Month: October 2018

Flinders Backpackers, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Flinders Backpackers is your conventional backpackers hostel. Basic. Weird stain on the mattress. Paper thin walls.

The only common space is an all in one. As you exit the elevator, the first thing you see are the lines for the front office. Look left and there’s the huge kitchen space, tables and chairs, piles of luggage that didn’t fit inside the $2 lockers. Look right and there’s a mess of people, playing games, reading, eating, drinking. Some call this a homely vibe, communal and inviting. I found it chaotic and overwhelming.

I shared a room with friends on level 9. We could still feel the bass from the nightclub on the first floor through the walls. I know we paid basic rates for bare minimum facilities, and I wasn’t expecting the Ritz. But I felt uncomfortable with the ultra-sterile chlorine/bleach smell that permeated even the curtains.

Honestly, the hostel forced me out onto the streets and into the city. For that, I am grateful. I did not wish to stay in that place any longer than I needed to.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Hard Rock Café, Lisbon, PORTUGAL

The Hard Rock Cafe in Lisbon promises a hearty meal and a time to recuperate. One goes to Hard Rock Cafe in order to savour the familiar, to hang their hat, plop into a seat and know what to expect. It’s stock standard, it’s a sense of home in a foreign place and it’s good food.

I had the local burger; a signature beef burger with egg and iberico ham and it was to die for. The flavours were a perfect match and it was the perfect little taste of unique Lisbon in an otherwise uniform menu. My strawberry and basil mock tail was saccharine, energising and refreshing on a summers day.

As to be expected, the venue is bouncing with music memorabilia and sweet tunes. The staff were particularly friendly and personable. Hard Rock Cafe is the place to be for a taste of home.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

The Hat, Madrid, Spain

The Hat, Madrid, is the funkiest hostel around. Facilities are modern, clean and trendy- a nice reprieve from some of the other gritty hostels I stayed at in Spain. I stayed in a big 10 bed dorm and had excellent personal security, a very comfy bed and more privacy than I anticipated. The hostel itself is awesome; there’s a swish rooftop restaurant, a ground level bar and frequent activities for guests like tapas making, sangria mixing or pub crawling. The Hat is reasonably priced and within walking distance from anything touristy. Cannot recommend this hostel highly enough.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Le Cafeier, Balmain, SYDNEY

This cafe was such a gem to find along Darling Street in Balmain. Sift through the alfresco cafe culture and go for something a little different- Turkish flavours for a simple brunch. I had the Turkish breakfast board, with sujuk, eggs, ricotta, olives and a blueberry compote. A truly flavoursome breakfast, each element in perfect harmony. I was taken back to my recent trip to Morocco, a place that celebrates the very same flavours. A little pricey, but that’s brunch in Balmain.

 

 

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Riad Zineb, Marrakech, MOROCCO

Riad Zineb is a dream. We found it while searching for hostels to stay at and while it’s pricey for a hostel, it’s excellent value as a riad.

Riad Zineb offers great security, free wifi, airport/railway transfers, free breakfast and sits in a central location in the old town, with the Medina and main square within walking distance.

The riad itself is stunning. Quiet pool, quaint furnishings, attention to detail, rooftop terrace. It’s all there. The communal seating areas are so comfortable and filled with odd curiosities, that make the place feel like home. I honestly spent more time relaxing in the riad than I did out in the square. It was an oasis.

Riad Zineb is sisters with Riad Karmela and they often share facilities. While breakfast is served in Karmela, Riad Zineb offers a fantastic dinner on the terrace. Karmela also offers traditional hammams and massages, which I made good use of.

What makes this a stellar review is Walid. Walid was the riad staff who first greeted us and made us feel welcomed. His customer service went above and beyond as he gave us his full attention whenever I had a pressing matter, which was often. For example, I left my phone in a tour bus (I know, right?) and he helped me track it down and secure it again. Also, we arrived sick and weak from a previous illness (ate some bad food elsewhere) and he kept checking on us, providing bottles of water, catering dinner to our needs: plain, bland and simple.

Riad Zineb is more than a hostel, or a budget riad. Its ambience, customer service and comfortable feel left us reenergised and content.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Hostal Catedral, Seville, Spain

Hostal Catedral (or Pension Catedral) is in a good location. Fast wifi, good security and well priced. However in the morning it can be noisy and the hot water in the shower can be temperamental. Facilities are basic.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon, PORTUGAL

The queue is long. It is always long. It can last up to an hour and there’s no skip the line pass.

Entry to the elevator and the viewpoint is €5.15. You can use a transport card to use the lift and if you do, you must only pay €1.5 to go to the viewpoint. It’s open from 9am-11pm, but there’s always a queue. We went around dusk (summertime, 8.30pm) and waited about 45min.

The view is sublime. Panoramic scenes of Lisbon looking out to the sea, or out past the foothills. There shouldn’t be many people up there to ruin your picture perfect moment as only a lift-full of people can be up there at any given time.

Afterwards, the main question is how to get back to geound level if you choose not to take the lift down. It’ll be an adventure in the back alleys of the city.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.