Category Archives: Europe

Female packing list for Fall Eurotrip

3rd September 2017

fall in europe

Who hasn’t fallen prey of either totally over-packing and not wearing half of what they brought or, at the other end of the spectrum, feeling way too utilitarian and backpacker-ish for La Ville des Lumières for example? I have definitely done both! As a seasoned backpacker, I tend to fall in the latter category most of the time, but I do like to feel stylish when I’m city-hopping in trendy capitals. Do you think it’s possible to be stylish yet comfortable AND pack minimally? I like to think so! I’ve done a fair bit of city-hopping these past months (and there’s more ahead, stay tuned!), and this is my tried-and-tested packing list of the moment. I’m a pretty neutral-shade type of gal, and in this specific case, it makes sense to pack that way, because everything will fit together. Hurray for keeping it simple! Get packing!

Getting off the beaten path in Margherita di Savoia

6th August 2017

Margherita di Savoia, Puglia Italy

Early last month, I was mandated by the lovely Inma of A World to Travel to go and explore a “destination in progress” with Destination Makers and eight other bloggers. Italy is a country I absolutely adore (this was my sixth time visiting!), so I didn’t hesitate one second, as I had never been this far south towards the heel of the boot. The destination in question was Margherita di Savoia in Puglia, a rural town on the coast of the Adriatic that boasts the largest salt flats in Europe (and the second biggest in the world). It is located 75 km north of Bari, so you would likely be passing by if you were on a cross-country road trip or a bike trip. And I’m here to tell you: stop over, there’s amazing stuff to see!

WHAT TO DO IN BUCHAREST (AND THE BEST HOSTELS!)

26th June 2017

best hostels in bucharest

Bucharest was just too cool. I came here with zero expectations and left with an immense desire to come back literally two days later to see and absorb more of this country I knew little about. Bucharest mesmerized me beyond words with its unthinkable history, warmest people and hippest hidden gems of all sorts. I got so busy exploring the smaller unknown nooks and crannies that I forgot the bigger picture – I didn’t even see the Palace of Parliament – the second largest building in the world and an abomination of Ceauşescu’s rule. Just, what exactly is wrong with me?

VEGAN BUCHAREST: MY RESTAURANT GUIDE

28th May 2017

VEGAN BUCHAREST

Bucharest is not vegan-friendly at first glance. I’ve seen more animals grilling on a rod in my short time there than I thought was possible in a lifetime. But whenever I wasn’t able to make my own way to some of the vegan restaurants scattered across town, for every something impaled on a stick, there was always an assortment of delicious dips (something that resembles baba ganoush, trust me when I say fill your boots with this stuff!) and pickles to eat alongside bread. That’ll do.

Holiday Destinations Parents and Kids Will Love

26th April 2017

Going on holiday with the whole family is fun, and the perfect opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. The only difficult part is trying to decide on where to visit. You need to find a destination where both the adults and children of varying ages ones will have things to do. Below are some of the places that you should include in your list of options.

 Morocco

5 Surprisingly Romantic Holiday Destinations

26th April 2017

For most couples, after than their wedding, the honeymoon is one thing that brings a different kind of excitement to look forward to. To make it more memorable, be sure to choose a destination that exudes romanticism. Clueless about where to go? Below are five of the best places you might find interesting.

The Cotswolds


5 Fantastic Group Holiday Destinations

26th April 2017

While traveling solo is an enriching experience, nothing beats the joy of traveling as a group. Whether you are travelling with friends or with family, it will surely be a lot of fun, especially if you choose the right destination. Thinking of what to do and where to go? Keep on reading and learn from some of the ideas that we will be sharing below.

Boat Party in Croatia

3 Exhausting Holiday Destinations for Active Travelers

26th April 2017

 

There are different types of travelers. There are people who would like to go on a holiday to just relax, sunbathe at the beach and enjoy a slow-paced life. For some, meanwhile, they would rather be moving a lot and engaging in a variety of physical activities. If you fall into the latter, below are some vacation ideas that you might want to consider.

The Alps

If you are looking for a winter holiday, The Alps should be on your bucket list. The icy mountain range encompasses different countries in the European region and is famed for its luxurious chalets, although there are many budget-friendly accommodation options as well.

7 Icons You Must Include on your Visit to Europe

26th April 2017

 

From architectural feats to ancient landmarks, there are many icons that are worth seeing in Europe, including those that you can explore for free. If you are planning a vacation soon, below are some landmarks that you should include in your itinerary.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa

 This campanile or bell tower was constructed in 1173, but it was not immediately finished because of the disruptions, including war and debt. This 55-meter tower was constructed on soft ground, which is why it started leaning just as soon as the construction reached the third level. It is said that the tower leans at about one to two millimeters annually.Here are some top tips for a day trip to The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Ibiza, Party Paradise or Vegan Yogi Heaven?

7th March 2017

Holiday destinations acquire stereotypes, just like the travelers who go there become known for their nationalities… and the stereotypes that go with those. There are also the standard things you do in every destination. You go to India to do a Yoga teacher training, to Iceland to see the Blue Lagoon, to Turkey to go to a Hamman and get butt naked… you get the idea.

This time I didn’t get naked: my Blue Lagoon experience

13th January 2017

If you’ve been reading my articles about spas around the world, you might have noticed an emerging pattern. If you haven’t — newsflash: I seem to have taken a liking to getting buck naked in public. I mean, who doesn’t? Right? Righhhhhhttttt? Anyone? Well, ok, fine. Today, for a change, let me tell you about this one time in Iceland when I did not get naked at the spa. It does happen, sometimes.

GETTING NAKED IN GERMANY AT VABALI SPA BERLIN

23rd October 2016

Vabali Spa Berlin, Germany

I know some of my German friends would roll their eyes at me for saying that Germans love to be naked in public. But I think they totally do. If you’re not familiar with the Freikörperkultur, of FKK (free body culture), chances are you will after spending some time in Germany. And while some would simplify that the FKK movement was born as a form of resistance against the East German regime, nudism in Germany has its roots way further in history. After doing a little research, what stuck with me most is the use of nudity historically as a way for people to free themselves from the religious restriction that has taught people to be ashamed of their body, and from the industrial society. Without clothes, no-one is a factory slave, everyone is equal.

GETTING A WORK PERMIT IN GERMANY FOR CANADIANS

14th September 2016

Youth Mobility Visa Canada Germany

When I decided to move from Asia to Europe last Fall, I didn’t know where I would base myself. Most Working Holiday Visas (also called Youth Mobility Programs) for Canadians end at 30 years old, but a few European countries offer them for people aged up to 35. Upon doing some research, I found that my options were the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland or the Ukraine. I was pretty amazed when I realized the possibilities! I picked Germany based on the amount of people who had told me how much I would love Berlin and how easy it would be to find employment as a non-native German speaker. Want to test the water and visit Berlin first? Here’s how to spend 2 days in Berlin!

A Life Update

26th August 2016

mostly amelie

A lot of you wander here in search of vegan and long haul travel advice. But some of you (the ones who stick around and support me, I love you all so much!) have a genuine interest in me as a person and how my inner journey unfolds. I owe you a bit of an update… So it’s been six months – SIX! That’s the longest I have stayed anywhere in three years – since I arrived in Berlin from Milan. Obviously, the pace has been very different from the constant backpacking or bicycle touring you’ve known me to do, and the current state of the blog is a reflection of that – I feel like I have nothing exciting for you to bite into. It’s hard for me to share what I am up to for various reasons, and I have been postponing it up until now.

A quick video tour of Iceland

8th August 2016

iceland video tour

I had the immense pleasure to buddy up with TripCreator recently for an amazing trip to Iceland with my mom which you can read more about here, here, here and here. An extended layover in Iceland en route from America to Europe is a brilliant idea, as it is pretty much smack in the middle and it is honestly one of the most fascinating countries I have ever been too. Icelandair understood that and is now offering up to a seven-day layover at no additional cost on many trans-Atlantic routes. Hopefully this short clip will give you a little taste of all the magic there is to be found in Iceland and you’ll make it your next destination! 🙂

THE VEGAN FOOD GUIDE TO REYKJAVIK

2nd July 2016

glo vegan reykjavik

When I started researching options for where to eat vegan food in Reykjavik, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from a nation that eats puffin, shark and whale. But there is nothing I love more than being proven wrong about something, and Reykjavik emerged quickly as one of the most vegan-friendly places I have ever traveled to. For such a small capital, Reykjavik boasts more vegan-friendly restaurant options that I could visit in 10 days and the options were as diverse as they are exciting. Here are my picks. I would love to know if I missed anything, so please let me know!

STAYING CLASSY IN HLEMMUR SQUARE REYKJAVIK

13th June 2016

hlemmur square facade art deco building reykjavik iceland

I can’t really begin to explain how cool Reykjavik is. The northernmost capital of the world feels more like a small colourful village plopped against the stunning backdrop of Faxa Bay and the snow-capped mountains, where hip people strut and stop at even hipper cafes. Naturally, hip hotels and hostels abound in this design-forward city, and I found myself staying at the Scandi-Chic hostel-cum-hotel Hlemmur Square for a few days last month.

Hlemme give you the grand tour (get it?!)

MY SELF-DRIVE ICELANDIC ROAD TRIP

24th May 2016

iceland helicopter tour with nordugflug

An extended layover in Iceland en route from America to Europe is a brilliant idea, as it is pretty much smack in the middle and it is honestly one of the most fascinating countries I have ever been too. Icelandair understood that and is now offering up to a seven-day layover at no additional cost on many trans-Atlantic routes. Once you’re in Iceland, because of the poor public transport system outside of Reykjavik, there are two ways to explore the rest of the country: either by A – joining a group tour (and you may have read that it isn’t exactly my thing…) or B – by renting a car. When I partnered with TripCreator on this trip, I was informed that the latter was the plan, and I did have a brief moment of panic because… I do not know how to drive! Thankfully, the funny and wild woman that is my mother volunteered herself to be my personal driver, so we were all set to go! Yay!

Planning my trip to Iceland with TripCreator

9th May 2016

iceland-tripcreator

Do you sometimes think you’re a little too cool for organized tours, yet you’re often feeling too lazy to go through the hassle of researching your next travel destination and wished someone would just do it for you? C’mon, just admit it, we’ve all had those thoughts. Ha, I’m kidding! Kinda… Tour groups can be a great way to travel, especially if you are a solo traveler, but what I want to talk about today is a fantastic new way to have your itinerary all sorted and activities cherry-picked for you while retaining all the freedom of independent travel. Sounds too good to be true? Planning a trip to Europe soon or maybe you’re just a master-procrastinator and want to do a bit of daydreaming? Enter the award-winning trip-planning platform TripCreator.

Two minutes in Northern Italy

2nd May 2016

Northern Italy with Zhiyun GoPro Gimbal

I recently posted a “what’s in my camera bag” update where I discussed this little GoPro gadget that has completely changed the way my footage looks and I’ve been asked tons of questions about it. The Zhiyun GoPro Gimbal is a very portable (thus very traveler-friendly!) three-axis motorized stabilizer – unlike a traditional Steadicam that works with counterbalance weights and is super bulky and annoying to carry, not to mention difficult to learn how to use properly. I was really keen to put it to use, so I took advantage of my trip to Northern Italy to film as much as I could and I put together this little video! Can you see how much smoother the panning and moving shots are? Handheld footage can be very shaky and ruin videos, no matter how high resolution your camera is, so to me this is a wonderful investment that will make a world of difference in the overall quality of your footage. I find this specific gimbal great because you can attach it to different mounts, unlike most of the other ones out that that are fixed to a pole. I’m looking forward to do some bike footage!

A VEGAN-FRIENDLY WEEKEND IN BOLOGNA

28th March 2016

bologna view from asinelli tower 2

Bologna is a charming overlooked gem amongst hotshot destinations like Rome, Venice and Florence and I fell in love with it the second I stepped foot into its narrow, glistening cobblestone streets. The porticos covering the majority of the walkways within the old city make it the perfect place to explore in any weather and the edgy vibe from the large student crowd, alternative culture, progressive left-wing politics and excellent food make it the ideal place for those in search of more off-the-beaten path tourism. And no, Bologna doesn’t equal mortadella. Here are a few things I got up to, but there are so many more things to do in Bologna.

AN ART AND WELLNESS GETAWAY IN PARMA

18th March 2016

parma italy holiday

Parma is mostly known for ham and parmesan which, as you might have guessed, aren’t exactly my cup of tea. To be perfectly frank, I didn’t quite know what to expect from Parma, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. And what better feeling is there than discovering activities, sights and food that are all in line with who you are and what you love! Parma turned out to be an unexpected little haven of health and vegan food – the art part obviously didn’t come as a surprise, but contributed to a lovely getaway I can’t recommend enough. Here is what I got up to.

A RELAXING STAY AT AL BATTISTERO D’ORO PARMA

13th March 2016

Al Battistero d'Oro, best hotel in Parma, Italy

I arrived in Italy straight from a hectic holiday in New York City and couldn’t have dreamed of a better place to start my trip than in Parma. A city rich in history, culinary wonders and culture, Parma is also a quaint and gorgeous place to unwind, cure a jetlag while roaming the romantic streets aimlessly, stopping in cafes at random for apero and indulge in a little dolce far niente for a day or two. It’s also home to the gorgeous and relaxing B&B Al Battistero d’Oro where I had the pleasure to stay in the first three days of my Italian holiday.

10 THOUGHTS ON CYCLING THE BALKANS IN LATE FALL

27th February 2016

cycling the balkans in late fall

This post has been a long time coming because I still to this day cannot find the right words for it. My original thought was to offer some kind of guide to the places I went, what I ate, what I packed, how I paced myself and so forth. But for some reason, it feels pointless. Besides, during the month and a half that I cycled the 3,000km from Istanbul to Milan, I fully disconnected from any form of online activity, from updating my social media to gathering facts for the greater good of blogging. I was too busy taking in whatever the hell I was putting myself through, absorbing what was thrown at me, the brutal climate change after nearly two years in the heat of South East Asia and physically trying to keep up with a four-year veteran cyclist. Here are a few thoughts I gathered nevertheless.

Show Travelers Your World With Trip4Real

27th January 2016

Run-of-the-mill chain hotels and organized tour groups aren’t so much my cup of tea. As an independent people-person type of traveler who loves supporting small family-owned businesses instead of large impersonal corporations, getting off the beaten tourist path and meeting with locals wherever I go, peer-to-peer platforms such as AirBnB, Couchsurfing, Bla Bla Car or Warmshowers have always been some of my favorite alternative ways of traveling. What’s better than to discover a new place in the company of a local who knows the lowdown much better than a plain old book, takes you to all the magical yet unknown locations and is just so happy to help you discover their home town? One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting with locals and seeing “normal life” through their eyes in the places I visit.

14 Countries in 4 minutes: My epic 2015

2nd January 2016

mostly amelie youtube

In 2015, I meditated in silence for 10 days with Buddhist monks high on a mountain in Thailand, became a yoga instructor deep in the jungle of India, watched the sun rise over holy temples in Burma, cycled from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and from Istanbul to Milan, slept under the stars about a hundred times, visited fourteen different countries and met so many amazing people in the process. 2015 was also a year of great loss and I am ready to start anew.

Wherever you are, may this next year be full of adventures, health, surprises and happiness!

Getting naked in Istanbul – My Hammam Experience

23rd December 2015

I read so many Turkish hammam horror stories online from other travel bloggers that my curiosity got sufficiently piqued: I just had to volunteer myself on the naked altar of the body scrub sacrifice for the greater good of this blog (I know, tough…) – a rather painful and awkward experience by many if not all accounts. Tales of buck-naked merciless scrubs in crowded rooms, with nude masseuses getting to second base with prude North Americans had me sort of worried as I stepped inside Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamami in Istanbul, not really knowing if the tales were true. Thankfully, I quickly learned that the Turkish hammam experience can be a blissful, relaxing and absolutely beautiful one. Without further ado, here’s how I found myself naked as a jaybird with a bunch of other women from all over the world in the center of Istanbul.

Where to Stay – The Banker Han by the Sofa Istanbul

15th December 2015

Banker Han by The Sofa, Istanbul. Hotel Review by Mostly Amelie

I walked – nearly cycled right into, to be more precise – the Banker Han Hotel looking rather scruffy, dirty and disheveled (my usual self since converting to bicycle touring really!), half worried that I was going to get the “eye” for showing up all hobo-like in this very trendy new hotel in Istanbul. Instead of that, the staff came right outside to welcome me and it wasn’t ten seconds before I was handed a cup of tea and offered a seat at the reception with the staff who kindly asked about my travel. Some places are just so cool and hip and welcoming and perfect, and Banker Han by the Sofa is absolutely one of those gems.

Tea, Sugar and a Dream: A Vegan-Friendly Guide to Istanbul

5th December 2015

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Teşekkür Ederim, he says to me.
… Techek ….huh? I reply with a foggy mind, having not slept for the greater part of the last two days as I commuted between Bangkok and Istanbul via Oslo.
Just remember this: tea, sugar and a dream. Teşekkür Ederim. That’s “thank you” in Turkish.

And indeed that’s pretty much what I will remember of Istanbul. Cup after cup of “çay”, Turkish delight by the bucketful and a dreamy city filled with wonders (and people, lots and lots of them!) – a transcontinental city that is the confluence of East and West and a place I wished I’d had more than a week to visit. I kept busy exploring and admiring everything I could lay my eyes on during my short stay and wanted to share with you what I discovered.

Where to stay: Sumahan on the Water Istanbul

18th November 2015

Sumahan on the water Istanbul hotel review Turkey

Istanbul is a wonderful but hectic city and I arrived straight from Bangkok after a 40 hour commute, already frazzled by the pulse of the Big Mango. I was looking for a bit of a retreat on my first few days, a place where I could lay my head in peace while curing my jetlag. I found just that and much more at the beautiful Sumahan on the Water, a boutique hotel located on the greener, maybe less visited Anatolian side of the Bosphorus, the less harried and quieter Asian shore of Istanbul. It truly was the perfect introduction to this vibrant city.

One Year Later

1st January 2015

On top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, New York City

One year ago today, on January 1st 2014 at 8am, we locked the door of our flat in Montreal for the last time, leaving behind an empty shell of what was our life of the previous seven years, and dropped the key through the mail slot. As it resonated loudly in the dark empty box, I felt an excitingly familiar feeling in my stomach: we were homeless, the unknown awaited us. It was amazing to ring in the New Year in such a drastic, life changing, exciting way, and the feeling hasn’t left me since.

Kawah Ijen volcano complex in Java, Indonesia

Leaving England and arriving in Thailand

30th January 2014

We had a wonderfully relaxing two weeks in England catching up with friends and family. A bit of a holiday from the holiday really! We spent the first four days at a couple of friends’ flat in North London who were gracious enough to let us use their sofa bed. We (and by “we” I mostly mean Richard…) paid them back by cooking them some food at night and taking them out to Wagamama on our last night. I have to say that I could very much see ourselves returning to the UK and living in London in a near future and it was great experiencing life there from an apartment rather than an hotel room. Thanks Tara and Will! We love you!

Part 3 of my trip to Italy

9th July 2011

Montreal is gorgeous and warm today, just as it has been all week, so I was out of bed rather early this morning for a wonderful 10K run around the Lachine Canal and the Westmount neighborhood, quite the perfect way to start a weekend indeed!

I wanted to share with you the third and final part of my trip to Italy, from when Richard came to meet me. We traveled from Rome to Naples (which we found completely awesome against all odds!), Ischia (where we stayed at the very fancy Terme Aragona Palace Spa and had our epidermis scrubbed and whipped into shape like nobody’s business!), Capri and Sorrento (where we stayed at the even fancier Grand Hotel Capodimonte. This vacation really made me feel like a princess ;). As you can see, it was all about food! I’m thinking about going vegan after this cheese overdose!

Part 2 of my trip to Italy

26th June 2011

Well it seems I’m back sooner than I thought due to very crap weather and me being bedridden because of a rather painful gum graft surgery recovery.  So I thought I would update you with some more photos from my recent trip to Italy while my cheek de-puffs (jeepers, I can’t believe I have been back for 2 weeks already!).

I was in Acquapendente in the Lazio region for a month long drawing class with university, after which Richard came to meet me for another week and we visited Rome, Naples, Ischia, Capri and Sorrento.

Here are part 1 and 3!