Tag Archives: transport

3 Tips To Help You Stay Safe When Traveling Alone

 

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Photo Credit

There’s nothing wrong with solo-traveling, some people argue it’s better than traveling in a group as you only have to depend on yourself and there’s no risk of anyone stopping you from doing what you want to do. The only real issue is that it’s not as safe to go traveling all by yourself. Does this mean you shouldn’t go? Absolutely not! If you are planning a solo-travel adventure, then read these safety tips before you go:

Invest In Extra Safety

When traveling alone, you have a tendency to try and find the cheapest accommodation or the cheapest ways of traveling. It’s natural; the more money you save, the more traveling you can do. However, if you want to stay safe, then I suggest you invest some extra money to guarantee your safety. Yes, hostels may be cheap, but it’s just safer to spend more for a hotel with actual security. Again, accommodation in bad locations is very cheap, but they’re bad locations for a reason. Pay extra to stay somewhere that’s in a safer area, and it gives you peace of mind. The same goes for transport; taxis may be cheap, but are they that safe? I’d avoid getting into a taxi on my own in a foreign country, so spend extra on safer transport options like the train, or even hiring your own car.

Take Self-Defense Classes

Look, it won’t hurt to get a bit of self-defense training before you travel alone. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but it’s better to have the skills than to not have them. It’s sad to say this, but a lot of people will directly target people traveling on their own. So, it pays to know what to do if someone does try and attack you or mug you. Remember, you’re acting in self-defense, and every criminal lawyer in the country will tell you that you’re not in the wrong for defending yourself when someone comes at you. Again, I hope it never has to come to this, but you will feel more confident and less on edge if you’ve been to a few classes before you go.

Don’t Accept Anything Free From Anyone

If you’re traveling on your own, then there’s a fair chance the locals will deduce that you’re not from around here. As such, they will try and take advantage of you in any way possible. One common thing is to offer you free drinks or any other type of freebies. Never accept anything free from anyone when you’re traveling. There’s no knowing what’s really in that free drink, and the chances are any other freebies aren’t actually ‘free’. They’ll probably end up demanding you pay for it somehow, which is how things turn ugly. So, to remain safe, just say no!

There are loads of people that go traveling on their own and remain perfectly safe for months on end. You shouldn’t be worried about doing this, just make sure you’re prepared! These three tips will help you stay safe and feel more in control when you’re flying solo.

 

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Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

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As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

5 Simple Ways to Wow Your Wedding Guests

You’d like to think that simply looking your stunning best will be enough to make your wedding guests say ‘wow,’ and it will! But it’s also true that every bride looks amazing on their special day. If you want to make yours stand out from the crowd, then you’ll want to go the extra mile to make it memorable. Below, we take a look at five ways you can make your guests feel the love – and have a day they’ll always remember.

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Pick a Unique Venue

You could pick a venue that’s close to where you live, but where’s the fun in that? There are a million and one unique, beautiful venues across Europe, and with inexpensive flights available to and from many countries, it’s not that much of a hassle to ask your friends and family to travel overseas. If you’re not of an overly traditional bent, then you might want to consider getting married away from the church. A beautiful ceremony set among lush woodlands, with fairy lights making the space look extra magical, for example, is guaranteed to impress your guests.

Make a Strong First Impression

Of course, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to wow your wedding guests before they reach the ceremony. You can make a strong first impression by investing in beautiful wedding invitations, and by asking your guests to RSVP with added details – such as a song they’d like to hear at the wedding party. You may even ‘wow’ your guests by simply asking that they don’t bring anything other than themselves – that means no gifts – to the wedding, which is a touching detail if the ceremony is taking place overseas. Get creative with your invites, and you’ll have people keenly anticipating the fun days to come!

Riding in Style

The ceremony and the party rarely take place at the same place, so how are your guests going to get from one place to the other? Normally, this will involve a series of taxis, but there’s not going to be anything normal about your wedding! Instead, put on some funky transport, such as a themed party coach, or limos, or – if it’s not too far – a series of horse carriages for everyone. It’ll be much more exciting than having everyone patiently queuing for the next series of taxis to turn up.

Extra Touches

You’re going to have people from all walks of life attending your wedding; relatives, old friends, work colleagues, and so on, and they’re not all going to know one another. So why not help them up by adding a “who’s who” to the seating plan? You can show everyone how they know each other through six degrees of separation. It’s a great way to move past small talk and onto the fun times!

And Relax

You’ve got a dance-floor; how about a place to relax? Some people don’t want to dance all night but do want to be involved. Create a space that allows them to be involved and also unwind. They’ll love you for it.

Choosing your Wedding Venue

Wedding-Venue-SearchChoosing your wedding venue is probably the biggest decision you have to make after the proposal. Everything else starts falling into place when you know where the reception will be held. In our case, we chose the venue, then we looked for a church which is not on the other side of the island. Then we proceeded with choosing our caterers, which was the next headache…

Before deciding on wedding venue, read through the points below, to form your basic wedding requirements:

  • Budget: Make sure the wedding venues you are looking at are within your budget.  Although daydreaming is nice, if you have a restricted budget, it is important to not waste time on venues that you can never afford. Harsh, but it will be a let down eventually. When looking at venues, make sure you ask the right questions, for example, are there any hidden fees involved? What is the overtime hourly rate? And how does it work? What are the payment arrangements?
  • Guest-list: Having an idea on the number of guests that you would like to invite would help ensure that all of them will fit comfortably in the venue. Further, it will also help you to determine if the venue is too big for your wedding party. You really wouldn’t want the wedding reception to look empty.
  • Availability: This is a crucial point when it comes to choosing the wedding venue. The reason I have put this as a third point is as I am a strong believer on the fact that one should know the budget and number of guests before starting to look at venues.
  • Weather-friendly: Make sure that the wedding venue is appropriate for your big day. If you are getting married in the dead of winter or in the hottest month of the year, make sure that there is an indoor space for all your guests. You might get lucky, and you will not need this space but best to be safe than sorry. If it is too hot, air-conditioning is a must, if it is cold or rainy, then a warm space (or at least an indoor space) is ideal. Have a back-up plan at hand for the worst case scenario.
  • Catering: This will be tackled separately, however one must keep in mind that certain venues have catering exclusivity, meaning that you cannot choose your own catering. In this case, make sure that the venue package is affordable, and that the venue’s caterer is to your liking. Food and beverage is essential in a wedding, and one simply cannot take it for granted.
  • Parking: Appropriate amount of parking the vicinity of the wedding venue is considered an asset now a days. Most of the guests will be attending with their own means of transport, and wouldn’t want to walk for half an hour to the wedding reception and back to the car. If parking is an issue, then make sure to reserve a parking lot for your big-day and instruct your guests to park there.
  • Ambience:  Think about the theme and the decor you are after. Does this match the style of the venue? If you want to dress up the venue completely to make it unique, yours, make sure you have budgeted the decor required. Ensure also the venue is ideal for your guest list. For example, if you are inviting elderly, make sure there are chairs available. As much as you wouldn’t want all the guests to sit down, you need cater for everyone’s needs.

How To Fill The Time While You’re Traveling

What a lot of people don’t tell you about traveling is that it isn’t all fun. Although you get to explore some incredible cities and see new things every day, there are times when you’re waiting around for a bus or sitting on a dark train through the night or trying to get over jet lag at 3AM in an uncomfortable hostel room bed, and at those times, traveling really doesn’t seem like as much fun as it’s cracked up to be! Here are some tips to help you get through the hardest and loneliest parts of traveling the world…

Start Reading

There’s nothing better than an e-reader to get you through some rough times. Download your favourite books to dive into whenever you feel a little blue – try Harry Potter or the Game of Thrones series for exciting reads that you’ll be able to dip in and out of. Not only will it provide you with something to do, but if you don’t feel like talking to anyone then reading is a surefire way to tell them that you’re busy and to back off.

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Get A Streaming App

Streaming apps can enable you to watch movies and TV shows on your devices, whether that’s your smartphone or your tablet. Being able to watch a half-hour comedy on your tablet with your headphones on underneath your sheets as the hostel you’re staying in will help you feel a little more grounded and it’ll put you in a much better mood. ShowBox is a popular app among Android users – the latest version APK download link is here if you want to check it out. Just remember to take an extra charger so your devices don’t run out of juice too quickly.

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Plan Your Trip

One of the best things to do if you feel a little bored and down is to start planning the next phase of your trip. Even if you’re about to head home, why not start a list of the next countries that you plan to visit? If you’re feeling a little lost and you miss your friends and family at home, opening up your guidebook and deciding what attractions and cities you want to visit next will remind you why you wanted to start traveling to begin with. It’s also a good idea to start looking at your budget to make sure that you have a decent money situation – you want to make sure that you can travel in financial comfort.

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Make Friends

Finally, use any moments of loneliness to start making new friends. Other people traveling will be remarkably friendly and could prove to be friends for life – and even if they’re only backpacking friends, that’s okay too. Some people are perfect to have as friends for a certain part of your life before parting with goodwill towards each other. Strike up conversations with people who seem friendly but make sure that you stay on your guard and remember that if any situation makes you feel uncomfortable it’s totally okay to remove yourself from it.

The Most Awesome Places to Eat in Kuala Lumpur

Holidays are an adventure. They’re about discovering new things, and one of the best ways to learn about a country’s culture is through their food. You can learn a lot about a country from the food and drink they serve, and Kuala Lumpur is one of the hottest destinations in Asia to experience a diverse fusion of cuisines.

Many of these places are local areas that are close to public transport, so make sure you book a room at budget hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in advance so you can be as close as possible to these delicious eateries.

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Naughty Nuri’s Life Centre

20, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
50250 Kuala Lumpur

Naughty Nuri’s is a popular BBQ restaurant and bar. It’s well known for its mouth-water BBQ pork ribs and cosy atmosphere. The staff are extremely well-mannered and provide a great service to the customers. It’s a popular spot for both lunch and dinner, so make sure you get here early. If you love Korean BBQ, you’ll love Naughty Nuri’s.

food1Photo found on Flickr

Hutong Food Court

Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Food Court,
Lower Ground Floor, Jalan Bukit Bintang
50250 Kuala Lumpur

This is a diverse food court with many different styles of cuisine to indulge in. There’s also a fantastic selection of exotic fruits such as durian and mango. This is a predominantly Chinese area, which means you’ll find a lot of iconic dishes like Wan Tan Mee, Bak Kut Teh, and Hokkien Mee.

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Tg’s Nasi Kandar

3, Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur

Nasi Kandar is a Malaysian dish that consists of steamed rice and a variety of curries and side dishes. It’s very reasonably priced, but that doesn’t affect the amazing quality of food that Tg’s offers. This is a popular hangout destination for workers and students, so expect it to be packed with patrons throughout the day.

food3Photo found on Flickr

Din Tai Fung

Pavilion, 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Din Tai Fung is a restaurant chain that originates from Taiwan, and they’re known for their mouth-watering soup dumplings or xiaolongbao as they’re called. This is an entertaining location because the only thing that separates you from the chefs is a glass window. You can watch the chefs skillfully put together your dumplings moments before they’re served to you.

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Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

59, Jalan Yew, Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Heun Kee is a relatively hidden spot near the Pudu wet market. It is, without a doubt, one the most famous clay pot chicken rice spots in the whole of Kuala Lumpur. Their signature dish contains juicy chicken, delicious lap-cheong, and there’s optional salted fish as well. Huen Kee prepares their clay pot rice with a special method that speeds up the cooking process and evenly cooks the rice—something that other places just don’t get right.

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Nasi Lemak Famous

Bangsar Bangsar Selera Food Court, Jalan Telawi 1
59100 Kuala Lumpur

Nasi Lemak is a fragrant rice that’s cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf and is considered the national dish of Malaysia. This location is affordable, and the sambal (Malaysian hot sauce) is also delicious here.  One of the most popular dishes here is the “Ayam Goreng Rempah”, which is essentially a spicy crispy fried chicken that pairs well with the rice.

Perfect Perth

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Perth not only enjoys wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and a laid back demeanor but there is more to this captivating city than the myriad of bars, restaurants and activities. Perth’s pristine parkland, nearby bush, and river and ocean beaches allow its visitors to spread out and enjoy what’s on offer.

The transport system is fabulous but to truly take advantage of all that’s on offer you may wish to hire a car. Burswood Car Rentals offers free delivery to all city hotels allowing you to explore further afield and visit some of the less well known yet spectacular spots that cost next to nothing. (Please note that costs may apply for some activities)

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is accessible from Rockingham which is less than an hour’s drive south of Perth. Swarming with marine life including sea stars and urchins as well as a number of fish species flitting through the shipwrecks and makes for excellent diving, snorkeling and wildlife watching. While in the water you’ll probably run into a pod of bottle-nose dolphins and can swim with these on the regularly operated tours.

Penguin Island, a breeding colony for an array of perth1incredible birds, has Little Penguins which breed in the burrows and you can watch them being fed at the interactive center.

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If you have a dive permit, The Saxon Ranger, a 400 tonne former fishing vessel takes residence at the Park. The boat is first purpose sunk dive wreck in the Perth metropolitan area.

Just 20 minutes east of Perth, sample the divine fruits of the vineyards of Western Australia’s oldest wine region at the Swan Valley and Darling Range.  Here you may indulge on award-winning local produce, discover the incredible local heritage or simply relax in the stunning bush-land of the Darling Range. The antithesis of the bustle of city life, it can be reached via road or aboard a Swan River Cruise from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

Sharing a glass of red with the vineyard owners, they are happy to recount stories of the generations of their families who owned the vineyards before them, some dating back to the early European settlers.

With over 70 eateries to choose from you are spoiled for choice or pack a lunch enjoying the breathtaking views of your surroundings.

You can also partake in many activities including horse riding, cycling and Indigenous culture.

perth2If you fancy getting even closer to some furry friends, head to Caversham Wildlife Park –  where close encounters with kangaroos and koalas is order of the day.

Alternatively you could choose to drive along the Great Eastern Highway to the blissful tranquillity of the Avon Valley heritage town in under an hour and a half. One of the few towns in WA to hold ‘Historic Town’ status, the proud residents of York have taken great care over restoring its many Victorian and Federation buildings. Due to retaining its heritage charms, it remains Perth’s favourite country escape.

No wonder this area is a top spot for romantic weekends or family fun.

St. Paul’s Catacombs, Rabat Malta

The underground roman cemeteries are dated to be
used up until the 4th century AD. Since the roman law at the time, prohibited burials within the city, these are catacombs2found on the outskirt of the capital of Malta at the time; Mdina.

The name of the these catacombs derives from the widely known story which relates to St Paul’s Grotto. As such, these catacombs are a great example of Maltese underground architecture as well as it represents the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

The site itself consists of two large areas, with a good number of burial chambers. During a talk with one of the curators, I was told that there were more than 30 underground burial chambers.

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Should you be interested to visit, the opening hours are 9:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
Tickets cost €5.00 for adults, and €3.50 for youths

How to get there
– By Public Transport: From Valletta Routes 51, 52. From Bugibba Route X3 (Airport Route). The catacombs are situated in St. Agatha Street which is a narrow street running through much of the town’s core. Follow the signs to St. Paul’s Catacombs.
– By self-driven car: Drive towards Rabat and park close to the Domus Romana. The St. Paul’s Catacombs are around 5 minutes away by walk.

Car Wheels Displeasure

You might already have guessed it, but today’s post is going to be one of those rants….

On Saturday early afternoon, I found one of the rear car wheels punctured… I’ve always wanted to learn how to change the car wheel, but the screws are always so jammed and rusty, that I could never for the life of me unscrew them. Usually my father has a bit of a hard time, but one way or another he manages. Not this time round. Not even my brother who trains attyre the gym on a daily basis could. What the hell is going on? We oiled them.. and nada. We called a garage which fix punctures and it closed at 2pm. Unlucky, I thought. Turns out it was a slow  puncture so at least my weekend was not entirely ruined.

The Saturday night I met a friend in Msida and we walked to KickStart, which is a rock bar in Santa Venera area. We had a great time, but while walking home a bit after midnight, rain started pouring. First slowly and pleasant, then heavily and unbearable. Thankfully it was not windy so we waited it out for roughly 30mins under one of the house balconies. I drove my friend home and was driving in Msida valley. I had no idea that after 30mins of rain the valley is already dangerous for average sized cars. I had to reverse all the way back to take another route. Made it home, end of story.

Sunday I had a guest over so I did not bother with the car.

Early Monday morning, first working day of the month; the busiest day at work… And I find another flat tyre. If I was not busy, I would have started laughing. Who would believe you, two flats in two days? Both of the screws were jammed right in. In order not to waste more of my precious time, I enjoyed an hour and a half trip by bus to work, and another back.

Tomorrow morning I have to find a way to take my car down to a tyre garage. Wish me luck!

PS. Thank you Transport Malta for your excellent service and ensuring the roads are safe for driving with minimal damage possible!

//end rant