10/10 would Rennes again!

When I think of northen France (and northern to me is anywhere above Tours), I can’t help but imagine depressing, gloomy towns filled with people with funny accents. This was why I’d never gone north before (besides Paris, which isn’t really the north). I tended to stick to the warmer climate down south, but I recently spent four days over the New Year in the amazing city of Rennes and was pleasantly surprised.

After spending a couple of days back home in Scotland for Christmas, I jumped on a flight to Paris and then caught the TGV with a friend and we headed on-wards to Rennes. The next few days were filled with many whiskys and cokes, a bar with a pet parrot and a quick day trip to Le Mont St-Michel.

I hadn’t know much about Rennes before I’d went but it’s safe to say I’m keen on spending a lot more time there (possibly will head there when I’m finished with studies to teach again..) The town is bustling with young students who are ready to hop into a bar at a moments notice. There is a belief that people in the north of France are unfriendly, which I found to be completely untrue (at least in Rennes). We met so many new people just by chatting over a few (way too many) drinks. It’s crazy how your confidence and language skills improve when you’re un peu bourré. Below are some places I think you should visit if you’re in the area, you can probably tell from my recommendations that I’m prone to a good drink..

 

  1.  Le P’tit Vélo 

This is a great wee pub with friendly staff and decent prices. There’s plenty of seating outside too if you’re keen to smoke a cheeky clope. You’ll find it in the dead centre of town on Place St-Michel. We returned to this bar a few times over the weekend as the atmosphere was perfect for some pre-drinking!

 

2. Rue de la Soif

Rue de la Soif  or ‘Street of thirst’ in English is a stones throw form Le P’tit Vélo and boasts a fine number of bars for you to spend a whole night here. The street is packed with like-minded youngsters looking for a good time. There’s bound to at least one bar to suit your taste and who and who can complain when ‘happy hour’ prices can get you a pint for as little as 3 €. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or a place to drink into the wee hours of the morning, this is the street for you 😉

rue de la soif

Eric – a testament to the friendliness of Rennes 

 

3. Poutinebros

After all that drinking I’m suggesting, Poutinebros is the perfect spot to meet all your hungry needs. As the name suggests, this place serves poutine but they also do some very decent burgers too! Super friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere make this a great place to grab a quick bite before exploring the city again.

poutine-version-crise

Poutine, version crise cardiaque

 

4. Le Mont St-Michel

Rennes is situated only a short bus ride from one of the most famous monuments in France and the indeed the world. It would be rude not to check out this little village/ island/ abbey / whatever you would like to call it when you’re so close.. The bus was fairly cheap and entrance to the abbey was free for those under 26 and with EU residency.

Mont st micch

The great northern weather

 

Other than what I’ve already mentioned, take the time to walk around the town and take in the incredible architecture!! Also, bring an umbrella as although the unfriendly stereotype of the north may be untrue, the bad weather certainly is not 😉

 

 

The best spots in Budapest for a drink

I spent almost three months in Budapest this summer, so I think it’s safe to say I found some cool spots over the few months I was there. I tended to avoid the more touristy places because not only were the prices cheaper but also the atmosphere much better.

 

1. Telep

Telep was hands down my favourite spot to grab a beer with friends and guests of the hostel where I worked whilst I was in Budapest. It doubled as an art gallery and a cafe so sometimes I’d grab a coffee (or beer) there during the day. The atmosphere feels very homely and the staff are super friendly. Each night there is a different DJ playing a set in the corner of the tiny bar. Often people spilled out into the street, which was why I liked this place so much. The open-air feel was really nice and due to the set-up of the windows it was possible to still here the music. It was only 500HUF for a standard beer which is around € 1.60 and much less than you would pay a stones throw away on Goszdu Udvar. It’s closed on Sundays but at least they are thinking of your hangover and giving you a day off 😉

Telep 2

Telep: good crowd, cheap drinks and great atmosphere. 

 

 

2. Dürer Kert

If you’re willing head away from the Jewish Quarter and Old Town then you’ll spend a great night at Durer. This venue is home to some cool decor as well as a chilled out courtyard, trolley-bus-turned-seating area (yes) and various concert halls inside. You won’t find many tourists or even non-locals here which is great if you are looking to get away from the crowds and see a more authentic side of the city. There is always a great line-up of music and festivals going on and more often than not, entry will be free. Again, this is somewhere that you can also chill at during the day. Trolley-bus number 74 leaves from various stops in the centre of town and drops you off right outside which is ideal! A beer will set you back a mere 450HUF (€1.50).

durer

Perfect venue for drinking, eating and listening to live music.

 

3. Kőleves Kert

Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or looking for somewhere to spend at least a few hours then Kőleves is your place. With a relaxing garden out back and a restaurant inside, this place is ideal. You can find hammocks dotted around the garden which are for chilling with a book and a beer during the day. In the evening, the place is brought to life with cool lighting and large crowds creating a great atmosphere. This place is close to the touristy spots so you might find a few like-minded travelers but for sure still has a local feel to it. Again, like most places in Budapest, you are not going to break the bank here.

4. A38

A38 is one of the most unique places I’ve been to. It’s essentially a bar, restaurant and music venue all-in-one but not only that, it’s an old Soviet barge which rests on the banks of the Danube. I was lucky enough to see some great shows here. They always have a great programme going every month both during the day and at night so there is definitely something for everyone. Many people will spend some time on the banks just beside the venue before shows drinking their own beers which is a cool way to start the evening (not sure how fun this would be in winter though). You can get a beer here for a little as 590HUF (€1.90). Many of the shows are free and even if you’re not there for the music, the bar and restaurant are good too.

a38

A38: A unique experience

 

 

5. ELLÁTÓház

Now I did say that I tended to avoid the touristy spots – which is true for the most part – but we all have our guilty pleasures and ELLÁTÓház was definitely mine. Situated in the courtyard of a party hostel this is a great place to grab drinks until the early hours of the morning. Whether you’re looking for a party, open-mic or just somewhere to enjoy a few beers with friends, this is your place. Different events each night means that there’s never a boring night to be had here. It’s located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and is easily accessible from most parts of the city. You’ll pay a little bit more for your drinks here but it’s to be expected given it’s location.

Shoestring Paris

So, it turns out keeping up with a blog is harder than I thought – especially with all the Uni work I’ve being doing (or should have been doing). Anyway, I’m finally getting round to writing about my few days in Paris as part of my Eurotrip last Summer!

The first thing I always get asked about Paris is how did I ever afford 4 nights in one of Europe’s most expensive cities – especially for backpackers. Well, the truth is that Paris can be expensive, however there are bargains to be sought!

Accommodation

As with most places, accommodation will yet again be your biggest expense but that doesn’t mean spending hundreds of Euros on a room with a view of the Tour Eiffel. Paris is crawling with hostels and with airbnb now at our fingertips, finding affordable accommodation is easier than ever. Now, I won’t lie and say that hostels in Paris are cheap as chips because they’re not but if you’re travelling solo and want to meet like minded traveler’s then staying at a hostel may be your best bet! I traveled solo and stayed at St Christopher’s Inn Canal. For 4 nights I paid around 98€ which doesn’t seem that cheap but remember that Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world and I arrived in peak summer season! The hostel itself was good, nothing spectacular. But the staff were friendly and it was easy enough to meet other backpackers!

Another great option could be to couchsurf which is totally free and you get local knowledge of the place you are visiting!

Also, if there are a group of you airbnb could be your cheapest option – however if you’re looking for a great atmosphere and new friends it might be worth it to pay the extra money to stay in a hostel.

st christophers inn

Chill by the Canal with a beer or 2 at St Christopher’s Inn. 

Food and Drink

It’s no secret that the French capital is home to some of the world’s finest eateries, however I was on a very tight budget seeing as Paris was at the tail end of my trip and so fine dining was not an option!!

The hostel I stayed at offered food starting at around 5/6 euros – there was unfortunately no kitchen in my hostel but many other Parisian hostels do offer a kitchen to keep spending to a minimum. Using airbnb is also a great way to save money on eating out.

It is very possible to eat out and still have money left over for a beer to wash it down. A great place I found was Creperie Genia  – a stone’s throw from the famous Notre Dame. Here you can you get a crepe, a panini and a drink all for 4€!! Paris is filled with cheap Pizzerias and there are street food stands in many places – it won’t be hard to find some form of cheap food.

Bars and Clubs

My absolute favourite place in Paris was Rue de Lappe located in the heart of the trendy Bastille area. This place is the perfect spot for bar hopping and for those wanting a few quiet drinks – the street is packed with loads of great places. Many of the places do “happy hour” specials from around 6.pm until around 10.pm (some places even 11.pm) and you’ll be sure to grab a good few deals during these hours! However, even outside of happy hours the prices are kind to your wallet.

My favourite bar on this street was called Bar des Ferrailleurs mainly due to the rustic feel of the place and the real mix of locals, students and travelers like myself. The staff here are so friendly and very happy to help.

Another cool place on Rue de Lappe is Yellow Mad Monkey. This bar is decorated like a jungle and there’s a really buzzing atmosphere. A pint here cost around 5 euros which is pretty reasonable for Paris.

ymm

The Yellow Mad Monkey – the place is as mad as its name suggests…

If you’re looking for more than a few chilled drinks then head to concrete, a nightclub situated on a barge! This place was pretty casual and was a lot fun. For full details on prices on specific nights and deals then check out their website.

Things to do

Paris has heaps of attractions that will keep you busy for a good while. The obvious places such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and L’Arc de Triomphe are easily accessible by metro. There’s loads and loads of information out there on these places so I’d rather not go into too much detail!

A great way to get a local’s perspective of the city is to take a free (tip-based) walking tour with Discover Walks. All tour guides are from Paris themselves and therefore know the city inside out. There are a number of walks ranging from Montmarte to Notre Dame. These tours are often much better than the over-priced bus tours.

11863338_110882569262820_6778476179431386168_n

Notre Dame Free Walking Tour – a great way to see the city 

Another very cool place in Paris that’s likely to get you a ton of “insta likes” is Rue Crémieux – the most colourful street in Paris. This place is not very well known and is a hidden gem not far from Gare de Lyon sation.

rue couleur

Take a stroll down Paris’ most colourful street 

One last activity is to visit Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. The park is great for everything from quiet walks to picnics to outdoor cinemas. There are heaps of events here throughout the year and you can check them out on the park’s website.

11880634_1015023885217034_6472301309560943363_n.jpg

An outdoor cinema in Parc de la Villette I went to with some friends I made at my hostel. This is seasonal but there are plenty of other events throughout the year.

There you have it  – Paris on a shoestring!! If you liked this post then please like this post and give my blog a follow for more travel tips and stories!!

Follow me on Instagram @euroboyontour

 

Copenhagen on a budget.

Copenhagen is known for ridiculously high prices and being an expensive city to visit. However, this isn’t entirely true. I recently visited Copenhagen for 3 nights and was surprised at how exaggerated these claims are. This post aims to breakdown how to spend time in Copenhagen on a small backpackers budget!

Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, 9 times out of 10, I would recommend staying in a hostel. And for Copenhagen, I would recommend doing so. Others might say if there’s a group of you, use airbnb or a similar site. However, Copenhagen has so many good hostels and half the things I experienced would never have happened if I didn’t stay in a hostel.

Now, hostels in Copenhagen aren’t cheap, but they are cheaper than hotels! I stayed at Generator Hostel and paid around 250 Kroner (£25) a night for my stay. The hostel was amazing, it had a nice terrace outside to sit and have drinks, and there was cool chill out areas for when you’d had one too many. Be sure to catch happy hour too as you can grab a litre of beer for only 50 kr! I met some of the coolest people at this hostel, some who I know will be friends for life.

image

The bar and social area at Generator Hostel. A great spot to meet like-minded travellers!

Drinks and clubbing.

This is always a big question as it can sometimes be your biggest expenditure. However, there are some cheap and really cool bars and clubs in Copenhagen. Gothersgade is a stone’s throw from Generator and is packed with cheap bars and eateries. I would definitely recommend Mini Bar, here you’ll find a beer for as cheap as 30kr some nights and never more than 45kr which is so cheap for Copenhagen. There’s a good atmosphere in this bar and there’s even a PlayStation if you need some time out from drinking!
Right next door to Mini Bar, you’ll find Andy’s Bar, which is really rustic and has a real local feel to it. Drinks are around the same price as Mini Bar and there is a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.

There are no shortage of nightclubs in Copenhagen, so here are a few of my favourites:  

Zen is a little on the pricey side, however, I only stopped here for around 30 mins. The atmosphere is great and it’s free entry, so do what I did and get drunk beforehand and you won’t need to buy a drink inside. Now, when I say expensive I mean 50kr for a beer which isn’t actually that expensive, but after a few the total does add up! The reason I didn’t stay long is because we were meeting friends at another place and had to leave, but I would recommend checking it out.

Hive is known to some as the best night out in Copenhagen. Although I don’t entirely agree, the place is pretty good. The crowd is young, the tunes are good and the alcohol is relatively cheap for CPH. The club has numerous floors and some of the best DJs. There is an entrance fee which can differ from night to night, so do check beforehand.

image

Party right through the night at one of CPH’s best clubs.

REMEMBER: It’s LEGAL to smoke inside pubs and clubs in Denmark!

Food in CPH.

Eating out in Copenhagen can be expensive and being a backpacker meant that I decided to get my food from street vendors and bistros serving traditional Danish food.

Rita’s Smørrebrød is somewhere you have to check out. It’s a small deli that sells traditional Danish smørrebrød and it’s delicious! It’s cheap and filling too which is always great when you’re on a budget. I got two slices of smørrebrød and a coke for 40kr – a steal in the Danish capital!! You’ll find Rita’s at Fælledvej 11, 2200 KØBENHAVN.

image

Traditional Smørrebrød, it tastes better than it looks!

If smørrebrød doesn’t seem like your thing then go to one of the many, many street vendors. You can easily find a hot dog with hundreds of fillings for 20kr. There are also loads of creperies and kebab places in the city. Bagels also seem to be popular!? Not sure why, but I got a HUGE bagel for like 50kr and I could only eat like 1/4 of it. So yeah, for food go to smaller bistros and street vendors!!

What to do and see

Copenhagen is bursting with attractions. From Tivoli to Christiana, there’s something for everyone. Now, there’s simply too many things to mention so I’ll cut it down to a few of my favourites.

Nyhavn or New Harbour is amazing and if you stay at Generator, you’re a five minute walk from here. It’s full of culture and picturesque buildings and you can even buy a beer for 40kr in most of the bars. Or head to the supermarket and buy beer of your own and sit on the banks!

image

Nyhavn on a glorious summer’s day. The hub of CPH in my opinion.

So, if you’re one of those people who can’t get enough of museums, statues and the like then CPH is great for you. Check out Christiansborg Palace which is now the home of the Danish parliament. Once you’ve seen this, head to Rosenborg Castle, again a great piece of architecture where you can even spot some cool changing of the guards ceremonies! I’m sure you’ve all heard of The Little Mermaid statue in CPH but seriously, it’s so underwhelming. The place is swarmed with tourists and you’ve seen every aspect of the statue in 30 seconds…

One of my favourite places in CPH was Christiania, a free town that has its own laws and rules. It’s like a commune filled with really cool art and amazing people. If you’re into weed, here is where you can buy it. A pre-rolled joint will cost you 50kr. This place is packed at night and has some really cool bars. You can take photos of the entrance but inside the community it’s a no-no. Nonetheless, a must see.

image

Welcome to Christiana!!

Hej KBH

Hej KBH is an organization that hosts events across the city. I was lucky enough to attend a beach party they held at AmagerStrand Park during my stay. It’s fair to say the beach party made my trip. I went with a few mates from my hostel and had such a good time. Entry is free and alcohol can be bought for 30-40kr per beer. However, I’d recommend buying your own and saving yourself some pennies. The atmosphere was amazing and the locals were so friendly towards us. If you’re in Copenhagen, check out their Facebook page for events they are hosting and if there’s none whilst you’re there, then definitely still check out Amager Beach. I was in Copenhagen during summer so it was really warm but I’ve heard it can get cold, so be sure to take a blanket to keep you warm.

image

Beach party hosted by Hej KBH at AmagerStrand Park.

Well, there you have it, Copenhagen on a budget. Follow my blog for more posts and be sure to follow me on social media!

Instagram – euroboyontour
Twitter – RustyElbows

Mad(with it)ness in Madrid.

Madrid. The Spanish capital famous for flamenco and sangria in mass quantities. I spent 4 nights in this incredible city at the end of June with some mates I went to school with. Despite it being 35℃ for most of our trip – a temperature most Scots have never experienced – it was so so good.

Hostels are probably the best places to stay when you go to a major city like Madrid. Not only will you meet loads of amazing new mates but you’ll often have endless opportunities to see and do things at a much discounted price. We stayed at Way Hostel and it is genuinely the best hostel I have been to. Ever. The staff were so friendly and remembered you by name – something chain hostels don’t have time for. There was a real sense of community in the hostel as over 70% of guests were solo travellers. This made meeting new people incredibly easy. I even found out that not all Australians watch Home and Away (can you believe it) and that they refer to sex as “putting one through her”. Banter. Also, smaller independent hostels like Way genuinely want their guests to have an amazing time unlike many chain hostels whose main aim is to make a large profit. If you plan on staying in a hostel, stay here. There are endless amounts of activities on offer from Flamenco nights to Pub Crawls and even a day trip to the town of Toledo – a  UNESCO World Heritage Site!!

image

Drinking games at the hostel. Who can say no to free Sangria??

A great way to see Madrid is on foot. Many hostels will provide free (tip based) walking tours and you’ll find out so much more than you would on the overpriced bus tours. Again, if you’re travelling alone or just want to meet new people, the walking tour really helps you do that! The walking tour we done took us to all the top places like the Royal Palace, the Opera and the Cathedral. However, we also got to see some places that aren’t typically included in paid tours such as the “Beverly Hills of Madrid”. At the end of the tour our guide told us of all the places to avoid and recommended where we should go for food and drinks. She even invited us to lunch with her at a local restaurant which was so good. I just don’t think you’d get this type of experience with the better known tours.

image

The Royal Palace, so Royal that not even the King lives there..

The fact that there are no beaches in Madrid shouldn’t put you off visiting. If you’re looking for a cool spot to sunbathe and go for a swim then check out one of the city’s many public pools. The weather was so good when we visited so we wanted somewhere to cool off and relax. We chose to go to a public pool around 20 minutes from our hostel by foot, which is not bad, especially when the weather is so nice. The entry fee was €5 but this included somewhere to store your belongings. You could choose from two different sized pools and there was areas where you could just chill with some snacks. There are lifeguards too so don’t worry if you’re not quite Michael Phelps.

image

Piscina Municipal Peñuelas. A great place to get away from the busy city centre.

Nightlife in Madrid is incredible and I mean fucking out of this world. I recommend you start your night by going on a pub crawl, either one at your hostel or some other hostel. Clubs or Discotecas don’t open til around 2am in Spain so you’ll have plenty of time to get out your tits by the time the doors open. We visited Madrid during the week and were told it wouldn’t be that busy. I would like to see it on the weekends because, fuck me, it was busy! But in a good way. On Monday we decided to go to the Fucking Mondays event at Independence club. It was amazing, entry is €10 but that includes 2 drinks. Beers are around €2 and Jägerbombs are also €2!! The place is huge and plays a mixture of English and Spanish chart music. However, be aware, the DJ shouts “Fuuuuckinggg Mondayyyyysss” into his microphone like every 15 mins and it’s so so funny. Me and my mates still mock him when we’re on nights out. I would also recommend going to Planet, where for €10 you get unlimited Sangria or Beer for one hour, check out EnBabia club too.

image

Clubbing with a group of French-Canadians at EnBabia.

Other cool spots to check out are Sol, the main meeting point in Madrid. It has lots of street performers that are worth checking out. Also, Retiro Park is a must see, it’s huge and also has row boats that you can rent at €5 for 45 mins. If you have time, visit Prado Museum, where you can see some of Picasso’s work! Don’t forget to drink unhealthy amounts of Sangria and beer whilst your in Madrid!!!

image

On the row boats at Retiro Park.

If you enjoyed this post then please like and follow my blog. I will be posting very soon about my upcoming trips to Copenhagen, Hamburg and Paris, so do follow!