Weekly Wanderings 1: Budapest, Istanbul…The Maldives!

I’ve decided to dedicate one blog post a week from now on to my current adventures. Sometimes I get so caught up in my travels and current adventures that I can’t find the time to write about all the incredible places I visit until many months later. To try to stay on top of things, and help people stay up-to-date with my escapades, I will write a blog post once a week sharing my adventures and what I’m up to next.

Dirty dancing in Budapest

On September 3rd, just over a week ago, I flew to Budapest on a whim. I had no reason to go there, was not working with any hotels or tourism boards, and booked the ticket super last-minute. I had never been to Hungary and some travel blogging friends I know have set themselves up there for the summer so it seemed like a fun place to visit. 

The hostel I checked into was a crack den. I think crack dens are probably cleaner than this place. I had so many messages on social media once I shared photos and videos, telling me to “get out of there”. Having stayed in hundreds of hostels around the world, I can say with certainly this was pretty gross. There was glass in my bed and all over the floor, the common room was called the “anal room” and their proud tagline is that they are the only hostel in Budapest with NO noise curfew. Wonderful! When you wake up at 5am to the sound of Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Really?!) blasting from the dorm next door as a massive stag party returns home from a night on the town, you begin to question if you’re too old for hostels.

Budapest overall was awesome. Super cheap, amazing food, loads of amazing and very quirky bars to visit and lots of cool people to befriend. I will definitely be going back. I loved meeting lots of fellow travel bloggers, enjoying the sunny weather, and taking a break from blogging for a week. We all need a break sometimes!

Falling for Istanbul and visa issues

I only booked my flight to Istanbul 3 days before arriving, despite having known for at least 3 weeks that I was going to meet a friend there. I totally screwed up my research and almost got denied boarding as I had not applied for my visa….who knew Irish people needed a visa for Turkey? Well, you do now! If you’re from the UK or Ireland you must apply for your Turkish visa online and print out a copy before you go to the airport. That, or risk missing your flight which almost happened to me! 

I made it to Istanbul in the end and instantly fell in love with this beautiful city. I didn’t know what to expect and was so pleasantly surprised it’s hard to put into words. It’s totally safe, the people are incredible welcoming and friendly, the architecture and city itself it just stunning and the food is delicious. There are so many cute neighbourhoods to explore, thousands of cute cafes and if you like cats it’s your dream city as there are cats EVERYWHERE!

For more travel advice on Turkey, check out this great Turkey itinerary.

It was cool to hang out with Allison from Eternal Arrival again, especially as we travelled so much together earlier this year and she is so easy to travel with. We did two sponsored hotel stays and both agreed that the rooms, which were more like apartments, were pretty much our idea of a dream studio apartment and that we would move in tomorrow if we could stay there permanently!

We had an interesting time trying to buy ice-cream and a hilarious time getting to know the famous Carpet Man in the Grand Bazaar – no, he didn’t try to sell me a $1,000 carpet – he simply asked to be in my video so he could be famous. What a legend! I also got to meet up with a friend, Gul, who I had not seen for 9 years. Travel friends are the best…even if you only see them once a decade!

I’m off to the Maldives…and Indonesia!

Tomorrow i’m flying to one of my favourite places on earth….and a serious dream destination: The Maldives! I don’t know how, or why, but I’ve somehow been selected as a keynote speaker for World Travel Writer’s Conference taking place in the Maldives this weekend. They are flying me from Istanbul to paradise and myself and about 12 other bloggers will be living the dream life for about a week. How these things happen only God knows but MAN am I so appreciative of opportunities like this and LOVE that I still get so excited about travel.

After the Maldives I’m flying direct to Indonesia for a 2 week press trip with the Indonesian Tourism board. They are flying over a group of 8 influencers from around the world and we will be travelling to 4 different regions in Indonesia. More on that next week….

That’s all for now.

Janet