Amazing Philippines

I landed in Manila after an 8 hours flight from Sydney on Cebu Pacific, an airline that I definitely don’t recommend. No entertainment or pillows and blankets on the flight, very limited food that you need to pay for, however that was the cheapest option to fly and even so it wasn’t so cheap.

Anyway, after the flight as I arrived to Manila airport the first thing I did was buying a local SIM card for 1500 pesos, which turned out to be a scam, in 7 Eleven it’s much cheaper. 

I took a taxi from the airport to my Airbnb in Makati, the best area of the town to stay at and hang out.

My Airbnb at least was very nice and I felt comfortable and ready to have a good night sleep. 

The next day I went out to explore the city, which is just another ordinary big city with lots of traffic. 

These are the places that I think are worth visiting:

Manila cathedral

A beautiful cathedral surrounded with many other historical buildings in the area called Intramurous. I explored the area by myself but there are many your options as well. A lot of Asian people in that area, assuming there were locals, wanted to take pictures with me, I guess because I look different, but still strange for a place that gets many tourists.

SEDA hotel rooftop bar: Straight up

This was my favorite place to hang out in Manila and drink amazing mocktails while watching the sunset. They have delicious food as well and you can easily spend a few hours there, above all the craziness of the city.

The rest of my time in Manila I spent swimming at the pool of the building where my Airbnb was, just chilling and looking forward to my next destination.

Puerto Princesa

Excited to be leaving Manila, I headed to the airport to take a domestic flight to Puerto Princesa.

In Puerto Princesa a kind local that I connected with on couchsurfing offered to show me around and soon after I landed we would be riding on his motorbike towards a beautiful beach located one hour away from Puerto.

But first we stopped at the PP sign and took some pictures.

On the way to Nagtabon beach we stopped at a beautiful look out and we made it just in time to the beach for the sunset. I also enjoyed a coconut whole relaxing and watching how the sun goes down.

On the way to Nagtabon Beach
Sunset at Nagtabon Beach

We ended the day with a delicious dinner at a local eatery in Puerto, where mainly locals eat and the menu is many pots right in front of you, so you just lift the lid and look what’s inside. A very economical way of having dinner but I definitely enjoyed it.

This is a local eatery

The next day I was picked up at 7 am and headed to the world’s longest underground river. The van ride took around 2 hours and I was a bit sleepy, but in the same time excited to see something different. I don’t remember ever being at an underground river and especially not the longest one in the world. It’s 8,2 km long and the water is such a beautiful color. I made some Nepalese friend on the tour, who were kind enough to take some nice pictures of me.

Ready to explore the underground river

We had to wait a bit when we arrived and soon we all sat on a boat entering the caves . It was dark inside, of course, but the tour guide had a torch and we could see thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling.

Underground river

After the tour, which took around 30 minutes , we all went for lunch , which was included in our tour and it was buffet lunch, very delicious, with lots of options to choose from.

I think we reached Puerto Princesa around 4 or 5 pm.

The following day I took a van to El Nido.

El Nido

El Nido is simply beautiful. I spent 4 days in the town and I loved it. It has a good mix of nice restaurants, vibrant night life, good beaches and in addition to all this I met very nice people there.

I took tour A to visit some islands and do snorkeling. I did kayaking at the Big Lagoon, saw turtles and fishes while snorkeling and enjoyed some beach time. I highly recommend tour A. Snorkels and shoes are not included, but you can rent before boarding the boat.

Boat tour from El Nido
Kayaking at Big Lagoon

Las Cabañas Beach

This beach is often referred to as Maremegmeg beach and it’s perfect to watch the sunset.

Maremegmeg Beach Bar is amazing for dinner and happy hour drinks, when you buy one cocktail and get the second for free.

The beach is beautiful and the water was warm and pleasant.

Enjoying life at Maremegmeg Beach

Nacpan beach

Another amazing beach just a short trycicle ride from El Nido, Nacpan beach is very nice to spend the day at.

Nacpan Beach

Canopy Walk

While in El Nido a must thing to do is the canopy walk, which includes a short hike and it rewards you with magnificent views.

View of El Nido

My favorite restaurants in El Nido

Maa’s Grill

This was hands down my favorite restaurant not only in El Nido, but in the whole Philippines. Local food with fresh ingredients and with amazing service, I ate two times at this restaurant during my four days in El Nido. That’s where I had for the first time sisig, a local dish that became my favorite food. There’s pork sisig, beef sisig and I even had the las gambas aka prawn sisig. I loved them all.

My favorite dish: sisig


This restaurant is amazing if you’re craving pizza like I did one of the evenings. The pizza here is really delicious and prices are decent.

And of course while in El Nido, you have to try the crepes from the vendors on the streets, delicious.

Which crepe would you like?

From El Nido to Coron

From El Nido I took a ferry to Coron, which took five hours and it didn’t depart at the time it was supposed to, but one hour later. I found out that that’s normal for the Philippines, ferries depart usually at least with one hour delay.

In Coron I ate twice at Levine’s restaurant, where I had my beloved sisig once again.

Sisig again

My stay in Coron was too short unfortunately, just one full day to do a tour and I opted for the Super Ultimate tour, which I really enjoyed , despite the weather: on and off raining the whole day.

I still did some kayaking and snorkeling and enjoyed the delicious food we had included.

Boat tour from Coron

Cebu city

From Coron I took a domestic flight to Cebu city, which was an adventure because my backpack ended up coming six hours later with the next flight. At least they delivered it to my accommodation so in the end it was all good.

I spent two days in Cebu city, visited the San Pedro fort, the cathedral , the Taoist temple and a few other attractions.

Fort San Pedro in Cebu City

Overall Cebu didn’t impress me much but I liked it more than Manila and I definitely liked my massage at Cheeva Spa.


From Cebu I took a ferry to Bohol, where I spent two amazing days with Phoebe, the English girl I met in Cebu and she was adventurous enough to drive us around the whole island on a motorbike.

Phoebe and me about to go on an adventure

We rented a motorbike for 350 pesos a day, filled up full tank for 200 pesos and we hit the road.

We went to Busai Dreamfalls and enjoyed a coconut there, we drove through the Manmade forest, visited the cute tarsiers at the Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area and we had a look on the Chocolate Hills while being soaking wet because the rain caught us.

Sleepy tarsier

It was a full day of adventure and good laughs.

We stayed in Panglao area and we hit the beach as well, which was very nice and relaxing.

Beach time


After Bohol I took a ferry to Siquijor island, my last destination and probably the best one. Not very touristy, but gorgeous and enjoyable, Siquijor was the place where I saw the most beautiful sunsets while in the Philippines. 

The sunsets at Paliton beach will stay for a while in my memories.

Perfect sunset at Paliton Beach

I also visited the 400 years old balete tree and treated myself to a foot spa, where the fish bombarded my feet.

Old Enchanted Balete Tree

Siquijor has lots of beautiful waterfalls, probably the most famous being Cambugahay Falls, which opens at 8 am and there’s a small fee to pay before you enter.

Cambugahay Falls

Lugnason Falls is another beautiful waterfall that the locals recommended us and it was indeed beautiful.

Lugnason Falls

But my favorite Siquijor attraction remains Sambulawan underground river which was very different to the Puerto Princes one. Here the caves are small so you have to swim through the river. It was a unique experience that I highly recommend.

Sambulawan Underground River

My favorite restaurants in Siquijor:


Picturesque little brekky place with delicious ice latte with the perfect view.

My brekky at Bucafe

Aroi Mak Mak Thai Station

Absolutely delicious Thai food and drinks.

Marco Polo

Amazing pizza place. Go for the sunset.

Sunset by Marco Polo restaurant

Luca Loko

I just ate some potatoes here, but the detox drink based on carrots and ginger was very refreshing and delicious.

Luca Loko meal

After Siquijor I returned for one more day to Manila, but I was so tired by then that I spent the whole day just chilling at my Airbnb.

Favorites from the supermarket

I like going to the supermarket in different countries and I did that also in the Philippines and I discovered a few products that I really liked. I attach a picture of them, maybe you will like them too.

Amazing energy drink
Yummi chocolate
Favorite chips

And if you decide to visit the Philippines I hope you’ll have an amazing time, just like I did! Thank you for reading!


My ten days Queenstown holiday

Day 1 

I landed at around 7:30 pm, so after checking in at my accommodation the only thing left to do for the day was dinner. I read everywhere that I must try the famous Fergburger so that’s exactly what I did. And it was just as amazing as everybody claimed it would be .

Day 2

I had an early start of the day, woke up around 7 am and went to the lake and admired its beauty.

Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown

After that I met up with a fellow traveler and we headed to Queenstown gardens, then hiked Queenstown Hill, two of the main attractions in the city. We saw beautiful sights and a few wild goats as well. The view is magnificent and the hike is not too hard.

Hiking up to Queenstown Hill
Amazing view from Queenstown Hill
Wild goat

For late lunch I decided to get another Fergburger and eat it by the lake, where the too friendly ducks surrounded me eager to get a bite from my burger.

The famous Fergburger

On Saturdays there’s a market by the lake with local produce and hand made jewelry.

Day 3 

On my third day I ventured out of the city and went to Wanaka, which is aprox 1 h drive from Queenstown and it’s a calm little town with friendly people and good vibes. The aim of the trip was hiking Roy’s Peak, a quite serious hike that took us 6 hours to complete. When we started it was a bit raining but once we reached the summit it all cleared up and we had the beautiful view that was worth it all the hard hike and the early wake up.

Roy’s Peak summit views

We saw many sheep along the way and a lot of hikers already returning because they went up for the sunrise which must have been amazing.

Sheep that we saw while hiking

After the hike we spent some time by Lake Wanaka, saw the famous Wanaka tree and grabbed some lunch from one of the many cafes in town.

Me and the Wanaka Tree

On the way back to Queenstown we made a short stop at the Wanaka Lavender Farm, where apart from the amazing lavender products you can purchase, there’s also lavender ice cream which tastes amazing.

Losing myself in the lavender field

Day 4

Day 4 was my birthday, so I decided to take a tour to Milford Sound, a must visit location if you’re in Queenstown. It’s however aprox 4 hours drive from Queenstown, but we made some stops along the way. The first stop was in the town called Te Anau, a cute little town with a lake and a few cafes, where I got myself a coffee and enjoyed it while walking along the lake.

Te Anau

The next stop we made was at Mirror Lakes, which I wasn’t very impressed by, but was still nice.

Mirror Lakes

The following stop on the other hand was very nice, Monkey Creek, where you could see the mountains covered in snow.

Monkey Creek

At some point we even saw a kea bird, which is apparently a very clever bird, with the intelligence level of a 2 year old toddler.

Once we reached Milford Sound, we boarded the boat and cruised for aprox 2 hours. I let the pictures talk for themselves.

Happy at Milford Sound

Even though it was cloudy, the views were spectacular. I really enjoyed the cruise and met some nice people.

The drive back to Queenstown seemed much longer but the day was not over yet.

Once we got back to Queenstown I was determined to have a nice dinner and a glass of wine for my birthday. A local recommended me the restaurant Public, just by the lake, so that’s where I went with my new friends. Had a lovely dinner and a glass of wine and happily ended the day with a big smile on my face.

Day 5

Another day, another hike. This time it was Ben Lomond hike, which included the Tiki Trail – this one you can skip if you take the gondola , but I’d recommend hiking it, it’s not very hard.

This hike took me 9 hours to complete but with long stops at the summit and shorter ones along the way. The weather was amazing and the views breathtaking. I really enjoyed this hike.

Ben Lomond summit

In the evening I went to one of the Ice Bars in town – there’s three of them in total – for a delicious cocktail served in -7 degrees. Needless to say that after that one cocktail I returned quickly to the warm and left the cold behind for good.

Having a cocktail at Ice Bar

Day 6

My favorite breakfast place was Fergbaker, they make amazing coffee and it’s the perfect place to start your day.

On the agenda this day was a daytrip to Glenorchy. Glenorchy is aprox 45 min drive from Queenstown and it’s another cute little town with a lake and beautiful surroundings.


Not only Glenorchy, but also the whole way to there is beautiful, a really nice drive.

On the way to Glenorchy
On the way to Glenorchy

For dinner I’ve chosen Caribe Latin Kitchen, where I also found my favorite Brazilian soft drink: Guarana.

Their nachos were very delicious too.

Day 7

It was time to take it easy and just relax, so I went walking along the lake all the way to Sunshine Bay, which took me around 50 min walk. It was the perfect sunny weather for it, some people were even swimming in the lake, which I considered quite brave because the water was still very cold.

Sunshine Bay

For lunch I went again for a fergburger and I promised myself it’s gonna be the last one. For dessert I had a giant ice cream from Patagonia, which is another must try place, their ice cream is fabulous, it costed me $10.

Ice cream from Patagonia

I also went to Kiwi Park, which in my opinion it was a bit disappointing and too expensive, $49. Although the ticket is valid for three days, I wasn’t going to return, so I just gifted it to a random person on the street. I saw some native birds and some kiwi birds too, but overall I wasn’t really impressed.

Kiwi Park

Day 8

My second tour was to Mount Cook, which is aprox 4 h drive from Queenstown. Absolutely beautiful stops along the way, such as a bungy jumping spot and Lake Pukaki. The tour was very intimate, just a minivan, so no large groups, we all ended up becoming friends and on the return to Queenstown went for dinner together to Pub on Wharf, where I had a delicious salmon with spinach and veggies. Really good!

Bungy jumping spot
Beautiful Lake Pukaki
Lake Hooker

Day 9 

It was going to be another rest day, so I walked again to Sunshine bay, had a nice meal at Blue Kanu restaurant and went for some drinks at Habana Boutique Rum Bar, then even ended up going dancing at The Bunker. It was a fun day.

Dinner at Blue Kanu
My cocktail at Habana

Day 10

I started the day at 9 am when I checked out of my accommodation and headed to the airport to fly back to Sydney.

Looking back at my trip, all I can say is that I really enjoyed it and I’d go back to Queenstown in a heartbeat anytime. It’s a fun place where I could easily meet people and there’s a good variety of restaurants and bars, so perfect for everyone.

Short escape to paradise

School holiday has arrived and that meant traveling for me. Although just for a short 5 days, but I packed my bags and headed to the airport , excited to discover a new country, which is just 3 h away from Sydney.

Lucky with a window seat, I watched amazed the turquoise blue water of the sea and was ready for a few days of warm weather and beach.

Arriving to New Caledonia

The view looked quite good already from the plane.

As soon as I arrived I went to the shuttle and shortly I was headed to the capital of New Caledonia: Noumea, my home for the next 5 days.

I was between the last people on the bus to be dropped off, so the journey to Noumea lasted much longer than I expected, almost two hours.

By the time I reached the city I was starving, so my first stop was a restaurant.

Parfums d’Olive has every week food from different countries and I was there for Croatia’s turn. I paired my delicious meal with a glass of Chardonnay and I was totally enjoying my holiday.

My dinner at Parfums d’Olive

The weather was pleasant and the atmosphere nice, people very friendly and even open to speak English.

New Caledonia is a French island, therefore the official language is French, but assuming because they get lots of Australian and New Zealander tourists, thanks to the location, people are very open to speak English and it made things much easier for me. 

My first night was relaxed, after dinner I went to my accommodation and had an early bed time because the following day I had a tour booked.

Little did I know that my next day will turn out to be completely different from what I planned.

I got up early, at 6:45 to be at the meeting point for 7:40, as agreed with the tour company. I waited and waited and at some point I decided to ask for help because there was no tour bus coming to pick me up. My Australian phone number didn’t work, so I went into a hotel and asked the receptionist to call the tour company and ask why aren’t they coming to pick me up. He was very kind and helped me and soon I found out that the pick up point was actually in another place, so I missed my tour. I thanked the receptionist for his kindness and started wandering around, at first quite upset. I went to Baie des Citrons and walked around, then decided to go for a coffee, connect to the wifi and research what can I do in the area.

Relaxing at Baie des Citrons

The day was looking to be beautiful, warm and sunny. 

I found out that I was near a very nice lookout , so I decided to walk there. Along the way I met a friendly French lady, who spoke a bit of English and we ended up walking together and taking pictures of each other with the beautiful views. I especially liked the beautiful blue colors of the sea.

Ouen Toro, the name of the hill, from where you can see the city, is an aprox 30 min walk from Baie des Citrons and it’s a popular location for people who wish to start the day with sport. I saw many people walking or biking or jogging.

View from Ouen Toro

After completing the walk we said our goodbyes with my new French friend and we parted ways. I decided that my next stop will be Place de Cocotiers but I wasn’t sure of which way I need to go so I asked directions from a lady who was on the side of the street with a few more people, they were Jehovas witnesses. The lady that I asked for directions kindly offered me to take me there by car .

So I got a ride all the way to Place de Cocotiers, where there was some sort of musical event happening.

Cathedral Saint Joseph, near Place de Cocotiers

I hang out around there for a while , walked around, discovered The Best Cafe, where I ate a delicious crepe filled with fruits and cream and soon after that I went back to my accommodation which was very near.

The crepe I ate at The best cafe

The following day I decided to take a daytrip. Amedee island, where I was supposed to go with the tour, didn’t seem to be working out, the boat was fully booked, so I went to Ilot Maitre instead. Ilot Maitre is a 20 min boat ride from Port Moselle and it’s a small island, where there are overwater bungalows and the color of water is absolutely stunning.

Ilot Maitre
Beautiful Ilot Maitre

I spent a good few hours just sunbathing and enjoying the 27 degrees. When I went back to Port Moselle I met up with two of my new Latino friends, we had dinner at Le Bout du Monde and then we headed to another little island, called Ile aud Canards, which was just a 5 min taxi boat ride.

We went there to watch the sunset and it was spectacular. Probably the best place to watch the sunset while in Noumea.

Sunset at Ile aud Canards
New Caledonia sunsets

On day 3 I met up with a lovely lady from Tahiti and her local friend and we went for breakfast to Ilot Maitre. So during this trip I ended up going twice to Ilot Maitre and to be honest I’d happily go again. It’s a nice place, breakfast was amazing and the color of the sea very beautiful.

Second visit to Ilot Maitre

Unfortunately my trip was too short to explore more of New Caledonia, but at least I had enough time in Noumea.

Other things that I enjoyed while in Noumea were:

Port Moselle market

Market at Port Moselle

Port Moselle sunset

Sunset at Port Moselle

Sunset at Anse Vata

On day 5 my flight was at 10 am back to Sydney, again I was lucky to have a window seat and could watch for the last time the beautiful colors of the sea and wave goodbye to New Caledonia. Would be great to go back sometime…

‘Til next time, New Caledonia 🇳🇨

My favorite hikes around Rio

Already before going to Rio I knew that it’s an amazing city for outdoor lovers. Plenty of hiking opportunities and I was ready to do a few of them. Four days out of the two weeks I spent in the city I went hiking and I really enjoyed. 

Pedra da Gavea

In my opinion the best hike that you can do around Rio. It’s also the hardest one, which involved proper rock climbing with ropes , which was a first for me. It’s definitely a challenging hike but at the same time very rewarding too. And the views!! The views are amazing both along the hike, but especially at the top.

Hiking up to Pedra da Gavea
The most beautiful view from the top of Pedra da Gavea

The whole hike, including the rock climbing took aprox 4 hours, luckily along the way there were people who were willing to help me because sometimes it seemed impossible to complete the hike. All sweaty and with my body shaking, I felt so proud of myself that I reached the top. 

Pedra do Telegrafo 

A much easier hike than Pedra da Gavea, Telegrafo is as popular. The hike itself is not too long, maybe around 1 h, but the line for the photos is at least an other hour usually. Actually that was the hardest part to deal with because it was very hot and you’re basically in the burning sun waiting to take the perfect picture. There’s a professional photographer at the spot, who I luckily hired because my hiking partner took horrible pictures.

Pedra do Telegrafo

Pedra Bonita

Translated as “Beautiful Rock”, this hike is one of the easiest ones that I did but still with very rewarding views. From the top you can see Pedra da Gavea and the beautiful coastline of Rio.

Pedra Bonita hike

Two Brothers

Out of the four hikes that I did, this was the easiest, less than one hour hike, but in the heat it wasn’t the most pleasant, however the views were worth it. We took an Uber and then a motortaxi took us through the favela, all the way to where the trail starts. From then it’s quite straight forward.

Two Brother hike

I listed the hikes in the order of preferance for me. There’s plenty more hikes around Rio, which I’d be happy to do if I ever go again. As much as I loved Pedra da Gavea hike, I’m not sure if I’d be willing to do it ever again. I was sore for the following 3 days… In any case hiking in Rio has been one of my favorite activities. Highly recommended.

Four days in São Paulo

I’ve been warned about São Paulo as being dangerous and especially intimidating city considering it’s size, however to me it didn’t seem so intimidating. Dangerous, yes, in some places I didn’t feel exactly safe, but quickly ubered myself out of such places. Actually there was only one sketchy place where I felt a bit out of place.

Day 1 

My friends and I went to the rooftop of Unique hotel, Skye bar for amazing cocktails and beautiful views of the city. Very enjoyable place that if I ever go again to Sao Paolo I’ll revisit.

We arrived just in time for the sunset, which was not necessarily impressive but the views were still quite spectacular.

With friends at Skye Bar

After a bit of warm up at Skye bar, my friend Vanessa and me headed to a bar, can’t recall the name, where we ended up singing karaoke after a couple of cocktails. It was a fun night, we met a very nice local couple, they even ended up giving me a lift to my accommodation.

Day 2

The day started with meeting up with Vanessa, who’s a professional photographer that came with her camera ready to capture some nice shots of me exploring her city. We went to Beco do Batman, which was just a few minutes walk from my accommodation in Vila Madalena. The murals we found were beautiful and the atmosphere very laid back. Vila Madalena neighborhood was the perfect base for me, being full of nice little restaurants and cafes, I checked out a few.

Beco do Batman alley

After Beco do Batman we went to the famous Avenida Paulista, walked around and had nice conversations along the way.

Avenida Paulista

On Avenida Paulista it’s a must to go up to the Sesc Building for amazing views.

View from the Sesc Building

Day 3

This is the part where I felt a little bit strange… I went to Mercado Municipal to try the famous mortadella sandwich, which was delicious, however the area is full of homeless people and it’s just not the place where you’d like to hang out. Straight from the Uber I walked into the market, where it’s completely fine, but outside it’s just a weird vibe. The market itself is quite impressive, the vendors give you many types of exotic fruits to try with the hope that you buy some of their produce. I ended up trying at least 6 fruits that all tasted delicious.

All the fruits at Mercado Municipa

I enjoyed hanging out at the market, but the highlight was definitely the mortadella sandwich, which basically is a giant sandwich with at least 10 layers of ham. We were three people and we shared one and all of us was full after eating a portion.

After such a treat we headed to Ibirapuera Park, a big park where people go for their work out, to ride a bike, like we did, or just to chill on the grass.

Chilling in Ibirapuera Park

Day 4 

On my last day in São Paulo I checked out the Japanese neighborhood of Liberdade. It’s a beautiful neighborhood where there are lots of cafes and restaurants. I ate a delicious crepe at Hachi Crepe&academy.

Hanging out in Liberdade neighborhood

Although people say that São Paulo it’s like a jungle, to me it didn’t seem that chaotic at all. It’s busy and vibrant, so after four days I was ready to leave it and search for the sun and the beach, but it wasn’t overwhelming for me.

The real Rio: favela – go or not to go?

The first thing Brazilian people told me when I started my amazing journey around Brazil, was, I quote: “Under no circumstances go anywhere near a favela.” And what do I do on my second day in Rio? Hell, yeah, I’m totally going to a favela!

It’s no joke though, that place can be not just intimidating, but real dangerous and to be honest I was skeptical at first, it certainly wasn’t on my to do list, but everything changed when I met Sally, the super adventurous and fearless American lady, who together with her son are involved in a project helping people living in the favela. She told me so passionately about the project and gained my trust and interest when she mentioned Diogo, who grew up and lives in the favela. Diogo, was going to be our guide around the favela. I decided, yes, I’m gonna go and see how is it.

So yesterday at 5 pm we met, took an Uber and was headed to experience my very unique Brazilian favela visit. Worth to mention the fact that most Uber drivers refuse to drive to the favela because of the crime and danger they may encounter there. So we were driven basically until a certain point in the favela, where Diogo met us and we continued walking around. It was unreal to think that I’m there and can see how people live their life, which is a whole different reality from mine or yours. We walked around a bit, saw the houses built next to each other, saw some people , who were harmless and they minded their own business, greeting Diogo and us as well. I felt safe the whole time, but I’m not writing this to encourage visiting favelas. I think some organized tours might be a good option, but I wasn’t going to take any of those. To me it felt safe because I knew Diogo is part of that community, a respected member, who they know won’t bring people there unless it’s for a good cause.

Fogueteiro favela
Me checking out the favela vistas

And speaking of good causes, I’d like to spread the word about the project Diogo is involved with. He is a 33 years old luta livre instructor, which is a kind of self defense sport, that he and another instructor are teaching to the kids in Fogueteiro and some other favelas around Rio. It started small, just a few kids and now had grown to almost a hundred kids from the ghetto, aka favela. The illegal housing in the hills of Rio is the place of lots of illegalities and bad examples for the kids, so the aim of this project is to show kids a way of possibly breaking out from there, teaching them the meaning of community and discipline, basically giving them the hope of opportunity. I’ve seen those kids and their innocence, there love for life and joy was incredible. I received so many hugs and even some spoke a few words in English and were curious to know a bit about me. It was honestly very touching and so sad to realize that unfortunately some of them may turn out gang members,drug addicts or delicvents just because the place where they belong to turns them into that. On the other hand, I witnessed so much potential and desire to succeed. We watched them having one of these self defense classes and they were so determined to do well. Even the youngest one had lots of energy to compete maybe with a more experienced member.

The kids at the self defense training

Some parents joined us to watch the self defense course and they were super nice, although they spoke no English. From what I heard there are lots of hard working people that have been stuck in the favela and navigate through the tough life that they have been given, every day facing possible danger.

Me chatting with the local kids

To get to know more about the project helping these kids, go to and if you can donate a bit , please go ahead , every little means a lot for a child growing up less fortunate than you.

As we finished watching the self defense training and the heavy rain calmed down a bit, we continued our way around the favela, still got soaking wet within minutes, seeing a lot up Rio from a different angle.

Me being soaking wet
The streets in the favela transformed into rivers within minutes

At some point, at the site of the Main Street we saw a guy with a massive guy just casually hanging out. Not an everyday vista, but we were safe with Diogo. As we reached a reasonably safe place, we called an Uber and left the favela. I was so emotional and touched and in the same time humbled and grateful, it was a good reminder to don’t take things for granted and enjoy the little things just like the kids enjoyed the rain. They got wet and they didn’t care, they just laughed and run around. This memory of seeing powerful on another level but still combined with joy, happiness and so much potential, will stay with me for a long while. Having had the opportunity to see this side of Rio is really a unique chance that the regular traveler doesn’t get.

Amsterdam and other pretty cities of The Netherlands

My eight days long adventure in The Netherlands started with landing at 8 am in the capital city of Amsterdam, greeted by a beyond gorgeous sunrise that I witnessed from my window seat on the plane. It was worth it waking up at 4:20 am in Zurich to catch this early flight.

Sunrise over Amsterdam

From Schipol airport I took a train to Amsterdam Central Station, the journey took me around 30 minutes and costed around 10 euros.

The building of the station is quite impressive and my accommodation was a 10 minutes walk from it, right in the city center, so I headed towards it, passing beautiful canal views and observing how the city comes to life.

Amsterdam Central Station

Once I dropped my luggage I was headed to Dom Square, where my free walking tour started. I definitely recommend booking in advance a free walking tour of the city, the guide was extremely knowledgeable and I found out a lot about the history of the city and discovered sights that maybe otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered.

The tour took around two hours and a half. I made a new friend on the tour and we decided to spend the rest of the day exploring together. He made quite a good city explorer buddy. We walked along the beautiful canals, took pictures and even hang out in the red light distract, which is quite dead during the day.

One of the beautiful canals in Amsterdam

We discovered the impressive flower market and also some kinky places, such as a condomeria.

Amsterdam flower market
Condoms shop in central Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the city of freedom, sexual diversity and acceptance. The city is very vibrant, full of bikers and very open minded and excellent English speaking, tall Dutch men and women.

With my new travel companion we walked around a lot on my first day, reaching also the museums quartier, where especially the famous Rijksmuseum stands out.


On this occasion we didn’t go into any of the museums, but on the other hand was stunned to discover that the I AmSterdam sign disappeared from the museum plaza. Nine years ago was still there, then apparently it has been removed due to some political dispute over it. I wanted to recreate my picture from nine years ago, but that couldn’t happen. Regardless, we had a nice time around there, many buildings are beautiful.

No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without mentioning the coffee shops, which here reffers to the shops that sell weed and other drugs that are legal in The Netherlands. There are plenty of them and basically any adult can try them either in form of a joint or brownie and probably in other forms as well, I wouldn’t know because I wasn’t interested in these stuff. What I do know though is that the best of them seems to be the Bulldog chain, that has a gift shop and museum too. I purchased myself some Bulldog thongs ( = flip flops ) as a memory from Amsterdam.

The most good looking Bulldog coffee shop
A random coffee shop

Apart from admiring the canals, passing by coffee shops and chilling in nice cafes, on another day I visited some museums too.

The most interesting I found to be the Moco Museum, where apart from Bansky’s art work, there’s a very beautiful and interactive light installation too.

I checked out also the Allard Pierson museum, where I learned about the Egyptian era.

In Amsterdam there’s a museum for every taste, from modern art to even the art and pleasure of sexual intercourses, hences there’s an erotic museum and also a museum of prostitution. I guess the name says it all, no need from my side to discuss what can you see in each of them.

Checking out some museums has been definitely fun and interesting, but probably even more interesting than that has been all the breakfast and brunch places that I got to eat from.

Eating places in Amsterdam are amazing and my favorite of all probably has been Mr Stacks, where you can eat the most delicious pancake stacks, which look like a tower of pancakes and are filled with fresh and delicious fruits and of course lots of chocolate. I licked all my ten fingers after eating there.

Eating at Mr Stacks

Another amazing breakfast place I’ve discovered it’s called Jacob’s Juice , where I tried the delicious avocado toast and drank a very healthy ginger,lemon,spinach,fennel juice. It’s located a short 10 min walk from Rinksmuseum. It’s small and cozy and everything on the menu sounded amazing, so the choice was quite hard.

My brekky at Jacob’s Juice

A more central brekky place, by Dom Square, is Corner House, where the salmon bagel is absolutely delicious and the hot chocolate equally amazing.

Brekky at Corner House

Too many amazing eating places in Amsterdam for sure and the list of great restaurants is just about to start.

The best dinner I had in Amsterdam was certainly at Sea Palace restaurant, which is located just by central station, it’s a massive building right on the water, impossible to miss.

Sea Palace restaurant

It’s a Chinese restaurant, where we were lucky to get a table without booking in advance. The food is amazing and deserts are wonderful too. If I ever visit again, I’ll make sure I’ll check it out again.

My dessert at Sea Palace

T’Stuiverte has good food in a stylish ambiance, you have the feeling that you are in art gallery. Amazing food, very delicious desert.

Fish with veggies at T’Stuviertje

The Yeti – for finger licking Nepalese and Indian cuisine, go with confidence to this little restaurant, located in the red light district, it’s wonderful and service is very good too.

There have been a few other restaurants that I checked out, but I didn’t find them so amazing to mention them.

On the other hand, there’s a few bars with a view that I’d mention.


Luckily we got there right in time for the sunset.

Sunset view of Amsterdam

A’dam lookout bar

This one is great for the views, especially after swinging above Amsterdam.

Cocktail with a view
Swinging above Amsterdam

Apart from swinging above the city, I can proudly say that I also biked around Amsterdam, with a local, like a local and the only incident that happened was that I nearly took off the mirror of a truck that drove too close to me. It was a fun, but little stressful experience , however I don’t regret any second of it.

Although Amsterdam is a wonderful city, I also traveled a bit further and checked out some other places in The Netherlands.

Bergen Aan Zee

For a daytrip I ventured out to the see and to my amazement I witnessed a gorgeous sunset, walked four kilometers on the beach to catch a bus and ate a delicious onion soup and drank a refreshing smoothie while listening to the waves. It was a fun day!

Bergen Aan Zee sunset
My smoothie and I

Oh, and also saw very cute and friendly cats along the way.

Cat love ❤️


Just around 30 min by train from Amsterdam, there’s the modern, also vibrant city of Rotterdam, where I spent threee days, out of which two were rainy and gloomy, but still enjoyable.

Rotterdam is beautiful, very different from Amsterdam. We took a canal tour that took us around the port and could see huge ships there.

Checked out also the Maritime Museum, where we could learn about ships, boats and the importance of Rotterdam port.

A trip to Rotterdam would g be complete without visiting the iconic cube houses, that look like they would be out of a fairytale. Apparently people also live in them and one of them can even be rented out on Airbnb.

Posing at Rotterdam Cube Houses

Due to the rain we kept most of our exploring indoors, which was just fine when it came to eating .

Markthalle, the food court of Rotterdam was just a short tram ride from the accommodation and was the perfect place to start the day. A massive location full of all kind of specialities. My favorite of course was the waffle and the Brazilian juice.

Eating a waffle at Markthalle
My delicious

At Markthalle apart from food, one can buy different spices, cheese and so on.

Also in Rotterdam I’ve discovered some good restaurants, one of them is Ayla, an afghani restaurant where the oysters and frog legs where absolutely delicious, but also the cocktails are remarkable.

Frog legs at Ayla
Cocktail at Ayla

Speaking of cocktails, there’s one bar in Rotterdam that I liked in particular, it’s called Spikizi, it’s cozy, little and the cocktails were very good.

Spikizi bar from outside
Spikizi bar from inside
Cocktail at Spikizi

I love views, hences I dragged my friend, Jay, who joined me for the Rotterdam part of my Netherlands trip, to Euromast and we ,also him, were impressed of the views. Rotterdam is truly magnificent at night. I let the pictures speak for themselves.

Euromast tower
Rotterdam at night from Euromast

The Hague

Another place that I dragged my friend , Jay was The Hague, which I heard about a lot, everybody saying how beautiful it is. Well, it’s quite nice, true, but on a rainy day it was just so and so.

We checked out the Peace Palace, but with the Covid restrictions in place, we were not allowed to visit the actual palace, just did an audio tour in a separate building and saw the palace from distance.

Peace Palace

Although it was raining, we still went to the beach and saw even people bungee jumping there.

The beach in The Hague

We wondered around the city a bit and eventually ended up at another drinks with a view place.

Skybar – beautiful views of The Hague at night and delicious mocktailes in a romantic ambiance.

The Hague at night from Skybar

Our day in The Hague could have been nicer if there was sun and no Covid restrictions, but I guess nowadays that’s the new normal…

After spending those few days in Rotterdam, by I said goodbye to Jay and continued my trip solo to another beautiful town.


Utrecht has been recommended to me by many Dutch people I met and I was excited to check it out. Everybody was saying that it’s the smaller version of Amsterdam, but maybe slightly more pretty. I must say I found it in a way even nicer and definitely more calm than Amsterdam. I was also very lucky with a sunny day in Utrecht. I walked around the canals, visited some parks and admired the beautiful autumn colors.

Autumn in Utrecht

Also in Utrecht, of course I went to eat yummy food and ended up at this cozy, little cafe in the center and had my pancake fix.

Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the cafe, but in case I’ll ever visit Utrecht again I know where I need to go.

On the other hand with the restaurant I dined at I have more memory, it was called Springhaver and it’s right next to the cinema with the same name.

Dinner at Springhaver
Dessert at Springhaver

I had so many waffles, pancakes and desserts every day of my trip that now, as a conclusion I can say The Netherlands is awesome for anyone who has a sweet tooth.

But, it’s not only food and desserts that made me enjoy it so much, it’s also the diversity and the kindness of people.

In Utrecht I had a Turkish – German fellow travelled that joined me in exploring. We walked around the town the whole day, doing also a little shopping along the way, but mainly just checking out various landmarks, a beautiful church and a little bar too.

In beautiful Utrecht

For my last day I returned to Amsterdam and with the same travel companion that I had in Utrecht we went to Upside down Amsterdam, a fun place, where you can’t be upset or side. This place for sure will cheer you up.

Upside down Amsterdam
Chilling at Upside down Amsterdam

Determined to find waffle places back home, I left the country satisfied and happy with how I spent the last 8 days. Dutch people and their country impressed me and left me with great memories that I’ll carry around for long. I might even bike more often from now on…

Barcelona time

A few years ago, when I was in Barcelona for the first time I really liked it and said I’ll come back again one day. That day has arrived and because a travel friend that I met in Thailand and then again in Australia, said to me that she’ll host me, I had no excuse not to go . Alisa, my friend welcomed me with the biggest hug ever at the train station and our adventure was about to begin.

I had a few things in my mind that I wanted to do and one of them was to get a haircut. Maybe it’s unusual when you go there just for three days, but I had a good feeling about the salon and I got a cheap and good haircut a la Barcelona.

After the haircut we went to check out Park Güell, the iconic photo spot and the whole park itself.

Park Güell
View over the city from Park Güell

The good part was just about to begin. We went for dinner to a seafood restaurant recommended by a local, called Lluritu in the neighborhood called Gracia.

It’s hard to describe in words how delicious the food has been. We ordered a few things, such as tuna leaves, sardines, calamari and clams. We licked all our ten fingers after each of them. 100% the best seafood that I’ve eaten in a very long time.

Delicious food that we are at Lluritu

Very quickly the first day was ending, but not before a night stroll to the iconic Sagrada Familia, which now is even bigger than the last time I visited.

Sagrada Familia

And when we said we’d go home now, we end up eating a massive pancake for dessert at like 10 pm. No regrets about it tho! And the nonalcoholic cocktail called Chill out was as delicious and the pancake.

Yummi pancake and Chill out cocktail

Friday went by quickly but we did a lot and we went to bed satisfied with the day and reminiscing about our memories from Sydney.

How awesome is to meet your travel friends in different locations on this planet!

Saturday we woke up later, almost 10 am, and took it easy. Although the weather was a bit tricky, a bit of sun then lots of clouds and later a bit of sun again, I insisted on going to the beach cause that was going to be my only opportunity this year to go sunbathing. So even though we were the only people sunbathing, bare in mind there was no sun at that point , we still had a beach day. Well, one hour at the beach to be precise. Anyway, it was good and yes, I had a beach day !

Playa del Bogatell

It was lunch time and after being so impressed of the food the previous night, I was looking forward to eat some delicacies again. This time we’ve chosen a Lebanese restaurant called L’Autentic . No one recommended us this place, we just went with our gut feelings and it was a good choice once again. The food was great, the service great too.

Eating at L’Autentic

After filling in our stomachs our next stop was Westfield, the shopping mall. You can’t go to Barcelona and not get tempted to do some shopping, especially if you’re with a girlfriend. We laughed our heads off while buying new outfits.

The day was far away from being over, going up to Montjuic for the sunset being the next to do activity. Sadly there was no sun, therefore no visible sunset either, but ride up there in the cable car still offered stunning views over the city and the castle was quite pretty too.

Cable car views
Castillo de Montjuic
Barcelona views from Montjuic

After we checked out everything on Montjuic we were headed to Salts Terassa Bar, another of the recommendations, for dinner. The view is nice from this place and the patatas bravas really delicious. We even got spoiled with a rainbow.

Delicious patatas bravas at Salts Terassa Bar

It was around 8 pm when we decided to go to a new Irish pub that’s called the Old Irish Pub, ready to dance the night away. And that’s exactly what we did! After almost two years of not dancing in my case, COVIDs fault, it felt like normal life again that I could dance and behave normally in a pub. It was like the good old times, when quarantine, isolation and all the other Covid related things didn’t exist. It was heaps of fun and a night that I’ll not forget any soon !

Dancing the night away, someone gave me an Oktoberfest hat

Saturday night we got home after midnight, happy and pleased with how great the whole day was.

Sunday was going to be another awesome day because we were going to Montserrat, a beautiful spiritual place, where Helen, a friend I met in Sydney was going to meet us. I haven’t seen Helen for three years, so this was exciting.

We took the train and in aprox one hour we reached Montserrat.

It looked impressive even from the cable car station and was going to be even more impressive when we reached the top.

A short cable car ride and we reached the attraction. It was quite full of people, but we were not bothered. We went on a short hike to reach silence and just admire nature’s beauty.

A few hours easily passed in good company. We talked about our nice memories and decided on making new ones in the future.

Our fun group

After this beautiful adventure, we had to say goodbye to Helen and Alisa and me returned to Barcelona and went to a dance class and then go dinner to Santa Gula in Gracia, another amazing restaurant. I tried for the first time ever octopus and I’ll certainly eat again in the future cause it was delicious.

My amazing Barcelona trip ended that night with this finger licking dinner at Santa Gula, the next morning rushing early to the airport and returning to normal life in Zurich. Can’t wait to go again to Barcelona and try other good restaurants. Hasta luego, Barcelona!

Another scenic Swiss hike: Trübsee in Engelberg region

With no doubt hiking is the best way of discovering Switzerland’s natures beauty and Engelberg region is a beautiful hiking area, so a friend and me put on our hiking shoes and off we went. The train from Zurich to Engelberg takes roughly two hours, with a change in Luzern.

The small town of Engelberg is quite nice, surrounded by massive mountains and there’s also a stream that has crystal clear water.


We started the hike, that was quite steep most of the way and it took us roughly three hours to reach Trübsee, our destination.

The views along the way were gorgeous, big mountain peaks with snow on top and lush green valleys and of course some friendly cows too.

After three hours of serious hiking, we reached Trübsee and it definitely was worth the steep hike. We were very lucky with the weather, the beautiful blue sky reflecting in the water making it appear clear blue. It was the perfect place for a well deserved lunch and a few moments of just silence and enjoying the views.

As we were admiring Trübsee and the peak of Titlis mountain, we agreed that if we came all this way, we can’t miss going up to Titlis. Although not prepared for the cold up there, at 3020 m altitude, we still hopped into the cable car and started ascending to the top of Switzerland’s most visited mountains.

Once we reached the top, we found ourself surrounded by the serene beauty of the mountain, lots of snow and quite chilly temperatures, especially in the ice cave.

Excited about the snow on Titlis
Ice cave

Going from autumn straight to winter was fun for a bit, but then it was a good idea to leave it all behind and return to Engelberg, this time by cable car. I was expecting to have muscle pain the next days in my legs, but surprisingly I escaped without any major pain.

Paris – a layover that changed my view about the city

I’ve been to Paris a couple of times and was living with the impression that it’s overrated and nothing too special. Then I went there un August for just a few hours. And guess what? Paris was beautiful, people friendly and the vibe just great!

I’m not sure if it was just me, super excited about finally traveling again, or Paris is really a cool city?! In any case the few hours that I spent there were amazing and serendipity did its job.

First I headed to the Jardín de Luxembourg to admire its beauty. I was walking around and just enjoying the sights. It was beautiful, even though the sky looked like it might rain any minute. It didn’t in the end. So I spent probably an hour or two just enjoying the beautiful garden and buildings.

Jardín de Luxembourg

Then I ended up hanging out the rest of the time with a fellow traveler, that approached me initially to take a photo of her but then we talked and talked about traveling and without realizing we were making plans of going to the Eiffel Tower together. And that’s what we did.

We hang out around the icon of France and talked about various topics as if we knew each other for ages.

Those few hours in Paris went by quickly but the fun memories will stay for good. And I also spotted a little reminder of my favorite places of all: Sydney. Such layovers I’m happy to have another time too.