Busabout Diary | TheBlogAbroad.com

Hello and welcome to my weekly diary entries on the road with Busabout! As their Brand Ambassador, I’ll be using this space to update you guys with everywhere we go, what we did, where stayed, etc to give you a glimpse about what a travel experience with Busabout is like!

If you’re new to the program, feel free to start from Week 1 or jump around based on the cities. Cheers!

Week #9 – Mykonos & Paros

Wednesday, Aug 4th | 2:30PM
Written From: Athens, Greece

Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com
Mykonos, Greece

The Greek Islands! Not many other places in the world can compete with its crystal clear waters, Heavenly-white walls, and gorgeously paved stone paths.

As my brand ambassadorship was coming to an end, I couldn’t think of a more perfect place or way to end it than cruising around the islands that I first fell in love with in 2014.

Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com
Paros, Greece

The crew met up in Athens at our favorite rooftop view and hostel, AthenStyle, right in the Monastiraki area, which is super lively at night.

Our wake up call was 5AM to head to catch our first ferry to Mykonos.

Now, I don’t know what you’ve heard about Mykonos, but whatever it is, it’s probably true. The island is, in censored terms, a sh*tshow. But in a good way.

One isn’t meant to sleep or have down time in Mykonos because the island pretty much revolves around its nightlife.

Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com
Mykonos, Greece

We stayed at Paradise Beach Resort which had its own beachfront and nightclub, and made me feel like I was back in college again.

Guapa Loca, the name of the on-site night club is every bit as “loca” as it sounds, and you can expect the party to last until sunrise — you, not so much.

There’s also a bus that picks you up across the street near the market, and it runs into [down]town every half hour for those that want to explore Mykonos Town to catch the bar scene with other vacationers who will more than likely be from Greece, America, Italy, Spain, Australia, and Canada, from the accents and conversations I heard most (#creeplife).

Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com

I had so much fun exploring its streets and capturing its beauty from as many angles as I could.

Where are the best photo spots and when should you get there? 7AM! So in my case, straight from the bar to an all-night cafe to catch a bite, and then back to the streets to snag some photos before humanity starts flooding the streets by 10AM again.

Tourists are most active between the hours of noon and 5pm, so avoid those times when you want to get your photos.

Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com

Also try climbing up stairs in random alleys and seeing where they lead you. There’s a couple windmills and rooftops that I trespassed found to get some of my aerial shots.

Mykonos is also known as the ‘windy island’ so prepare to never have a good hair day. Or perhaps you find time to get them twisted up instead 😉

Mykonos, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com
Mykonos, Greece

Onto Paros, known as the “chill” island, but it’ll catch you off guard if you let it.

Paros went on to become my favorite island because it was exactly the pace I liked. The beach views were insane and there was little guilt in spending 6+ hours lounging at beachside at Krios Lounge, stuffing my face with their amazing food, and watching the sunset from their beachfront.

This is also where the Busabout crew has their 4-course dinner on their first night, and topped off with a fun session of Greek dancing and plate-smashing.

The staff at Krios Lounge look forward to welcoming our groups because they know how crazy things get when we start shouting “OPA!” once given those clay plates of glory.

Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com

But without a doubt, one of the most memorable things people do in Paros is join the AntiParos Island Boat Cruise which is a day-long excursion that takes you sailing around the insanely blue waters of the Aegean Sea, to a private beachfront where you grill up some souvlaki (Greek specialty), play beach volleyball, and just relax, before getting back on the boat to sail to more dive-worthy gems, and then finally back to Paros.

I’m not sure what you’re selfie game is like, but it’s real strong ’round these parts.

Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com Paros, Greece | TheBlogAbroad.com

We stayed at Elisabeth Pension while in Paros, and Lily (the crazy Irish lady) is as entertaining as the guide will probably warn you.

Whatever she says to you, she means it with love, so just prepare to be offended entertained, haha.

Paros also has a gorgeous little backstreet area where I was able to meet up with a fellow passenger Megan, of Megan Higgs Photography, for a mini photo shoot around the beautifully-paved streets. Check out her Instagram!

Paros, again, is just a gem all around and once you visit for yourself, you’ll probably mark it as a favorite too.

For more information on the Greek Island Hopper passes, click here!

Next, stay tuned for a recap on the islands of Santorini and Ios!

Week #8 – Krakow, Zakopane, & Budapest

Wednesday, July 13th | 8:30PM
Written From: Budapest, Hungary

Krakow, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Krakow, Poland

HOLY, MOLY POLAND! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the beauty and charm that Krakow, our next city, brought us.

We’re now nearing the end of our savings the East Loop and hitting a couple cities I’ve yet to step foot in.

My first impressions of Poland, Krakow specifically, is that it looked so POLISHed! Ha, puns aside, it really is stunning! I was amazed at the colorful architecture and vivacious main square.

As one of the oldest and largest cities in Poland, it miraculously escaped any damaged from WWII that many cities and regions across Europe suffered.

So as my new friend Martin said, its maintained its charm because of that.

We checked into Tramp Hostel, located right near the central square, and got ready for an exciting week ahead.

Krakow, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Krakow, Poland

The fun in Krakow started early as we had a couple hours from our arrival time to get ready for the Krawl Through Krakow Pub Crawl that is easily one of the best pub crawls I’ve ever been on.

The first place we get to, we’re greeted by this thing called “Power Hour” which means you have an hour to suffer drink as much as possible, and for some, this is where the night takes an interesting turn.

The bars we visit throughout the night all have lively environments and are frequented by a mix of tourists and locals alike.

Krakow, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com

While I’m still piecing together memories from the night (hmm, wonder why), I’d say the best part about the crawl, is that you can guarantee you’ll be surrounded with anywhere from 60-100+ other Busabouters and travelers who have all heard how much fun this pub crawl is, and will make the festivities all the better.

Along with things to do in the afternoon or evening, I highly recommend a visit to the Pinball Museum!

I was so excited to learn about this, because I couldn’t remember the last time I played with a pinball machine, and I promise you it’s so much more fun as an adult! I’m not sure I consider myself the “A” word yet, but let’s at least pretend.

Krakow Pinball Museum | TheBlogAbroad.com
Krakow Pinball Museum | Krakow, Poland

Martin, who owns The Cool Tour Company, who we went on bike rides with, also owns the Krakow Pinball Museum, so I owe him a lot of being responsible for 85% of my Krakow shenanigans.

There’s a lounge and bar area, and dozens of machines set to “FREE PLAY” that you have access to after paying the entrance fee of ($5 with a student ID).

By the time I got there, I ran into a fellow Busabouter who had been there for over 6 hours and basically, that’s the kind of adulthood I strive to accomplish.

Krakow Bike Tour with Cool Tour Company | TheBlogAbroad.com
Krakow Bike Tour with Cool Tour Company

So if you’ve been following along with the other cities, you know I love bike tours, and The Cool Tour Company runs one that takes you through all the gems of the city, including the Jewish Quarter, my favorite area.

Our guide, Wlodek, was a treat to be with, as he very eagerly recounted what makes Krakow such a great city to live in.

It’s a city of young people, and attracts thousands who come to study, and then eventually end up staying and living in.

He mentions that the locals aren’t fed up of tourists yet, which was a great point, because I can see the engaging eyes and genuine warmth in the faces of all the Polish people I met that weekend — and it’s a great thing to see!

Krakow Salt Mine | TheBlogAbroad.com

Next up, was a visit to the Salt Mine! Something I never knew I’d ever experience, but I’m so glad I did. Sometimes, we go through life just having things, usually in surplus, and not ever thinking about how they came about and the incredible sacrifices and lengths others went to make it possible.

To give you an idea of how deep this salt mine went, you could basically fit the height of the Eiffel Tower underneath. Salt was like the white gold of the time during the Roman Empire, so there was so much value in its production.

This was a unique and fascinating thing to experience while in Krakow, and I hope these photos do the slightest bit of justice!

Krakow Salt Mine | TheBlogAbroad.com

Also, one of the most booked excursions while in Krakow, is the Auschwitz Camp that’s also paired with Birkenau.

While it’s expected that the day will be hard and incredibly somber, there’s not much I can say to prepare you for this.

I think it’s an absolutely necessary place to visit to see the extent of human hatred, and do whatever we can to prevent that seed from ever being planted into modern-day society.

It’s also an opportunity to add some context to the entire network of monstrosity that was created under a single man’s rule — especially if you visit Dachau while in Munich.

Auschwitz Camp | TheBlogAbroad.com Auschwitz Camp | TheBlogAbroad.com

While I tend to process things in silence and alone on these tours, things took an unexpected turn when I met a survivor just outside the camp ground who was retelling some stories to a friend.

I couldn’t help but turn and just shake his hand. I was overwhelmed with emotion and I regret not having a proper reaction other than tears and a handshake, but walking through the rooms and displays, seeing faces, shoes, hair, and all the vivid detail of the horrifying things that went on, and then just like that, the tour becomes even more real with the chance encounter with a survivor. Universe, thank you.

He told me that upon arrival, he was 14, but lied and said he was 17, and a locksmith, so that they would think he could be useful enough to work.

He said that lie absolutely saved his life, because he would’ve been sent to the gas chambers otherwise.

Auschwitz Camp, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com Auschwitz Camp, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com

After leaving Krakow, we had a little change of pace with a visit to Zakopane, which was situated in the mountains and the perfect little escape from reality for a bit.

There are tons of hiking trails, mountains, and grassy areas to just surround yourself with nature for a bit.

The food is delicious, the people are incredibly nice, and it’s a perfect escape for a day or two from the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.

Zakopane, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com Zakopane, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com Zakopane, Poland | TheBlogAbroad.com

Last but certainly not least, was a visit to a city I’ve always held very dear in my heart — Budapest!

We stayed with our friends at Wombat’s again, which I’m sure you guys are used to seeing by now, as they’re our choice of accommodation in so many of our loops stops, so we already knew what to expect here — a good time.

I think it’s without saying that Budapest is a favorite destination for many travelers because of its beauty, affordability, and cuisine.

The best way to experience all the cuisine has to offer, is to do a food tour! We spent an amazing day with Taste Hungary and Tasting Table Budapest to explore all that Hungarian cuisine has to offer.

Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com

I must warn you, do NOT eat before this tour. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how large your portions will be and whether you’ll feel full after a tour, but I promise you, Taste Hungary does everything in their power to make sure you’re subjected to hands and knees by the end.

We also finish with wine tasting, so this hands and knees ordeal might be partially due to the buzz from Hungarian wine as well.

We started in the Central Market Hall and got the day going with none other than shots — because, WHY NOT?!

Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com
How lober do I sook?

Unicum is a local liqueur that’s drunk as an “apertif” to help digest food better. Fancy words aside, the party got started at 10AM, and I was 100% okay with that. As a national drink of Hungary, it’s a must-try when in Budapest!

One of the best ways to get to know a culture, is through its food, and you’ll come to learn the 4 P’s of Hungarian cuisine are — Paprika, Pork, Potatoes, and [in the summertime] Peppers!

Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com
Thanks, Tasting Table Budapest!

After the Central Market Hall, we stopped at a spice shop, a kosher bakery, a coffee house, an artisan chocolate shop, a place for lunch, and then finished with wine tasting to cap a perfect day out, where our mouths chewed faster than our stomachs could handle.

A huge thank you to Carolyn and Ferenc for having us and for those wanting an even deeper taste and experience of Hungarian wine and the history behind it, I also recommend trying the wine tour, also organized by TastingTableBudaest.com

Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com

So now, we say goodbye to another week on the road with Busabout as we head westward for Croatia to experience the Ultra Music Festival in Split, Croatia.

While sleep is becoming more of a suggestion rather than a reality, I can’t say how much fun this has been. So many memories. So many laughs. So many stories.

Thankful for it all.

See you guys next week! XOXO

Accommodation in Krakow: Tramp Hostel
Excursions in Krakow: Krawl Through Krakow, Krakow Pinball Museum, Bike Tour, Salt Mine, Auschwitz & Birkenau

Accommodation in Budapest:
Wombats Hostel
Excursions in Budapest:
Taste Hungary Culinary Walk and Tasting Table Budapest Wine Tour


Week #7 – Vienna & Bratislava

Wednesday, July 6th | 10:30PM
Written From: Krakow, Poland

Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com
Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria

Officially halfway through the East Loop and I’m remembering why this is my favorite region of Europe — not too touristy and very budget-friendly.

The coaches are getting fuller each route as people are in the prime weeks of their European holidays. It’s exciting hearing them compare stories from each of their stops, offering advice, and many planning to meet up with each other later down the road.

Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com
Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria

So next stop, Vienna! Austria in general is one of those cute and quaint countries that just quietly exist waiting for you to notice its beauty literally around every corner.

While we visited Ljubljana last week, which was modeled after Vienna architecturally, it was nice to be back in the heart of the city, staying at the most central hostel right next to Naschmarkt and one of my favorite branches, Wombats Hostel.

Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com
Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria

While in Vienna, The Grape Escape excursion, which combines wine tasting and bike riding, is an absolute must! If you’ve been following the fun on Instagram, you know how excited I get about my wine, and well, let’s just say they were quite generous with the tastings, so when you mix that in with the beautiful scenery, you get a very inebriated excited Glo rollin’ through Viennese vineyards like my life depended on it.

Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com
Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria

While bike tours are one of my favorite things to do in cities, because it’s literally the only time I get to mix in exercise on my travels, which can be a challenge in itself, and then of course, you negate all the hard work from the wine you inhale, but that’s beside the point.

It’s a full day as you first take a train to the area where you pick up your bikes and start your tally of up to 26 kilometers of biking, with wine tastings as soon as 30 minutes into the ride.

You’re biking through streets, bridges, vineyards, and gorgeous villages before making your lunch stop in a cute and quaint town where you have the option to walk up to the castle-top for an impressive view of more of what makes Austria such a beautiful country.

Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com

After lunch, more wine, we then make our way to a ferry where we get to the other side and relax at a little beach for a bit. The day goes smoothly and Gianni, who’s been my guide twice now, is so fun to be around. The man is also a bit insane as he speaks five languages, one of them being Icelandic, which says so much about his eagerness to learn! I love it!

Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.comWachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com Wachau Valley, Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com

Vienna is also well-known for its many eateries all around the town, so the first day you get in, you have the option of taking the Walk & Fork Tour which gets you acquainted with all the gems of the city and then you finish at a restaurant where a schnitzel with your name on it is waiting.

Also spend time exploring the Danube Canal and just having a little radler out in the sun and pretending you’re on a beach in Miami. It’s possible. Use that budding imagination of yours 😉

Vienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad
Vienna, Austria

Our next stop is a bit off the beaten track and I highly recommend you make a stop there because Bratislava, Slovakia is a gem in itself.

Not only is the Old Town absolutely stunning, but you’ll find that the night life is quite interesting! It helps that The Euros are in full effect right now, so every night you can expect the pubs to be packed with anxious football (soccer) fans from around the world cheering on their country (or at least against the country that beat theirs — looking at you English fans).

Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.com

Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.com
Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava and Slovakia in general used to be part of Czechoslavokia before the Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent countries.

A great excursion I highly recommend is the Veteran Ride Along the Iron Curtain & WWII Fortress System.

The owner, Robert, is a soft-spoken and passionate Slovakian who remembers visiting the bunkers since his teenage years where they were left abandoned.

Through community help and dedication, he’s since been able to rally together with others to restore the bunker to provide a unique experience as to what life was like for a soldier during the Nazi-Germany uprising and defending their land.

Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.com
What I thought riding in the back of a Russian GAZ-69 would look like…
Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.com
What it REALLY looked like…

Whether you want to or not, war was a large part of the history of so many nations, and it offers some depth to your traveling experience. I really recommend this and can’t wait to see what they are able to do with the hidden bunker deeper in the forest. Robert, please make it into a hostel or AirBnb! 🙂

Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.com
Robert posted up on the Russian GAZ-69 he drove us around in. Intense!

For the best view of Bratislava’s Old Town, be sure to climb the tower, for only 2.50 and you might get lucky and have the whole tower to yourself for a while #SelfieGameStrong

We also stayed at Brickyard Hostel which is outside of the old town, but just a scenic 10-minute walk down one main street, which is ample time to sober up at 3AM, LOL.

The buses in Bratislava are also pretty efficient, and for just 70 cents, you can take it down to Old Town very easily as well.

Our hostel had a fun and intimate group, both Busabouters and everyday travelers, and a huge shout out to Sandra who thew the best after party we could ask for.

Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.com

So many fun memories from another crazy and unforgettable week on the road with Busabout. Day in and day out, I try to take a few minutes to just absorb all that’s happening, because these life experiences, these connections, these scenes, are things some could only dream of.

And here we are, with front row seats to it all. Busabout, you’re amazing. Off to Poland next! See y’all on the other side 😉

Bratislava, Slovakia | TheBlogAbroad.comVienna, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com

Accommodation in Vienna: Wombats Hostel
Excursions in Vienna: The Grape Escape Tour and Walk & Fork Tour

Accommodation in Bratislava:
Brickyard Hostel
Excursion in Bratislava:
Veteran Ride Along the Iron Curtain & WWII Fortress System

Week #6 – Venice, Ljubljana, & Lake Bled!

Wednesday, June 22nd | 5:30PM
Written From: Lake Bled, Slovenia

Venice, Italy - TheBlogAbroad.com
Venice, Italy

Welcome to another adventure-packed week of my travels on the road with Busabout!

For this diary entry, I’m taking you through my impressions and excursions through Venice, Ljubljana, and Lake Bled, which ends the South Loop and begins the East Loop!

The South Loop started in Italy (Rome), so it only made sense to finish in Italy (Venice), right? (Rhetorical question, of course it does).

Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Venice, Italy

You see, Venice for me was like a dream come true. I’ve dreamed of waltzing through its gorgeous bridges and squeezing through its alleys for ages.

It’s a city made up of 270,000 people, 400 foot bridges, 170 boat canals, and 118 islands.

One thing about Venice is that it tends to get a reputation for being overly crowded and touristy — and I found that to be a lazy assumption.

All it took was a day trip out to the Island of Burano (known for its laces) or the Island of Murano (known for its glassware) to see that you could have whole squares and alleys to yourself if you wanted.

Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Island of Burano

And of course, one of the biggest and most coveted things to do while in Venice, is a gondola ride with some wine in tow.

But many people are turned off by the 80 euro price tag, which goes up after 7PM!

So a quick Google search later, and I found out about City Wonders Tours, which paired a “secret” walking tour along with a gondola ride around 8PM — perfect!

Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Gondola ride with City Wonders

Before the gondola ride, you have a local guide take you through some of the larger and lesser known areas of Venice, explaining its history and even a couple spooky stories which may or may not include a head floating up the canal — eek!

Another thing to love about Venice is that it’s as romantic or as you want to make it. Whether with your significant other, or venturing out on your own, you’re bound to find an alley or canal that you’ll instantly fall in love with.

Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Venice, Italy

St. Mark’s Basilica is an amazing area to grab a gelato and listen to the local orchestra play some tunes as the birds and passerbyers complete the picture-perfect scenery.

City Wonders also runs a couple other excursions in Venice if you were interested in doing more than just the gondola!

Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Island of Burano

We lodged at Camping Jolly which is a part of the PLUS Hostels Chain, where we also stayed in Rome and Florence.

With a bar, restaurant, and pool on our campsite, there were times it was tempting to not just lay by the pool all day and sip sangria. Which I might’ve gave into temptation a couple times.

As we’re not quite in central, it was convenient to have a shuttle running into the center and back a handful of times throughout the day.

Just be sure to book it in advance in the lobby as they can fill up, because it’s the cheapest and most efficient way to get to the city and back.

Venice, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
My room in Camping Jolly which had polaroid paintings of Italian cities!

Next up, a country that I think is the most underrated place in Europe – Slovenia!

Be honest, if you’ve never been to Slovenia, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of it?

If you’re drawing blanks in your head, you’re not alone. I also wasn’t sure what to expect!

But after being there for almost a week, I can confidently call it one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, if not Europe.

Slovenia quietly resides between Croatia, Italy, Austria, and Hungary — a small country with a large amount of beauty and adventure to offer.

Slovenia - TheBlogAbroad.com

Our trip through Slovenia started in Ljubljana (pronounced LOO – BLYAH – NUH), where I immediately knew I’d have a great time.

We arrived and walked into Preseren Square where bright, colorful buildings and a river surrounded us.

It took five minutes before I knew this was a city I could see myself living in.

I don’t say that about many cities, and often times while traveling, you can go somewhere, stay for a few days, and feel like you’ve done everything you needed to, which doesn’t call for a second visit.

But Ljubljana is not only a great city to visit, but it looks like such an enjoyable and relaxed place to live.

Our hostel at AdHoc Hostel was also the most central location you can imagine, just a couple minutes walk from Preseren Square, next to the river, and a strip of bars and restaurants to hang out in at night.

View from my window at AdHoc Hostel | Ljubjana, Slovenia | TheBlogAbroad.com
View from my window at AdHoc Hostel | Ljubjana, Slovenia

Life is especially good if you’re a student in Slovenia, because education is FREE (hear that, America?)

The average student studies for 7.5 years, because why not! You have free access to a world of knowledge, so it’s such a great time investment to spend getting as much of an education as you can.

Students also get meals for half the price in restaurants, so clearly, the world needs to follow suit.

Ljubjana, Slovenia | TheBlogAbroad.com Slovenia - TheBlogAbroad.com

The day we arrived we went on a Free Walking Tour (tip-based) as it was recommended to us by AdHoc Hostel.

I think it’s the best way to get a general feel of the city, and you can make mental notes for places you want to further explore later on your own.

One of the coolest things I learned is that their main square, Preseren, was named after a poet, not a politician, if that tells you anything about Ljubljana.

There’s also these things called Cavaliers, which are green carts that give people rides for FREE anywhere in the city they need.

The Triple Bridge used to allow for cars to pass, but it’s now a pedestrian-only area, so these cavaliers helped get people from their parking spot to their houses, but the service is now open to anybody.

Plecnik is the brilliant architect behind many of the bridges and key structures around Ljubljana.

He loved his bridges to be wide, like a floating square.

But by far, the highlight of Ljubljana, was going to Metelkova, where you will see some of the most creative, freaky, and awe-inspiring displays of art, graffiti, and everything in between.

Ljubljana, you’re my city spirit animal 😍

A photo posted by Glo ✈ TheBlogAbroad.com (@glographics) on

It’s also worth going in both the day and night time to have the sun to appreciate the art, and then the night for the bar scene.

The place transforms at night as it’s filled with mainly locals hanging out and enjoying a couple beverages.

Ljubljana, Slovenia | TheBlogAbroad.com
Ljubljana, Slovenia

After a blissful stay in Ljubljana, we were off to Lake Bled, to get a glimpse of that gorgeous castle-top view we’ve seen pictures of when we buy new desktop computers (they make for amazing wallpapers).

We stayed with our friends at Jazz Hostel, and oh my goodness, everyone deserves to have a Jani in their life.

Jani is the owner of Jazz Hostel and you will never see him without a smile.

He’ll call you “my friend!” at least ten times in one conversation, and in case you ever questioned your friendship status, he’ll say one last time, “Okay, my friend, anything you need, I’m here!” before you check in to your room just to reassure you.

Lake Bled - TheBlogAbroad.com

On days that Busabout arrives, they have a huge BBQ with all you can eat food for just 7 euros and the chef is a master.

You’ll get some great local, Slovenian food and beer along with the 30+ others staying in the hostel and it’s just a great time for all.

Jani in the corner smiling, people chomping down on food, and The Euros playing on the bar television — life is good.

Thanks Jani for the great stay! We miss you already!

Lake Bled - TheBlogAbroad.com

So the next day, we were off on the Emerald River Adventure, by far, the best way to explore and get a taste of the beauty so much of Slovenia is known for.

With an early start at 7:55AM, our minivan was here to take us off on our 12-hour adventure.

Again, with Slovenia only being 25 years old in terms of its independence, we were able to explore a lot of war bunkers and lookout areas when we scaled the top of a couple mountains.

Emerald River Adventure | TheBlogAbroad.com

There’s nothing like climbing the top of a mountain to remind you just how big this world is.

We started out exploring the most beautiful views around the Triglav National Park and Julian Alps, before starting what was probably the highlight of the day, white water rafting.

The River Soča, which is a beautiful emerald color from the water coming straight from the melted snow from the alps and then passing through the limestones which give it the minerals to change its color.

There are plenty of opportunities to test your adventurous side throughout the day, jumping into the water, splashing under a waterfall, and the many opportunities to just dip your face into the stream and take a gulp of the freshest water you’ve ever tasted.

Slovenia - TheBlogAbroad.com

Our guide Jaka is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He’ll keep you entertained throughout the day, and it was a bittersweet moment saying goodbye while riding in the van, while attached to the train, drinking beers, and cruising back through the Julian Alps after a long, but incredible day.

Whew! What a week! See you next time! Heading to any of these places? Check the links below!

Accommodation in Venice: Camping Jolly
Excursion in Venice: Secret Venice By Night Walking Tour + Gondola Ride

Accommodation in Ljubljana: AdHoc Hostel
Excursion in Ljubljana: Ljubljana Free Tour

Accommodation in Lake Bled: Jazz Hostel
Excursion in Lake Bled: Emerald River Adventure

Week #5 – Munich!

Wednesday, June 22nd | 1:30PM
Written From: Venice, Italy

Beer in Bavaria | TheBlogAbroad.com
In my element. Clearly.

Ohhh my beloved Munich! The capital of the rich Bavarian State, home to 13 million people and with the local spelling of München (pronounced munchkin).

It’s hard not to love a city that considers beer a meal, rather than an alcoholic beverage.

With over 1.5 million people, Munich is the 3rd largest German city, right behind Berlin and Hamburg.

We checked into our accommodation at Wombat’s Hostel, a place I’ve stayed at a few times before, and always love coming back to, as their breakfast spread sets the hostel standards up a few notches. Not to mention, as The Euros are going on, here’s what the lobby looks like every afternoon!

Wombats Hostel | TheBlogAbroad.com
Wombats Hostel Chill Area

It’s incredibly bike-friendly, and that’s why I was stoked to hear that we’d be touring with Mike’s Bike Tours to get acquainted with the major landmarks and stopping points throughout the city.

Mike's Bike Tours | TheBlogAbroad.com
They see me rollin’… they hatin’

If you’re lucky enough to get a Scottish guide by the name of David for your bike tour, be prepared to talk all things political and comical when it comes to Munich’s history.

When it comes to tour guides, I appreciate the ones who aren’t afraid to let their sense of humor take lead and do the talking.

I tend to remember more facts about history when there’s a joke attached to it, lol.

My favorite stop on the bike tour was probably (read: definitely) the Chinesischer Turm in the Englishcher Garten, a beer garden much less frequented than Hofbrauhaus, which would make for a more relaxed, outdoor experience!


Beer halls are truly a local experience as you strong arm your stein and find yourself making friends with other tables, dancing to the local band, and/or stuffing your face with the heavy cuisine that is Bavarian food (pork knuckles, weisswurst, and schnitzels) #GodBlessItAll

Germany is actually quite liberal, so don’t be surprised when you make the quick stop through the Englishcher Garten, and you find yourself squinting your eyes in shock that there’s another type of German sausage on display…

Englischer Garted | TheBlogAbroad.com
Other forms of German sausage – not as appetizing.

Next up, a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, the place where the famous Walt Disney got his inspiration for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

So how does one pronounce this castle that looks like I’ve fallen asleep on a keyboard…

Say it with me now:


Boom, you got it!

Neuschwanstein Castle | TheBlogAbroad.com

Now, I tend to speak in hyperbolic phrases when surrounded by beautiful art when I travel, but please believe me when I say the Neuschwanstein Castle (which photos are not allowed in, with good reason), is by far the most immaculate piece of collective art and interior decoration I’ve ever seen.

We went with Gordon’s Tours as Ramsey led us to the Promised Land of gold, with intricately detailed interior inside the castle, not leaving a single bland, white space in sight.

It’s the ONE thing I’d put at the top of my list when visiting Munich! I was amazed at how I hadn’t heard about it until now!

Ramsey, from Liverpool, was also a great guide to lead us for the day as getting to Neuschwanstein Castle required a 2-hour train there and a 2-hour train back, so he kept us entertained with jokes and fun facts like how there are non-desert camels in Bavaria. Who knew!

Neuschwanstein Castle | TheBlogAbroad.com

Also, the irony about Neuschwanstein (which is getting exhausting to type every time) is that it was built for one person — King Ludwig II, who was adamant about it being for himself only, yet here we are, almost 200 years later and it can be frequented by up to 6,000 tourists in a single day. LOL.

Ludwig II was a bit of an oddball. Truly an enigma. And unfortunately, he died before the castle was completed, so he never got to see it in all the glory we do today.

Though no photography is allowed inside, it’s one of the most-photographed buildings in the world and everyone needs to see it when in town!

Neuschwanstein Castle | TheBlogAbroad.com

Another one of Gordon’s Tours, which I did during my last visit in August, was the Dachau Concentration Camp, which you could read my full write-up on here.

I was lucky to be guided by Gordon, this time around. Irish-born, but has been calling Munich home for over a decade.

I have so much respect for people who are able to lead such intense tours while maintaining composure, while allowing the rawness of the setting and history to also do the talking.

Gordon doesn’t like scripts. Neither do I.

As current international events sometimes link to Germany’s dark past, he understands the importance of staying informed because on any given day, he can have concentration camp survivors or relatives of those who passed in a concentration camp, on his tour.

If you’ve never been to a Nazi Concentration Camp before, it’s something that you should make a point to do.

While traveling and getting to explore all the beauty the world has to offer, it’s important to stay balanced and humbled, and see the many ways history has and can repeat itself when it comes to political corruption and hate.

Dachau Concentration Camp | TheBlogAbroad.com

German kids come here as part of their educational curriculum so they can take on the responsibility of their country’s history emotionally and physically, and I have so much respect for the government or educational system that mandated that.

History isn’t made of rainbows, and it’s a sobering reminder why we need so much more love than hate in this world.

Dachau was the first of the 2,500 camps that were set up around Europe when the Nazi Party ruled Germany.

It was such a corrupt system, but the corruption started from the top down, rather than the bottom up.

Concentration camps like Dachau were professional violence and mass murder institutionalized by the government.

And horrific atrocities aside, there was also a MASSIVE business behind this.

They recycled and sold the clothes that the prisoners turned in when they arrived, so essentially, they were making money off of them before even putting them to work.

Stripping them of their dignity, both literally and figuratively.

Giving them numbers. Taking away their names. Their identities. Shaving their heads. Selling and profiting off their hair.

The anti-semitism of the past feels like the anti-muslim movement of today, especially in America.

Dachau Concentration Camp | TheBlogAbroad.com
Clear skies contrasting the somber mood of the concentration camp | Dachau

In Dacha’s 12-year reign, it recorded over 200,000 prisoners. A place that was built to hold 6,000 and 32,000 were found upon its liberation in 1945.


There have been some new additions and displays since my last visit in August, so I’m really glad I went for a second time.

It’s also a current memorial site, so please, please be as respectful as possible when visiting.


All in all, was great to compare and contrast my two visits and see how the development of hate speech, xenophobia, and politics can corrupt a nation.

A huge thanks to Gordon’s Tours and Mike’s Bike Tours for giving me the full Munich experience!

Outside of those tours, Munich is great for various cuisines, you’re always smelling SOMETHING when walking down the street, so stuff your face in all of it.

Take a stroll by Eisbachwelle, the man-made wave that you can find locals surfing in from sun up to sun down.

The stream is also cold enough to chill your beers in while watching them surf, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon!

Eisbachwelle | TheBlogAbroad.com
Surf’s up! As a Cali girl, this amuses me so much. I loved it!

Now we’re off back down to Italy to take on Venice before wrapping up the South Loop and starting the East Loop! Can’t wait! See you guys next week!

Munich, Germany | TheBlogAbroad.com

Accommodation in Munich: Wombats Hostel
Neuschwanstein and Dachau Tours:
Gordon’s Tours
Bike Tour:
Mike’s Bike Tours

Week #4 – Lauterbrunnen & Lucerne!

Wednesday, June 15th | 11:30PM
Written From: Munich, Germany

Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Interlaken, Switzerland

Perhaps the most picturesque country I’ve ever been to, was my 34th country, Switzerland.

Pulling up to our accommodation at Camping Jungfrau was like the beginning scenes of a movie. A massive waterfall frames the right hand, while the Swiss Alps and seas of greenery frame the other.

I was accepting pinches in all forms, because surely I was dreaming.

Camping Jungfrau | TheBlogAbroad.com
Camping Jungfrau | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

When it’s your first time visiting a country, emotions are high, because your body almost shifts into another gear as you allow your senses to simultaneously be stimulated by the sounds, sights, and smells of this new foreign territory you’re crossing off your bucket list.

We had such a warm reception by all the staff members at Camping Jungfrau, and talking with some of the travelers afterwards, it’s hilarious hearing how many of them echoed my sentiments, “Wow, they were just soooo nice!” Haha.

The campsite restaurant was where the Busabouters assembled for the night to unwind and relax a bit, and the ambiance of the place is simply stunning.

If you’ve been following along on Snapchat in real-time, you remember this gorgeous view.

Camping Jungfrau | TheBlogAbroad.com
Camping Jungfrau | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Many of you have been asking where this place was located, and I can’t recommend it enough as a solo, couple, or family getaway, because you wake up in the middle of a movie scene, giddier than a kid in a candy store.

The place is located near Lauterbrunnen, but the campsite stretches for acres, and is nestled right under the Staubbach Falls (waterfall) that you’ve seen in many of my pictures.

Camping Jungfrau | TheBlogAbroad.com
Camping Jungfrau | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Our first night, we even had a little surprise as a group of yodelers were also lodging at the campsite. They put on a show in the restaurant, which started a domino-effect of all my senses taking in the entirety of the moment.

The stunning Swiss Alps in the background, the delicious local Rosti dish, and the sounds of some of the most beautiful and angelic voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing live — all happening at this very moment in time right in front of me.

Aaaaand, bring on the waterworks. All the waterworks.

Camping Jungfrau | TheBlogAbroad.com
Camping Jungfrau | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

My salt water contribution to the world was increasing by the liter it felt like, shaking my head in awe, and in genuine appreciation for life and this moment.

This set the tone for the remainder of my time in Switzerland and it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.

Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Interlaken, Switzerland

Now conveniently, one of our suppliers, Outdoor Interlaken, has a small office right on the campsite, so you could check out all the amazing activities they have in shop. From skydiving to river rafting to canyoning to paragliding, there wasn’t a single person on our bus who didn’t do something!

Switzerland is such a gorgeous country to see from the sky, so naturally, paragliding was my weapon of choice for my self-destruction.

As someone who’s slightly (read: deathly) afraid of heights, this would prove to be the craziest and scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

So much so, I couldn’t even muster up courage to tell my mom. I just sent her this photo after the fact. Lol, sorry, ma!

Paragliding with Outdoor Interlaken!
Look, ma… NO HANDS! Paragliding with Outdoor Interlaken!

Some tips if you’ve never skydived or paraglided before based on my own personal experience:
It’s probably best to NOT eat a Chinese buffet an hour beforehand. This sounds like common sense, but most of my senses went out the window when I decided to do this in the first place, soooo, there’s also that, ha.

Talk to your pilot, get to know him, and tell him which is your good side, because he’ll be the one taking all the amazing photos while you’re sh*tting your pants flying! My pilot was Dani and he was hilarious, comforting, and we didn’t die. Soooo, SUCCESS! Not to mention, Dani owns the company, so I felt in really good hands!

Also, keep your phone in your jacket pocket (zipped up) and realize that your snapchat can wait. But if you have a GoPro, they have a string they attach it to so that it’s secure even if it comes out of your hand.

Paragliding with Outdoor Interlaken!
Gettin’ suited ‘n booted!

All in all, the adrenaline rush was something I’d never experienced before and I couldn’t recommend Outdoor Interlaken enough, especially for those really wanting to push their limits and see one of the most gorgeous areas of Switzerland from above. Definitely check out their website and give yourself a few days here to have some leeway just in case the weather isn’t on your side!

While in Interlaken, I also highly recommend hiking or riding the train up to Harder Kulm to reach the same view we jumped off the cliff to paraglide, haha. Ohhh, irony.

Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com

Some practical info about Switzerland:

– They speak German in this region of Switzerland, but ironically, almost like a Swiss-modified version of it. Either way, a hallo or guten tag (hello) and danke (thank you) go a long way!

– The currency is the Swiss Franc, which is about 1CHF to 1.04USD, so “translating” prices isn’t too difficult — just pretend there’s a dollar sign. Switzerland is definitely on the pricier side, so budgeting and keeping track of your expenses will help.

– Switzerland is ranked the second happiest country in the world (just behind Denmark) based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. And the Swiss people’s warm and inviting spirits really reflect this!

Camping Jungfrau | TheBlogAbroad.com
Camping Jungfrau | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

It’s so nice to have options to stay near nature every now and then in between the bigger and fast-paced cities, so I love how Busabout’s route is catered to those who need the city-detox every now and then.

So after an amazing five days in Lauterbrunnen, we went a couple hours east to a Lucerne, which has more of a city feel to it.

We stayed with our friends at Backpackers Lucerne, which, don’t let the name fool you, because this place is so cute, quaint, and just a little posh 😉

Backpacker's Lucerne | TheBlogAbroad.com
Backpacker’s Lucerne | Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Lucerne, Switzerland

This place is about a 5 minute walk from the river and a 15 minute walk into the central area.

I recommend taking a ferry ride, or just walking around and exploring its gorgeous neighborhoods. Lucerne is walkable and small enough to only need a couple days to explore it.

As you ride the coach with other travelers who stay for different amounts of times in each city, it was nice seeing some familiar faces in Lucerne and catching up with them again.

Cabin life at Camping Jungfrau
Cabin life at Camping Jungfrau

After you’ve ridden Busabout for a week or so, you start forming a bond with some of the passengers, and it truly does feel like a family.

It sounds so cliche, but these are the people you’re making memories with, exploring the world with, and changing the way you view life with. They almost become a part of your journey as much as the places, and it’s pretty cool!

Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com

Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Until next time, Switzerland!

Thanks, Switzerland! You’re like the perfect, straight-A student everyone knew and aspired to be like.

You’re clean, incredibly safe, efficient, and I’m not sure anger is an emotion that exists here. Your people are soft-spoken, easy going, hospitable, warm, and such adventurous spirits.

My only advice to the rest of you is — when in doubt, go to Switzerland. You’re welcome. #AllProblemsSolved

Interlaken, Switzerland | TheBlogAbroad.com
Staubbach Falls | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

As we set off for Germany next, very excited to re-visit one of my favorite cities — Munich! Until next time!

Accommodation in Lauterbrunnen: Camping Jungfrau
Accommodation in Lucerne: Backpackers Lucerne
Outdoor Activities in Switzerland: Outdoor Interlaken

Week #3 – Nice, Monaco, Lake Como & Milan!

Wednesday, June 8th | 10:30PM
Written From: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com
Nice, France

Welcome back to another weekly update of my 3-month tour with Busabout! If you read last week (posted below this one), we left off in the gorgeous Cinque Terre, the five villages that sit beautifully on the upper west coast of Italy.

We then went northwest to my favorite city in France, Nice! This coastal city on the French Riviera is not only the epitome of what a European summer should look like, but it also shows off the unique architecture of this area, as Nice was an Italian city in the past, which explains its colorful walls and shutters of the buildings.

Our accommodation for the week was at Villa Saint Exupery, right around the corner from where this lovely square resides!

Place Massena | TheBlogAbroad.com
“Oh hey, didn’t see ya there. Carry on.” | Place Massena in Nice, France

Villa Saint Exupery was not only voted the best hostel in France in 2007, 2009, and 2010, but they also pride themselves on having the cheapest beer in the entire city of Nice!

And yes, for uhhm, alcoholic research purposes, I tested this theory, and their €1.50 house beer (during Happy Hour) is indeed as cheap as it gets!

Also notably impressive, was their 24/7 gym in the basement, as well as a sauna! For someone who hasn’t worked out in ages, I was almost tempted to pump some iron, but then there’s the bar almost around the corner, and well, priorities.

Okay, so what is there to do in Nice besides EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING.

Well for one, there’s these measly views from Chateau Hill. Nothing special, right?

Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com

And then you have Adventure Tours through our partners at a discounted rate for Busabouters through the hostel!

You could do activities like sailing, scuba diving, canyoning, wakeboarding, and even bikram yoga around the French Riviera all with Villa Saint Exupery!

Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com

Nice is such a great city to just grab some gelato and go explore with no agenda. There’s something gorgeous every corner you turn!

Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com
My 4th or 5th cup of gelato [no shame] as I wandered the gorgeous neighborhoods of Nice
And because Nice is also really well connected, it’s only a €3.60 trip to ride the train to Monaco – the 2nd smallest country in the world!

Or if you’re not in a rush, taking the bus there is only €1.50.

Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com

Notable day trips from Nice include Monaco, the hilltop village of Eze, Cannes, Saint Paul de Vence, Grasse, Antibes, and Entrevaux, all which can be shown in more detail HERE!

Monaco | TheBlogAbroad.com
So THIS is what it’s like to not look/be/feel poor | Monte-Carlo, Monaco

I decided on a day trip to Monaco, because hello, Monte-Carlo, billionaires, me, poor, not a billionaire, it just made sense, the contrast and stuff.

If you’re curious as to what a city with Lamborghinis and Ferraris casually draping the streets would look like, then you need to visit Monaco.

Walk along the port, visit a casino (make sure you dress up!), and just take in the incredibly luxurious scenery everywhere around you.

If you’re hungry, which I recommend eating a TON before you leave so that you don’t end up spending €20 on a sandwich, you’re best bet is to keep walking inward and as far away from the coast as possible.

You’ll stumble upon mini pizzerias and gelaterias that have reasonably-priced meals (I got a €4 pizza + drink combo) to hold me over.

Monaco | TheBlogAbroad.com

While Monaco is quite small, you don’t necessarily need to bring a checklist of things to do. Yes, visit the casino if you’re into poor life choices “culture” haha, but definitely just take time to appreciate just being there. It’s truly a beautiful place, and if you look like you live there, you’ll get treated as such.

So ladies, break out the pearls and the girls!

Monaco | TheBlogAbroad.com
Monte-Carlo, Monaco

After Nice, we made our way back into Italy at Lake Como, which took roughly six hours to arrive. Our guide was Amanda, from Sydney, and she was so good about dropping some fun facts about some places as we passed through them.

I can’t stress enough how easy life is when you travel by bus! You literally just show up, probably fall asleep, and then wake up in a new country. It’s like magic! And I support this glorious sorcery!

Busabout | TheBlogAbroad.com
Pitstoppin’ like the pit-stoppin’ gangster I am. Wait — huh?

In Como, we stayed at In Riva Al Lago, with perhaps the most well-decored breakfast arrangement I’ve ever seen, which I showed you all on Snapchat if you tuned in!

And Lake Como was just as gorgeous as I imagined and just cute and quaint enough to make for a perfect two-day stop.

Often times, we travel to so many big and urban cities back-to-back-to-back and we burn ourselves out from being overwhelmed with all the things to do and the amount of people around us.

But a place like Lake Como is so chilled out, it’s almost like a travel detox, and I enjoyed just blending in, as much as I could at least, by taking in the sights and stuffing my face with [more] pasta.

Lake Como | TheBlogAbroad.com
Lake Como, Italy

Two amazing things to do in Lake Como is ride the little bicycle floats around the lake, as well as take the funicular up the mountain and hike up to the lighthouse to get the best possible view of the entire area as possible.

While death was nearly on my side and breathing down my neck, it’s absolutely worth it to make the slightly difficult hike to the lighthouse once you ride up the cable car.

Bring water, bring sunscreen (unless you’re black, lol) and get ready for some amazing views!

Lake Como, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
The view from the lighthouse | Lake Como, Italy

Also, hard to pass up a quick day trip to one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan! Just a 40-minute and €4 train ride away, you can get to see the fifth largest Christian Church in the world – The Milan Duomo!

Milan, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com Milan, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com Milan, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com

And maybe you’ll make some new friends along the way 😉

Milan, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
My milkshake brings all the BIRDS to the yard | Milan, Italy

All in all, week 3 was a great one, and I can’t believe it came and went so fast!

Nice, France | TheBlogAbroad.com
Ciao until next week!

We’ve just arrived in Switzerland where I’ll be writing to you guys next week about everything we get up to here!

Thanks for tuning in and chat with you all soon!

If you’re new to the program, be sure to keep scrolling down to learn more about what Busabout is and the places I’ll be stopping next!

Recommended Accommodation in Nice: Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel
Recommended Accommodation in Lake Como: In Riva Al Lago

Week #2 – Florence & Cinque Terre!

Wednesday, June 1st | 8:30PM
Written From: Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Florence Cathedral | TheBlogAbroad.com
Florence Cathedral | Cattedrale di Santa Maria Del Fiore

If perfection is relative, then Italy is its cousin.

The best part about traveling through Italy, is that you will not find one, single ugly part of it.

Italians have so much pride in their country’s beauty, and rightfully so, because the sights in Florence and Cinque Terre are enough to convince you to relocate forever, or at least flirt with the idea.

Manarola, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Manarola, Cinque Terre

The week started off in Florence, a city many people will tell you is their favorite European getaway, so containing my excitement was a challenge.

Every now and then, you just need to let yourself be the giddy, happy-go-lucky, adult-sized kid and freak out over all the beauty.

And that I did.

First, we explored the Tuscan countryside with “The Taste of Tuscany Wine Tour” with a local company in Florence called Italy On A Budget.

Taste of Tuscany Wine Tour | TheBlogAbroad.com
Taste of Tuscany Wine Tour

Although the “wine” part of the tour is what might attract most, you’ll be stunned by it all.

You’ll get to the gorgeous village of Monteriggioni, a 13th century medieval town, and then pass through the rolling hills of olive trees and vineyards on the way to Siena, and soon realize that the wine tasting is just the cherry on top.

Our guide Alfonso was both hilarious and energetic, and you can feel the passion about his love for Tuscany in his tone.

Siena, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Having a fancy drink in the town of Siena!

If you only have a couple days in Florence, this is the perfect day tour to take, as you get to see a different side to the city, and on the way back, you make a stop at the best place to take a skyline photo of Florence, at Piazzale Michelangelo, just in time for sunset!

A couple quick tips about Florence:

Leaning Tower of Pisa | TheBlogAbroad.com
Leaning Tower of “Pizza”

– It’s big enough to spend multiple days in, but small enough to explore it by foot.

– For the least crowded photos, wake up just after sunrise (6AM) and start exploring! The streets are empty, it’s bright outside, and you get the opportunity to truly take in the environment and capture those coveted photos for Instagram 😉

– Of course a day trip to Pisa (where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is situated) is a must-do, and a very easy 1-hour train ride from the central station in Florence

– I also recommend going early or towards sunset to get your Leaning Tower of Pisa photos. Also, let’s try and be a bit more creative than the “two-hand push” pose that 99.9% of people do. It’s hilarious to watch though!

Leaning Tower of Pisa | TheBlogAbroad.com
Leaning Tower of Pisa/Pizza

Now off to Cinque Terre!

But how exactly does one say that?

“Sink-wuh tare?”

“Sink-way tare-ee?”

“Kinky fairy?”

Okay, no, no, and LOL, go home, you’re drunk.

It’s pronounced “Chink-wuh ter-ray” and I admit to being ignorant to its correct pronunciation at first too!

Riogmaggiore, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Riogmaggiore, Cinque Terre

I heard so many variations of it from tourists who’ve been, but I hadn’t gotten to hear a local say it. But now that my ignorant tourist days are behind me (for the most part) it rolls off the tongue like it’s my middle name.

Cinque Terre translates to “Five Villages” and it’s basically a portion of the coast where these five very small villages reside.

If you’re looking to get that one, coveted photo that you always see on Google searches, the village to go to is Manarola!

Manarola, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Manarola, Cinque Terre

However, I stayed in Riomaggiore, and my hostel was “Affittacamere Liljana Rooms” (good luck pronouncing that by the way, lol). They don’t have a website, but you can book with them through my favorite hostel booking site HostelWorld.com.

The best part about traveling around Cinque Terre is that it’s so small, it’s very doable by foot, and if you have hiking boots or comfortable sneakers, I highly recommend the hiking trails.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty sure my glutes have been lifted a centimeter or two as a direct result of all the hills and steep steps I’ve walked in the past week.

The villages in order of which I think are the most beautiful: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso, then Corniglia.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Vernazza, Cinque Terre

I also highly encourage you all to make sure you take part of an incredible project that’s helping restore the gorgeous village of Vernazza.

Many times as tourists, we come to these cities and take, take, take.

Take photos. Take souvenirs. Take advantage of these places that are the homes of everyday people who are just trying to work and make a living, as we selfishly come, use their resources, and bounce.

So in partnership with Busabout, TreadRight, and Save Vernazza, we got to trek into nature and help out with the farming, rooting, and digging to help build a terrace.

The village of Vernazza was hit with a horrific flood in 2011 that created a landslide and destroyed and buried all of the town.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Hard at work! Grabbing those roots!

So I encourage you guys, if you’re coming to Cinque Terre, PLEASE get in touch with the lovely folk over at SaveVernazza.com and do more than just take.

Voluntourism is when tourists meet volunteer work and it’s truly a win-win for everyone involved.

Check out my recap video below!

And in case you’re still needing more photographic proof of the ridiculous beauty my eyes have been drenched with daily, I’ll leave you all with some photos and I’ll chat with you guys next week! Off to Nice, France next!

New to the program? Read more about Busabout below!

Recommended Accommodation in Florence: PLUS Florence Hostel
Recommended Accommodation in Cinque Terre: Affittacamere Liljana Rooms

PLUS Florence Hostel | TheBlogAbroad.com
PLUS Florence Hostel | The view from my window!
Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Daily life in Cinque Terre looks a little something like this 😉
Siena, Tuscany | TheBlogAbroad.com
Drinks in Siena!
Corniglia, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Corniglia, Cinque Terre
Vernazza, Cinque Terre | TheBlogAbroad.com
Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Week #1 – Roma!

Week #1 – Roma!
Wednesday, May 25th | 3:30PM
Written From: Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Rome, Italy

Ciao da Roma where the tour is officially under way!

I watched yesterday as solo adventurers have been making their way into our hostel at Camping Village and gathering around the bar (cuz, duh), accents from Australia, England, Germany, and some Latin countries! Exciting stuff!

You could see the eagerness across everyone’s faces, pints full, livers hesitant, and ready for a couple weeks of nonstop fun!

As a travel blogger on these trips, I do my best to blend in by drinking acting like I’m here on holiday or vacation as well.

Because the minute someone finds out I’m a blogger, they do whatever they can to make it on my blog, and it’s hilarious, because that’s not how it works. Ever. Lol

Rome, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Everyone speaks the language of gelato | Rome, Italy

But when you’re on tour with Busabout, there’s only one rule — and that’s to have as much fun as possible with these strangers *slash* soon-to-be friends who are about to embark on this journey with you.

The group is a mix of first-time travelers and seasoned ones as well, so you really get a good dynamic of personalities on baord.

When you ride the Hop-On-Hop-Off loops, you’ll find you’ll be staying in cities with the same people, or if they leave a couple days ahead of you (as the bus runs every other day), you’ll bump into them in the next city, and it’s pretty cool to be able to pick their brains on some things they did so they already have advice for you by the time you arrive.

Rome, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
ROAMing in Rome | Rome, Italy

I also wanted to take this chance to answer some questions you all have been asking lately as this tour is about to start! So here we go!

1.) What’s the age range of the riders on tour?
This always varies! While it’s open to anyone and everyone, the average age of riders are in their 20s. I’ve met some as young as 18 and as wise 😉 as 60, so don’t feel like you’re too young or old for this! We’re all out for adventure and exploration in one way or another, and it’s always a welcoming bunch regardless of age.

Rome, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Piazza del Barberini | Rome, Italy

2.) Do you have to stay at the recommended places?
Not at all! Busabout prides itself on being laid back and flexible, so if you have a friend to crash with in a city, or you just want to have more privacy, feel free to get an AirBnb.

But there are usually always private rooms available at the recommended hostels anyway, plus, the pick-up spot for the bus departure is always at the recommended hostel location.

So it saves you time and money to already be there instead of waking up earlier to catch the bus or metro to get there!

3.) Can we meet up?

Haha! Just kidding, of course! One of my favorite things to do is meet readers and locals on the road, so if you’re in the same city as me, the best way to let me know is via my Instagram, which I check throughout the day religiously.

While you might not be officially on tour with us, you could come along to recommended excursions and experience the atmosphere of what hanging with Busabouters is like! Dancing will definitely be involved 😉

Rome, Italy | TheBlogAbroad.com
Piazza del Popolo| Rome, Italy

So we’ve got one last day in Rome before we head north for Florence tomorrow morning. It’ll be my first time and I’m soooooo excited!

If you’re keen on exploring Italy, I highly recommend the South Loop of the HOHO network, which I’m currently on. Scroll down for more pics of the loops and I’ll check back in with you guys next week! Ciao!

Rome Accommodation: Camping Village Roma

Busabout Brand Ambassador

Hey guys! So I’ve been dying to announce that I’ve officially taken on the role as a Brand Ambassador for a company I absolutely love and have gotten to know really well! Most of you have seen from my Instagram that I’ve been touring with Busabout on and off for the last six months, and I knew I wanted to continue working with them on a larger scale.

So as a Brand Ambassador, you’ll see me promoting the tours across my social media and giving you guys insight on what it’d be like if you were there!

Through blog posts, Instagram photos, and YouTube videos, I want to show you guys not only the beauty of the countries we’ll be traveling to, but the in-betweens of travel as well – the transit, the food, and the fun!

Busabout is such the perfect type of combination for people who like to travel with a freestyle approach, but with the benefits and convenience of a conventional tour with private transportation, organized optional excursions, and my favorite, trips to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other hidden treasures I’d never be able to find on my own!

Busabout Brand Ambassador

I’ve somehow mastered the art of dodging the question about my upcoming travel plans every single day, as you all have bombarded my Facebook inbox, email, and Instagram comments with your lingering curiosity — but I love it! So at last, here is my itinerary so you guys can follow along, meet up, or even join on a tour!

Gloria's Busabout Itinerary
Here’s a custom map with all my loops, tours, and festivals combined!

Shamrocker Adventures

13 – 20 March

South Loop

23 May – 19 June
Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria

East Loop

24 June – 14 July
Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary

ULTRA Music Festival

15 July – 18 July
Split, Croatia

Greece Island Hopping

26 July – 12 August
Athens, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, Ios

Busabout Brand Ambassador

As a solo traveler at heart, I was both intrigued and curious with Busabout’s style of travel. Throughout my two and a half years on the road, I’ve adapted a very laid-back and freestyle way of travel, usually booking only one-way tickets, and making plans as I go along.

And that’s literally what Busabout promotes! You have the convenience of a local guide and private transporation, but the flexibility to plan your journey and stays as you go along.

It’s hard to tell how much you’ll truly like a city or country until you get there, so with Busabout, you can essentially make tentative plans, and then modify as you go!

This way of traveling is also incredibly stress-free, because instead of waking up in a city, knowing you have 48 hours to explore it, so you rush down a checklist for a cliche experience, you can now venture at your own pace, because you know if you enjoy it so much, you can just extend your stay!

Busabout Brand Ambassador

So the Hop-On Hop-Off Network is a series of loops around Europe that give you the freedom and convenience of maximizing your time in Europe and seeing as many countries or cities as you want!

These loops not only allow you to customize your stays in each city, but you also get a pretty unique experience because you’ll have a mix of urban cities, quaint villages, and then those coveted UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

Busabout Loops HOHO
PURPLE – North Loop // PINK – East Loop // GREEN – South Loop // BLUE – West Loop

You have so much power in planning your trip, Busabout just meets you halfway and provides the transportation and accommodation (if you choose to book the recommended ones).


Busabout Brand Ambassador

The Blog Abroad Takes on Busabout
18 September 2015 — Read HERE.

The Art of Asking
13 October 2015 — Read HERE.

10 Reasons to Visit Vietnam, Like Yesterday
08 December 2015 — Read HERE.

Busabout Promotions!


Flexi-passes 10% off all passes
Loop Passes 10% off all loops
One Way Passes 10% off all One-Ways



Italian Adventure 10% off – 27 May, 15 & 20 June Departures
Iberian Adventure 10% off – All June Departures
Ibiza Island Hopping 10% off – 24 June, 8 July Departures
Turkey Sail 10% off – 28 May & 18 June & 2 July Departures
Turkey Adventures 10% off – May & June Departures
Scandi-Baltic Adventure 10% off – 24 June Departures
Greek Island Hopping 10% off – May Departures
Croatia Island Hopper 15% off – 28 May, 4, 11 & 18 June Departures
Croatia One Way 15% off – 7, 14 and 21 May Departures
Cruise To The Beat Croatia Sailing 10% off – 2 July Departure
Eastern Europe Treks 10% off – selected departures
Oktoberfest up to 15% off – selected departures
San Fermin Hotel 10% off – 9 & 12 July Departures
La Tomatina up to 15% off
La Batalla Del Vino 20% off
Music Festivals 10% off


These offers must be booked by 31 May 2016. These offers are not available in the following regions: Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada.

Busabout Videos

Check out Busabout’s latest video for 2016!


Website: http://www.busabout.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Busabout
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BusaboutEurope
Instagram: https://instagram.com/busabouteurope


Europe – Busabout: http://www.busabout.com/Europe
Asia – Busabout: http://www.busabout.com/Asia
Ireland – Shamrocker Adventures: http://www.shamrockeradventures.com/G…
Scotland – HAGGiS Adventures: http://www.haggisadventures.com/scotl…


***Disclaimer: Booking your Busabout trip from THIS link or many of the links embedded above is an affiliate link that comes at no extra cost to you, but gives me a commission as a Busabout Ambassador. Hopefully this page and future posts will offer you all the insight you need in planning your Busabout adventure and I’m always here to help should you have any further questions! 🙂