HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN BUCHAREST, ROMANIA.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

About a month ago I found out I was selected to be a part of the Experience Bucharest project, and whoever I shared this news with all responded with a slight variation of the same line - 'Ah the place where Dracula lives!' Yes, Romania (specifically Transylvania) is where Vlad The Impaler resided, but Romania is also a country of great contrast, beautiful architecture and well, amazing nightlife. Bucharest is quite a big city, but if you plan yourself around the city centre then you won't have a problem managing everything in this itinerary. Here is my guide and tips for spending 3 or 4 nights in Bucharest, Romania. 

tea with gi bucharest


Day 1



AM | Get to know the history behind the Arcul de Triumf


Not to be confused with the one in Paris, although it was very closely modelled to it. The first wooden arch was built in 1878 after Romania gained their independence, so that the troops could march under it. Then in 1935 it was built again in much more reliable stone. If you're in to your history and architecture then you can walk around (and up) the Arch with a tour guide who will explain to you in more detail about it and what all the sculptures and stuff means. The tour lasts around 1 hour, so if you've started this late because you fancied some extra Zzs then you can head to lunch after!

Arcul de Triumf


Lunch | La Mama 


As with most cities, there are always the 'tourist trap' restaurants around the centre, usually the places with people standing outside shouting at you to come in and eat/have a beer. After a little google search for 'best authentic Romanian restaurants' on Google I found this gem in the Old Town. It serves traditional Romanian dishes such as Sarmale (cabbage rolls), Mici (grilled minced meat rolls) and Ciorba (sour soup). They also offered 3 course menus for like, 12 euros. 

PM | The Story of Bucharest 


This walking tour is provided by Walkabout Free Tours and is a great introduction to the city and for you to get your bearings.  The 2.5 hour tour takes you through 500 years of history from Vlad the Impaler to the 1989 Communist revolution. Our guide also recommended restaurants, some popular food and drink dishes and was happy to help with and questions we had about the city. As with all free walking tours, they are free to join but are based on a tipping basis. 

Dinner | Nomad Skybar 


If you're travelling in a group and not everyone is inclined to sampling new foreign food, then this place will have something for everyone. From Italian to American to Asian dishes. They also boast an impressive cocktail menu from around the world - I recommend the Moscow Mule with a dash of mango. This place gets pretty busy so it's also a great place to start the night if you're planning on exploring the nightlife in the old town after. We passed through Intrarea Nicolae Serari street on the way home after hopping through another few bars and it was packed with people inside and on the lane.

nomad sky bar


Day 2 


AM | Rroma Heritage Tour


When I was picking my tours for this trip I was very intrigued by this one as I had never heard of the Rroma community in my life. It was definately an interesting experience as it isn't something you'd get to learn/witness if you were just wandering around the city on your own. The Rromas (or 'gypsies') are still a minority in Romania and account for 4% of their population. We had a visit to the Rahova neighbourhood and got to interact with the locals, visited the impressive flower market and visited a contemporary Rroma design shop featuring some of their crafts. This tour is provided by Open Door Tours and lasts around 3 hours.

rroma


Lunch | El Torrito 


The atmosphere in this place was great. As the name suggests, they serve authentic Mexican cuisine, with Mexican staff, and Mexican music - and of course it's also acceptable to have Margaritas at 2pm when you're on holiday. They put on a lovely show for us and I was filled to the brim with quesadillas, tacitos and guacamole and nachos. 

PM | Alternative Tour of Bucharest


This is another tour provided by Open Doors and it was actually the first alternative tour I've done in a city. I don't know why it took me so long because this sort of stuff does interest me and I also enjoy learning about the non-touristy kinda stuff. We got to explore some new districts, learnt about the street art and graffiti (I now think of myself as a connoisseur) and hears stories about urban myths in Bucharest. One artist that stuck out for me was Jace, who created all these little face sculture type things and hid them around the city (and other cities too).

alternative tour bucharest


Dinner | Manuc's Inn 


This Inn served as Bucharest's oldest operating hotel and was first built in 1808. It housed a popular restaurant, several bars, a coffee-house, several stores and an extensive bar. It's courtyard was popular for many fairs and performances. Nowadays there is still a restaurant in the courtyard and it really is a beautiful location (and perfect for your Instagram stories). 

Afters | Fratelli's Nightclub


We all know part of exploring the culture of a new place is, partying like the locals do. Maybe I should make a new Tea With Gi List on partying around the world - what do you guys think? Either way, I think Bucharest made it in to my top 5. If you were following my Instagram stories then you might have seen this club transformed into a carnival for a week - complete with men on stilts, clowns, candy floss, popcorn, confetti cannons and of course a mary-go-round. The music was varied - there was old rnb hits, house jams and a bit of techno thrown in now and again so it was really an all round club. There isn't really much of a dance floor, so most people here had tables with drinks and danced around them.

fratellis


Day 3


AM | Communist Tour


I'm not going to lie to you, I thought after 10 minutes of this my head was going to be day dreaming of what I was having for lunch or something. But actually, I was switched on the whole way through and even managed to retain quite a few facts from the 1989 revolution and Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife. I won't give away the details because then there's no point in you going on the tour!

Lunch | Gastronomika 


If it's a sunny day then this is a great choice as the courtyard is lovely. They serve a range of fish and meat, pasta and salads. We were treated to a range of appetisers from Eastern Europe and then a lot of nice meat. Of course to finish off there was also cake.

gastronimika


PM | The Jewish Trail Tour 


So I've had a look and the tour we took is only offered in the mornings so this was an exception, but I'm sure there are other providers that do afternoon tours or you can always swap and pick whatever appeals to you most. We walked around and saw some of the abandoned and restored Synagogues,  districts, learnt about the history of the Jewish community in Bucharest and Romania, and about the Romanian Jews during the Holocaust. 

Dinner | Garden Hop


See the name suggested that this was going to be some sort of vegan restaurant, but when we arrived and I saw the pig spit-roast I knew I was mistaken. They did however provide a lot of vegetarian/vegan options that went beyond a salad. This is where I also witnessed the biggest burger I have ever seen. The restaurant is a bit out of the way but the setting is great if you're planning a special dinner etc. 



Day 4


However long you want | Relax at Therme Bucharest


After all those walking tours, when we found out about Therme Bucharest I thought it would be the perfect way to end my trip. My friend Diana suggested it and since it was last minute, I went in search of a swimsuit and by some miracle H&M had 1 swimsuit left on the sale in their store and it was exactly my size. We took an Uber from the centre which took around 20 minutes and cost us 15 euros in total. 

This was probably one of my highlights as for just 15 euros you got access to: 3 thermal pool areas and slides, all the saunas (one had pink himalayan salt everywhere, the other was showing a David Attenborough documentary, and the other felt like you were in a rainforest and made you sweat b***s after 2 minutes), mineral pools, red light beds and even some massages. They also have a pool bar and a restaurant.

therme bucharest


Dinner | Caru' cu Bere 


We finished off our trip by having dinner in the oldest beer house in Bucharest. It's very popular with locals and tourists so you might need to wait a bit for a table (we waited for 10mins). They serve traditional local food and other classics, the decor inside is beautiful and there was even live folk music when we were there. I had a bowl of Hungarian Goulash for 5 euros, followed by papanasi (Romanian doughnut filled with jam, soft cheese and cream).




WHERE TO STAY IN BUCHAREST, ROMANIA


I had the pleasure of staying at the Radisson for my trip and I don't think I can go back to staying at cheap hotels now. I don't ask for much when choosing accommodation - a clean room, Wi-Fi, good location and charging sockets next to the bed. My favourite thing about this hotel had to be the bed. It was lovely to have a nice comfy double bed to myself with a ton of pillows and it was very tempted to skip breakfast in the morning just so I could lay in it a bit longer. The breakfast included continental, english and some other bits and bobs because there was salmon and a lot of ham and cheese. 

I did check out the gym and pool but didn't make time for either, but if you're someone who wants to stay relatively fit whilst on holiday then this is a good choice for you. The hotel is a 10 minute walk away to the old town and you can reach pretty much everywhere by foot, except for the airport of course (that's 25 mins away)


Budget | Pura Vida Hostel


I had to extend my stay for an extra night as direct flights from Malaga were only on Thursday's and Tuesday's. So the organisers of Experience Bucharest (thank you Anda & Maxim) kindly let me stay at their hostel on the Monday evening. I've stayed at two hostels before (read about my experience here) and this was probably the most chilled and nicest one I've stayed in. For me sharing bathrooms isn't a big deal as most of the time when you go for a shower there's nobody else in there so it's the same as showering in a gym, pool etc. I stayed in a room of 4 and it only ended up being me and my friend Diana as the other participant must have come in when I was asleep and left before I woke up to catch their flight. 

Each room has it's own big locker so you can store away all your valuables, free Wi-Fi and clean sheets, just remember to bring your own towels! The hostel is situated right in the heart of Bucharest Old Town and boasts its own rooftop sky bar and the views are fantastic. 

GETTING AROUND IN BUCHAREST, ROMANIA 


Bucharest have some of the cheapest taxis in Europe, but as with most airports some taxi drivers might try and take advantage. When you exit the terminal there is a machine where you can pre-order a taxi from several different companies which will save you some money. Uber and Taxify are also available throughout the city.


Bucharest was a lovely city full of history and charm, and I'd definitely like to make it a point to go back and explore more of Romania. As mentioned, I was invited on this 'press' trip on behalf of Experience Bucharest but all words and opinions are my own. 

Have you ever been to Bucharest or Romania? What are your thoughts on the country? 

G


bucharest travel guide



MY CURRENT RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD (AND FITNESS).

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

This time last year I was going to the gym 5-6 times a week, intermittent fasting and cutting the carbs at dinner time so whilst my family was indulging in meatballs and mash I'd be having mine with a side of leaves (I do love spinach though). Don't get me wrong, I never actually felt like I was totally restricting myself because I still ate pizza, chocolate and all the good things that aren't good for us but I felt like I was always counting calories to make sure they fit into my macros or daily amount. Now I think I've got to the point where I won't feel guilty for eating cake on a Tuesday or saying yes to spontaneous dinners and drinks because I 'only have 400 calories left for the day'. 

tea with gi food


If you've been following my blog for a while or know me in person then you might know that I lost 20lbs last year and I think the hardest part is - what do you do once you reach your goal? I wouldn't even say I've reached that, but you get to a point where you don't want to lose any more weight, but could do with losing a bit of fat and gaining more muscle. We know that to gain muscle and 'grow the booty' you need to be eating more calories (and carbs) but then there's always that worry that I'm not going to stop and end up putting 10lbs back on. It's sometimes hard to find a good balance. 

That being said, I've actually become one of those people that make the gym a priority and not just try and squeeze it in when I get a chance. I've just had an operation and can't go to the gym for 3 weeks and I don't know what to do with all this extra time. I look forward to blasting Eminem and running on the treadmill like I'm training for the new Avengers movie. So that is one relationship I think has been progressing well, me and Ocean Village gym are in a good place.

I think right now my outlook on my diet is 'eat well when I can, but not to sweat it when I can't.' How many times have you been out to dinner with friends and overheard someone say that they couldn't order the Katsu Curry because it's got too many calories? It does have a lot of calories, but if you're going out to eat once that week you might as well enjoy it. If you follow me on Instagram then you've probably noticed I spend my life at the cinema, and every week I'm there with my NOCCO BCAA drink and bag of Propercorn, because it's all about balance and enjoyment!

I've got a few trips coming up this month and when I travel, there's no such thing as a diet. There's no way I'm leaving Milan without a good plate of pizza and pasta, or Belgium without drowning myself in chocolate and waffles. So as I said, my aim now is to eat my greens, hit my protein goal and eat as well as I can when possible, so when I do give in to cravings or eat a whole KFC bucket to myself, I can allow it without feeling guilty. It would also be nice to get some abs.

I think we as women (and men) are always aspiring to look better, and we are our own worst critic. I can guarantee you no one is going to notice if you put on 2lbs over the weekend because you had a pig-out with your friends. At the end of the day, it is your body so you decide how you nourish it and what you do with it. If you want to get ripped and enjoy following mean plans then that's fine, and if you like going to the gym 5 times a week but decide you want a chocolate bar after your workout, don't let anybody tell you there is anything wrong with that. 


What is your relationship with food like? Do you follow any particular diets? 

G






HOW I SPENT LESS THAN 24 HOURS IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

There are a number of cities I've been to in Europe that I could say you could see everything you wanted to see in 2 days, Bratislava being one of them. Since we had booked 3 days in total we decided to take a day trip to Vienna, as you can get there for 5 euros on a 1 hour coach ride. Vienna on the contrary, is not a place you can see in 24 hours - it's definitely somewhere I will go back and visit with my future beau. If like us, you're short on time and want to try and make the most on a one day trip to Vienna, here are my recommendations! 

tea with gi vienna guide


We used a company called FlixBus that operate around Europe (and in the US too?) and bought our tickets in advance just for peace of mind. We cut it a bit fine on the way back because we spent too much time taking selfies at Schönbrunn Palace and then had to James Bond sprint from the metro to the bus station (and made it with 3 minutes to spare). 

In terms of getting around Vienna, it's definitely not a city where you can get everywhere by foot. Instead the best option is to get a daily metro ticket which costs you 8 euros. I think there's around 4 lines and it's definitely a lot simpler that the London Tube. 

Breakfast | Cafe Central / Cafe Mozart 

If you want to start your day by having a coffee where many famous poets, writers, artists and one psychoanalyst met for a coffee and cigar then Cafe Central is the place to go. The interior design of the cafe is spectacular and the place has been around since 1876. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (and have free Wi-Fi) but if you're planning on dining here be prepared to pay double for Viennese staples like schnitzel and tafelspitz. 

Another classic coffeehouse is that of Cafe Mozart, located right next to the Opera Theatre. It opened its doors in 1840 and was the meeting hub for many of the performers, journalists and guests. This may be one of the original places to have a Sachertorte and coffee, but keep reading for recommendations on where you can get the same quality cake for half the price. 

AM | Museums 

If your perfect day involves wandering around museums, then you might want to put aside a whole weekend for this in Vienna because there is no shortage of them. It turned out that on the first Sunday of every month, over a dozen of museums have free admission (so you can also imagine the queues for the popular ones). I'd recommend the Wien Museum and checking out Beethoven's crib.

Two of the museums that were the most interest to me were the Albertina (14 euros) and the Sigmund Freud Museum (12 euros). One thing that came in handy was the Vienna Pass* I was kindly gifted for my trip as this included free and discounted entry to lots of museums and attractions in the city (and queue jump for a number of them) including the Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Zoo and the Natural History Museum. The pass also gives you access to the hop-on hop-off buses around the area and a river cruise on the river Danube. A 3 day pass will cost you 119 euros. Considering everything you get included, if you're planning on visiting a lot of attractions you might want to work out if you'll be saving money purchasing one of these! 

museumquartier vienna

Lunch | Bier & Bierli


If you want to have a big schnitzel and pay less than 20 euros for it - then head to Bier & Bierli. It's located a 10 minute walk from Museumsquartier and we all left pretty satisfied. I think I was the only person at the table who managed to eat the whole plate (and the potatoes and cranberry sauce) #macros. 

bier and bierli


PM | Take a walking tour

We went with FreeTour for our walking tour of Vienna and with all free tours, they're based on a tips. I think we drew the short straw with our tour guide as she didn't quite have the personality/charisma of making the tour interesting/funny like most other guides I've had have been. Nevertheless she gave some interesting insight to the life of Mozart, Hitler's time in Vienna and I did learn a fair bit about Joseph II and how he worked to make the city a better place for everyone. A quick search of 'free walking tours Vienna' will lead you to a range of options, I shall let you decide! 

vienna austria


Coffee and Cake | Cafe Aida


A little birdie told us that you can buy an authentic slice of sachertorte (Austrian chocolate cake) for half the price in comparison to some of the cafes in the main squares - and the decor is pink. A local recommended we have a Aida merlange coffee to go with it. Being the pigs that we are, my friend Gabby asked if she could have ice-cream instead of cream with her cake, and of course I followed. If you're not a fan of chocolate cake then don't worry, there's plenty of other sweet treats to choose from.

cafe aida

sachertorte aida


Later PM | Schönbrunn Palace


From Karlsplatz we took the metro to Schonbrunn (U4) and we got there in around 15 minutes followed by a 5 minute walk. Sadly admission to the palace, rooms, zoo etc. had finished (your Vienna Pass also gets you free entry to these) but we could still wander around the gardens and take in the view from the outside. It was actually quite beautiful to see the palace lit up in the evening. 

Schonbrunn


Dinner | Donauturm

If you fancy ending your day on a fancy, romantic note then there's a spinning restaurant on the Danube Tower that gives you some great, 360 views of the city. As you can imagine this is a popular place with locals and tourists, so you should book a table in advance if you don't want to arrive there and be disappointed that you have to wait an hour to be seated. Considering the 'fanciness' of the place, prices aren't that bad - a plate of spinach and cheese ravioli will cost you 13 euros, whereas if you want to splurge a bit more for an anniversary or something special, you can a set 3 course menu (with wine) for 40 euros.

WHERE TO STAY IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA


LUXURY | Hotel Wandl

stephenplatz vienna



Have you ever been to Vienna or Austria yourself? What were your highlights? 

G


vienna travel guide




A LIST (AND REVIEW) OF EVERY AIRLINE I'VE FLOWN WITH.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

This year I've flown with quite a few airlines that have been a first for me - if it's the cheapest by £100 on SkyScanner anything goes. Flying back and forth from uni a couple of times a year meant I was familiar with Easyjet, Monarch, Ryanair and British Airways - but since I've been travelling to a lot of other destinations recently I've also got to try Emirates, Air India and some other questionable ones that still managed to get us there in one piece. During our Easter trip, after a very bumpy journey with one airline my friend suggested - 'G you should make a blog post reviewing all the airlines you fly with.' So here I am finally following up on that. I can't recall exactly all of my experiences, so we'll kick things off with the airline I used for my trip to Bratislava last week. 

ryanair


Airline | Ryanair

Trip: Malaga - Bratislava
Journey time: 3 hours
Cost: 60 euros return 
Hand-luggage allowance: You can bring your 10kg HL case and a handbag on the plane with you for an extra charge - if you purchase a standard ticket then your 10kg bag will be placed in the hold for free once you're boarding and you can only bring your hand bag on the plane with you. 

Experience flying with Ryanair: When Ryanair announced their new HL policy last year I was confused - did this mean we'd have to pay just to bring the suitcase with us? As someone who usually travels with hand luggage only this would have been annoying. But once discovering it just meant they put it in the hold for you it actually makes everything a bit easier, as everyone gets on the plane easier and you disembark quicker as well. There's obviously the annoying extra wait by the luggage belt instead of heading straight to arrivals but it's not a big deal. What is annoying about their refurbishment is that they no longer have pockets in front of your seat! Which means I have to balance all of my snacks on my lap when the tray is being occupied by my books and i-pad *first world problems*.

Airline | BlueAir


Trip: Malaga - Bucharest
Journey time: 4 hours
Cost: 160 euros return 
Hand-luggage allowance: 10kg (55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm)

Experience flying with Ryanair: So initially I thought I wasn't going to be able to take part in Experience Bucharest because I thought there were no direct flights from Malaga to Bucharest. Luckily whilst I was at the airport waiting for my luggage from another trip, I saw one of the belts with 'Bucharest' and it turned out they did do direct flights, just on Thursdays and Tuesdays. Check-In was open up until the day of the flight, but even though I had checked in a few days before I couldn't retrieve my boarding pass from their website on the day as you have to email it to yourself or it won't stay on the system (unlike Easyjet). Other than that they were quite efficient with boarding and such, and on our descend they even provided us with sweets for the pressure, cute.  

As with all my lists, I will keep adding to this as I keep flying. I'd love to hear in the comments about some of the best airlines you've flown with (and your worst!). 

G


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A GUIDE TO A WEEKEND IN BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Flashback to a couple of years back and I remember watching Eurotrip on TV and when they arrived in run down, scary, Bratislava I remember thinking 'god I am never going there'. Their bad rep didn't end there as they were also one of the locations chosen for Hostel (a film where tourists basically get butchered up). Our tour guide even told us that tourism to Slovakia even dropped 75% after this movie was released. After watching this I thought to myself, it can't actually be that bad, so I googled it and found that it was actually quite a beautiful place. So off I went to Skyscanner to check how much flights were, asked my gang who was up for a random trip to Bratislava and off we went. I think a weekend in Bratislava is a good amount of time as you can probably see everything you want to see in 2-3 days, we even managed to take a day trip to Vienna (although that you definitely can't achieve everything in a day). If you're looking for a cheap, wonderful weekend break then here's my guide to Bratislava, Slovakia.

tea with gi bratislava guide


Getting from Bratislava Airport to the Centre


Since there was 3 of us we got a transfer from ShuttleDirect and paid 5 euros each which took us from door to door and took around 15 minutes. A taxi outside the the airport will probably cost you a bit more, but from the centre to the airport we also paid 15 euros in total for a taxi.

Where to stay in Bratislava


Accommodation in Bratislava is relatively cheap, and we were pretty happy with our deal. We paid 70 euros each for a 3 night stay, in a 3 star hotel in the centre. The Elisabeth Old Town hotel is close to many cafes, Lidl and places of interest - including the Blue Church (perfect for Instagram). The rooms are simple but beds are comfy (with huge pillows), room was clean and the showers were powerful and hot. 


DAY ONE



Breakfast | Urban House

If I lived in Bratislava, this would probably be where I'd meet up with my friends on a weekly basis. Clearly the locals thought so too because it was full of students and people working on their laptops. When we arrived we had just missed out on the breakfast menu so opted for something brunchy instead. I had rye bread with a beetroot spread and smoked salmon and my friends went for the avocado egg toast with roasted cashew nuts - both were equally delicious. Their gingerbread lattes were also a good shout.

urban house bratislava


AM | Tour the Old Town 

The beauty of smart phones is we no longer need to carry a compass and map around with us. It also means that you can take a self-guided tour of Bratislava via an app. This basically uses Maps on your phone (you don't need data running) and takes you to the main sites in the Old Town and explains to you what they mean so you're not just staring at a building thinking 'nice, what is it?'. If you'd rather just search things as you go - I definitely recommend seeing St Elisabeth Church (Blue Church), The Man at Work, Michael's Gate and Primate's Palace. Just walking around the town you'll see a lot of pretty streets to photograph and for a great background for the gram.

old town bratislava



Lunch | Verne

If you're looking for somewhere to try authentic Slovakian food at good prices (not tourist traps) then Verne is a good choice. A word of warning is that the staff here are not the friendliest, but if you just want somewhere to stop quickly for lunch then 'whatever dude no tip for you'. We had the Slovak goulash and to be honest, it was full of flavour but the presentation was eh, spaghetti hoops-esque. I think the Hungarian goulash would have been a better shout (judging by the guy's plate who was sat beside me). 


PM | Explore Bratislava castle

Described by many as 'an upside down table', Bratislava Castle was built in the 18th Century and was recently renovated. If you want to get some nice shots here try and get here before the sun goes down, but it also does give a lovely view of the city in the evening. You can roam around the outside of the castle and gardens for free but you'll have to pay to enter the actual castle.


Tea & Cake | Zeppelin 

It was meant to be tea and cake but then we were discussing how 3/4 of us had never had an Aperol Spritz - so it became Aperol Spritz & Cake time. As you can see from the photo there was a large selection of homemade cakes available. The oreo cheesecake was heavenly. 


zeppelin bratislava


Dinner | Bistro St Germain

We had originally planned to go for dinner at BeAbout because their burger selection looked awesome and only cost like 8 euros. Sadly, when we rang two hours earlier they were fully booked for the night, so it's clearly a popular Friday night destination (it is also close to the university). Instead, we stumbled upon Bistro St Germain and when we initially walked in we thought it looked hella fancy. It's a cute little place with nice lighting and bookshelves and the prices were actually pretty decent. We all had the bacon burger with blue cheese and I definitely recommend getting a side of chips (they're sort of thinly sliced potatoes on a stick) with parmesan and rosemary. There was also a rose wine that tasted like chocolate guys!!

If you're not ready for the night to end yet.....

As always, what's the best way to meet people when you're travelling? A pub crawl! We went with Be Free Tours* which took us through 2 bars and 2 clubs and included free welcome shots (I swear one of them was a mix of vodka and sambuca), 1 hour of unlimited beer in the first bar, drinking games and a girl handing you 'shots' of vodka redbull on the way to the next place. I, hate beer so opted for paying 3 euros for a glass of wine instead - even when it's free I couldn't do it. The music scene in Bratislava tends to range from commercial music and then moves towards 'Slovak rap' later in the evening. 

One of the bars was kind of a speak easy because it appeared to be a pretty chilled bar at the top and then downstairs there was the most up-beat, enthusiastic DJ I have ever seen! There was Las Ketchup, Ricky Martin, Venga Boys and then songs we'd never heard of in our lives. 'The Club' was the last place we made it to, and they played your usual throwbacks and danceable songs. If you want to join the pub crawl wristbands cost 12 euros. 

DAY TWO

Breakfast | W Cafe or Cafe Mondieu 

We technically had 3 breakfasts in Bratislava, so for your second day I think both of these are good, but you'll also find there are plenty of cute and cosy coffee shops around the town.  W Cafe serves your basics - eggs benedict, cinnamon swirls, vanilla lattes etc. Cafe Mondieu on the other hand has about 20 different breakfast options. I had brioche french toast with berries, my friend had french toast with bacon and eggs and another went for a simple omelette. You'll actually find there are a couple of these bistros scattered around the town. 

cafe mondieu bratislava



AM | Head to the museums


I kindly received a Bratislava City Card* which gets you complimentary entrance to lots of museums, free access to the buses and trams, and a lot of other discounts. A gallery we enjoyed was the Slovak National Gallery which is free for everyone. There was an interesting room with paintings to portray 'Slovakian Fairytales'. Although some got a bit creepy looking.

If you want a little taste of New York in Bratislava then the Nedbalka Gallery* is often compared to the Guggenheim museum (probably because they both have the same white swirling architecture). If you're a fan of modern art then this is probably the best one in the city. There's 4 floors and each is dedicated to a different form of art work. A great feature I found from the museum is that they give you a tablet that allows you to take a photo of a painting and it then gives you a bit of bio of what the painting is about. Me and my friends played a fun game of 'let's guess what this painting means before we read it'. Entrance to the museum if 4 euros or free with your Bratislava Card. 

nedbalka gallery


Lunch: Slovak Pub

This is another place where you can try local foods at inexpensive prices - but it's a popular one so if you're going to go here for dinner I recommend you book in advance! I went all out and went for a 3 course slovakian meal - Kapustnica to start (sauerkraut soup with sausage), Haluski for main (gnocchi with sheeps cheese and bacon bits), and Apple Strudel for dessert - and I ate every last bite.

PM | Walking tour of Bratislava

The best way to cover most places and find out a bit of history, culture and recommendations from the area is to take a guided walking tour. I usually use Sandermans or BeFreeTours that both offer 'free' walking tours and are based on tips. All the tours I've done with them have been entertaining and keep you switched on. Our guide Juro told us about Slovakian traditions (some strange ones at that), taught us some Slovakian tongue twisters that I definitely can't repeat now, told us where to get the best wine food and drinks and of course gave us a bit of insight on Slovakia through the decades. He also spoke about Eurotrip and Hostel (yay) - and the fact that tourism to Bratislava dropped 75% after that movie!!

old town bratislava


Coffee & Cake | Cafe Mondieu


We had to come back here because we saw these chocolate fondue pots on the menu and our sweet tooth's couldn't leave without trying them. I basically got a tiny mug filled with white chocolate and strawberries and I was loving life. Of course with a vanilla latte on the side. 


cafe mondieu


Dinner | Grand Cru Wine Gallery


If you're looking for a more chilled evening drinking wine and reminiscing about your trip with your travel companions, then what better way to do it than sampling different Slovakian wines? This place is located near St Michael's Gate and is a great place for nibbles and well, wine. They mainly serve panini's and cheese and ham boards etc. 

Evening | Spooky Legends of Bratislava tour

So I think after a couple of glasses this makes for an entertaining way to finish your evening - we were very much in a state of 'what is he on about' half the time and if it was a tour that we had to pay 10 euros for we probably wouldn't rate it much, but this tour is also tip based. The tour guide was entertaining in that he got in to character, although he lost me a couple of times with his stories. 


EXTRAS

The only thing we didn't really have time to see was Devin Castle as it was a bit further out from the centre. If you'd like to purchase tickets for other things to do in Bratislava then GetYourGuide is a good place for it. 



Have you ever been to Slovakia or heard much about it before? Would love to hear what you got up to if you have!

G

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* I received some complimentary tickets and experiences whilst on my trip to Bratislava but all opinions and words are my own *

bratislava travel guide








GUEST POST | TOP PLACES TO PROPOSE IN EUROPE THIS WINTER.

Friday, 12 October 2018

The festive period is a great time for a city break - whether it's to visit family or friends, getting a chance to explore the Christmas markets, or for a romantic getaway with your significant other. Europe is full of stunning and picturesque locations, and Angelic Diamonds have shared with us their top destinations for proposing this winter. Unsurprisingly, Christmas Eve has been voted the best day of the year to propose. Probably because of the magical essence to it and the fact that most of your family and loved ones are all under one roof. If you are heading abroad this Winter here are some of the locations that are perfect for popping the question. 

prague castle


Los Bunkers del Carmel, Barcelona

A hidden gem with a beautiful view is Los Bunkers del Carmel in Barcelona. It is now considered as a viewing platform by many but it was once part of the anti-aircraft battery that was used during the
Spanish Civil War. There is no transport that takes you to the very top. Instead, you can get the metro to Alfons X and walk 30 minutes from here or you could get the bus from the city centre which will leave you 10 minutes away from the bunker. The outstanding view of the city is best at sunrise however, if you and your partner can’t face getting up that early you can head there for sunset instead for an equally beautiful experience. You can see here one couple who chose this place for their special moment.

There are many Christmas markets that are around the city too for you to enjoy. For example, the Fira de Santa Llúcia is the market around the Gothic cathedral close to the city centre and there is the Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Familia from where you can see the unfinished Catholic church, designed by Antoni Gaudí. Another great factor is that even in December temperatures remain relatively moderate here, so you won't be freezing the whole evening!

Grotta Lighthouse, Reykjavik

In recent years, Reykjavik has become a popular winter holiday destination with all visitors and pictures of it's lagoon have been all over Instagram. It’s an ideal place to visit with your other half and offers the perfect balance between beautiful landscapes and quirky bars and restaurants. One unforgettable backdrop to a proposal would be the northern lights, visible from Iceland. The best time to see the lights is from October to March when the sky is clearer so they should be visible on your Christmas trip. However, there's never a guarantee they'll appear - I was lucky to see them whilst on holiday in Sweden in March. You don’t have to book an excursion to see the lights and can often be seen at Grotta lighthouse which is situated outside of downtown Reykjavic where light pollution is low.

You can walk here but if you have hired a car, due to the cold temperatures, it could be best to drive
to the spot. For a romantic proposal, pop the question outdoors with the lights dancing behind you or for a more private setting (and if the temperature is too cold for you to take your gloves off), ask the question from the warmth of your car. There are other festive activities to enjoy here too. You could head to Hafnarfjörður (It's a good thing this is being typed and I don't have to pronounce it) which is around a 20-minute bus ride from downtown Reykjavik to see the Christmas village — complete with hand-made crafts and live music.

Petřín Hill, Prague

Often Prague is ignored as a city of romance due to its renowned nightlife and attraction to stag and hen parties. However, there are many sights to see in Prague that don’t involve the local pubs and one of these is Petřín Hill - the views from here are gorgeous, particularly when the sun is shining. 

The hill is surrounded by gardens and you can take a funicular to the top that departs from Ujezd Street in the Malá Strana. On top of the hill there is an observation tower, designed to be a mini version of the Parisian Eiffel Tower where you must climb 299 steps to reach the top to be rewarded with the 360-degree views. You could pop the question in any of the beautiful landscaped gardens or head to a restaurant in Petřín park such as Nebozizek which overlooks the Old Town, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and Vltava River. Little Venice is also a cute little area on your way down from the castle with lots of cute cafes and bars. If you're a Beatles fan, make sure you don't miss out on seeing the John Lennon mural. 

Mont Chèry, Val d’Isère, France

There aren't many places that are as romantic as France, and not just including Paris. With an extra-long season from the end of November to the first week of May, Val D’Isère is a popular choice of location for people interested in skiing and a more active weekend away. In fact, more Britons choose to take their annual skiing holiday here than anywhere else in the world. Part of their popularity lies in their differing slopes — there’s pistes for all abilites and if your other half discovers that skiing is not for them you can head to La Folie Douce (the famous après-ski bar).

There’s jaw-dropping views aplenty as you head to the top of the slopes and are surrounded by outstanding views of the mountains. But, for a proposal you might want to head somewhere warmer where you can enjoy meal and drinks with your other half. One place to do this is at La Grande Ourse, a restaurant situated on Mont Chèry. They offer an authentic fine dining experience where you can get your own personal chauffeur to take you up the mountain in a Kassböhrer (a specialised snow trailer). Here, you can be met with views from an altitude of 1725m and enjoy a five-course meal in the restaurant — a memorable place to get on one knee.

The Dome, Victoria Square, Belfast

Belfast is well-known for its vast Christmas markets that sit in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Which means you don't have to venture far from home to find a beautiful location for your special moment. For an impressive proposal spot, you should head to the top of Victoria Square in the city centre. Here you will find the Dome. Pop the question here for 360-degree views of Belfast as a backdrop, featuring the Prince Albert Clock and Scrabo tower.

You are not far from more breath-taking views either. Take a trip to the northern coast of Ireland where you can cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge with your loved one or retrace the steps of a giant at the causeway. You can visit The Dark Hedges nearby too — a romantic passageway of intertwined trees that were planted in the 18th century and featured on popular TV show, Game of Thrones. Make sure to wrap up though as it’s likely to be chilly here in December!



* This post was submitted on behalf of Angelic Diamonds but I make sure all posts published on Tea With Gi are suited to the blog and audience *

G

31 SCARY MOVIES TO WATCH THIS OCTOBER (HALLOWEEN).

Sunday, 30 September 2018

October means a number of things to me - sweater weather, spiced lattes, failing at carving pumpkins and an excuse to make everyone around me watch as many scary movies as possible. I still remember when I was like 10 I was secretly watching this vampire movie on TV and I was scared sh*tless for about a week. I've always loved horrors so I feel like I no longer have to run from point A to B in the house after watching one as it takes a lot more to scare me, I still fall for all the jump scares though.  If you're also a horror/thriller movie enthusiast, here's a Halloween movie for you to watch every day throughout October. 

tea with gi halloween movies


1. The Conjuring - paranormal investigators help a family get rid of a devil or some paranormal entity in their house.  
2. Sinister - about a house that convinces kids to murder their family in crazy ways and video tape it. 
3. When a Stranger Calls - teenage girl babysits rich kid in a big house in the middle of nowhere and gets a call that someone is in the house to kill her. 
4. The Craft - a cool group of witches doing witchy things. 
5. Veronica - not the ghost that haunted the girl's bathroom in middle school, but a girl who plays the Ouija board and summons an evil spirit into her home (in Spanish). 
6. The House at the End of the Street - Jennifer Lawrence moves to a small town and finds that an accident happened (in the house at the end of the street) and then befriends the only survivor (who's also very cute).
7. It Follows - A curse that gets passed on after you have sexual intercourse with someone - I feel like this movie was a metaphor for STIs.
8. The Babadook - A little boy is convinced the creepy thing in his book is haunting him at night (the boy was creepier in my opinion). 
9. The Orphan - family adopts a 'little orphan girl' who then appears to be more trouble and full of secrets than they expected.
10. Halloween - A man who goes on a killing spree on Halloween night. 
11. Hocus Pocus - the second best Halloween movie. 
12. Lights Out - sister tries to stop the supernatural spirit haunting her little brother that appears to be connected to their mother. 
13. Mother! - couple moves into a new home and then random guests keep appearing - this movie made me feel so uncomfortable/anxious I almost left the cinema. 
14. Berlin Syndrome - girl goes to Germany, has a one night stand and gets kidnapped by the hot German guy.
15. Gone - girl's sister goes missing and she's certain it's the guy who kidnapped her a few years ago who's come back for her sis but the police don't believe her. 
16. IT - creepy clown who takes kids. 
17. Before I Wake - whenever this boy has nightmares the 'monsters' he imagines come to life in the house (this also got really sad really quickly). 
18. Gothika - psychiatrist has an accident and ends up being put in the asylum as a patient because they think she's crazy. 
19. Truth or Dare - truth or dare but deadly. 
20. The Boy - A nanny babysitting a life-sized doll who then appears to be more real than fake. 
21. Get Out - an African-American guy visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, but then he starts to notice a lot of strange things happening around him. 
22. House of Wax - bunch of teenagers camp out near a house of wax and things get waxy - Paris Hilton is also in this. 
23. Don't Breathe - 3 teenagers try to rob a blind man but then get more than they bargained for. 
24. One Missed Call - people start receiving voice mails from their future selves with details of their death. 
25. Blair Witch Project - three film makers go to a forest to document the Blair Witch legend and then leave the footage behind. 
26. Hereditary - a girl gets her head chopped off when she's sticking her head out the window and then some shit happens and then the family starts getting haunted and dark secrets are revealed. 
27. The Witch - A family in 1630s New England and a girl who gets accused of being a witch and using dark magic.
28. The Purge - one night of the year in America where all crime is legal. 
29. The Visit - two teenagers go stay with their 'grandparents' for a week and things start to get really really weird. 
30. Hush - an intruder in a deaf girls house.
31. Halloween Town - the best Halloween movie of all time. If you've never heard of it it's a Disney movie about a half mortal girl who crosses into another realm (HalloweenTown) to help her witchy grandma save the town from something evil.

For more movie ideas you can head to my movie review list. What are some of your all time favourite scary movies? 

G


scary movies october




GUEST POST | THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Even for the most hardened of travellers, there really is no place like home. After a long trip away from family and friends, staying in a hotel with a new bed that takes you at least a couple of nights to get properly comfortable in, nothing beats the first night back in your own bed.

montagu gardens

Your own pillows. Your own new sheets. Your own bedroom. While the offering of luxury boutique hotels almost makes a mockery of your own, more humble, habitat – the fact that it is your own belongings mean that it will always make for the best night’s sleep you could hope for.

When you have been away, spending a few days at home makes for the ideal way to relax and unwind after a long trip. With this in mind, it’s important that we look after our homes so as, when we step back through the door, we are welcomed back with open arms.

Clean Kitchen, Clean Mind

How demotivating is it to walk into your kitchen in the morning, only to be greeted by mountains of washing up? It sucks, so imagine coming back after days or weeks away with washing up that has just sat on the side. There is only one word for that.

Eugh. 

If you start your day having to clean up from the last, you are already on the back-foot. The first thing you should be doing when you walk into your kitchen is to pour yourself a nice warm cup of coffee and make some breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast, if you don’t mind).

Don’t leave empty packets on the side – clutter doesn’t make for great energy, so make sure any rubbish goes in the bin. If you want to be especially fabulous, ensure that your bin is a striking piece of décor in itself, such as these beautiful pieces.

Relax and Unwind

Home is where we retire to relax and unwind. Kick back and put your feet up on the sofa with your favourite series set up on demand. What would be perfect would be to have a beautiful LSA barware set which you can pour your favourite bottle of red into, but that would be being greedy now, wouldn’t it?

The best part about being at home is that you make the rules! Whether you fancy a duvet day, not getting dressed and lounging around the home in your pyjamas or binging on Netflix, the choice is yours! No one can tell you any different.

When on your travels, there is always a certain amount of pressure to venture out because you want to explore somewhere new. You haven’t travelled all that way just to sit in your hotel room watching Making a Murderer from start to finish. At home, this is your time to do whatever the heck you want and not feel guilty about it!

We Still Look Forward to Our Travels

While we love our homes, after those first few days we are once again planning our next trip. That itch is only momentarily satisfied before it rears its head again – oh the life of a traveller!

Almost as soon as we are back in the comfort of our own home, we are looking to fly the nest once more. As much as we look forward to exploring new and exciting places, still nothing beats walking back through that door, walking up the stairs and jumping on our own bed.

* this is a sponsored post,  however I make sure all sponsored posts are suited to my blog and audience*

G



7 TYPES OF PEOPLE YOU'RE LIKELY TO TRAVEL WITH ON HOLIDAY.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

I want to start by saying to all my friends reading this, some of you may have inspired parts of this but I have also drawn from other experiences and exaggerated a bit for comedic effect, so please don't be offended (unless you think the shoe fits, kidding, kinda). I've had quite a few group trips over the last 2 years - including a press trip to India with 29 other bloggers, trips with my family, fast paced eurotrips with my best friends and even throwing my sister and two of my best friends (who barely knew each other at the time) in a group to go to Malta to fill our room of 4. They say you really get to know someone when you go on holiday with them, and I can safely say after returning I could have done with not seeing any of their faces for 2 weeks they all passed the test. Here's 6 types of people you're likely to travel with on holiday. 


malta tea with gi




1. The clip-board organiser. 


Ok so I'm not that exaggerated, I draw the line at google docs and spreadsheets. This is the person who knows what time you're sitting down to have tea and cake and how long it's going to take you to walk from your hotel to the breakfast bar (because that's already been decided too) and probably learnt a few phrases in Japanese just for the lols. It may sometimes feel like you're on a school trip with them, but at least you'll know you won't be leaving Paris without tasting the best croissants in the city, taking photos in the most beautiful spots and drinking in the best bars. 

2. The one who's just there to get drunk. 


This person probably had Magaluf on their list first but you guys negotiated and settled for Ibiza. A hike or an afternoon exploring museums is usually not on their agenda. They just want to know what the local beer is, what parties are on and the hotel room is mainly used for sleeping off hangovers. The great thing about them is that if none of you are particularly 'feeling it' they'll be there to hype you up until you are. 

3. The pensioner. 


You can usually identify this person when the majority of their vocab on the trip consists of 'I'm tired' 'what time are we going back to the room?' and usually wants to be back in bed by 9pm. To make sure this person goes the distance, make sure they drink a cup of coffee at every food break. This person is useful because often you're probably in need of a nap too so you just need to wait for them to suggest it. You'll also want to thank them for stopping you from staying out until 4am if you've got a flight to catch the next day. 

4. The one who doesn't even know what country you're in. 


This person likely said yes to the trip without even knowing where the hell on the map it is. They're easy to travel with in the sense that they're not fussy but maybe they wouldn't be the most ideal person to be lost in the middle of Athens with because they haven't been paying attention to anything the whole time. They probably trust you with your judgement and ideas which is good, but we all know collaboration is key! 

5. The one who's there to 'find themself'. 


This person is either well travelled or spent 2 weeks in Bali to figure out who they are and now thinks he's the healer of the world. Every trip with them turns into a deep conversation about the world and how we are all connected and life is beautiful. Or chances are, you probably meet them in a hostel or bar and they'll be sure to drop in how they climbed kilimanjaro and about the time they almost died from rabies. 

6. The Kardashian. 


If you really want this person to come along, then it's best to leave the airline you're flying with and hotel you're staying at until you land in the airport. The thought of staying at a hostel would repulse them, and the only type of street food they'd be fine with eating is bottled Fiji water from the machine. They probably have good taste though, so if you're looking to splurge on a fancy dinner one night they'll probably know where to look.  

7. The 'go with the flow-er'.


Probably the best and easiest person to travel with. This person is usually down for whatever - pub crawling in Prague, trying 3 course local foods, fine with walking 40 minutes to a restaurant that ends up being below average and then doesn't complain, sees the funny side when things go wrong and also offers to use their 3G to google map directions.


prague tea with gi



When you travel in a group sometimes it's hard for everyone to agree on everything - from who gets to sleep in what bed to what cuisine you're going to have for dinner. Even if you were to have every type of person above in one trip, the chances are all the little bumps you have will make for funny stories later - as long as you don't have more than one of each, then things mights get a bit tricky. 


What kind of traveller do you think you are? 

G



travel with on holiday




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