Story of the Week: Vanessa and Alberto’s Aventura

1. Choose three countries that you really enjoyed during your trip.

 

MYANMAR

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THAILAND

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VIETNAM

2.  How long did you stay in each country?

a. Myanmar – 25 days

b. Thailand – 35 days

c. Vietnam – 15 days

3. How did you go to ,Vietnam. Thailand, Myanmar  You can describe how you got there. 🙂

From HongKong Express, they flew to Vietnam in Danan, through Air Asia.

Vietnam – cambodia- laos- north of Thailand– from Myanmar, they flew back to Thailand so they can explore more of the other parts of Thailand.  Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia.

From Haitai, Laos, we walked 6 and a half kilomoters. It was less than usual because someone offered them* a ride going to the border of Thailand.  Then we took the bus, as it is not allowed to just walk your way to the border.

A day before crossing the border, we hitchhiked from Sukottai to Mae Sott, and we slept in the bus station in Mae Sott.  Walked 3 km to the border of Myanmar. Filled up the paperworks and got in Myawaddy town.

4. So far, how much do you think you have used just for the flight tickets around Asia? Estimated.  From spain to Asia and other places in Asia and back to Spain

A: 1000 euros per person

5. What are the most delicious food you tasted in each country? Is there a meal that is somewhat similar to any meal you had in Spain? NONE

a. Vietnam – Bambao

b. Cambodia – ( can’t remember the name)

c. Thailand -Mango sticky rice

d. Laos –  sticky rice with Chicken

e. Myanmar – Shan Noodles

f. Malaysia – Roti

g. Singapore – White Carrot Cake (but it tastes like fish, so it’s weird)

 

6. How much is your budget for the whole South East Asian Trip?

3000 euros (probably less)

 

7. Were you able to communicate with a lot of locals in each country? Yes

Because of couchsurfing and hitchhiking.

 

8. When did you start hitchhiking?

Their first time was in Cambodia. 4 months since the first time.

9. What were your worries before trying it and what have you proven after the continuous hitchhiking adventures?

They weren’t worried at all since there are two of them and felt confident about it.

10.  How can you describe the people in those countries in general based on your experience?

Friendly, Helpful. All of them are very helpful. The younger generation wants to talk to them and just speak English. You can have random conversations from different groups of strangers.

 

11. What are the most memorable things you experienced that you can tell your grandchildren someday?

The rides are memorable. Hitchhiking is fun and it is always different. Sometimes, they can find people who can speak English very well and they definitely had good conversations with them. They can even  get free food because you can get invited for lunch. The wind is also nice and refreshing. But sometimes there are also people who can’t speak English at all and so, the conversation was going nowhere which made it so funny.

Also, Snorkeling in the Philippines (Puerto Galera). The north of Thailand, Chian Rai is really beautiful. They mostly see amazingly beautiful temples. They are even in different colors. There’s also a sitting Buddha.

They did trekking in Myanmar and slept in a monastery. It was on the floor and just a matress.

12. How about bad experiences? Did you have one?

They had a bad experience in hitchhiking.  It was a curvy road and it’s a little slippery. They got into an accident.

13. As a backpacker, do you have some tips for beginners?

Always prepare for your trip in advance so you can get a lot of information before you dive into the world of traveling. It’s helpful. It’s not you have to follow the whole plan. It will just give you a little idea.

Don’t bring too much stuff. It’s not worth the weight.

If you hitchhike, always be confident and be positive so you can find a good ride.

Set an objective–something that you can do in a day that you want to accomplish.

Always smile because it’s helpful when you talk to anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story of the Week: Sagada Adventures with Mel

Q: What motivates you to travel despite your busy schedule?
A: My inner wanderlust.

I agree with this. I know that for some of us, our work doesn’t permit us to enjoy a vacation, but if you have that inner wanderlust, you will surely find yourself lost in the beauty of nature! 

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This is their hospital. Mel admired the simplicity of life here in Sagada.

Q: Which do you prefer: Day Tours/ Backpacking (for weeks or months)/ A few overnight stays?
A: I haven’t experienced the backpacking yet, but I would love to. So far I prefer Overnight Stays, day tour is too short.

 

Q: What are your preparations before going on a trip?
A: Before going on a trip, I usually prepare the things that I need to bring with me. I packed my clothes, toiletries and other essentials a day before. I make sure that I’m in good condition for travelling, I would like to have a good night sleep but because of excitement I just can’t have. Haha.

Q: If you can travel for the next 3 months, where would you like to go? Why?
A: If I can travel for the next 3 months, I would like to go to my country’s 81 Provinces. I did have trips on the few and it will be awesome if I got to visit them all. Just like what I’ve said, I always wanted to explore the beauty of PH.

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Sagada Lake. “At that time, the water looked like chocolate. It just rained but it was still beautiful.”

Q: What do you like most about this place?
A: Philippines natural wonder.

 

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Cemetery

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Kiltepan

Q: Did you have expectations prior to your visit? Did your experience live up to the expectations you had?
A: Of course I have but not much. I just wanted to enjoy my stay and appreciate the beauty of the place that I visited. As for my experiences there I can say that it somehow exceeded my expectations.

Q: What is your message to our friends who would like to travel but can’t find time out of their day jobs?
A: You can always opt to have travels on weekends ( also you can take a leave once in a while, remember it’s your privilege(, don’t get confined in that 4 corner wall. Make time for yourself and enjoy! If you think travelling is the cure to your stressful life, go pack your bag now and explore!

 

Thank you Mel for sharing your experience here at Sagada. I was able to feel your excitement while telling this story and I’m sure that there are more places you can share with us. 

So for you guys, just enjoy the place and have fun. 

Visit Sagada someday! 🙂

Mountain Adventures with Nikhsplorer!

Hi everyone! I’m back with another post!

Today, we’ll hear from Nikhail. Recently,  she is going to many places and I am glad that she agreed to share her traveling adventures with us. So if you haven’t been to the Philippines yet, here’s some itinerary you might want to add in your plan.

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Q: What’s your name?
A: Nikhail Grace Z. Gonzales aka nikhsplorer hehe 😅

Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from Batangas but been working and living in Makati since 2012.

Q: What is your dream?
A: LOTS 😂 i have lots of dreams on different aspects but since this is about travel so my dream is to travel and explore different places in the philippines and even other parts of the world with a purpose. So Travel and explore with a purpose. A purpose that is more of others and less for self. You’ll know more about it in my succeeding trips. Hehe

Q: When have you decided that you want to travel? Is it something that you have always wanted?
A: Since I started working. Since I started earning on my own. Yes, always! 😃

Q: Where did you travel recently?
A: We had a day tour at Minalungao in Nueva Ecija last Feb. 26. And a trilogy hike in Nasugbu (Batulao, Talamitam and Apayang) last Jan. 14. And last dec 2016, had a 3 day trip in Agusan del Norte. Went to tinuy-an falls, enchanted river and island hopping at Britania group of islands.

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                                                                   Minalugao, Nueve Ecija                                                                       Photo source: Nikhail Gonzales

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                                                                                Batulao                                                                   Photo Source: Nikhail Gonzales

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Talamitam

 

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                                               Apayang                                                      Photo source: Nikhail Gonzales

Q: Is that your favorite place so far? If not, please tell me your favorite, and why?
A: So far, my favorite was the trilogy experience because I must say it is really an achievement to have climbed 3 mountains in one day with a side trip pa to caleruega church.

That’s indeed an achievement Nikhail! I think it’s amazing to climb 3 mountains in one day. I can imagine the thrill and satisfaction in every climb. 🙂

 

Q: Was it difficult to go there? How long did it take you to get there?
A: No it’s not. Since we left manila so early, we only had 1.5 hours of travel to nasugbu.

As you know, it’s always traffic in Manila so leaving early can give you a big headstart! Beat the traffic by leaving early. 🙂

Q: How much did you have to spend so you can experience the adventures at its best?
A: 3 mountains for only Php746.00 😁

Wow! That’s an awesome deal Nikhail! Guys, Php 746.00 is only 14.82 USD. You should include this in your next travel plan. 

Q: How often do you travel?
A: I aim and look forward to have a monthly get away on a budget.

Q: What motivates you to travel despite your busy schedule?
A: Hunger for learning and experience. It is when i travel i get recharged. It is when i travel i learn. It is when i travel i met new people. It is when i travel i get to know about different places. It is when I travel i get to know myself more.

Q: Which do you prefer: Day Tours/ Backpacking (for weeks or months)/ A few overnight stays?
A: So far, we go for DIY day tours.

Q: What are your preparations before going on a trip?
A: Read blogs and itineraries.

How about you guys? Do you do this to? ’cause I do! And it helps a lot. 🙂

Q: If you can travel for the next 3 months, where would you like to go? Why?
A: Batanes. Because of its breathtaking views like New Zealand in PH.

Q: What is your message to our friends who would like to travel but can’t find time out of their day jobs?
A: Make time! That’s the only thing. Or else they won’t be able to travel for the rest of their lives if they always have an excuse.

So there you have it!
Thank you Nikhail for sharing such an exciting experience. Hopefully we helped you get motivated. Life is short. Some things aren’t easy but we have to make time for it just like Nikhail.

 

If you have adventures like this, feel free to send me a message. Let’s talk! 🙂

Rast’o Explores Ecuador

Today we have Rast’o to share his experience with us. You haven’t heard about him because this is his first contribution to the blog. He is from Slovakia and you will surely enjoy his exciting trips.
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conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
etymology: the country’s position on the globe, straddling the Equator, accounts for its Spanish name
Q: When did you visit Ecuador? Why did you choose Ecuador?
A: I was in Ecuador at the end of last year (2016). South America has always been my dream and Ecuador is perfect to start my exploration. You can find everything in a small area – ancient cities, high mountains, rain forest and nice beaches as well.
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Q: What was the season when you visited? Do they have four seasons too?
A: They just have two obvious seasons – dry and wet. But there are significant differences in regions because of altitude. When i was there in November, it’s the beginning of wet season, but ideal time for mountains.
Q: So can you tell me about how you went to Ecuador? If you used plane, how much was the ticket and how long was the trip? If not, please give me details about your chosen public transport.
I traveled by plane and the journey was very long and exhausting… I started in Vienna (Austria), with transits in Madrid (Spain) and Miami (USA), then I finally landed in Ecuador… after 40 hours of traveling. Normal price of ticket from Europe is around 1 000 €, but there was a promotion price for 550 €.
Wow! That’s a great discount! 
Q: In which Airport did you arrive?
A: I landed in Guayaquil, the largest city of Ecuador, but not capital. However i don’t like big cities, so right from airport, I went to the countryside.
Q: Did you book a hotel or hostel or you did couchsurfing? Among those 3 options, which one is the best and can you tell us why?
I stayed in a hostels during the whole trip, but I didn’t book anything in advance. I prefer this type of accommodation, because i never know where i will be in the evening. I think that couchsurfing can also be cool, but i haven’t tried it.
Q: What do you like about Ecuador?
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A: As I mentioned, i like the diversity of Ecuador. One day I was walking through the jungle, the next day I was climbing the volcano high above 5,000 meters and the next morning I was swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
Aw! I would love to try that. It would be great to do these random things. This is what makes us explore our inner selves. 🙂 
Q: What can you say about the locals, if you had a chance to communicate with them?
A: In this country,  nice and friendly people are linked with nature. They always tried to help me, but they weren’t intrusive.
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Q: What’s their official language, and do you think it’s easy to understand or not?
A: Official language in Ecuador is Spanish. Almost no one can speak English there. It was a big problem, because i don’t speak Spanish at all. I communicated by hands and after three weeks there i understood many Spanish words.. haha.

Haha! I totally understand the need to improvise. I did that too, I communicated in a different way since hand signs aren’t working well. Good thing I had some sheets of paper with me so I drew something that I was talking about. It was indeed effective! 

 

Q: Did you have expectations about Ecuador prior to your trip? If yes, what was it, and did your experience live up to your expectations? If none, then would you say that you are satisfied with your trip?
A: I read one book about Ecuador before the trip, so i knew something about the country. I expected the stunning scenery and nice people. All this is true.
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Q: What food have you tried in Ecuador? Can you tell us more about it and its taste?
A:  One of the traditional foods you should try while visiting Ecuador is “cuy”, that is roasted guinea pig. For me it was something special, because in my country this is animal pet. But it tasted delicious, like chicken or rabbit.

 

Q: Did you buy some souvenirs?
A: Yes, a lot, really!. Ecuador has the most beautiful souvenirs I have ever seen. On indigenous market you can find handmade crafts – woolen goods such as ponchos, sweaters, scarves, hats as well as hammocks, carvings, paintings and so on.

Say three words that best describe Ecuador.
A: Altitude, diversity and humility.
Q: Would you visit Ecuador again?
A: I have traveled many countries, but Ecuador is certainly one of those where I wish to go back. I fell in love with South America.
What a lovely experience Rast’o!
For those of you who are still thinking about where to go next, then probably Ecuador is the right one for you. Put it in your list and start exploring! 🙂

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Story of the Week: Mel’s Oohhlala Sagada Experience

Hello everyone! Here’s our first Story of the Week this March. We are very fortunate to have Mel as our contributor this week since there are so many awesome sights you can see in the North. If you haven’t been to Sagada, then read up! 🙂

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Q: What’s your name?
A: Hi I’m Mel

Q: Where are you from?
A: Batangas, Philippines

Q: What is your dream?
A: I wana go to Neverland! Joke! ( I want to explore my country and other places in the world as well.)

Q: When have you decided that you want to travel? Is it something that you have always wanted?
A: When I entered the corporate world and became more aware of what life has to offer. I might say, YES! I always wanted to travel.

You’re right Mel! Sometimes, all we need is a wider view. So for those of you who haven’t traveled yet, then start now! It’s not too late. Experience is more valuable than the amount of money you’ll spend. 🙂

Q: Where did you travel recently?
A: La Union, Philippines

Q: Is that your favorite place so far? If not, please tell me your favorite, and why?
A: Not my favorite, but I love this place 🙂 My favorite is Sagada in Mt. Province, Philippines, the place where broken heart goes and move on as what the movie “That thing called Tadhana” has implied. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not broken hearted when I went there. Hahaha. Sagada is my favourite because of its simplicity, it’s peaceful there and the cold won’t bother you because of the warm welcome of its locals. The place is also surrounded by nature.

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                                                   Marlboro Mountain of Sagada                                         Source: Mel

Q: Was it difficult to go there? How long did it take you to get there?
A: It’s not that difficult to go there, from Manila to Baguio its six hours then from Baguio to Sagada approximately 4 hours a total of 10 hours.

Q: How much did you have to spend so you can experience the adventures at its best?
A: For me, you don’t have to spend much just to experience the best adventure. You just need to learn the art of appreciation and always be ready for life surprises, like where is the thrill when everything is just planned, right?

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town proper

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source: Mel

My trip in Sagada just cost me around Php 5,000. Php 2,900 for the whole package 3D2N tour inclusive of transfer, entrance & environmental fees and accommodation. For the food Php 100 – 150 per meal (I did make sure that I got to taste & eat the most famous grab at the places that I visited) the rest is for small souvenir and pasalubong.

Q: How often do you travel?
A: When my time & budget permits.

 

So there you have it!

PART I of Mel’s adventures. 🙂

Watch out for PART II. 🙂

 

Niels in Austria :)

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Yay! For those of you who have read my previous posts, you’ probably know that we have Niels as one of our contributors, right? Well, he shared another beautiful experience. And this time, it’s about AUSTRIA! 🙂

 

 

conventional long form: Republic of Austria
conventional short form: Austria
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
local short form: Oesterreich
etymology: the name Oesterreich means “eastern realm” or “eastern march” and dates to the 10th century; the designation refers to the fact that Austria was the easternmost extension of Bavaria, and in fact of all the Germans; the word Austria is a Latinization of the German name

AUSTRIA

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Q:  Where are you from?

A:  I am from a beautiful small country called Image result for netherlands flag gif Netherlands, a country between Germany and the UK. 

Q: When did you go to Austria? What do u like most about Austria? Elaborate or explain further.

A: I went to Austria in July 2015, first few days were extremely hot like 35 degrees, we also had much sun.  

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What I like the most about Austria? The amazing and beautiful mountains of course! It all looks very pretty and I like the wild nature and high tops in the mountains… Also in Austria you see nice waterfalls and glaciers. 

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Q: Can you tell us how far Austria is Netherlands? How long before you get there?

A:  Well we went there by car, we had to drive across Germany, I guess it is driving like 1200 km. 

Q:  What are the usual public transport in Austria?

A:  Mostly you’ll see bus and train as public transport, but we used the car. Also you’ll see mountain railways and cable cars to go up the mountain. 

Q: What is the most delicious Austrian food you have ever tasted?

A: I really like Apfelstrudel. This dish contains apple and raisins, it is nice warm and taste sweet, really delicious to eat after hiking in the mountains! 

 

Q: Where can we buy that food?

A: You can go restaurant, just try it at the Duisburger Hütte, all way up in the mountains.

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It is also fantastic to eat a warm soup with fresh baked bread 🙂
Q: What are the estimated price of that food?

A: Not very cheap actually, I guess average plate prices are around the 6 or 7 euro.
Q: What are the cities you recommend?

A: Kalgenfurt is interesting place but not very special or giving a wow. When you really like romantic cities with nice churches and palaces go to Salzburg or Wien (Vienna) Austria is a country with many nice castles and palaces, so it is awesome to see this someday. And you know in palaces or castles everywhere you see details and designs. Like about every piece of the building has history and own unique design.

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Q: What are the seasons in Austria?

A: You got 4 seasons in Austria. Winter, spring, autumn and summer. Most tourist go Austria in winter, just think about ski and ice skating.

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 During the summer you can hike in the mountains. Spring and autumn are less popular because of the weather type.

 

Q: Please recommend festivals that tourists should experience.

A: Hmm maybe spot some folk dance in Austria? And yes during the winter sport you have après ski festivals.
Q: What’s your message to our friends who are considering to travel to Austria?

A: When you love nature so much go Austia, you will be surrounded by amazing mountains. You like to make nice mountain walks and see beautiful glaciers? Go to Austria because Austria has beautiful landscapes 🙂

 

Read more:

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Austria

Austrian Folk Dance

Food in Austria

Festivals in Vienna, Austria

Story of the Week: Greece!!

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Hi everyone! So as you can see, this is our first article about Greece–thanks to my friend Yulia who has been really kind in sharing her experiences.  So for some of you who have read my posts, Yulia is from Russia and she works in Greece. And she gladly shared more about it for us guys. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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You might be wondering why Yulia is working in Greece instead of Russia. Well, there are many reasons for that. She said, “I have to test myself being a tour guide. It has been my dream since I was young. Some of my friends are working in Turkey. I didn’t want to go there so I asked around and I found a company in Greece. I have now been working with them for 4 years.”

Moreover, “There’s also one in Russia but I have to pay for the flat, accommodation and transport. Unlike in Greece, they helped me out for everything, plane ticket, accommodation, food.”

It’s good to know that she’s having fun in Greece. But what does she like about Greece?

“Everything! It’s good to live there. Maybe the best country. People, food, climate. They have mountains, sea and nice culture. It’s really close to Russia. They also have the same religion with us, Russians. It’s easy to get used to it. It is also very safe, especially in Crete. You can go out anytime you wish, afternoon, evening. You won’t be in danger.”

Wow! Who doesn’t want safety, right? I think having that feeling of security is very important. Good places that show spectacular views and awesome people can be really exciting, but without security, it can be a disaster.  

Now, let’s have a look at some places.

This is in Chania, Crete [khan-nya]

“Chania is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania regional unit. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion” ~ Wikipedia

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Anyway, let’s go talk about the people. “Greeks are talkative and handsome (at least for me). They are very open-minded, and they look after you.”Of course, there are differences between every nationality. Russian and Greeks per se; “Russians are somewhat cold, maybe because of the weather. I guess it affects the mood when it’s cold. Meanwhile, Greeks are really talkative. They  have a phrase, “Siga siga” it means Slowly slowly. They are not in a hurry, always relaxed.”

“Cretan dances traditional dances everywhere. You cannot find any celebration without this. They can easily find someone who can play traditional instruments. If you don’t know how to dance, everyone will say something about you. hahahaa.”

That’s very interesting Yulia! I guess it’s the same here, we like to dance and join festivals, but not the traditional dances though. It’s nice to know about this kind of practice. 

For the readers out there, as you know, in the Philippines, there are only two seasons; Rainy and Sunny. So how about in Greece? 

“Crete is a Southern Island. So seasons last longer there. There are some areas where it can be really snowy. May to November – high season, swim on Sunny Days.But in October, to November, it can be rainy. I left on the 29th of October, it rain stared to pour out but the day before that, it was sunny. So it depends.”

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Is it cheaper to live in Greece than in Russia? 

No, it’s not. Recently, the currency in Russia is very low. My friend stays in Russia and it’s a bit difficult for him to sustain the lifestyle. For Russian travelers, it is expensive.

That’s tough. Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I surely want to explore the world, but if it is expensive for the natives and the ones who are already staying there, then it will be a challenge. 

Hmm, in that case, let’s talk about food instead. Thinking about the expenses make me hungry. 

In Greece, they eat a lot of meat, different kinds of cheese, and Greek salad.
They usually eat lamb or goats’ meat and they use a lot of vegetables. Surprisingly, they don’t eat fish, (at least for Cretans)

How much is a regular meal in Crete, Greek?

From 7 to 10 Euros. It can be more expensive but of course, it depends on the ingredients or the meal.

Yes, you’re right! I think depending on the sources of those ingredients and its uniqueness, even popularity, it can make a huge impact on the prices. 

What cities do you recommend?

Meteora. I really recommend this. It is between Athens and Thessalonica.

Any tips for new travelers going to Greece?

Travel there! Visit this beautiful country to experience ancient history. It’s very unique. You can always find something interesting for you. 🙂

 

So there you have the Story of the Week. I hope you enjoyed reading and I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

 

Enjoy your trips! 🙂

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Read more:

*The Real Greek Salad