return service if you aren’t planning on staying over night at Portsmouth.
It is 2.4km (1.5 miles) to Cabrits National Park from the bus stop. It’s a lovely walk as you will be walking by a sea side. You will pass by Purple Turtle Beach which is just lovely.

You do need a pass for the park. I am rarely interested in museums or old buildings so I head straight towards East Cabrit, a small hill with a fantastic view. It’s not a long hike and the path is mostly even, but it is uphill and you will walk through a forest. Very humid forest. What was surprising for me was the amount of crab shells I saw on my way. Last thing I would expect to find in the forest to be honest.
Once you reach the top you will get to see the beautiful Douglas Bay and Prince Rupert Bay.
From the park you can also join the last segment of the Waitibukuli Trail, segment 14. Of course I decided to walk that part.

Found a little beach completely empty except for a builder from nearby construction zone, who was taking a nap there.
I didn’t swim in the water but took off my shoes and just cooled my feet.

Caught the glimpse of Guadeloupe:)


The apartment I was staying at was located on a ground floor of a two storey house. My host, French lady who moved to Dominica over 20yrs ago, was based upstairs. Now I’m not sure if it was for personal preference or simply the side effect of the hurricane, but the living room in my apartment didn’t have a proper window. Generally not a big deal but that meant all the mosquitoes and creepy crawlers had the freedom to come in as pleased. And pleased they were indeed! Every night I was doing this crazy dance involving running around with a newspaper and squashing bugs! And mosquitos!
The first night there I discovered a big spider on my kitchen ceiling. I don’t like spiders but I respect most living creatures (exception are coackroaches!). I figured we can coexists under one roof. As long as I was sure I locked my bedroom double door securely. We did live in a perfect harmony for two nights but then the spider moved to the centre and I discovered I can live off snacks. And cooking dinner is just a waste of time. So is breakfast. I was only eating fruits for the rest of my stay:) Maybe that spider was sent to me to make me eat more healthy?? Maybe I can apply this here in uk? Turns out I love food but I dislike spiders more!

An Italian affair

I think it’s pretty clear form my post about lake como that I love Italy. I love it for the endless mountains that stretch for miles, for the beautiful lakes with crystal clear water, for the turquoise sea, for the blue skies and lush vegetation and for the delicious food:)
Liguria is very special to me because it has everything I need for a happy holidays, be it a weekend break or three week escapade.
Everyone can easily find something to do there: from mountain biking and hiking, to coastal walks and paddle boarding. And the best part? You really don’t need a car to see it all. The train service is fantastic and you can easily buy ticket online and just save it on your phone. As much hassle free as it can get.
Arenzano it’s a small coastal town with only about 12 000 citizens. That number grows obviously in summer when tourists from all over are coming to enjoy this scenic town.
The main hikers attraction is of course Monte Reixa standing at 1183m (3880 feet).
However if you simply fancy being closer to the sea but still get some decent walk, Arenzano is the perfect place.
The coastal walk I did is about 12km (7.5miles) long. The path it’s levelled which means is wheelchair/buggy accessible. The walk starts just off Piazza della Veccia Ferrovia parking.
Part of the path is following an old track of an ancient railway.

It can get super busy on weekends with not only pedestrians but also cyclists. Even tho I did it on Sunday it wasn’t too crowded.
When In Arenzano you may want to pay a visit to the stunning Villa Negrotto Cambiasso-muncipo in Parco Comunale di Arenzano.

Another lovely place to visit is Santuario Gesu Bambino di Praga.

Since the sanctuary is based on a little hill, you can easily see the panorama of the city from the terrace.
To enjoy the scenery during the walk you really do need a sunny day but if you like walking in any weather, then I think this path is perfect.

WARNING: when I was there back in January, part of this path was closed due to damaged tarmac. From Arenzano to San Giacomo the path is perfect but after that you will encounter gates blocking the entrance to the rest of the path. Locals did made some holes through which you can squeeze yourself in but you may be caught by a security.

The tunnels are well lit but very damp. The floor can be slippery and full of paddles so wear appropriate shoes.

There will be plenty of opportunities to take a break and have a meal or ice cream as you are never too far away from shops/cafes.
Varazze it’s a big town with a sea promenade and a fun fair. Not sure if the fair was seasonal or it’s a whole year deal. You can find some rides there as well as plenty of food stalls. It’s a rather noisy place and the busiest on the whole path. If you are planning to do this walk as a family you may want to start at Arenzano:) if you doing the walk alone or in a small company and simply don’t fancy crowds and loud music, then make Varazze the start of your walk with finish in Arenzano:) it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. There are also plenty of beaches so you can easily turn it into a full day adventure with a swim and a picnic.

The Siebengebirge Park Part 2 (and what happens when you had a meal at a restaurant, your card doesn’t work and you have no money to pay!)

On my second walk I had more time to play with as all I had to do was to roll out of bed and get ready. Apart from taking a tram to the beginning of this trail, I would rely solely on my feet for the whole walk. I could have walked from my hotel but I decided I want to spend that extra hour on the trail rather than getting to it.


When buying a tram ticket just make sure you are paying the correct fare. You will find a poster with all the zones and ticket prices on the machine so just search for the name of your destination. You can also buy ticket in the tram. Make sure you will validate it.

Rhondorf turned out to be another small gorgeous town. So gorgeous in fact that I found it hard to follow my gps which was set to nature trails, as all I wanted to do was to get lost in those beautiful small cobbled roads.

My trail started just past the Hotel Weinhaus Hoff.

What started as a road very quickly turned into a forest trail.

Drachenfels stands at 321m (1053 feet) tall. The climb isn’t too challenging tho. Can get pretty muddy when wet so make sure you wearing proper shoes, waterproof and with a good grip.

The forest seemed to be very popular with woodpeckers and I also saw a red squirrel and an owl. Now I’m not on really good terms with birds of prey, as I was attacked by a falcon once and black bird twice.

You will find lots of viewpoints on this route where you can admire the view of Rhein and the surrounding area.

It was super foggy when I was there so my views were a little bit restricted. Hey, I was happy I could see the trail and my own nose.

You can book first class and best hotel in the town but you can’t book the weather…

The last part of this trail leading to the hill was made of stairs.

Yes it was tiring especially since I was carrying a backpack (fairly heavy since I’m still mastering the art of packing light!).

At the top you will find a cafe with excellent outdoor terrace, toilets and a train station. No, not DB. Just a small touristy train which can take you all the way to Drachenburg Schloss.

Sadly the Burg Drachenfels and the hill are off limit at the moment. There is a construction going on.

Off limit is also the most scenic route, Eselsweg.

Since I would have to wait an hour for the first train departure, I decided to hike to Drachenburg Schloss instead. The distance was only a 1km (3280 feet) so why not?

Well I could have given you a couple of reasons: firstly it was super foggy

and very slippery. But what’s a hike without a little bit of danger? And how can I believe I actually hiked when there are no scratches, bruises or cuts???

I’m glad I took this walk because I stumbled upon the most magnificent building, the Burghof.

I was so drawn to it like a moth to light. Was very tempting to actually go past the fence and see what’s inside but I didn’t it. It appeared there may be surveillance cameras so why risk it?

So the Drachenburg Castle opens to visitors from 12pm.

In the months of January and February the castle stays open late and they have a great light display after 6pm. I could easily come back for it then. Or so I thought. Little did I know a small mistake will prevent me from seeing that display.

Since it was only 11am I had about 6hrs to burn on the hike. My next destination was Grosser Olberg, standing at 460m (1509 feet) tall. I knew there will be a restaurant at the top so the vision of a hot beverage and possible hot meal helped me made my choice:) A good meal can only be made better when it comes with stunning views.

I followed Drachenfelsstraße and then Ferdinandstrasse. At the crossroads where those two meet you will find another restaurant: Milchhauschen. So plenty of opportunities to replenish your energy.

I love the fact that similarly to Norway, Germany build bridges to allow any wildlife and hikers cross roads more safely.

I paid a visit to Burgruine Rosenau because it was along my chosen path. Those are literally ruins or remains of yet another castle.

There is a bench on the top so a great spot for a picnic. In the summer perhaps lol

I also visited the Heinrich-Imbusch-haus which I think it’s a residential building now. Quite pretty but it spooked me.

When I looked into the windows this is what I saw:

I was actually about to wave thinking those were actual children. So creepy. It reminded me of the horror movie “The boy”. You can be sure I actually sprinted away from there.

I could actually tell I’m climbing higher as the fog was getting thicker. There were other people around as I could hear them but not really see.

The path also got a little bit steeper. I hiked in fog before but not with a snow at the same time.

I should have taken a selfie when I smelled food as I approached the restaurant. Pure bliss:)

Berggasthaus auf dem olberg it’s a very nice restaurant with an outdoor terrace. Sadly I won’t ever be back there. Why? After having a hot chocolate and a delicious meal I proceeded to pay when it turned out my visa has been blocked. And I had no money on me nor any other card… never happened to me before so I didn’t know if I will have to wash dishes or sleep with the owner? (Joke!).

It was really humiliating experience since they probably thought I’m a tourist trying to scam them. And the guests had a free entertainment since everyone was now waiting what will happen…

How I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. Or for the Slenderman to come and get me!

What happened instead is they took copy of my ID and gave me the bank details on where to send the money.

I had no choice but to hike my way back to the hotel and phone the bank.

I was really grateful for the fog and snow and barely any people around when I let out my outburst once back on the trail. I was angry, ashamed and frustrated! Argh!! All thanks to the courtesy of NatWest!!

There was no way I could make it to the light display at Drachenburg Castle. It will have to wait till next time.

I was surprised at how busy the park got in the afternoon. Everywhere were families with kids sledging. So much fun. Someone even made a little igloo:)

The path now was mainly downhill and I needed some sort of support. As always nature provides:

Found one magnificent stick. I even got complimented on it:)

The closer to the town the less snow in sight. And more mud.

Luckily the most muddy part of the trail had a special wooden track:

Nice touch!

And this hut made me feel so special. Like it was made just for me:)

Even tho it was getting dark quick whilst I was still in the forest, I wasn’t scared or anything. I always carry a flashlight and powerbank.

I think it’s fair to say at this point that Germany has some of the finest forests in Europe. Totally recommend this route.

The Siebengebirge Park Part 1

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”Anthony Bourdain

I love snow and I’m always looking forward to it in the winter despite the fact that I live in uk, and anything more than a feet of snow changes the country into a post war zone.

The night before my flight the weather blessed us with that magical white fluff and oh boy. I wasn’t too worried about the flight because I was sure they will keep the tarmac at the airport in good condition but uk roads? Now that’s a different story.

I always leave a bit of extra time when travelling to the airport as I believe “better safe than sorry”. The road in front of my house was covered in snow and I knew the taxi will get stuck there so I called the company and changed the location. That meant I now had to leave the house even earlier and walk in the middle of the night to a main road. Oh well….anything in the name of travel:)

Surprisingly journey to the airport took only about 10mins longer than normally with National express. Not too bad. However weather in Cologne was much worse and my flight was delayed by 3 hours. At this point I was contemplating going back to bed and just claim my money back. The traveller’s soul won tho. And I was rewarded for my patience:

And empty row to myself always feels like a jackpot! Normally I would try to lie across all three seats and catch some sleep but the flight was only an hour.

Snow! How exciting!

The journey from Cologne airport took 35 mins by intercity. Located about 65km from Cologne this place with 14 nature parks is a paradise for any nature lover.

Because now I had 3 hrs less to explore and I only slept like 2.5hrs I knew I will have to compromise.

This is the route I did:


The first part of the trail starts at the end of Auf der Helte road.

In Germany the trail will quite often be marked on trees and will either have a symbol or letters.

Here additional info was placed on special rocks:

Occasionally there will also be a signpost:

But that’s only when you come to a crossroads. Also there will be huts or boards with a location number so if you have to call an emergency number, it will be easier for them to locate you.

Why isn’t that a standard procedure everywhere on a trail??

Most of the walk leads through a beautiful forest:

Even tho I was constantly climbing, the walk wasn’t too challenging. It was only on the way back that I get to see my elevation.

I yet to learn to recognise wild animal footprints except for the basic deer one.

I was praying this was just a very big dog…🤭 I couldn’t find many information about what kind of animals occupy those beautiful forests and I didn’t see any warnings either. Apparently there are some wild cats 😲

I only saw woodpeckers, red squirrel and an owl.

One the way I came across lots of small rangers huts. Most of them were locked up but I found one that was open.

Of course I climbed the tiny ladder and had a peak inside.

I absolutely loved the fact that some kind and loving soul left a pack of hand warmers in there.

The Asberger See looks more like a like lake tbh. As you can guess it was frozen and I made it a little bit too late during the day and the sun was already too low.

Now I want to visit this place in every season just to see which one makes it more beautiful:)

I stumbled onto the most beautiful forest too. Just by looking at that pic you can guess what destination is on my bucket list:

I totally recommend you will pass through a suburb called Breite Heide. Some of the houses there are just spectacular.

The last part of this trail lead me to a place called Koppel. It was a view point marked by a big metallic cross:

And from there you can see a stunning view of Bad Honnef.

Bad Honnef it’s a small spa town with tiny roads and an old fashioned buildings that will make you think you just travelled in time.

I didn’t have my hiking poles with me which I regretted constantly. It was mostly due to the mud and slush rather than the terrain tho.

I was super hungry after the hike and in my search for a good place to eat I stumbled upon this restaurant:

I can totally recommend it. The food was cheap and delicious and the service fantastic!

My favourite local escape

Everybody has their favourite place. Some people may even have more than one. A place that puts a smile on your face when you just think about it. A place that makes you feel welcome no matter the season or weather.

When I was younger I could never understand why do some people go holidaying in the same place every year. Like what’s the point?

Now I finally get it. When you go to a new palace you have to do your research, find a good beach/mountain, good restaurant etc. But when you already been in that place then you don’t really have to do any preparations. Just book your favourite hotel and cross your fingers for the weather.

After all “The real voyage of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” M. Proust.

Going to the same place every year is like rereading your favourite book or rewatching your favourite movie. Even tho you know the ending ever time you discover a new character or a new plot twist that somehow you missed before.

One of my favourite places is the beautiful Isle of Wight.

I discovered it by a chance when I put off booking my Easter holidays till the last minute. And I’m so glad I did. I try to go at least once a year but usually end up going more often.

Getting there couldn’t have been easier. Trains to Portsmouth harbour tan from either London Waterloo or London Victoria. Price depends on time of the day you are going and of course day of the week. Once I managed to book a return ticket for my friend for £5:)

From the harbour you have to jump on a ferry or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can get off at Portsmouth & Southsea and hop on a hovercraft.

I’ve been on both and have to say I prefer the ferry. Less bouncy:) time travel for ferry is 20 mins whilst the hovercraft takes only 10 mins.

If you arrive by ferry then your next step is to hop on on an inland train.

Be prepared, the ride will be rough. You can buy the ticket on the train and the time table is synchronised with the ferry time table so you should never find yourself stranded.

The bus link on the island is pretty amazing and you can literally visit the whole island.


That’s where I’m usually based during my visits. Instead of explaining why, may I just suggest looking at those pics:

If someone would blindfold me and brought me to this place without telling me where I am, I would argue to death that this can’t be in UK! Water this clear??? Streets this clean???

This places amazes me every time. And by now I have visited 5 times:)

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to accommodation: hotels, b&b, caravans.

The sunrise it’s pretty spectacular and well worth waking up for.

Plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants to choose from when it comes to food. And the food is just delicious. One of my favourites is the Veggie Sizzler

They serve it Sizzlers restaurant at Holliers hotel in the old village. I totally recommend checking it out but the truth is, you won’t be disappointed with the food wherever you decide to eat.

To burn all those calories or simply make room for more, why not take a coastal walk from Shanklin to Sandown? There will be plenty of cafes on the way so you can always top up on some more delicious food.


If you are a fan of walking like me, then you will be pleasantly surprised with Isle of Wight. There are over 800km (500miles) designated footpaths ranging from clif top hikes with stunning view, trails through forests and wetlands or simple walks through the village and countryside. One of my favourites is a walk from Shanklin to Ventnor.

You can say I was lucky since the weather was always spectacular whenever I was in Isle of Wight so the views I get to experience were always magnificent. Last year I even swam in the sea!!

You have three options when it comes to making your journey to Ventnor. The coastal walk is about 6km (3.8 miles) long and it takes you through Haddon pits and Luccombe Chine. It is a very nice walk indeed but please remember to wear appropriate shoes. The path can get very muddy and can be very narrow sometimes.

Another option is to just follow the main road. You will be walking slightly higher than on the coastal walk so your view will be much broader. Also I visited in almost every season and never seen the road very busy. It is a stunning road I have to admit.

The third option would be to climb to Shanklin down 235m (770ft) and just follow the path. The views from there are the best plus the path is mostly levelled except for the first hill.

Once in Ventnor I think the Esplanade is well worth visiting.

And remember that you don’t have to take the same route back as you can turn it into a circular walk.

The one following the main road would be the longest but with the easiest terrain.


Based in Alum Bay, the Needles are not only an attractive landmark but also a great destination for the whole family.

It’s like a mini amusement park with 4D cinema, spectacular chairlift ride to the beach and the sand cliffs, a sand shop where you can make your own unique souvenir and plenty of children attractions including Victorian carousel and Games kids.

How to get there? If you don’t have a car then please follow this link , where you can find the local bus schedules and routes.

Bear in mind, that unless you are based in Yarmouth or Freshwater, the bus journey will be rather long. Especially if you decide to take the Island coaster. Cheapest way to travel by public transport is to buy a Daily Rover:

It works across the whole network.


I visited the place last July and was incredible lucky as it was almost 30C so I get to swim in the sea:) amazing experience.

I came with a friend as she wanted to see the place I’m raving about so much. She was not disappointed. We took the Island caster to and got off at Compton farm. Frankly at this point I was very close to getting sick as the journey takes over 90 min (I have motion sickness).

The walk to Alum bay is about 3km (1.9miles) long and the views are just stunning.

Yes that tiny dot is me swimming:

I even saw a jellyfish!


The popular trail is 51km (31 miles) long and takes you through some breathtaking scenery. You can either walk it or cycle it. I did the second and loved every minute!

Of course I started from Shanklin as that is where I was based. I rented my bike from 1st call cycle hire in Sandown.

You will ride trough variety of terrain so please be prepared.

The trail can be broken down into 4 sections: East Cowes to Merstone (via Newport), Merstone to Sandown, Sandown back to Marstone and finally Merstone back to East Cowes.

When you are in East Cowes I recommend riding to Cowes and sample some food at The Red Duster. The service is superb and so is the food.

The route can easily be done in one day but if you really want to enjoy the views and maybe try some different pubs and restaurants, then split the journey over two days. That way your bum won’t be too sore either:)

Haunted forest

Romania has been on my bucket list for two reasons: bears and haunted forest.

No, I’m not a big fan of bears. I actually suffer from a massive fear of bears. Watching a YouTube video featuring those massive animals can spread up my heart rate and make my palms sweaty. Ask any of my friends, I’m not exaggerating… but anyone who loves hiking has to come to terms with a simple fact that sooner or later one finds themselves on bears territory.

Romania has the biggest population of bears in Europe. I simply was trying to convince myself that bears aren’t that scary nor it’s easy to meet them.

My second reason to visit Romania was famous haunted forest, Hoia Baciu, which is why I flew to Cluj-Napoca.

Cluj-Napoca is second biggest city in Romania and full of universities, landmarks and vibrant nightlife. Not that I tried any of those:)

I personally love travelling to Eastern Europe because of how cheap and diverse it is.

Because my flight arrived quite early and after checking in into my apartment I had almost the whole day left, I decided to go straight to Hoia Baciu. I did a little bit of research on the subject and have to say it sounded awesome. My enthusiasm went down a little bit after I spoke to my Romanian friend and she said she never heard of that forest.

Panic! Oh no! What if it’s all just a hoax? To attract tourists?

I inquired some info from my host and she didn’t help either. She said it’s just a normal forest and many locals go there on weekends to have picnics etc.

And indeed it does look like a normal ordinary forest.

I’m not sure if there is one particular part of the forest that is meant to be scary, but I didn’t stumble upon it. It is quite a big place.

I made it to the place which my map referred to as “Hoja timegate”. Clearly it was very known place as I wasn’t the only one curious about it.

Perhaps that is the place where all those mysterious disappearances took place? Of course I walked across the field just see if I can feel anything. I even took a video of the whole place.

I didn’t experience anything supernatural and out of the ordinary but that does mean this place isn’t haunted?

I think everyone should find out for themselves.

On my second day in Romania I visited beautiful forest in Faget.

It was bank holiday weekend so the place was very popular but not to the point that you would feel it. If you are like me and prefer places with less people, then Faget it’s a good choice.

Once you come out of the forest, the views are spectacular:

On my last day I decided to see some city views and learn a little bit of the history.

There is a free walking tour of the city centre daily at 6pm. Before that I visited Alaxandru Borza Botanical garden. There is a small fee at the entrance.

There is a museum, Japanese garden and also an amazing elevated platform, similar to the one in Kew Gradens in uk, from where you can see the layout of the gardens. Very lovely place.

The only thing that is still lacking in Eastern Europe is vegetarian cuisine. I mean you will find the basic like pasta with tomato sauce or salad, but other than that it’s a meat orientated cuisine.

The tour of the city lasts about an hour and all you have to do is to show up at Unirri Square in front of the Mathias Corvinus statue. The guide will have an umbrella so it’s easy to spot him/her. (You can see the statue on my first pic at the top of the post).

Couple of notes about the airport: Cluj-Napoca airport is quite small and although the official currency of Romania is Romanian Leu, make sure you have euros at the airport. I wanted to buy water and was told they only accept euros. So hey, if anyone is going to Romania anytime soon I got some spare Leu:)

Travelling around the city is quite simple. Lots of buses to choose from just make sure you will buy the ticket upfront from a kiosk. You can also pay for the ticket using your mobile phone:

Cluj-Napoca also has quite few cycle lanes so if you are a fan of two wheels, go for it.

Happy travels!

Lake Como

The more I visit Italy the more In love I am with that country. For me Italy spells love. I love the food (who knew there were so many types of pasta???), the weather, the cars and of course the mountains.

Mountains means lakes, waterfalls and rivers. I spent my childhood swimming in a lake so I’m very fond of this type of past time. If the lake is surrounded by stunning mountains, like lake Como,even better:)

If you aren’t based in Italy then the best way to get there is to fly to Milan and then make the rest of the journey by train or a car. I will focus on the train journey because that’s how I did it.

You can take a train from Milano Centrale or Milano Porta Garibaldi Passante.

I took a train from Milano Centrale to Varenna. The journey take about 1hr and return ticket costs around €10. There are up to 3 trains per hour during the week.

Varenna is very charming little town with a beautiful Castle di Vezio which is placed on a little hill. The hike isn’t the easiest one as it’s quite steep and can be slippery. There is a small fee to enter and the surrounding grounds are a breeding ground to few species of birds. Sadly I visited in January therefore couldn’t access it. The castle is closed during winter and reopens in March.

If you like quiet destinations and don’t need much to entertain yourself except for hiking poles and proper walking shoes, then Lake Como in winter can be a heaven.

Since I only had a day to visit I decided to see as much as possible. I jumped on to a ferry to take me to my next town: Bellagio.

The ride takes roughly 15mins and costs around €5. You can pay on board by cash or buy ticket at the port office.

Bellagio looks across northern arm of the Como lake. It has a population of 200 but can accommodate up to 900 tourists. It’s a beautiful, charming town with lots of small boutiques and cafes. It also has two gardens to visit but they are closed during winter season.

I loved walking amongst those little cobbled roads. Felt like I was transported to another century.

My speed boat ride wasn’t until late afternoon so I had a bit of time to explore this beautiful town.

I took a walk to a place called Punta di Spartivento which turned out to be a little harbour.

From there I made my way back to the main road and then decided to just follow it and see where it will take me. I’m really glad I did because I stumbled upon this little church:

That’s another reason I love Italy so much. One could spend whole life just visiting all those little cathedral spread all over the country. Each one with its own charm.

The Cimitero del Borgo was pretty as well.

Villa Melzi with the spectacular gardens was very tempting as well but as you can already guess, it was closed to the public.

Maybe that’s just another reason to visit the lake again?

Just before the villa you can see Porto di Loppia pictured above. I can only imagine how busy this place gets in summer, since they have so many ports.

As awaiting me was a speed boat ride to Como, I decided to have something to eat and maybe a little drink for courage (I’m not too fond of boats).

So I chose one of the local restaurants and had just what I needed: a glass of Port and plate of local brown pasta with potatoes, spinach and cheese. Delicious.

The speed boat ride to Como lasts an 1hr and single trip costs €15. The schedule in winter is a little bit less frequent so plan your visit well. I actually regret not staying over at least two nights. That would give me the opportunity to do some hiking as well.

Como was very busy and lively. Reminded me of Innsbruck a little.

If you are looking for a place to see the sunset from, then I would recommend taking the funicular from Como station to Brunate. Spectacular view. The train from Como to Milano Centrale takes an 1hr and costs €5 for a second class ticket.

I can see why George Clooney decided to buy a house there:)

If you want to find out the schedule for ferries, just follow those details:

Happy trekking:)

Amongst the red kites

Living in London means I don’t really have mountains on my doorstep, but when you don’t have what you like you like what you have.

England is full of National Trust trails ranging from abandoned railway tracks to walks through farmers fields full of grazing sheep and cows. Some of those trails are well designed long distance treks.

The Ridgeway is 140km (87 miles) long. For an intermediate walker who can manage 22km (13 miles) a day it would take roughly a week to finish the whole trail. There are lots of camping stops along the way. You can also did the walk in segments, like I do.

The trail leads from Overton Hill 174m (571ft) at the southern edge of the Marlborough Dawns in Wiltshire, to Ivinghoe Beacon 233m (764ft) hill in the Chiltern Hills. There are two car parks or you can take the train to Tring. It takes as little as 35 mins from London Euston and you can buy a return ticket for £10 providing you have a discount railway card or use the group saving.

I did the circular walk from Tring to Aldbury and it took me a little over 4hrs to do it. I wasn’t in a hurry, took lots of pictures and generally just enjoy the hike at my own leisure pace.

The path is well marked with signposts and makes for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon with a family or friends. However it’s not the easiest terrain for a buggy as it can get super muddy.

The views are quite spectacular I must say. Especially on a clear sunny day which didn’t happen when I was there but I still enjoyed it.

Some parts of the trail include “common land” which means the owner gave permission for people to pass through. There may be some cows or sheep grazing so make sure you will close the gates behind you and keep the dogs on the leash.

The area is also abundant with red kites. I love how graceful they look soaring the open lands with their majestic wings wide open.

Just to give you an idea of the whole trek, here is a pic of my route:

I use MapMyHike to mark the route. All you have to do is to download the app, allow the location tracking and remember to start recording as soon as you hit the trail and then finished it when you reach your end. The app runs in the background so no need to constantly have the screen open etc.

If you worry about trails visibility etc you can always use a gps device or a gps app. I have MapsMe and it shows me all the paths available in my trekking area.

Happy trekking:)