budget Tag

Luxembourg hostels, accommodation, viandan, bourglinster, echternach (5)
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Hostels in Luxembourg

Bourglinster, Luxembourg Bourglinster is one those places I didn’t expect. And I mean that in a few senses. I didn’t expect it to exist, I didn’t expect it to be so pretty, and I certainly didn’t expect it to have such a nice youth hostel. The town is in a rural area, right in the middle of Luxembourg. Walking downhill along a road, we took a short cut through a small part of forest and arrived at the top of Bourglinster. The street was lined with the cute Luxembourg architecture I was starting to get used to. The sound of a passing car was already getting softer as it drove away and a dog’s barking took its place. It was clearly a small community. There’s a castle at the highest point of this small town, which presumably has a lot to do with why the settlement was originally formed. It doesn’t explain why...

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13 December
greek food, taverna, kefallinia, ionian islands, sailing, good food, traditional (1)
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A secret family taverna

Traditional taverna on Kefallinia Twelve years ago the Gonata family opened their restaurant on the Greek island of Kefallinia. Back then, in the town of Ay Eufimia, there were only a few other businesses. The port had once been the main stopping point for ferries to the island but that all changed after the facilities were destroyed in an earthquake in 1953. For decades, the place had been off the radar. But as life slowly started to come back to Ay Eufimia and the yachts began to use the port for refuge of the evening, commerce returned. The Gonata family, who had long been residents of Kefallinia, opened shop. This was not so strange back then… but today their story is a rarity. The restaurant is called ‘Amalia’ and it’s a short walk from the marina where we’ve moored our yacht. Although it’s not far, it seems like we’re leaving the bright lights...

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08 August
sailing, ionian sea, yacht trip, greece, intrepid (6)
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Sailing the Greek islands

A yacht trip in the Ionian Sea We tune the boat’s radio to channel 72. “Vathi harbour, this is Gypsy Love,” we say into the handset. There’s a bit of static then a crackle. “Gypsy Love, we have a space for you,” comes the reply. “You can pull in in front of the restaurant with the white awning.” The voice on the other end is British, a woman’s. It’s no surprise to hear the accent, though. Although we’re in Greece, these islands in the Ionian Sea are the summer playground of visitors from across Europe. Greek flags on the boats mix with those from Italy, Germany, England and Norway, among others. We guide our boat into the space in front of the restaurant and put our gangplank onto shore. It lands less than a metre from one of the tables. That’s the way with these local ports on the smaller islands. The boats, the restaurants, the...

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06 August
cheap tuscany, tuscany accommodation, tuscan food, cheap, affordable, budget (5)
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How to visit Tuscany cheaply

Cheap Tuscany, Italy It’s no surprise that one of the most popular regions of Italy is also one of the most expensive. Between accommodation, food and sites, you can really burn through the euros on a trip to Tuscany. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way - it is possible to travel Tuscany on the cheap. By accident, I discovered a way to keep the cost of visiting Tuscany right down. And the bonus? Well, it might actually be better suited to your style of travel as well. Introducing… dramatic drumroll… the hostel in the countryside! Cheap Tuscany accommodation In the quiet little village of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, the hostel is one of the largest buildings. That’s not to say it’s large, more that everything else is appropriately proportioned for a village. It’s called the ‘Ostello del Chianti’ and a bed in a dorm will cost only 16...

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08 July
stel, youth hostelyouth hostel in Feldkirch, austria, world's oldest hofeldkirch, austria (2)
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The oldest hostel in the world?

Feldkirch youth hostel, Austria If these walls could talk, there would be a world-weary rasp in their voice. It would probably be a slow voice, one that needs time for thoughts to be collected. There would be a lot of thoughts to sort through… but also an inevitable sluggishness that comes from age. You see, here at the Feldkirch youth hostel near Austria’s western border, there’s a lot of history. The hostel doesn’t claim to be the oldest in the world – but it probably could if it wanted to. It first offered respite from the road more than 300 years ago. The first document that mentions the building is from 1362 and describes it as having “been around for a long time”. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was used as a leper colony – a sanctuary for them but moreso a cage to keep everyone else safe. It was in the...

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20 June
The not so quiet American
  |   Observations   |   37 Comments

The not so quiet American

You know those moments when every stereotype you have about a nationality is realised? I had one of them the other evening in a hostel in Austria. It might not surprise you to hear that the nationality in question was American. (Cue slightly off-key rendition of Star Spangled Banner.) I was trying to get some work done in the common room of the hostel. (OK, fine, you caught me out - I was procrastinating on Facebook!) But the point remains that I couldn't concentrate because the not so quiet American was having a very loud and very personal conversation on Skype. At first it was annoying but, when I started to eavesdrop on what he was saying, it was so entertaining I gave up all hope of getting any work done. (OK, I gave up hope of looking at my friends' photos and their inane updates on their kids or binge...

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25 May