Thursday, 20 September 2018

T R A V E L - Nagoya Traveller's Hostel! - Review

Hey Guys!

Today we left our temple stay at the Eisho-Ji Temple, Nakatsugawa and headed to the next destination on our route through Japan.

Nagoya!

Nagoya is a colourful city situated around 150KM away from Kyoto, it's easy to reach by public transport, you can get a highway bus direct from Tokyo to Nagoya. The bus takes around 5 hours altogether but you can split it up by staying Magome to break the trip up. Nagoya is an up and coming city for travelers due to it's cultural background and vivid nightlife, but as it's less well known not many hostels are available for the increasing market.

I'm staying in Nagoya for 3 days, and plan on cramming as much into the stay as possible. I am staying in a twin room at the Nagoya Traveller's Hostel! The Nagoya Traveller's Hostel is every budget travelers best friend! With room options starting from 2500 JPY per person there's something for everyone.


Now, the hostel is best known for being the best known hostel in Nagoya for couples and solo travelers  - but don't let that put you off booking in groups too! There are mixed and female only dorms priced at 2500 JPY, Single rooms for 3600 JPY as well as double rooms and twin rooms for 2600 JPY per person. Additionally, if you're travelling in a large group and want to guarantee you're all in the same place, you can book a shared room for between 3- 8 people for just 2500 JPY per person. Told you there was something for everyone! If you're a bargain budget traveler like me too, you'd be happy to know that if you Tweet on Twitter or Share on Facebook about the hostel, they'll give you an extra 5% off your booking on arrival.


PS; It even includes free breakfast in all the packages, so don't forget to wake up early in the morning!

There are plenty of things to do and see in Nagoya. As the hostel is located pretty central, with Sakae station within a 10 minute walking distance from Nagoya Traveller's Hostel it's easy to visit attractions in no time.  Look out for a post including my favourite things to do and see in Nagoya coming soon!




On the other hand, if you'd prefer to stay within the hostel that is not a problem, it has plenty to offer too. The staff are very warm and welcoming, be sure to ask them any questions you may have about the areas as they're the experts! All the members of staff we have met are very good at speaking English so a language barrier hasn't been an issue yet which is reassuring as nervous travelers!




The hostel includes a communal lounge and kitchen area where it's guests tend to relax and make new friends! When we arrived today two ladies we're making traditional Malaysian food for other guests to try. It includes a micro save, plenty of table space and also plugs for when you need to do some work/charge your phone. The wifi is good on all floors of the hostel, not as fast on the top floor but still very usable. If the lounge area isn't enough, that's fine - you can head to the roof for some fresh air too. they have a roof terrace that is great in the sunshine!



Other useful aspects of the hostel include the a laundry room, bike rentals and organised events regularly! (This weeks event is Sushi making.. YUM!) Each floor also includes toilets and hair driers so you don't need to worry about packing your own for your trip. Showers are located on floors 1 and 3, they all come with shampoo and body wash ready for you too!


I would highly recommend the Nagoya Traveller's Hostel to all!
It's cheap, clean, can be loud in the day but guests tend to be respectful at night - there are signs advising visitors to be quiet in the later hours. Staff are friendly, rooms are nice and has everything you'd want from your hostel!

With a 4.4/5 rating on Trip Advisor, you can see others agree with me too!


Are you heading to Japan soon? Anything in particular you are looking on information about?
Just ask in the comments below :)

Stephanie xo


**Although my stay at Nagoya's Traveller's Hostel was complementary, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

T R A V E L - 72 HOURS IN COLOGNE, GERMANY




Hey guys!

I thought I'd share what I got up to during my 72 hour stay in Cologne, Germany. Once again, the other half won at Christmas with my 3 day break to Cologne, Germany. Including flights and a nice Air Bnb apartment for the weekend with I'll also share below.

Cologne (or Köln in German) is a very bustling city, it's the 4th biggest in Germany and you really need to add it to your 'to do' list of citys in visit in Europe.

We landed our Easyjet flight straight into the Cologne Bon airport - the tiny airport was a bit of a nightmare to get through security due to the small venue and a lot of planes landing, but it's worth the queue I promise. We were able to get the train straight from the airport, through central Cologne to Ehrenfeld - which was within a 15 minute walking distance from our Air BnB.



Where we stayed



Air BnB is a great alternative to hotels, We first used Air BnB on our trip to Portugal and we've never looked back. Michael picked an Entire Flat in Ehrenfeld. Named the coolest quarter in Cologne. It's a bright and vibrant area that is well worth discovering. Full of interesting boutiques, mouth watering restaurants and an easily accessible tram service that can take you anywhere around the city.

I loved having the comforts of home but in another city. Simple to follow instructions of how to get to the property and where we would find our keys. The apartment is located on a beautiful little side street with a little bar, launderettes and plenty of cafe's just around the corner.

The flat was based in a small apartment block on the ground floor, which over looked a beautiful backgarden (which we couldn't quite figure out how to get out to)  The room was small but it had everything we needed, and more! Even the bed was mechanically adjustable!

Wohnbereich
(Photos are from the Air BnB page)
Check out the listing here - Oasis of peace in the middle of life.

USE MY CODE TO GET £25 OFF YOUR FIRST SAY WITH AIR BNB!
www.airbnb.co.uk/c/stephaniet11149

What to do

You can pick up plenty of To-Do guides for Cologne all over the city and find the standard tourist things to do around the city. These include the Cologne Cathedral - Which is amazing and you should definitely go visit!
But when you get deep into the city and explore you'll find a number of things that you won't find in tourist guides.

Here's a list of everything we managed to squeeze into a few days in this wonderful city!





The Dom Cathedral

I thought I'd start with the main attraction. The Dom Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral.  Building started in 1248-1473, it was then complete destroyed during World War II, rebuilt in the 1950s up until present day. They were still doing renovation work to the spires while we visited. It's also currently the tallest twin-spired Church coming in at 157m (515ft) tall.

The stunning architecture taking influence from the German Catholicism and Gothic tradition. The view inside includes beautiful mosaic flooring which pictures the history of archdiocese showing the different names and coasts of arms of a number of Cologne's bishops and archbishops, The Christian world order and humankind, as well as the cosmos.
Along with stain glass windows that bounce their stunning colours across the cathedral walls, it's a must see.



In addition to this, the Cathedral also offers a unique panoramic for those brave (and fit) enough to walk the 533 steep stone steps of the spiral staircase to reach the viewing platform around 100m above the ground.  If you're not the fittest, don't worry; There are plenty of places you can stop, There's a floor half way up that houses eleven bells,  with Fat Peter (the worlds biggest bell!) in the middle. Pretty cool to see but also an excuse for a rest.
The stair case is also very narrow so you'll have plenty of resting time while waiting for those coming down too.



Visiting the inside of the cathedral is completely free, to climb the steps is 4 euro, half price if you have a student card though.




Papa Joe's Jazzlokal


By far our favorite place during the trip. Located in the town center, from the moment we walked through the door we were hocked! Papa Joe's has live jazz every night of the week from the traditional to the slightly more modern jazz there is something for everyone. It's packed regulary with a mix of ages. Beers are quite expensive and still in the tiny glasses we see around Cologne but still good fun. It's free to get in and also free peanuts all around the joint. There's nothing quite like it! 5/5 from me.


Click here for the Papa Joe's Website.


Schokoladen Museum Koln



Are you a chocolate lover? (silly question) Then you're in luck! Cologne is home to the Lindt Chocolate museum, it's like something out of willy wonder. The modern architecture is built to resemble a ship. You can't miss it, just follow the River Rhine on the right hand side. An adult ticker is 9 euros.  It even comes equipped with a working 3 meter tall chocolate fountain and plenty of free samples while you discover the story behind how chocolate has been created since the very beginnings and also how it's made today in the Lindt factories. You can even pay to have a bespoke chocolate made for yourself on the top level with all the things that you like.



Love Lock Bridge

love padlocks 044

Also know as the Hohenzollern bridge that goes over the Rhine river,  you'll find a 400 meters long wall of locks filled with names and pictures of couples who have declared their love in the city. There's no a centimeter free on the cathedral side of the bridge, some smaller gaps as you approach the end of the bridge. If there isn't any space - don't worry, the govenerment take the locks down every once in a while because it becomes too heavy and dangerous. Which means we can all start again!

Koln Triangle



For those of you that still want to see Cologne from above, but don't fancy the 533 step work out. You'd want to go to the Koln Triangle. Just walk over the Love Lock Bridge and it's to the right, you can't really miss it. It's 3 Euros per person. Not a single step in sight just take the elevator and you're done. Another stunning panoramic perspective of this beautiful city!





Cycle around the city

If you're looking for an inexpensive way to get around the city (Not that the tram line isn't cheap or effective) there are plenty of places to go and rent a bike for the day. We travelling to the main attractions via bike as Cologne has great cycle routes throughout the city. The day the River Rhine flooded we were able to cycle through the over flow along the path without a care in the world. Plenty of places to safely secure the bike while we had a drink or two and I promise you will love it!






Are you going to add Cologne to your list of places to see in Europe?

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

D I Y - MARBLE HEADBOARD

Hey guys!

Just a quick one from me today, but I'm going to share with you how I made my boring, basic Ikea headboard into a super #extra marble master piece!
It cost me just over £5, and took around half hour to complete. It makes my bed look super expensive and luxurious!

Apologies for the horrible wallpaper, it doesn't really fit the beautiful aesthetic of the DIY project. We're moving out so there isn't much point in me redecorating just yet.

--------------------------------------


Here's what you need;

A head board (Duh... but you can do this with anything!)
Marble contact paper ; Here's the one I used (Marble Contact Paper)
Scissors
Hard Card/Sturdy Plastic
*Optional sticky tape*
---------------------------------------



First thing you'll need to do is grab your headboard, this took me a while as it was screwed into the bed frame. Finally I managed to pull it off and placed it on my mattress to get started.



This is the contact paper I ordered from Amazon. The link is above. It's the perfect width for my headboard and 2 meters long so I have plenty left for future projects!
The contact paper is really simple to use. Once opened, there is a piece of sticky plastic holding the roll in place. I used this to secure the roll to one side of the paper to stop it rolling back up. Make sure you attach it to the back of the headboard around 2inchs in. As the back of the headboard won't be seen we don't need to cover the whole thing.



When securing the paper, you need to ensure that it is lined up with the bottom of the headboard. We don't need to over lap the bottom as we need to be able to put it back into place. Again, the bottom is not seen. Ensure to leave the top of the paper handing over the edge ready to stick down to the top of the headboard in the final steps.


If you need some extra help to ensure it stays straight when you're putting it down, use sticky tape to hold sections in place. Try and use one that wont leave a sticky residue. If it does leave a sticky mark though, don't worry; you should be able to wipe it down after the material is pretty durable.

Once you're all lined up, you are ready to go! It's super easy. Just peel back the backing. Ensure to do this inch by inch. I found it's the easiest way to minimize air bubbles. Now take your bit of plastic. Whatever you'd like to use, I used a Blackhead Peel Off Mask box at first, but it wasn't hard enough so I used my GAME rewards card in the end instead. 

 
Use the card to push towards the area where you are pulling away the sticky back plastic. This step helps to reduce the air bubbles and make the headboard look more authentic rather than cheap. Once the paper is down it's kinda hard to work with. So do try and go little bit, by little bit to get rid of those bubbles. Just to save yourself some hard work after.
 


Now, I missed a photo here but it's pretty straight forward. Now that the made base is down. You'll hopefully have left over contact paper at the top of the board. Before you think about it! Do not try and stick it like you'd wrap a Christmas present. You'll end up with creases visible at the top and we don't want that. Instead, use the scissors to cut a small line where the two corners meet. Fold the side stripe down, and then cover with the top area. This will mask the corner and give you a beautiful clean edge. 





And that's the end! Once you're happy with the result, attach it back to your bed and lounge in your new wonderful marble masterpiece!!
*adding your Stitch stuffed toy is optional*



Stephanie - xoxo