This is the first monthly summary I haven’t written in Europe. After 11 months on the continent I finally embarked on a new journey. And I’m beyond excited to have started new adventures in North and South America.
Leaving Europe also feels strange in that it reminds me that sooner rather than later my trip will be coming to an end. While I still have just over four months left of travelling, I definitely feel like I’m on the home stretch.
It’s weird to think that just now my friends back at home are finishing the semester I deferred, and really the time I have left represents a normal summer holiday. But I’m trying not to dwell on that for too long, and just going to enjoy the moment for now!
1 October- Brasov, Romania
2-3 October- Bucharest, Romania
3-5 October- Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
6 October- Sofia, Bulgaria
7-9 October- Belgrade, Serbia
9-11 October- Sarajevo, Bosnia
11-13 October- Mostar, Bosnia
13-15 October- Vienna , Austria
16-21 October- New York , USA
21-25 October- Tulum, Mexico
25-27 October- Valldolid, Mexico
27-31 October- Mexico City, Mexico
Some Interesting Statistics
Countries Visited- 7
Tours/Organised Activities- 2
Shared Transfers- 2
Hostels- 11 (but 4 with private rooms)
Friends Stayed With- 1
Hours of Flight Delays- 6
Things lost- 1 (some tweezers)
The Best Night Out of My Life in Belgrade- Before arriving in the capital of Serbia I had been warned about the crazy partying scene. And I was incredibly lucky to have timed my visit to Belgrade with a weekend so that I could fully experience a night (or two) out in the city. I stayed at this amazing hostel (Madness Hostel) where I met some equally amazing people and we had a great weekend getting very fucked up in Belgrade. It’s the first (and maybe only) time I’ll ever have attended a rave in an old plane hanger with hundreds of Serbians. It was incredible and it’s the nightlife that makes Belgrade now one of my favourite European cities.
Bata’s Crazy Tour in Mostar- For the whole time I’ve been in Europe it seems I’ve been hearing about Mostar, Hostel Madjas and Bata’s Crazy Tour. Everyone I spoke to that had visited immediately told me that I had to stay at Madjas and I had to do the tour. And they weren’t wrong- the small hostel was cozy, clean and super friendly and the tour was incredible. Bata, the brother of the women who runs the hostel, leads the tour and he really is crazy. The tour gave us a unique insight into the war in Mostar, and Bata’s own personal experience leaving through this very difficult time. We also got his experience with living post conflict and the segregation that still occurs in Mostar even today. One of the highlights of the tour was being able to visit with a Bosnian lady in a tiny town where she made all of us food and drinks. Everyone put in a small amount of money and Bata told us that backpackers have helped pull her out of poverty. It was a very special day.
One last visit with my friends in Vienna- I began my trip through Europe with a week with my friends in Austria. It felt like a nice circle to spend my last couple of days in Europe catching up with Lukas and Steffi. It was also a couple of days where I could just chill out and recharge before the long journey to New York.
New York- New York is an expensive city and my budget could really only afford four days there. But Dad and I managed to squeeze as much as we possibly could into those four days- we would leave our apartment at 8am and wouldn’t return to 11pm or midnight most nights. It’s the most intensely I’ve travelled in a long time but it was well worth it. I got taken around the UN by my friend who was working there, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge, we saw two amazing shows on Broadway (Fiddler on the Roof was my favourite and it was super easy to get rush tickets), we checked out an ice hockey game and we wandered around and experienced the New York vibe. I now realise why so many people love this city, next time I’m going for at least two weeks!
Beach time (finally!) in Tulum- After a whole month spent on the beach in Greece in July, I haven’t really been able to indulge myself since then. It was getting progressively colder in Europe so beach time was off the table. But when I arrived in Tulum it was sunny and 30 degrees. Perfect beach weather! And I have to say that the beach in Tulum, accessible from the ruins, is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited.
Mexico City- Originally, I hadn’t even planned to go to Mexico City. Like a lot of other people, I was going to skip it and instead spend more time on the coast or the cultural centre of Oaxaca. But so many people had told me about the great food scene there that I decided to add it in to our itinerary, if only for the food. And they were right- the food was incredible, we didn’t have a made meal the whole time we were in Mexico City. But I was also surprised that I loved Mexico City for other reasons; the people were friendly, I loved the buzz that could only come from one of the most populated cities in the world, and the ruins of Teotichuacan have been my favourite so far.
Favourite Food Moments
Eating my across New York- New York was a place I was very excited to visit, and a majority of that was indulging in the food scene I had heard all about it. I was looking up New York restaurants and reading New York food blogs for month before I arrived. Thus we ate incredibly well while we were in New York; I managed to satisfy my craving for Dak Galbi by trekking out to the Flushing District in Queens, I finally got to eat Xiao Long Bao that was equally as good as my favourite Melbourne Dumpling Houses and of course I indulged in some delicious American Favourites like Shake Shack (best shakes ever!) and amazing southern food in the form of chicken and biscuits at Pies and Thighs in Brooklyn.
The Best Cocktails in Tulum- Cocktails count as a food moment right? Our guesthouse owner recommended this beach club for lunch and we happened to arrive just as there 2 for 1 happy hour started. And I have to say the margaritas and pina coladas I had at Zazil Kin were the best of my life. Dad had to put me to bed a little early that night.
Fish tacos in Mexico City- there wasn’t a day in Mexico City where we didn’t have fish or seafood tacos for lunch. But by far the best ones (and the best tacos I’ve ever had) were the ones that we found in a tiny street stall in the Languillo Market. Before arriving I had scoured blog posts for food recommendations and had stumbled upon someone recommended the fish tacos at Tacos el Patan. So we promptly hopped in an Uber and headed there for some lunch. We knew we had struck gold, when, after following some signs and walking through a shop, we arrived at a stall where a man was cooking a whole barracuda on a barbeque. They were heaven, and easily the best thing we ate in Mexico City.
The worst flight to New York- My flight to New York from Berlin involved a two hour stopover in London Gatwick airport. But it was only when I arrived in London that I was informed there was a two hour delay on my flight to New York, and that the airline I had booked (Norwegian Airlines) had to book a different company to service the flight for the day. Normally delays don’t bother me very much, especially when they occur in the EU and I now that some pretty good compensation might be heading my delay. But my Dad was going to be waiting at the airport for me and the delay had just turned his three hours wait into a five hour one. Things went from bad to worse and by the time we were on a random Portugese plane out of London, our flight was 4.5 hours delayed. Instead of arriving at the nice time of 8pm we didn’t arrive until 1am and my poor Dad was at the airport for the whole 7.5 hours I was stuck on my flight. By the time we arrived in our apartment it was the disgusting time of 2am. It definitely goes down as one of my worst travel days.
Getting sick- After managing to avoid getting sick for the last five months of travel, I finally had a cold sneak up on me. My body decided to get back at me for those two all nighters in Belgrade and I emerged with a full blown cold. Luckily it blew over pretty quickly.
Flying- I hate flying and usually avoid it at all costs, preferring overland travel. It’s not that I have any fear of flying- I just find airports frustrating and stressful, I hate having to pack in a particular way for a flight and things always seem delayed. Worst of all, my sinuses always tend to flare up from the cabin pressure. So the five flights I’ve take in the space of two weeks (a huge amount considering I haven’t taken as many in the last two nights of travel) have meant five separate nights of my sinuses screaming at me.
Money Spent- $3,654
Not my most expensive month but not my cheapest yet. I started off so well, if you take a look at my spreadsheet you’ll see that I spent I’d only spent $900 in the first half of the month. But then you’ll also see that more than a third of this month’s budget was spent in the 5 short days I spent in New York.
My plan to publish every day this month went flying out the door as soon as I got sick. I didn’t quite recover from that for the rest of the month. But next month I’ll be facing a dark spot when I head to Cuba for 10 days and thus won’t have much access to the internet. Thus my plan for this month is to publish as much as possible before and after Cuba.
Instagram Top Five
Mostar has been a magical end to my trip through the Balkans. Bosnia was one of those countries that grabbed me by the heart strings. The locals here and their stories of surviving war and siege are both frightening and inspiring. For them – this bridge is more than a piece of their history. It represents their resilience and hope for the future.
When you are editing photos from Greece and stumble upon this amazing sunset photo that you forgot you had taken! I’m currently writing about my month on Greece so head on over to the blog (link in bio) to read more.
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
You would think that after almost 11 months on the road, I would be getting sick of travelling and exploring. And it’s true that sometimes I find myself needing a rest day or two (or a hundred). But then a special day comes along; an amazing day that makes me realise how lucky I am to be on this adventure of mine. Yesterday was one of those days as I travelled around on a tour of Mostar and its surroundings led by the crazy brother of our hostel owner. He shared personal stories, shared his beautiful country and even took us to have Bosnian coffee and snacks with a local lady.
I’ve got just under two weeks left in Mexico before I head out to Cuba. This destination is already posing a challenge as I’ve just figured out none of my bank cards are going to work there so I’m going to have to carry a lot of cash on me!
After Cuba it’s off to Colombia where I’ll spend the rest of the month. Let’s hope I’ve improved my Spanish by then!