Travel log

Jan 01, 2020 11:48 AM

Travel log
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Welcome to my travel log 😄 at some point I may split this up into sub-posts but for now this will be maintained as a collection of my travel experiences from least to most recent.

Not every trip is logged here, just the ones I think are worth reading. Some trips involved multiple stops or destinations, the name of each section is the final destination.

Some tips for cheap flights I’ve learned over the years:

  • Use Matrix Airfare Search for finding flights. Google acquired the company in 2011 (for almost $700M) and uses it for Google Flights.
  • According to someone I met who works at Alaska Airlines, when searching for flights, always select for ONE person first before adding other passengers (apparently they infer your price bracket if you start with group flights).
  • Ctrl/Command-Shift-n (visit the site as infrequently as possible, turn off cookies, and don’t create an account).
  • The earlier the better.

Jan 1st 2020, Monaco - Monte Carlo

  • Wake up early to catch a flight to Nice, France on New Year’s eve
  • Land in Nice, met up with Gevish at the terminal have lunch (had escargo)
  • Find hotel with NannyBag services, change to suit, grab a free croissant and a drink
  • Roam around Nice, get a new bowtie, catch a train to Monaco
  • Catch the sunset at the hill viewpoint
  • Hustle into the Casino, get compliments from security
  • Roam Monaco, walk accross the city to see the expensive properties
  • Roam around the pier, hustle onto docked yacht, get kicked trying to get wine
  • Talked to Ukrainian chef who works for one of the yachts
  • Walk to winter market, have a beer (tried beignets)
  • Hustle into Le Hotel de Paris to catch private viewing of fireworks
  • Uber back to the hotel and ruminate until it’s time to fly back
  • Pass out on the plane, lose left earbud when it lands

Jan 11th 2020, Dublin - Ireland

  • Got to the hostel at night, met my roomies, a man from Detroit who had come to Dublin for business (probably tax related), two friends of native breed that were there temporarily as they searched for a more permanent abode, two South Korean girls who had come to Europe to study English as part of their academic requirements
  • Went to sleep after doing some light work and reading (Wait but Why article series)
  • Woke up, got changed, headed straight for Queen of Tarts, taking pictures of the riverside on the way, got some scones and a cinnamon roll
  • Strolled around the Temple Bar area, got a peppered beef and potato cornish pasty
  • Headed for the Guiness Storehouse for my tour
  • Had the Guiness experience, learned how it was brewed, at what temperature, the ingredient quantities, marketing materials, learned how to taste Guinness, learned how to pour Guinness
  • Walked back to Generator hostel, went to lighthouse theatre accross the street, bought ticket for 1917, sat at cafe and worked until movie time, watched 1917 (almost cried twice), waited outside theatre after movie, snuck in for Uncut Gems
  • Went back to hostel, showered, slept
  • Woke up after 8 hours went across the street to Chopped 2.0, worked for a while, had call with Will Hamilton and team, worked some more, walked to bus station, caught bus to airport

Jan 18th 2020, Oslo - Norway

  • Caught the coach bus to Stansted in the morning, got to the airport, worked and relaxed until flight. Landed in Oslo, got a cinnamon bun at the airport W.B Samson
  • Caught a train direct to Oslo central station, walked around and headed straight for the hostel. Rented linen, dropped off stuff in room
  • Went out to the shopping district, roamed around, walked to Harald’s Vaffle and got a waffle with brown cheese. Window shopped, went to an outdoor/travel specialist store
  • Went back to the hostel and watched a downloaded movie, went to my room, showered and slept until morning. Woke up and got changed, left my clothes in my room and left
  • Roamed around the city, walked to Fulger’s espresso bar, got a coconut and cream donut thingy, relaxed and watched Good Time
  • Walked over to the tourist area, walked up and down the royal grounds, went to Baker Hansen to get a cinnamon bun
  • Walked to the harbour, relaxed and enjoyed the view. Walked up over to the fortress, went to the Norwegian Army museum. Looked at the exhibitions, left to catch the sunset at the top of the fortress grounds
  • Stayed to see the sunset, walked back down to the city, roamed around for a bit, then walked back to hostel. Stopped by 7-11, stole a protein bar. Worked and called Agosh and Nikhil, went to room (roomates left) to shower, work a bit and sleep
  • Woke up, packed my things, stopped by a couple grocery stores and 7-11s to steal 2 more protein bars. Walked to the train station’s Burger King, spent my last Norwegian Krona on 2 cheeseburgers. Took the express train back to the airport
  • Roamed the airport, sat and read articles, blogs, and the like until flight time. Before boarding, went to the duty-free store and stole and ate a chocolate bar before passing the gate to board.

Jan 27th 2020, Bratislava - Slovakia

  • Woke up early to catch the coach bus to Stansted Airport, got a traditional pasty, ate it before going through security. Waited a while to board, boarded to designated seat window side (but no window?)
  • Landed in the morning, pretty cloudy, looks like it’s going to rain, get through border control, get 3 day bus ticket, catch the 61 bus to the city center.
  • Walk on down to patio hostel, check in but have to wait until 1 to get keys, so followed itinerary on schedule instead. On the way to castle, stopped by the Saturday market, relaxed at the upstairs lounge and got food, (a couple pastries, and a pay-as-you-feel meal from the community kitchen)
  • Walked over the Bratislava castle, roamed thr ground, went to the museum, went to the tower and climbed to the top (stairs were incredibly steep), couldnt see anything cause it was way too foggy outside, went down to the underground area of the museum, got out and walked back to hostel
  • On the way, come accross The Five cafe (something on my list), decide to go and relax in there, got a matcha latte, watched spirited away and got through some youtube videos. Walked back to hostel (almost forgot my scarf), picked up my keys, went to room, took a shower, chatted up friends on facebook went to sleep.
  • Woke up, got changed, left some of my stuff in the room, started walking down to the bus stop to get to Delvin Castle, ride bus to the castle, walk through the town to the castle, find out that the castle is closed, walked the grounds and by the river, walked the scenic route to bus stop, went back to the city.
  • Went to Zylander Cafe and restaurant a bit too early, walked to the nearby mcdonalds (really fancy, definitely less items on the menu and still affordable), got this nutella mini donut thing and a cookie. Went back to Zylanders, got a veal schnitzel with traditional potato salad.
  • Headed over to Polito cheesecake, got a pistachio and raspberry cheesecake, went to La Donuteria and got a love at first bite (cookies and cream) donut, walked over to the Eurovea mall, roamed around, went to the Decatholon sports store, bought a pair of boxing hand protectors and workout gloves
  • Walked back to the hostel, headed down to the bar and redeemed my free beer coupon, relaxed and watched Dark Waters, moved to kitchen, finished dark waters, went back to room, showered, watched my neighbor Totoro, called it an early night
  • Woke up relatively early, packed my stuff headed for the Promod mall, roamed around, went to IKEA across the street, had breakfast at the restaurant, caught the bus to the airport, flew back to London

Feb 16th 2020, Berlin - Germany

  • Got to the airport extra early, slept on the plane, landed, Sagar saw me as I was exiting the plane, and we waited for Alex after passport control
  • Walked to the train station right outside schonefeld, got 4 day train tickets and caught the train to Berlin central station. Got off early at the wrong station at Alex’s behest, went to Dunkin Donuts, got BOGO donuts (Valentines day deal), went back to the station and caught the same train to central station
  • Met up with the rest of the Yes fam at the Dunkin Donuts at Central station, chilled and got some lunch (currywurst and fries), took an Uber to out Airbnb (invaded the wrong flat trying to find ours). Went to the nearby supermarket, brought lots of Kinder products, airwave gum, and chips
  • Chilled and played some Drink Drank Drunk, went out to central Berlin for dinner and a pub crawl, had really good sushi at Passion, bonded with Licia and Johanna, went out for drinks at a nearby off-license, got a Berlin Brewmaster IPA, went back to the flat, drank and played games until bed time
  • Woke up early, went to the Supermarket with some of the gang, got tomatoes and carrots, headed back to the flat, had some breakfast, left the flat with the gang to catch the walking tour of Central Berlin
  • Toured the city, went to multiple destinations (check Google maps timeline for details) highlights included the island in Berlin, the Royal palace, Checkpoint Charlie, the Memorial for the casualties of war, the memorial for the murdered Jews, the Brandenburg Gate, etc. walked back to the central station area where we split for dinner
  • Had dinner with Sagar at Poke place next to the Vegan Viet restaurant that Licia wanted to go to, roamed the nearby market and tried a sploch of super spicy hot sauce, caught up with the gang, continued to roam Berlin, got some beer bottle stoppers from the Transit Souvenir shop
  • Went back to the flat, split with Sagar and Alex to a nearby bar, had a beer, chilled for a while, headed back to the flat, took a shower, Eli and Mumbai dude arrived at our flat, played Drink Drank Drunk for a while before heading out to YAAM. Walked and flirted with Eli and Johanna to the club, danced with the Yes fam, chilled out at the bar, had Alex and Sagar get me back for the beers earlier and gave a beer to Eli, left with Licia, Emily and Euon on an Uber back to the flat
  • Got back to flat, showered, packed, slept for a couple hours, left with Licia back to Schonefeld, waited for security scanning (let around 7 groups of people past us because they were late for their flight) chilled and talked with Licia until our flight, parted ways before take off

Mar 2nd 2020, Gdansk - Poland

  • Landed at 12am on Sunday, got an Uber to the hostel, picked up my card from the security guard, struggled with finding my room until I got help from a stranger, took a shower and went straight to sleep
  • Woke up, got changed, went straight for breakfast at the cafe had ginger coffee and cheesecake, walked around and over to the amber museum, toured around and toook lots of pictures, had a brief look at the history of the local area
  • Walked down the harborfront and through the street of amber stores to window shop, walked to St. Mary’s Basilica, sat down till the end of the session, climbed to the top of the basilica to the birdsnest view at the top
  • Left the basilica and walked to Pyra bar for this potato dish, walked back to the harborfront and toured the entire area before settling at a Starbucks and got a Chai Latte where I sat and worked for a couple hours. Walked back to the hostel, showered, finished watching Lewyn Davis and the first two episodes of Clone Wars season 7 and slept
  • Woke up, packed my things, toured the area and walked to the Madison Shopping mall, took a brief break before walking to the European solidarity center, toured the communist history museum before settlling at the library and working for a bit and relaxing on the beanbag at the birdsnest at the top floor of the library. Took the elevator to the rooftop terrace of the building for a view of the city
  • Walked to Pierogarnia Mandu Centrum and got 10 traditional pierogies, as well as 6 chocolate and raspberry pierogies. Toured the area and settled at the Salty caramel ice cream parlor, got 2 ice creams before getting an Uber back to the airport and flying out

Jul 20th 2020, Saguenay (Quebec) - Canada

  • Got picked up by Sean and Jason in the morning, drove over to Alexander’s and picked him up too, started the drive to Mont Tremblant
  • Made a stop at ONRoute for a pit stop and to swap driving, drove the rest of the way to Mont Tremblant, hopped over the observation deck to reach the beach
  • Tossed frisbee and played games by the water until dark, drove the rest of the way to Montreal to our Airbnb
  • Drove to the waterfall, went to the supermarket to get a big roast chicken to share between the four of us for lunch
  • Hiked around the waterfall and surrounding paths, Jason booked a zipline across the waterfall for the following morning
  • Woke up drove to Mount Royal and climbed to the top, walked over to Fairmont to get bagels and meet up with Jasmine before grabbing coffee at a local chain
  • Walked around uptown Montreal and then towards old port. Explored and hung around old port until the evening
  • Once dark, we climed around the fenced off lighthouse at the edge of the pier and enjoyed the view of the dark laek
  • I took the subway back to the Airbnb and called friends until the boys got back, had a long discussion until early morning
  • Woke up, packed our things, drove to the falls for Jason’s zipline booking, hiked on the surrounding paths
  • Drove to a smoked meat place for brunch and got a ticket for parking at a bus stop) before starting the drive to Quebec City
  • Got to our Airbnb in Quebec City, relaxed and watched “The Gentlemen” on Netflix before walking around town
  • Settled in at a local pizza place for dinner and continued our discussion from the other night
  • Made several pit stops before arriving to Saguenay and pitching up our tent, collecting sticks and firewood
  • Cooked hotdogs with maple mustand, some salad, and some smores for dinner
  • Woke up and relaxed for a while until it started raining, packed the tent and our belongings and started the drive to Quebec City
  • Started the drive to Ottawa Stopped by Montreal to go to Dunn’s for lunch, had a platter of smoked meat and a side of poutine = Drove the rest of the way to Ottawa and got to our Airbnb to relax for a bit before Jason, Alex and I headed out to explore the night life = Walked around a nearby market and mall before reaching Pariliament and the Centennial Flame
  • Walked back to our Airbnb in the rain and called it a night
  • Drove the ways back to Toronto at the ZipCar drop off location and got picked up by Amy before heading to a COVID testing center

Aug 18h 2020, Sudbury (Ontatio) - Canada

  • Drove to Waterloo the night before and stayed at Agosh/Nikhil/Ishan’s place for the night
  • We talked about Eastern vs Western culture (inverted caste system, morals of people, etc.)
  • Morning of the trip we drove to Conestoga to pick up supplies/groceries (I had a Cinnabon)
  • I drove North all the way to Tobermory, we went to the fish and chips that I’ve been before
  • We went to mermaid cove and took pictures (by recommendation by the server, who is a local)
  • We drove back south to Owen Sound to stay at our Yurt where we made a fire and stargazed
  • We woke up after a great night’s sleep, packed, and drove back up to Tobermory
  • We drove onto the boat and enjoyed the ride across the lake to Manatoulin island
  • We talked about the book “How to Win Friends and Influence people”
  • Upon landing, we ate at a local restaurant (I had a Tuna Melt) and talked to the local server
  • We drove to a few beach spots at the server’s recommendation (she had been there all her life)
  • We drove to a hiking spot and hiked to the first lookout point before turning back down
  • We had dinner at a local Inn, where I sampled an insanely good fish taco
  • We drove to the motel and slept talked about fetishes and work
  • Woke up the next morning and hit the road towards Sudbury, where we picked up Taylor
  • We drove around Sudbury with Taylor as our guide to the mall, the big nickel, etc.
  • We got food at Five Guys, where I had an insanely good Peanut Butter Milkshake
  • We dropped off Taylor and hit the road back to Waterloo

Dec 16th 2020, Paris - France

  • Almost got stopped before boarding the plane for concerns over illegitimate travel during the pandemic
  • Landed and spent the first night roaming the streets and eating the worst meal of the trip (that sketchy bowl of meat and rice)
  • Bought macarons and chocolates at Pierre Hermé Paris to eat with a bottle of wine
  • Visited the Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and several department stores
  • Tried food from local bakeries (Land&Monkeys, The French Bastards), patisseries (Yann Couvreur) and food stores (Carrefour, Picard, Monoprix, etc.)
  • Got tested for COVID at a local pharmacy with results returned in just 15 mins
  • Visited Amy and Raph for dinner (had truffle chips, Foie gras, and Galette)
  • Had some insane pizza, Thai food, Baguette with fig jam
  • Struggled to function and operate at a laundromat, zoomed around on electric scooters
  • Got locked out of the apartment and spent a night at a hotel below the Eifel Tower.
  • Visited the shopping district designer stores and ended up getting milkshake and fries at Five Guys.