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Germany

Germany

I like your sense of humor 🙂

Don’t be fooled by the hard exteriors! Germans, like every person in the world, are very friendly and accommodating. The work ethic is just so strong here and people really focus on their work. To a traveller who thinks he/she is entitled to everything, Germans can appear “rude” when interrupted in the middle of their work.

So before setting foot on Germany, understand and respect the reality that people work doubly hard, steer away from the “Germans are this and that” thinking, and you’re off to experiencing the best of one of the most economically powerful European countries to date.

Some Tips on Visiting Germany:

  • Affordable accommodations are everywhere in Germany! As a student and traveller haven, you will be surprised by the host of choices the country has to offer. I experienced staying in a university gym (in Meschede and Cologne), a quaint guesthouse named St. Paul Strabe (my favorite of all! The service is amazing!), and a couple of B&Bs. Your best bet would be to stay near subway stations.
  • Germany is a big, picturesque country. You will never run out of transportation options in the city however, once you decide to visit the countryside you will find high speed trains are very expensive. If you’ve got the time, you can take a regional train or overnight bus, which are a quarter of the price of high speed trains. My favorite? Megabus!
  • Download the DB Navigator app. This will save you loads of time in trying to find the best subway and train routes.
  • Why I want to go back: Germany is such a massive country and there is so much diversity all across this history-rich area. I have yet to visit areas outside Berlin, Cologne, Heidelberg, Meschede, Munich, Nuremberg, Oberammergau, and Schwangau; and yet to explore these areas some more. My curiosity hasn’t been satiated just yet, so I definitely want to go back.
  • As with any country in the world: Do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂

P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in the local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut ❤

7

Italy

Albano Laziale

Back to my “hometown”

Here is a snippet of Albano Laziale, a small town 30 minutes away from Rome. I visited out of curiosity wanting to have a feel of a town with my surname plastered everywhere.

Well, it definitely felt weird 😛

Some Tips on Visiting Italy:

  • Take advantage of Saudia’s promo fares. I got mine for a little over 500 Euros roundtrip, which is very affordable compared with the usual promo fares. I swear by Skyscanner’s Cheapest Month feature which allows you to schedule your trips based on the cheapest fares available!
  • If you plan on visiting other parts of Italy, stay around Roma Termini which is the main hub for all city and regional buses, trams and trains. It also has a direct bus route for the airport which costs way less than the express train!
  • I went to Rome without a plan of where to stay as I found web information so misleading, and so once I got off Roma Termini, I was surprised to find so many options just outside the station. Some small hotels I recommend that are less than 5 minutes away by walking from Roma Termini: Hotel Urbis and The Beehive (where you also have the option to use the shared kitchen if cooking is your flair).
  • Take Megabus which has extensive networks within Italy. If you’ve got lots of time and would like to save on cash, Megabus is the way to go. I travelled from Rome to Naples (roundtrip) via Megabus for only 8 Euros (compared with 26 Euros for the train)! I am not sure why not too many people take it, but I totally loved the experience. There’s wifi onboard (although of course do not expect too much with speed), reclining seats, toilet, and seat plugs where you can charge your gadgets.
Megabus

Megabus: my favorite regional and inter-country ride (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Download the Rome Metro app. This will save you loads of time in trying to find the best subway and train routes. I also find it the most user-friendly among all the other apps available.
  • Why I want to go back: The Roman Empire at its helm stretched out its territory from Europe to as far as Asia and the Middle East, and this explains Italy’s regionalistic diversity. It takes time to savor the country’s rich history which books cannot give enough justice too, and so I definitely want to go back.
  • As with any country in the world: Do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂

P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in the local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut ❤