Personal Travels

The Day Pass Travel Hack

So you’ve contacted me for a cheap vacation to wherever right? You want to save as much money on getting there and sleeping there right? You realize you may not be able to afford the 5-star hotel or resort on your budget, but you still feel like you SHOULD experience the finer things in life right?

Well I’m here to put you on for a travel hack I’ve been using since forever.

The Day Pass Travel Hack.


Last week on my Twitter page I had happened to mention I was planning for my upcoming trip to Antalya, Turkey. I’m there for nine days and tried to find a nice cheap place to stay for that duration, even though this specific city has a plethora of beautiful all-inclusive beachfront hotels/resorts as options. I didn’t go that route because 1) I’m not paying that much - 2) The purpose of me being there is to get my teeth done - 3) What’s the point of an all-inclusive when there might be days I may not be able to chew? Etc etc. But only because I can’t afford to be in one of those/don’t want to be in one for whole time, doesn’t mean I don’t want to hang out there for ONE of my days. So I began sending e-mails to some of the nicest places I could see to inquire if they offered day pass options. (Hopefully they respond and say yes.)

This is how a whole thread on the usage of day passes came about. I realized with the interactions I got that not everyone has necessarily tapped into this simple travel hack. So here we are. Let me put mans on.

First of all, there are plenty of apps and sites nowadays for day pass options. I personally have never used one because I like dealing with the place directly via e-mail or in person, but just to name some:

daypassapp

resortpass

resortforaday

daycationapp

So if you don’t want to take the leap and contact places directly, I guess try one of those. Again, I personally haven’t tried any of them myself so I have no feedback to give. Just here to provide information and options.

I will give you four examples of how this has worked out VERY WELL for my personal travel experiences and for the awesome fancy pants pictures you’ve seen on the blog.


Santiago de Cuba:

I’ve been going to this city since about 2012. It is my favourite place in all of Cuba, but it lacks something the rest of Cuba has an abundance of. Beach. There are some beaches nearby, but they aren’t the picturesque white sand images you usually see in Cuba and they’re kind of far via taxi. So how do you cool off in a busy city with no beach? Well your only option is either standing naked in front of your air conditioner or going to a pool. (I don’t judge either way, FYI)

For the three times I went to Santiago de Cuba, I would always stay in the same casa particular. This was basically a guest house a wonderful couple would rent out to me for $25 a night which had a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and they would also make me a fresh breakfast every morning. Unbeatable price. Down the street from where I’d stay was the Melia Santiago de Cuba. This hotel is impossible to miss with its tall frame and red paint. The cost of staying there for two nights would run you about $200. So to show you the math of that, $25 x 7 = $175.00…. what I’d pay for a week in my casa particular would be less than what the cost of two nights at the Melia were.

Now, the one thing the Melia had that was of use to me was a very nice pool to cool off in. There was a bar there, kitchen, numerous lounge chairs and a really attentive staff. For $10 CUC ($13.47 Canadian today) you would pick up a day pass at the front desk to be by that pool THE WHOLE DAY, aaaand it would include a whole pizza and two drinks!! Seriously. Is that not an amazing deal or what?

I capitalized on that deal at least 3/7 days I’d be in Santiago. I hope they still have it.

Views from the Melia pool…..

Views from the Melia pool…..


Bali:

When I went to Bali back in 2016 I tried to do it on a pretty small-mediumish budget. My hotel for a whole week had come to about $215 and I loved being there because it was located in the center of Kuta where all the action was. Unfortunately, if you have ever seen the beach in Kuta it was somewhat lackluster and didn’t look as inviting to go swim at. Totally awesome place to hang out by and people watch, yes. Definitely do that if you are ever in Kuta, but when you’re in Bali you want some nice beach time as well you know?

The person at the front desk of the hotel I was staying in had mentioned he previously worked at this hotel/resort that had a really nice beach and that they offered day passes. I believe it use to be named something completely different, but when I was there this hotel was called The Hilton Bali, in Nusa Dua. The cost of staying there for two nights will cost you about $400. So again, the math, $215 for seven days at hotel I was staying at vs $1400 for a week at the Hilton. I refuse to spend that much money on an island that is as thrifty as Bali. But I did want that beach life.

I took a taxi down to Nusa Dua and spoke to the front desk. If my memory serves me right, the day pass was about $20 USD. ($26.94 Canadian today) Although their day pass didn’t include the food and drinks like the spot in Cuba did, it was worth the peace and quiet. The resort is beautiful, the staff is really nice and the beach was secluded. My favourite kind of beach. There was at least four different sized pools, numerous lounge chairs by the beach and you could help yourself to as many towels as you needed. Along with that, you could order food to your lounge chair!! So I had a burger and french fries served to me on the beach and just paid with cash.

The day pass was totally worth the chill day on a beautiful beach.


The Maldives:

This is where the SUPER DUPER pricey stuff usually is. We all think of getting to the Maldives and getting one of those sexy overwater villas we see on fantasy IG travel pages.

I went to the Maldives in December of 2017 with my best friend Sherry. We opted to stay on a ‘local’ island called Maafushi because we wanted to get a full experience of being around people from the Maldives just as much as relishing in the incredible beaches and views. Not to mention, have you seen the goddamn prices for those villas and for staying on the private islands? To hell with that. I don’t need liquor that much. The cost of our beautiful (beachfront) hotel on Maafushi was $495 per person (so $990 total) for six nights. Definitely a steal.

Naturally though, we did want to at least visit one of the super fancy resorts on a private island so we could fulfill the Maldives dream, if only for a day.

Our hotel (and many, if not most hotels on the local islands) offered various excursion packages/day passes to these private islands. After Sherry and I discussed it, we decided to go with The Olhuveli Beach & Spa resort. If you guys had seen this place? Oh my goodness.

It took about 30 minutes to get from Maafushi to Olhuveli via our hotels speed boat and from seeing the place as we arrived to exploring the island - complete paradise. Perfect white sand, places to drink, a beautiful infinity pool and just an overall idyllic setting.

Again, time for the math. For 6-nights at THIS place the cost for the cheapest room was $3004 total vs the $990 that Sherry and I had paid. This is for the CHEAPEST room, if you wanted like a fancy room or maybe the all-inclusive option it would be north of $5000.

Sherry and I each paid $125USD ($168.35 Canadian today) which included the roundtrip boat transfer and getting to be on this amazing island for about 7hrs.

Well worth the money to indulge for a day in a place that looks so perfect. I should also note, this day trip reaffirmed that we made the right decision to NOT stay for a week on a private island because it was all couples and families. Yawn.


St. Moritz:

If you’re ever in the mood for feeling broke - go to St. Moritz in Switzerland.

In December of 2018 I had made it to one of the places I had dreamed about for a long time. I took a day trip from Zurich (6hrs roundtrip) to get to St. Moritz. This is the place you think about when you’re young and wonder if you’ll ever be wealthy enough to finally see in person. I definitely was NOT wealthy enough to fully immerse myself to the depths that others may, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t take advantage of experiencing some part of it.

Prior to traveling to Switzerland I did my research on things to do in St. Moritz and this one spa kept coming up. The name of the hotel it is located in is Badrutt’s Palace and the name of the spa is Palace Wellness.

I will give you a second to go peruse the website to see the luxury of this place.

Okay, you good? Yeaah, you see what I mean right? So fancy pants.

The hotel I was staying in for the four nights I was in Zurich I believe came to about $300 total, which is a STEAL for Switzerland’s insane pricing and exchange rate compared to the Canadian dollar. So now, the math for this? ONE night in the cheapest room at Badrutt’s is $467 CHF which is $619.89 in Canadian. So very VERY simple math was that four nights in my hotel cost me 1/2 of ONE day at the hotel in St. Moritz. Remember what I said about being in the mood for feeling broke?

I got very lucky though. While doing my earlier research I found out the spa inside Badrutt’s offered day passes for $100 CHF ($132.74 Canadian today). I e-mailed the spa directly and asked if there was availability for the day I intended on coming and they got back to me the next day saying that they didn’t have many spa bookings so I would be more than welcome to use the day pass. YAY.

The pictures don’t even do the spa any justice. I realize they are pretty, but absolutely nothing can compare to exiting out of a pool indoors to go directly into an outdoor hot tub where you’re surrounded by the snow-covered Swiss Alps. Nothing. You get to use the pool the whole day, the hot tub, mingle with the actual super wealthy who are staying at the hotel and you can pay with your card and have food brought to the lounger you’re relaxing at with the touch of a button.

Spend the time to come here and get this day pass if you’re ever in Zurich or in any other part of Switzerland. You will not regret spending the $132.74 for a memory like this.


So there it is. Don’t pay lavish prices to stay somewhere that you could totally just go visit for a day at like 1/5th of the price of the stay. Before you go on any vacation, look up somewhere that might look like a fairy tale or dream you’ve once had and go make it a reality for a couple of hours or a day.

Although we may not be wealthy yet, doesn’t mean we can’t also enjoy the finer things sometimes. I’m super happy when I can find a cheap (safe + clean + well located) place to sleep for the duration of my trip. This leaves more money to eat all the yummy local food and get to experience places like I mentioned above. Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford actually staying at places like this, but let’s be serious, I’d probably still want a cheap spot to stay and just go visit 2-3 of these places for a day.

Do your research. Reach out to resorts/spas/hotels and find out if they offer day passes to whatever it is you’d like to see. Even super popular family places like Atlantis in the Bahamas and/or the naughty Hedonism in Jamaica offer day passes. Go live lavish on a budget, even if it’s for a day!

  • Mirna

Weekend in Las Vegas Recap: Sky High and Pools Pools Pools

It has been about three weeks since I came back from a weekend in Las Vegas and that’s probably enough time to adequately talk about that weekend with 20/20 vision. If you’ve been to Vegas before, I’m sure you can understand why ‘fear and loathing’ is most DEFINITELY a feeling you experience while there and after leaving there.


The first time I went to Las Vegas was for the big new years 2000 celebration. Remember when we all thought we would die because of a computer glitch at midnight? Yeah, good times. Well, let me tell you, going to Vegas as a 32-year-old vs when I was like 13 is different. I didn’t like Vegas that much when I was 13, but I liked the city much more now.

I went away for the weekend with my boyfriend Mark, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday that weekend. We flew there with Swoop Airlines, and you can read the review of how that went here.

We arrived kind of late to Vegas on the Friday, I believe it was about 10pm. The luggage came out fast so we were able to get our stuff, hop in an Uber and be checked into our AirBnB by about 11pm. Not bad at all.

The AirBnB was really nice. I loved the decor of it, the size of it and that we had a pool somewhere in the gated community as well. We dropped our stuff and went walking (about 25 minutes) to the Las Vegas Strip. I had unfortunately suffered a pretty bad ankle injury the week before at basketball, so this walk COULD have gone quicker. Also, why the hell are there so many stairs and bridges? My goodness. Some of the escalators didn’t work so I had to hobble up and down to get across the street. That was NOT awesome.

After some gallivanting we made it into a Wahlburgers to get some food and drinks in our system before heading to an type of establishment I had never been in before.

A dispensary.

So, I do not partake in any cannabis-related activities nor have I ever tried it myself. I also have nothing against the use of it by adults. Figured I’d start this part with making sure I made that very clear. It isn’t for me, but it sure as hell can go ahead and be for everyone else because that has nothing to do with me or my body. Clear? OK.

Our Uber took us to a place called The Apothecary Shop. Upon entering you have to show your ID and then you are given a ticket with your number on it for when it is your turn to speak to a sales associate. In the room you proceed to enter there are various pictures of the types of strains available, what the potency is, the different kinds of applications of cannabis and just other interesting things I’d never seen before. I liked that they had a line for recreational use and one for medicinal, obviously, the medicinal would be serviced first.

You know what I really liked about this dispensary though? Their level of professionalism. Everyone that worked there was dressed like a regular Monday-Friday job. No gimmicks, no cutesy nonsense - they knew their products and were there to inform people about them prior to purchasing. The reason I mention this is that SAME WEEKEND a legal dispensary (I won’t name it, if you live in Toronto you’ll know) opened up with some bullshit t-shirts as uniform. Like who the fuck though ‘I run on weed and gangsta rap’ was even remotely appropriate as a slogan? There are thousands of people in Canada still serving time over selling cannabis, and you’re here making this shit a joke? That doesn’t sit well with me.

Enough of me ranting about what was going on in Toronto though, this dispensary place was really impressive and the staff was very informative. Happy to have learned about something new while on my first night of vacation.

On Saturday morning we woke up at a somewhat decent hour and made our way over to Hash House a Go Go inside the Rio. Make sure that the fried chicken and waffles is what you order if you ever go eat there as well. The damn waffles even had bacon baked into them! Delicious. Great decision on our part.

After eating 1,560,000 calories worth of food on one plate, Mark and I made our way over to the Neon Museum. I had made a reservation for the 2pm slot to walk around and explore this cool place. Not going to lie, I only heard about by watching the movie Last Vegas and I was absolutely hooked. This place really is everything you’d hope for it to be from the pictures. If you’ve also never heard of it, this is basically a boneyard for old Las Vegas signs you’d see in movies etc. One of the best parts of visiting it wasn’t even the views, it was the staff there to explain all the history behind the signs. There was so much information to be taken in, and if you really love Las Vegas lore - this is a MUST visit.

I think we left the museum around 3pm and obviously that meant it was time to begin drinking. We took an Uber to a place called Atomic Liquors. How could this go bad, right? This place was so cool. There’s like a grungy inside but the outdoor patio is huuuuge. On a nice day with sunshine it was absolutely perfect to be out there people watching, drinking and slightly tanning. I think the beers Mark got were only $3/each as well. Big win.

From there we began walking around downtown Las Vegas a little bit more. I didn’t know that the Vegas strip was actually NOT downtown. It’s just the strip. I ABSOLUTELY love downtown so much more. That Freemont street area is so unbelievably cool and fun and soooo much cheaper to be in. If I ever return to Vegas, I may actually just opt to stay in a place closer to that area because that’s how awesome it was.

Our next stop was the Downtown Container Park. I had seen something similar in London with the containers being stacked and used as storefronts and restaurants. I love the concept. This one had a huge playground in the middle of all the containers so the children could go be there while the adults sat on the side drinking. And yes, drinking we did do. We sat down at some random spot and had the absolute best charcuterie board ever. The cheese and the meat, along with the walnuts and cranberries were delicious. Naturally, the rum and cokes we had with this were great as well. Food and liquor on a hot day in Vegas is the kind of Saturday we should all have.

We thought we’d go home and take a quick nap and come back to party in downtown later (at the recommendation of two Uber drivers and a bartender) but instead, like real old people, we fell asleep super early and didn’t wake up until a time that clubs were not even open anymore. Fail. Horrible.

Sunday morning seemed like a complete blur to me.

We got up. We packed our stuff. We got to the Bellagio to drop off our stuff so that we could make it to Tao Beach Club for 11am.

About a month before going to Tao I had made a reservation for one of the tables/chairs/comfy sofa thingy’s near the pool. I had seen videos and noted that it gets pretty busy, so I figured having our own spot would be really be beneficial. I believe our ‘seat’ was a GOLD seat and it was $100USD minimum spend. That included our cover, the table and basically meant that we just had so spend a minimum $100USD on liquor/food for the time we were there. Obviously, not a very hard task. I think we actually surpassed that in the first hour we were there. Yes, by noon. Go judge elsewhere OK?

I enjoyed Tao, like I understand why this place is popular. Hot women serving you in bikinis. There’s a pool. There’s music and alcohol. We had a good time here, the atmosphere was fun and very chill for such a loud place. Definitely do look out for certain levels of drunken douchebaggery though - we saw quite a bit of it from the 17+ dudes who booked the largest cabana there. Was very happy at that moment to be a couple seats away from the pool.

We left Tao at about 445pm to go check into our room at the Bellagio, shower, get changed and then be picked up for our next adventure at 630pm.

The next adventure was a helicopter ride over the Las Vegas Strip at night. The company I booked it with is called 5 Star Helicopter Tours.

They pick you up in this big van and drive you a little outside of the central Las Vegas area. You get a good debriefing on security and safety, then you wait and are whisked off into the sky. Let me tell you, that ride is too damn short. I know it is 15 minutes but the views of the strip are so amazing that you don’t want to come down. Even if you’re one of those people whose stomach turns a little for take offs and landings, you literally will feel none of it on this ride. Our pilot (YAAAAS LARS) was awesome and he made the experience that much cooler. If you can spare the time to head out and do this activity at night, make sure to do so. It is equally as exhilarating as it is calming. Seeing the big picture over Vegas helps you put a lot of the bullshit in your life in perspective. If you want to see a video of what some parts of the ride were like, you can find it here on my YouTube channel.

Once the ride was over, the van took us back to our Penthouse Suite at the Bellagio and you can read all about what that experience was like here.

I hope I return to Vegas again one day, especially if I could do it with my girlfriends! I think birthday boy had a decent weekend there as well.

Four days in Vegas was more than enough for me, I’m not sure how people do a whole week but to each their own. One day I’ll come back and MAYBE even gamble since I failed miserably and not doing any of that on this trip.

  • Mirna

Review of the Bellagio Penthouse, Las Vegas

This is all you need to know about this room - THERE WERE TV’S IN THE MIRRORS OF THE WASHROOMS AND I GOT TO WATCH ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC PLAY IN MY MIRROR WHILE SHOWERING.

That’s it. That’s the blog post. Fin.

Okay I may have exaggerated, obviously I’m going to tell you more but that first line really was what cemented how amazing this room was.

On Sunday, March 31st we checked into the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I wanted to pick somewhere special to stay on the eve of my boyfriends birthday so getting a penthouse suite at the Bellagio was OBVIOUSLY what I chose. This probably sounds selfish, but I really think it was equally for me as it was for him. Oh well, still did it.

We arrived at around noon to drop our bags off before heading to a pool party and the valets outside promptly took care of storing our stuff until we would come back. (Shout out to Ivan, always tip your valets!)

When we got back around 5pm there was still a significant line for checking in to the hotel but I’d never seen so many open tellers ready to help. There must have been at least 20 people working the front desk so everyone could check in quickly. As someone who is quite impatient (duh) I love seeing a hotel doing everything they can to get people checked in as fast as possible.

For those of you using a credit card, they will hold $150USD for incidentals. For those of you who will be using cash, they will hold $500USD for incidentals and give it back to you as soon as you check out. Wanted to make sure all mans knew that, I know not everyone is too fond of using credit cards for everything.

Another fun fact I wanted to share is, DON’T TOUCH SHIT IN THE MINI BAR. I understand that a lot of you wouldn’t anyways, because those things are usually very expensive. However, I literally mean do not even touch it. I guess I haven’t stayed in a fancy pants hotel in a while because apparently now things are weighed? So if you even pick up any of the items at your minibar for 10 seconds, guess what? You bought it. It’s yours. Our mini bar had liquor, a portable phone charger, snacks and actual Bellagio casino chips. We didn’t even go breathe near that area as a result of knowing this.

Our room was on the 32nd floor - #62. Once we opened the door, it all became so surreal. This room was the biggest space I had ever slept in. It was legitimately larger per square foot than WHOLE AirBnB houses I had rented. Ours was the one bedroom penthouse and it had 2.5 bathrooms, a living room area and a dining room area. If you want to see a video of me taking my YouTube followers on a tour of it, you can find that here.

Upon entry you have the .5 bathroom to your right and the minibar area to your right. The living room area is directly in front of that and had some comfy couches and a huge TV that I feel had so many plugs, I may have been able to hook up like seven video gaming consoles to it if I wanted. The dining room area was a table and some chairs for hanging out, along with our massive windows overlooking the Bellagio pools. Then in the back was our huge bedroom that had a TV, a love seat and the BEST blackout curtains I have ever seen. In our dining/living room area it was really bright but with the blinds shut in the bedroom it looked like 3am dark. It was awesome.

Connected to the bedroom were the his and hers bathrooms. These bathrooms were larger than my whole bachelor apartment in Toronto OK? The ‘his’ had a closet, a seat, a robe with slippers, huge mirror with the TV in it, toilet and a shower. The ‘hers’ had a massive soaking tub, toilet and bidet, closet, seat with vanity mirror, huge mirror with TV in it as well and of course the robe and slippers.

Each bathroom also had its own toiletry kits from shampoos, conditioners, creams, a shaving kit, dental kits and even a sewing kit. I assure you, all of those made it back to Toronto with me :)

Not sure if this will make me sound a little bougie, but having your own massive washroom was so cool. I loved that we could get ready at the same time but in totally different spaces.

After taking in the grandiosity of the room we had other plans to get ready for and we went out and did those prior to turning in for the night. Best sleep on that bed EVER, I should add. The bed was huge and with those blackout blinds it was pitch black all the way until noon for us.

The check-out was supposed to be at 11am but we asked the concierge if we could stay until noon and they obliged.

After going to the front desk to report we had checked out, we gave our luggage back to the valets and with our room key were able to spend the rest of our day at the Bellagio pools. I really like that we had use of the grounds even after check out because our flight was not until 11pm later that day.

Overall, HELL YES if you want to do something special or be somewhere special, you should book this penthouse. My only regret was having other things planned that night, otherwise I would have just stayed in the room from 3pm to 12pm the following day and not moved. I loved it and hope one day I’ll have another reason to come right back to this penthouse.

  • Mirna






Flying with Swoop Airlines Review

I returned this morning from a weekend trip to Vegas and I had my first experience with a new-ish Canadian budget airline called Swoop.

Figured I would write up a review of my experience with them so that the rest of you can make your airline choices accordingly, without having to search through dozens of message threads on other sites.

The flight for this trip was booked all the way back in October and I was able to secure a ROUNDTRIP-DIRECT flight from Hamilton to Vegas for only $170.00/per person. I can’t tell you about a moment in my life, where I was able to purchase TWO flights for $340.00 to anywhere. Being able to get such a deal was really amazing, and I’m happy I bought it while it was that low.

Although the flight was $170, keep in mind that if you want to bring anything bigger than a personal item and/or book your seat - that will cost you more. If I may make a suggestion for all of you, don’t opt for the carry-on option and just go for the checked in luggage. Why? You’ll get to bring more with you, for less money.

Think about it, if a carry-on bag is like $37/per person each way that’s $74 roundtrip per person. Why would you do that instead of opting for ONE checked-in bag that is 23kg/50lbs for only one of you to check in? This means it would be half price, at about $36 roundtrip per person. Trust me, I prefer carry-on travel as well, but if you can get more of something for a lesser amount than something else? Yes, do it.

To fly with Swoop (from the GTA area) you would have to travel to Hamilton. I realize Pearson is far as heck already as is, but imagine the difference of a $500 flight vs $170 AND without having to cross into Buffalo? Seems like a pretty straightforward option.

For the actual process of check-in and check-out, both ways the staff at the gate was really sweet and helpful. The airplane also took off on time both ways, and on the way back it actually left EXACTLY to the second it was supposed to. I loveeee timely airlines.

The plane itself had enough leg room for me and I was also lucky that for both flights it was relatively empty. I thought the seats were clean and I liked the pink accents everywhere as well.

While on board you are also able to purchase some WI-FI time for 90 minutes, the whole duration of your flight or for 24hrs. I planned on sleeping since my flight left at 11pm, so buying any WI-FI time seemed silly at that moment.

The snacks collection I found to be pretty decent and there was a big shock that came with that —- it didn’t cost an arm and a leg!


Overall, I say if you see a cheap flight with Swoop to anywhere, BOOK IT ASAP. I hope everyone else’s experience with them goes just as well.

  • Mirna


Four Days In Switzerland: Swiss Alps and Sky High Expenses

Finally.

This is the FINAL recap post from my 12-days in Europe escapade back in December. Yes, December. It took me three months to finish all these damn posts. I said I would get them done before my next trip (Vegas this weekend) so at least I kept to that timeline.

Switzerland was actually the first stop on the trip and I went straight to Zurich. The post won’t be particularly long because some of the main highlights I already wrote separate pieces about;

My trip to Liechtenstein from Zurich.

My day trip to St. Moritz from Zurich.

The only other thing left to discuss about my time in Switzerland (aside from spending all my money there) is the trip I took to Mount Titlis and to Lucerne.


I arrived in Zurich on the morning of December 26th. Unfortunately most of the city was closed down for the holidays so all there was for me to do was wander around and look at shiny things in the downtown core. Everything was decorated beautifully and there was a very nice calm in the air.

Great time to note I had found a REALLY cheap hotel in the center of Zurich for the duration of my stay. If you look up hotels and AirBnB’s in the center it is REALLY expensive but I lucked out for the four days and got a booking in Swiss Star Anwand Lodges. The location was only a 15 minute walk from the Zurich central station (where literally all your tours begin) and yes it was on the small side, but for the price? UNBEATABLE.

Moving on to most important thing to note for my first evening in Zurich - I found somewhere to go eat cheese fondue. Every restaurant that was open either needed reservations or was REALLY packed, but I was lucky to find a place called Walliser Kanne.

Yes, it cost an arm and a leg, but so did a damn hamburger meal OK? It was worth every cent. The cheesy deliciousness was everything I had imagined it would be. I followed it up with a nice piece of cake and went right back to my hotel room for the best sleep ever before embarking on one of my many Swiss adventures the following day.

The morning started off with me heading to get some breakfast and then making my way to the tour pick up area. The tour I had booked is called ‘Mount Titlis Day Tour from Zurich’. I know it was a little off-putting to me when I saw the price of this tour, but you know what? After seeing the Swiss Alps, this was probably one of the only things during my time in Switzerland that was worth the high price that didn’t involve cheese or chocolate.

The bus made its way to the city of Lucerne first.

I found Lucerne to be busier than what Zurich was the night before. Many beautiful bridges, nice views of the water that flows through the city, and lots of shopping to be done if you can afford that conversion rate. I understand now why people call it a romantic city, I 100% got that feeling while I was wandering around alone.

Overall, I think we maybe spent an hour in Lucerne and then we left for Mount Titlis.

I would like to think my vocabulary is extensive and that I can explain most things I have experienced but I just could not find the words to explain seeing the Swiss Alps in person. I will just give you all the pictures below, tell you to cross the damn scary bridge while there (I was shaking the whole time), encourage you to eat at their sit-down restaurant and to make sure you take a million pictures of everything while up there.

Before I show you the incredible pictures from making our way up to the top of Mount Titlis to coming back down, I’d just like to share a quick story about what happened to me in one of the cable cars.

So going up and down the mountain actually takes a long time to ascend and descend. You end up sitting in a cable car with other strangers from your tour, no big deal. On the way down I had a family from North Carolina (or South Carolina? I should have written this blog post when I had better memory) with me in the cable car and we got to talking. The mother asked what brought me to Switzerland and was telling me about their travel plans as well. I began to tell her about my trip, and the whole eight countries for $2000 stuff and she goes, ‘ohhh you’re The Impatient Tourist, I’ve been to your blog!’ and then proceeds to show me her Google Chrome history when she visited my page.

THEREFORE - middle of Switzerland, coming down from the damn Swiss Alps, a family from the United States that happened to be in MY cable car, had read my blog. Probably one of the coolest moments of my life. I felt incredibly good about myself in that moment.

Please visit the Swiss Alps at some point in your life. I know most people don’t want to travel to somewhere cold, but this is really something special.

In my life I have been in awe at the sunset in Santorini, the beach in Anguilla, the good feeling in the Abu Dhabi desert and now the experience of the Swiss Alps is in that list. Moments that will take your breath away. I should add, I literally mean take your breath away as well, once you get up that high and are trying to walk through the snow you’ll be reminded how obese you are REAL QUICK.

  • Mirna

London For a Day: Walking Lots and Hipster Stuff

Look, this the second last post for my recap of the 12-days-in-Europe-Trip. It has been a LONG road to get all of these completed so again, thank you for putting up with my lack of timeliness.

London, England happened to be the second-last stop on this trip and that made it country #39 for my lifetime travels. I landed very early from a flight to Prague at London’s Heathrow airport. The horror stories I heard about this place seemed kind of irrelevant once I got there because I found customs to go pretty fast, they were nice and I guess because I only traveled with a backpack there was no luggage of mine for them to lose. I made it through Heathrow unscathed. VICTORY.

First I would like to say - THE CANADIAN DOLLAR CAN GO TO HELL. I withdrew 50 Quid and it cost me $88.41 Canadian. I thought Switzerland sucked for exchange rate and how much shit costs?

British Pound: ‘Hold my beer’.

My exchange rate…. oh the agony.

My exchange rate…. oh the agony.

I’m still pissed at this conversion rate. Fine, whatever.

So one thing that did NOT suck about coming to chip-chip-cheerio land was my friend Tare!! (I have embedded the link to his Instagram in the first name, so if you are a single woman who likes tall men that travel and sound like the long lost Nigerian member of the Beatles? TARE IS YOUR DUDE!)

He’s just going to love that description when he reads this.

Aside from the jokes, I had two people who really helped me with planning for London. My friend Joni who just recently hopped over the pond to Toronto and Tare who still lives there. I knew that the Tube in London was pretty well organized, but it truly helped a lot having two people explain it a bit better to me and give me advice.

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Me, learning where to go….

So basically the first order of business was getting this Heathrow Express pass thingy handled. I purchased that way ahead of time but I did notice that when I landed there was representatives for it absolutely everywhere so you can buy it at the airport as well.

It got me to Paddington Station pretty damn fast, I was impressed. Furthermore, once I arrived at Paddington there was a spot called Left Luggage inside of it that I was able to leave my backpack and laptop bag in so I could freely wander around London with nothing weighing me down. TWO big wins.

After this I literally just wandered around alone until it was time to link up with Tare. I made sure to go to Hyde Park and talk to myself out loud at the Speakers Corner on an issue I feel deeply about - that pita with cheese is NOT burek, it is sirnica. I ended up walking through some super upscale area with luxurious cars and embassies on every corner. Then I saw Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and a partial view of Big Ben because it was surrounded by construction mostly. I guess I did the typical touristy stuff?

Tare and I finally found each other at some station downtown and he decided that part of my day should be spent looking at hipster stuff he likes. So I was like, OK sure. Let’s do that.

We end up at some place called Brick Lane? There was some pretty cool paintings and other artsy things there, although the building looked weird and drab from the outside. My favourite part of it was actually this one structure that had been erected of numerous OLD radios all playing one thing at the same time. When you see the picture of it below, you’ll see how nifty that looked.

After seeing Tare’s hipster stuff, it was time for him to take me to my most prized activity when I travel - food. I cannot thank him enough for bringing my foodie self to Borough Market. OHHHMMMGGG.

This market had absolutely everything and anything on display to eat and THEY LET YOU TAKE SAMPLES. Imagine if Costco was local produce? Yeah, that’s Borough Market. We tried cheeses and hot sauces and different desserts. Eventually we settled on eating some king prawns and BBQ chicken. (not samples, actually paid for this)

I looooved Borough Market. If I ever go back to London, that is going to be the first place I take the Tube to, mark my words.

Following the market, I went to see London Bridge and my lovely tour guide explained to me all the fancy pants things I needed to know about the bridge, about central London and also how to tell which soccer hooligan supported which soccer team just by the way they dress. Even without jerseys on. Wild.

We ended our day at this place called Shoreditch BoxPark. I really liked this place as well because there was lots of food, the music was great and there was alcohol. We sat down and complained about life, while drinking rum and cokes. This is how I wish EVERY day would end for me.

I was supposed to be responsible and catch a 7pm train to a WHOLEEE other part of London for my super early flight to Iceland - that definitely didn’t happen. I don’t think I even got into my hotel until closer to midnight. Real responsible adulting when it comes to me. But why sleep on your LAST night of vacation you know? Rather hang out and talk life with a foreign friend over drinks while cursing at some footy.

London was pretty cool. I don’t think I would have found it as cool if I didn’t have my own personal tour guide who knew all the random things to do that I may not have necessarily chosen on my own.

I’m sure London has a million more cool things to do, but I think between 8am and midnight I got to see and eat my way through it pretty well. Successful day trip, probably will end up back here again on some layover one day.

  • Mirna


New Years Eve in Paris: Food, Versailles and Louvre

This feels like the never ending trip right? It is almost two months since I came home from my 12-days in Europe trip and there’s like at least four more blog posts left to explain it all and post all the damn pictures. (Before we even get into this, if you like a lot of pictures, you’ll like this post a lot!)

Spending New Years Eve in Paris was one of the only absolute necessities for this trip. I knew I would spend NYE there and everything else around that date I would just figure out, whatever. MUST BE IN PARIS ON DECEMBER 31ST. The previous NYE I was in Abu Dhabi and feeling rushed between an insane 40-hr trip back from Maldives to Toronto. This time I would have two days to take in the city, eat my face off and actively participate in the most highly regarded New Years Eve party in the world. (Sorry New York)

I landed in Paris on the morning of December 30th, coming in from Zurich. I took a chance and booked a tour of Versailles for 930am even though I landed at 730am. I wasn’t sure how long the customs process would take, nor how long it would take for me to get from the airport to my AirBnB to drop my bags off but I had to rush my way through it all. Problem is that there are no tours of Versailles on Mondays (that’s at least what the booking info said) so it was either today or not at all. TODAY was going to be my day.

Luckily, everything went super fast and I made it to where my tour bus would scoop me at 915am. I opted to go with the ‘Skip the Line: Palace of Versailles and Gardens from Central Paris’ tour. They would pick me up at one of the three locations in Paris, take me to the Palace, give me a tour and then drop me back in civilization. That’s all I needed.

Personally, I’m not really good at following instructions or staying with groups so I got to Versailles and just took my own time to see things and walk around at my own pace. I’ve been to Carnivals that were less crowded than the inside of Versailles. To walk through there you really require patience and a strong elbow.

I should also mention, YOU SHOULD 100% PAY FOR A TOUR TO GO WITH, especially one that has you skipping the line. I’m not even exaggerating, there was a line of thousands to get in through the regular lines at Versailles. Four long lines easily holding 500 people per line. If I had just taken my time and made my way there, I would have been standing in that line for hours instead of just walking in with my group within about 10 minutes. Don’t waste your time, just pay extra for the damn tour.

After wandering around the inside of Versailles looking at all the luxury in the rooms and hallways, it had occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten since I left Zurich. Luckily, there is a very fancy pants restaurant inside of the Palace. The name of it is Angelina and of course, this had a lineup as well. It took about 25 minutes to get a seat inside. As you wait in the line you get to stare down the amazing array of desserts available to you and oh man, it just makes you even more hungry. I am personally a HUGE desserts fan and if you are as well, you need to come eat some at Angelina.

I got my seat, ordered a croque monsieur and french fries (or would they just be ‘fries’ since I’m in France?) Then I got my hands on the dessert menu and I went INNNNNN. I didn’t order just one dessert, I ordered THREE. All of them were delicious and you will see in the pictures below how glorious they looked. I should also mention, this meal inside of Versailles STILL cost me less than just regular hamburger meals in Zurich. * cries in high cost of living in Switzerland *

As you can see from that final picture, I also got another magnet to add to my collection. Very fancy.

After figuring out via their huge map how to make it back to where the tour started, I hopped back on the bus and we were all dropped off in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

I feel like I’ve seen some wild stuff in my life, but never EVER in my life have I seen this many people putting their lives directly at risk for a goddamn selfie. People were running into oncoming traffic, just to get a picture in front of this thing. It is never that serious. I snapped a pic and kept it moving.

There was a moment when I finally stood in front of the Eiffel Tower that I did have to take a minute and just tune everything else out. (I was on a sidewalk though) I legit stood there for 20 minutes just staring at the Tower. Seeing all the movement around it. Seeing the architecture. Nothing really prepares you for seeing it finally in person, yes I was in awe. The sun set and I got to enjoy eating a waffle while watching the glimmering lights emit from the Tower. Spectacular.

Woke up in my tiny AirBnB on December 31st nice and early to get to my tour of the Louvre on time. I specifically chose this AirBnB because it was within walking distance of all the fun stuff in central Paris without having to pay the inflated price for it. When I got to the area around the Louvre I was reminded again why choosing the ‘skip the line’ option for ANY tour is the best idea. This time it was ‘Skip the Line: Louvre Museum Walking Tour including Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa’.

I will say, for this tour, the gentleman was doing an incredible job of explaining everything inside and outside of the Louvre. I actually paid attention and stayed with the group for this, unlike at Versailles. It was definitely busy inside, but nothing as cramped as Versailles. The tour guide explained to us that if you wanted to see every part of the Louvre it would take six month of coming in for 8hrs a day. It is huge.

Being tall and chunky was a big advantage on this day because to get even remotely close to the Mona Lisa to take a picture you basically had to pretend to be an offensive lineman. There were just soooo many people and everyone wanted to shove and get their perfect selfie. I got close enough to snap my picture of it and keep it moving.

Once I got hungry, that was the end of the tour for me. I enjoyed the Louvre, but I sure did enjoy eating in Paris even more.

Full disclosure, I hadn’t been told too many great things about food in France. I was told it was small portions, delicious, but small portions. As someone who loves a big meal for as little money as possible, this meant a shitty time for me. These people were WRONG. The portions in Paris were not small at all and everything I ate, I could have eaten five more times.

I failed as a blogger by not getting the name of the restaurant I ate at before heading to nap, but this place really rocked my socks. I ordered this huge charcuterie board with a side of escargot and finished it of with some crepes. Yes, I also had fries. This was the most French meal I could possibly think of, shame I’m not a wine drinker or I would have been singing La Marseillaise by 4pm. I truly regret not ordering more escargot, I could have downed like 20 of those puppies. Oh wow. The most incredible tasting escargot I ever had was in Paris! Now that is exactly what I wanted to experience. I wish I had the name of the place to share and send everyone to. Fail.

Finished my meal and went on a scenic walk back to my AirBnB to nap before the NYE festivities began.

After the most blessaz food-coma nap, I woke up and slowly made my way to The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. My AirBnB host told me that this was the place you’d want to be when the clock struck midnight and I didn’t know any better so why not?

On the way there I stopped at another random restaurant to eat and made friends with a lovely family from California who were giving their 7-year-old son some wine to celebrate. My kind of people to be quite honest.

I arrived at Champs around 11pm and shit, was I late. There were already (what felt like) millions of people mingling, drinking and partying there already. A gentleman next to me in the madness said some of the tourists begin standing in front of the Arc from 3pm just to have the best view on the street. Again, after seeing what folks were willing to do in traffic for a good selfie in front of the Arc the day before - what’s eight hours of standing in the cold in comparison to that, right?

Although I can’t speak for everyone else there, I know I felt tension in the air. Prior to leaving for this trip, the biggest comment I got from everyone was, ‘you think it’ll be safe being in the crowd on NYE?’ I felt that. I felt it as I got to Champs and while I stood there awaiting 2019. Even though people were jubilant and very drunk, you got a sense of unease anytime you heard a siren wailing. To me, if I hear an ambulance (especially on NYE) I’d assume some drunks are just being belligerent. Judging by the faces around me that heard the same sirens I did, they didn’t have that same nonchalant expression. The fear of something bad happening in a mass gathering, an opportune time for some zealot. Leading up to my visit to Paris, there had been constant demonstrations by the Yellow Jacket protesters as well. I understood at this moment, anything was possible.

Luckily, everything was safe and well. The night went off without a hitch. We all got to see the most incredible visual displays on the Arc, followed by the fireworks at midnight to kick off our 2019. It was a hell of a street party. I’d never seen so much champagne and wine in my life! On the way home I called my boyfriend to let him know how it went and that I was walking home safely and during the conversation a random local ran up to me and kissed me on the cheek yelling, ‘bonne année!! bonne année!!’ So awesome.

Everyone should experience New Years Eve in Paris just one time in their life. I would suggest wearing comfortable shoes though because it will involve a lot of standing and at some point you also may need to hop over a police barricade or two. Small stuff.

I know I will return to Paris again one day because there’s absolutely no chance that I could stay away from such good food. That’s impossible. The Parisian locals were really nice to me and they showed me my favourite kind of love - food. I was really impressed by how kind the locals were since I can imagine the constant tourism must be a pain in the ass, especially during NYE when they probably have the largest influx. It was also pretty wild to me that IN Paris the locals all spoke English no problem but when I visited a certain unnamed province in Canada, the local Francophones gave me shit for not speaking French. Odd right? I’ll leave that there.

Go visit Paris. Go eat everything in Paris. Love Paris.

  • Mirna






Day Trip from Zurich to St. Moritz: Train Rides and Feeling Broke

You ever felt broke just breathing the same air as certain people?

Welcome to St. Moritz. To say this was the most luxurious place I have seen in my life would be understating the significance of it. It was like being in St. Bart’s again except with snow and nicer people surrounding me. I loved every minute of getting to this place and being in this place. Although I loved ALL parts of my eight countries in 12 days trip, this is still the highlight and most memorable piece of it.

First let’s start with (what probably lead many of you here via SEO) - How to get from Zurich to St. Moritz? Train from Zurich to St. Moritz? Day trip from Zurich to St. Moritz?

I know how this works. I know you’re either here trying to find out about the famous train ride to St. Moritz or see pictures. I have both!

The train ride for me began very early in the morning because to get from Zurich to St. Moritz takes SIX HOURS+ ROUND TRIP. That is the part you will have to mentally and physically prepare yourself for. Of course, the awesomeness of this trip is worth the time, especially on the way to St. Moritz because it is daytime and you’ll have these incredible views but the night? Not so great. It gets pitch black by like 5pm so the ride home will be darkness throughout the whole journey.

I purchased my train ticket ahead of time on the SBB Site and the cost came to about $80.00 Canadian for a day-pass (in first class) that I could use for 24hrs to continuously take rides to wherever I wanted to in Switzerland. The nice thing about that was I didn’t have to specify where I was going or what time, so it was really up to me how early I wanted to leave Zurich and how late I’d want to come back from St. Moritz. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE! I love Goosebumps.

So I was of. I chose to take the 630am departure going Zurich to Chur - quick connection - Chur to St. Moritz. This is where I will tell you:

THIS IS THE CONNECTION YOU WANT TO TAKE IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE COOL ENTRANCE INTO THE MOUNTAINS.

I had to put that so extravagantly into the post because I know when I was trying to find information on which route to take to St. Moritz, it wasn’t this clear. I basically took a chance. There were different connection options when I was looking for my train, so I am here to tell you to ensure you take the CHUR option and to make sure you sit on the right side of the train because that is the side facing the entry into/through the mountains. If you want to see proof of WHY you should sit on the right side, click here. My video of it will solidify why you should listen to my suggestions.

There is NO WiFi on the trains so I would suggest that if you bring a laptop or cellphone to maybe download anything you want to watch onto it before embarking on this trip. The train ride itself was calm, peaceful and insanely picturesque. But I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves.

I made it to St. Moritz at around 930ish. If you take the train and are just going to be walking there on foot you will go through a very nice corridor to enter into the city and it also takes you up three flights of escalators. There are old posters from the 1920s-1950s along the walls and also many items commemorating when St. Moritz held the winter Olympics in 1928. I hope your luck is better than mine because when I arrived they were working on fixing the escalators so it was a LONNGGG three flights of stairs up to get to the main street for me.

Once above I just decided to wander around. I really didn’t have anything particular planned except for I wanted to visit St. Moritz and hit a certain fancy pants spa while there.

Speaking of pants, I was wearing leggings. As I trotted down one of the streets going towards the frozen lake I managed to fall flat on my face. Yep. Right in the middle of one of the fanciest places in the world, my clumsiness took over and there I was on the ground with a bruised/bloody knee because I got too caught up looking at all the Bentley’s driving by me. So embarrassing.

After regaining what was left of my dignity I ended up taking a walk throughout the city, getting some food (best panna cotta I’ve ever eaten), journeying over the frozen lake and seeing clothes I could never afford - it was time to do the ONE thing I did dream of for St. Moritz……

It was spa time.

I had done my research and looked at hundreds of Instagram posts in and around St. Moritz. I know I wanted one of the places that had an outdoor hot tub/pool because, well, stunting for IG and the blog, duh.

This is how I found Badrutt’s Palace Luxury Hotel. To be clear, spending the night IN this hotel is over $1000.00 Canadian per night, and that is the cheapest room. Obviously, I can’t afford that kind of stuff (yet) but I really wanted to visit their spa.

Wellnesshotel & Spa inside Badrutt’s is located in the basement of the hotel. I did not opt to get any of the actual spa services booked, but instead I just wanted to spend the day lounging and getting good photos for the blog. Luckily, they have a day pass you can purchase just to enjoy the facilities, pool and outdoor hot tub. The cost was approximately $143.00 Canadian and I could spent the whole day there. I figured since this is Switzerland and everything is already expensive, and now I’m in the most luxurious part of Switzerland - this price was on par. If you were ever thinking of going and wanted to actually book any of the services at the spa, you can find the options here listed in CHF currency, which is why everything is so darn expensive. FYI: 100CHF = 131.30CAD so when I was there the 100CHF was $143 CAD. Lame.

The staff was amazing and so were the facilities. You get your own bathrobe and slippers, along with a plethora of towels available in every book and cranny of the spa. Before even getting to the pool and hot tub area they have: a massage shower, ladies only sauna, mixed sauna, salt steam room, aroma steam room, rain shower, mist room and ice room. I felt important.

Once you arrive to the pool area you will have to take a moment and take in your surroundings. No pictures will do it justice because it just doesn’t make sense how you are swimming/standing in/by this beautiful pool and looking at the Swiss Alps at the same damn time. When you pick your lounge chair for the day, one of the workers will come by with your own personal button to press if you want to order any food or beverages for them to bring to where you are sitting.

I think I ended up spending about four hours in the spa relaxing. They had this awesome contraption where you would enter the water inside the spa and then when you press a button these glass doors would open so you could exit to the outdoors while still under water. At this point you are outside, in winter, while in 38 degree water and snow is falling on your head. A feeling and view like no other. Highly recommend taking the time out of your day in St. Moritz to have this experience.

I felt relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on this 3hr + train ride back to Zurich.

I’d say I got back into the city a little after 830pm. This part of the trip did seem MUCH longer than earlier because it was so dark and you’re tired from your day so your only option is to watch movies on your laptop or sleep. Nothing to see outside.

Overall, YOU SHOULD VISIT HERE!!!! Take time out of your week or whatever in Switzerland and make your way to St. Moritz. You will NOT be disappointed. I don’t think I would do the trip in summer, although I’m sure it must be beautiful during that season as well. But the lure of snow-covered Alps while in a hot tub is too good to miss.

  • Mirna


Two Days in Copenhagen: Sneaker Stores and 7/11's

This won’t be a particularly long post since out of these two days, I spent half of one traveling over to Malmo in Sweden.

Copenhagen, Denmark was country #4 in my twelve-day travel bonanza this past December. It was a good destination to go since I’d have such easy access to Sweden and could experience a place I really knew nothing about.

Before arriving to Copenhagen I had booked this AWESOME hotel/hostel. The reason this place was so awesome was, well, #1 the cost and #2 all the good stuff it had in it. The hotel is named Steel House Copenhagen and it was probably the best part of the two days I was there. Before I landed in the country they had already e-mailed me notifying me to download their app so I wouldn’t have to go through any check-in process nor acquire a key - check in and the key are both accessible on the app. So going in and out was very straightforward since all I had to do was swipe my phone with the app open and boom, my room would let me enter. This hotel had a pool, a gym, a band area, a huge kitchen and it was located in the perfect place to roam around Copenhagen.

To get to downtown from Copenhagen airport was also really bless because the train ticket at their airport was straightforward to purchase, inexpensive and got you to the center very fast. Just watch out for the frigging landing at the airport because if you are someone who isn’t so good with flying? Coming in over the water in winter winds will definitely have you shook. The plane was palancing through the air as we landed. (safely)

After I got nice and cozy in my hotel I actually had no big plans for the night except I REALLY REALLY wanted to see Tivoli Gardens. And before you ask, no, this is not like the Tivoli Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. Bet you didn’t know I was a mind reader.

Much to my dismay, Tivoli ended up being closed the day I arrived and the following day as well. So the only pictures I could get were from outside of their gates. It was so disappointing because if you actually had seen the place in person? It was really something to be immersed in. The light decorations were so beautiful and it made you feel like a kid looking at it. Shame.

I walked away with my disappointment and just wandered the streets of Copenhagen for the night. You’ll notice from the title of this post what I had seen the most of in this city. I swear to you, every three steps in Copenhagen there was a damn 7/11 or a sneaker store. There was SOOO many 7/11’s that in some areas they were like positioned directly across the street from each other. I didn’t even see this in America.

If you are a big sneaker head, definitely make time to visit Copenhagen. Their selection is massive, unique and there really is a sneaker store every couple of meters. Good place to go broke filling your shoe closet.

That is my recap of Copenhagen. I hope I didn’t disappoint.

  • Mirna


Two Days in Prague: Beer Spa'ing and Ballet Goals

I realize I am putting these out super slow, but the 12 days I spent in Europe had a lot of content and had/has even more pictures. So I’ll get to them all when I can OKAY?

Prague was part of country #6 (Czech Republic) out of the 8 I would visit during this whirlwind trip.

You know what’s great about Prague? After being in places like Switzerland and France - my Canadian dollars finally meant something. I went from spending $50/meal in Switzerland to barely spending $100 in two days in Prague. What a magical place.

January 3rd - I landed in Prague at about 10am and caught an Uber to the center, where my AirBnB was located. When I arrived the host was there to let me in just to drop my stuff, since check in wasn’t until like 1pm. This was fine with me because I didn’t care to actually hang out in the AirBnB, I just wanted to drop off my bags and go get some food and roam the streets like a real tourist.

The first thing I did was find food. Do you know how incredible it was to have a VERY heavy meal for only $8.00? It was a miracle after the super expensive countries I had just been in. This place had potato, cabbage and shredded duck. BIG WIN. The food was delicious and now I had my fuel for exploration.

I spent the first half of the day wandering in downtown Prague, trying to get myself acquainted with where certain things were located. I made it across the famous Charles Bridge, bought myself some magnets, ate a fancy ice cream and then went back to my AirBnB for a bit.

Definitely should mention, this AirBnB I had gotten was a ‘private room’ in an apartment and the room itself was larger than my entire apartment that I do have to myself in Toronto. I’ve been in hotel rooms that weren’t as big as this room that just had my bed and a closet in it. I loved this AirBnB so if you’re ever in Prague and want something cheap, big and with an awesome location? Click here.

At about 7pm I made my way to the incredible Christmas Market in Prague. I spent the first 30-minutes of this trek on WhatsApp video with my boyfriend and his work colleagues showing off the streets. They kept me virtual company, thanks guys! For as much as people rather do traveling to warm places during warm seasons (shit, me too) - I will say, traveling to see the Christmas Market in places like Prague is a heck of an experience. So beautiful. The food stands, the music, the crowds of people and did I mention, the food?

This lady was selling a warm apple drink with cinnamon and pear in it, fifty cents. I think I spent $4.00 just at her stand, that’s how amazing this drink was on a cold night. Also, I ended up purchasing an entire pork knuckle/knee/elbow? I can’t even remember which part of the pig I bought but it was massive and it came with spicy mustard, horseradish and bread. GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME. I stood in the cold ass weather and ate the pork body part and drank the delicious warm apple drink. You guys should have seeeeeen the faces people were making at me eating that pork alone, apparently usually a small group of people order that for themselves. Yikes. My long belly has no end, I guess.

Naturally, I followed up all this food with more food by getting the largest crepe filled with Nutella I’ve ever seen in my life. No complaints. Now that I had walked for three hours and eaten more than a small village, I returned back to my AirBnB to get some rest because the following day was going to be even busier.

January 4th - I woke up super late and loved every second of this phenomenon. Up to this point almost every morning I had been up either to catch an early flight or an early tour. Not this day, today I was going to take my time and enjoy being a lazy bum.

Made my way over to a breakfast place that was a three minute walk from the AirBnB, got some food in me, went back to bed. Not the most exciting vacation description I bet, right? But you know what, sometimes on vacation you also DO HAVE TO RELAX. I realize I don’t take my own advice, but even I get tired of just moving all the time.

I got back up at about 1:30pm (told you, SUPER LAZY) and made my way over to The Beer Spa which I had a 2pm reservation for made months ahead. Just in case you are wondering, yes, definitely make your reservation for your 1hr time slot as soon as you can. The day I went? Both of their location were booked up for every damn slot from open to close. They’re very popular.

For full disclosure - I actually don’t drink beer.

I wanted to do this because sitting in a tub of beer sounded really relaxing to me. I mean I’ve sat in all kinds of spas to this point, why not a beer one? Sure. When you get to the spa you are taken into your own room (whole room is yours) and the host lady will explain to you how much time you have and then she will mix the beer stuff into the tub for you. You get to see the whole process in front of you. Then she gives you like three massive empty jugs of beer and says, ‘you can have dark beer or light beer, drink all the beer you want for the hour.’ Basically you sit in a tub of beer, while drinking a bottomless amount of beer AND they give you beer bread. The bread was very good, FYI.

You can choose to go in the tub nekkid or not, I chose not to and was in my bikini instead because I wanted to get some good photos for the blog and IG on my tripod.

The woman left the room and there I was, sitting in my tub of beer, trying beer and eating beer bread. I feel like the beer was such a waste on someone like me who doesn’t enjoy it you know? I did try both the dark and light beer, I just didn’t like it. I really did try.

After your 30 minutes in the tub, the jets turn off and you have another 30 minutes of going to lay down in a straw bed, while continuing to drink your beer. Now the straw bed was….. interesting. I put down sheets on it and then covered myself with the blanket they gave me. For as weird as it was, it was oddly comfortable. As one of my Twitter followers noted, ‘if baby Jesus could lie in it, so can we.’ Can’t say I’ll be giving up my mattress for it just yet though.

The cost of the experience was about $100 Canadian. I’d recommend doing it once for the experience because the beer does make you feel super relaxed to sit in, but do you have to do it more than once? Probably not.

Also, while we are on the topic of substances, let’s talk about marijuana in Prague. Again, a total waste of an experience on me because I have never tried cannabis. I am pro the legalization of it, I love that in Ontario more people will have access to it now, it’s great. However, I don’t think I have EVER EVER EVER seen so much cannabis out in the open like I did in Prague. There was cannabis shampoo, cannabis toothpaste, cannabis vodka, cannabis food items and they even sold like ounces of kush next to the damn Twix. It was so out in the open that all I could think about was if Canada would let me import some chocolate for my friends. I didn’t risk it though, sorry guys, I’m not going to jail over a damn edible.

So I get home after my journey through the valley of beer and kush - it’s time to look nice. During this trip I had looked like a bum about 99% of the time. I traveled during winter with only a carry-on and I did laundry along the way. There wasn’t much space for ‘cute outfits’ and I brought very little makeup. Tonight I was going to experience something I had dreamed of since I was very small. I was going to see the ballet at the famous National Theater in Prague.

If you thought you had to buy tickets early for the Beer Spa? That shit has nothing on the ballet in Prague. I bought my ticket for this ballet back in August. AUGUST! It was now January. The day I purchased my ticket for this ballet, it was the last remaining one for the balcony seating. This is how early you need to try and get tickets for the fine arts in Prague. For the best seat ever, all I did was pay $50.00. I think in Toronto if I wanted nosebleed ballet tickets they might be $50? The price worked really well for me.

There isn’t much I can write about the actual experience because it’s truly indescribable. I saw the Nutcracker. The place was packed. They did have coat check. The dancers and the set design were breathtaking. That’s about it? If you have time to go experience this in Prague, 1000000% go.

You should go to Prague. It’s beautiful. It’s inexpensive. It has class and culture. It’s cannabis and alcohol-friendly. If you’re looking for a good, classy, turn up - this is definitely the place for you.

  • Mirna


Day Trip from Switzerland to Liechtenstein: Passport Stamp Chasing

This is going to be a very short post, probably about as short as my time in Liechtenstein. If you’re here for pictures though, I got you. The quick day trip from Zurich, Switzerland to Vaduz, Liechtenstein was strictly a ‘let me visit a next country real quick’ situation. This would be country #2 out of the eight I was going to visit during my 12-days of shenanigans through Europe.

The day trip I had booked on Viator would take me on a scenic tour through farmlands in Switzerland, to a one-hour visit in Liechtenstein and then finish it off with seeing Heidiland. You can find the tour here, if you’re ever interested in doing this adventure as well.

I started the morning with getting a pretzel that had cheese in the middle at the main station in Zurich. It was delicious, and it was cheap*. (*consider this an unusual phenomenon while in Zurich) After that I walked over to the parking lot area near the station to meet up with the tour group. There are a lot of buses in this area for various tours, so make sure you find the correct one that you signed up for.

Once you find your tour, they will most likely put a sticker with a specific colour/number on you so you can be identified for the duration of the trip among the rest of the tours. Then you’re off! The big bus starts moving and you have a tour guide explaining in 2-3 languages about what you’re seeing. I was lucky because our tour guide was awesome and had a great sense of humour so it wasn’t boring at all.

We drove through some pretty picturesque places on the way to Liechtenstein. On the one stop we were in a little town (Rapperswil) with cobblestone streets that had a medieval church overlooking the center of it. Looked as pretty as it did creepy at the time. But you know what the best part of this city was? There was this INCREDIBLE pasta place I ran into (Marco’s Pasta Bar) before the bus left for the next part of the journey. The owner/chef would actually prepare the pasta in the middle of the restaurant (I love seeing my food made) and the portion size? MASSIVE. If you ever do this tour or end up in Rapperswil, you must go eat at this restaurant.

From Rapperswil we made our way to Liechtenstein finally. The tour actually spent more time in the little city than it did in this country. There is no actual border when entering the place and most of the ride there our guide told us about how the tax breaks are so great in Liechtenstein and that is why many corporations have offices there. Great. I’m too broke for this shit anyways.

So because there is no border, how the hell are you supposed to get your passport stamp right? Well. When you enter the city there are a bunch of tourist offices and if you pay $3 Euros/Swiss Francs they’ll stamp your passport for you. I definitely did that and so did most of the people on the bus with me.

I don’t really have much else to tell you about Vaduz, Liechtenstein because…… I’ve seen high school campuses that are bigger than this country? I walked to the left. I walked to the right. There was a tree, there were very nice cars, a huge watch shop and some skating rink. Then we left. That was literally the time spent in Liechtenstein.

Another 30 minutes of scenic driving and we arrived at Heidiland. You may have heard of this place from stories where you were a kid about that blonde girl named Heidi living in the Swiss Alps. Well this place is named after her. We posed for some pictures, drank from a natural spring and kept it moving. It was literally a stop in a park.

The bus made it’s way back to Zurich after this and we lived happily ever aft…. kidding. Mans just headed home as the night fell, and trust me, night falls super early in Switzerland during winter.

That was it, that was how I found my way to Liechtenstein and paid for a passport stamp. Now I have been to the world’s smallest country (Vatican City) as well as the fourth smallest country, Liechtenstein. San Marino and Monaco, I’m coming for you next!

  • Mirna

Day Trip From Copenhagen to Malmo: In Search of Burek and Zlatan

On January 2nd I decided to venture from Copenhagen over to Malmo, Sweden for the day. Naturally, this had been planned WAY ahead and Sweden was going to be country #5 on my eight country tour this past December. But this was the day I was going to do it, I was going to visit Banja Luka Jr. Now if you’ve never heard of Banja Luka it is a city in Northern Bosnia where only tall, attractive women are born.

i.e. - Me. I was born there and so were many other tall, attractive women. YAY US!

The reason I call Malmo this name is because my mom told me that apparently after the war many Bosnians settled in Malmo, but specifically, many people from Banja Luka. My city. (well, what use to be ‘my’ city now it’s the de facto capital of…. nvm, let’s not do this right now.)

I woke up nice and early to have breakfast at some hipster spot named ‘Next Door Cafe’ in Copenhagen before heading over to the train terminal. I will say, probably the NICEST servers ever were in this cafe and their blueberry pancakes were delicious. Also, the dinosaur they have you hold as proof that you paid for your meal was especially awesome.

As I merrily made my way over to the terminal, this was the headline that read across my Twitter timeline:

Denmark Train Accident Kills Six on Bridge

Whoa.

Pardon? I’m in Denmark. I’m about to go over a bridge with a train. Whoa. Rest in peace to those who lost their lives that day and prayers to those who were injured. Super scary.

My train was on the opposite side of Denmark, going towards Sweden though. The train that the accident occurred on was going between Zealand and Funen. I made SURE to Whatsapp my mom at this moment because the last thing I needed was her seeing that headline and thinking the absolute worst.

I made it to my 11:27am train and left for Malmo finally.

At noon I make it to Malmo and the first thing I saw was pastries. I had a very difficult time this entire trip saying no to pastries so this time would be no different. The cinnamon roll I got was yummy, thanks.

I proceeded to just walk around the center of Malmo for a couple of hours, see what the feel of the city was. I found the shopping area to be quite busy and they had a very good variety of places to buy things, eat things and especially find sneakers. Between Copenhagen and Malmo, I don’t think I had ever seen so many sneaker stores. I also had found this super super cute set of trees that had gift boxes and hearts dangling from them. Took a million pictures trying to get both in one shot. Eventually I stumbled onto a place that sells cevapi. I had mentioned earlier than Malmo was supposed to be Banja Luka Jr so I definitely had to indulge in some delicious Bosnian food.

Malmos Cevapi was the name of the restaurant I had found. I really enjoyed walking into a restaurant and hearing my native language spoken, even though I was not in my native land. There’s something so warm and welcoming about that, it’s hard to fully articulate it. Just feels good you know?

HOWEVER.

I was a little disheartened when I went to order my food. I ordered some burek and the person behind the counter said ‘what kind?’ Sigh. So disappointing. I should have cancelled the burek order that second and just stuck to the cevapi.

For those of you who don’t know, burek is a phyllo pastry filled with meat. There are other variations of it WITH DIFFERENT NAMES like sirnica (with cheese), zeljanica (spinach) or krumpirusa (with potato). Therefore there can’t be ANY OTHER KIND of burek, as saying the word burek should automatically mean it is filled with meat. If you want to piss real Bosnians off, this would be a good way to go about it. We will argue to the death of us about how to use burek. Please see picture below for how serious we take it, it’s a running joke among people in the Balkans.

Croatia ‘Have you seen Bosnia?’ - Serbia ‘Hold on, I got this’ - Serbia yelling ‘Burek WITH CHEESE!’ - Bosnia yelling back ‘Burek is burek!, That’s not sirnica! Everything else is pita, but only burek is burek!’

Croatia ‘Have you seen Bosnia?’ - Serbia ‘Hold on, I got this’ - Serbia yelling ‘Burek WITH CHEESE!’ - Bosnia yelling back ‘Burek is burek!, That’s not sirnica! Everything else is pita, but only burek is burek!’

Yes, yes we take it that seriously.

So I get some burek and cevapi. As I predicted the burek was just OK, but the cevapi were very good. I liked those. My belly was nice and full now and it was time to make the trek over to what the main purpose of my trip to Malmo was.

Finding Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

I mean obviously I didn’t actually expect to find HIM, but there was a place called Zlatan Court built by Nike in Malmo to commemorate him in the neighbourhood he was raised in. I checked my Google Maps and it was about a 40 minute walk there from the location I was standing in, so I started my walk. Found some graffiti hailing Drake on the way too, yay Toronto!

After some confusion about where I was (yes, even with Google Maps) I finally found it. I had made it to Zlatan Court. I was just a little bit closer to that beautiful man, Zlatan. Rawr.

I took some pictures and posed in front of the court after setting up my tripod and praying that the strong wind wouldn’t knock it over. I was content. I got cevapi and I got to my fave soccer players court.

Made my way back to the central station and headed back to Copenhagen. Another 40 minute walk, but I guess between all the pastries and cevapi it served me well to get some steps in right?

Overall, I quite liked Malmo. It isn’t somewhere that’s particularly memorable out of all the places I’ve been to but it also does have charm to it. If you’re ever in Copenhagen and want to do a quick day trip, I’d definitely encourage you to take this quick train over the bridge and visit.

  • Mirna





A Layover in Iceland: The Blue Lagoon

Yesterday was the final day of my long Euro trip where I managed to go to eight countries in 12 days. The finishing touch to this awesome trip was going to Iceland and seeing the infamous Blue Lagoon. Iceland would be country #8 for this particular trip and was country #40 for my total count of places visited in my lifetime, so it was pretty monumental.

For this portion of my trip it wasn’t particularly hard to plan it out because Iceland and their main airlines (WowAir and Icelandair) encourage taking advantage of your layovers there to explore the country. I flew with Icelandair from Luton to Keflavik and then later in the day would have my flight from Keflavik back to Toronto.

My time of arrival in Keflavik was 11am and the departure was set at 5pm. Let’s say it would take about 30 minutes to get through customs etc. that would put me at 1130am and I’d have to be back at the airport at 3pm for pre-boarding stuff to fly home.

I knew that the MAIN thing I wanted to do in Iceland was see the Blue Lagoon. I looked at booking my slot for the visit there back in October because I had read through various blog pages to book as early as possible because they are very busy and these slots fill up quickly.

The nic