Travels

AUGUST 2019: BEIRUT (Lebanon)

Photo by Ramy Kabalan

It was amazing! Okay, I may be biased, I was staying with one of my best friends for the first ten days before moving out to an Airbnb to be a little more productive… But yep, I definitely recommend going to Lebanon!

It’s insane to think about the history of the country, it’s a key location on the Med linking Europe to Africa and Asia so it had a strategic importance for thousands of years! Different cultures, different religions all living in the same country – didn’t see any conflict when I was there, but it is rather clear that they still have a lot of scares

This may sound stupid, but my favorite part of Beirut was going on road trips, the entire country is basically made of mountains (hence loads of valleys) and the view from up there is just fantastic – we went to the top of Mount Lebanon while on our way to the Bekaa Valley (to visit the ruins in Baalbek) – and were above the clouds… Driving all the way up woundy roads was a true pleasure!

The Baalbek ruins

All in all here were my favorite road trips:

1- To the Baalbek ruins in the Bekaa valley (you get to see loads of poppy plantations on the way too :S)

2- Byblos & Batroun (can be done together in one day) – really nice places to just enjoy a beer by the water –> If you go to Batroun we went to Colonel Beer Microbrewery for a beer on the beach while watching the sunset, it was magical

3- Doing a wine tour would be amazing, they have some really good wine growers in the region (especially Chateau Kefraya) but otherwise Jeita Grotto is highly recommended! (I didn’t go, but heard GREAT things!)

The view from Batroun Castle(?)
The view from Batroun Castle(?)

Now don’t get me wrong, as much as I love road trips I really enjoyed staying in Beirut itself!

During my stay downtown I stayed in Gemmayzeh, which is a really nice part of town! It’s close to Armemia, which is the road with all the bars, but it’s still really quiet, so was the perfect mix for me! Hamra (another neighborhood) is really nice, a bit more higher class and less young I believe.

One of my favorite things to do in Beirut was walk on the corniche (the road is called Paris..) next to the lighthouse during sunset, there’s loads of people there just soaking in the last sun rays

Love that place for sunset!

The “Place of Martyrs” is worth going to – you’ll have the view on the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and from there you can easily walk to Place de L’etoile, the Roman Ruins (not super super impressive) and then heading to the Souk or just get a coffee in the expensive part of town is quite fun, it’s a totally different side than what you’d expect!

Now for the important part…

FOOD

I have to say, I love eating a manou2she for breakfast, would that be with Zatar or whatever – my two favorite places for that was “The Lebanese Bakery” and Fern Ghattas, but that being said, wherever you go I’m sure they’ll be great!

Now a more random list of places I enjoyed the food is T Marbouta in Hamra, it’s nothing special, but great food πŸ™‚

Cafe Em Nazih is a more or less really touristy place – but they have a decent amount of choice and you can play backgammon while having a beer or food πŸ™‚ It’s also next to Coop D’Etat which is a rooftop bar

Two more random (and further out) recommendations are Falafel Abou Andre, it was the first place I ate when I got there, and we got hummus with pine nuts, it was amazing! I got addicted πŸ™‚ La Girouette in Broummana (there’s a few places with a nice view of Beirut) has live music with an amazing musicians every thursday – friday and saturday (call ahead to make sure but that was the schedule when I was there!)

Coin Perdu was a fun place to have dinner too (mainly because it was close to where I lived :P) on the St Nicolas Stairs, Loris is another nice spot!

There’s also loads of good places for food, for falafel sandwiches, grilled haloumi etc etc, I’m sure where ever you go it will be amazing!

Oh and make sure you try out local beers, try loads of different coffee shops and get lost in the city

The only downside Beirut has, is it was too hot in August, I was sweating a bit too much for my liking, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back one of these days!

Enjoy your trip!


JULY 2019: COPENHAGEN

The only reason I went to Copenhagen is because a friend I made in Indonesia pushed me to come while I was in Europe, and since we had a blast when she was in Lombok I thought why not…

Turns out my plan of staying in Copenhagen for only one week, didn’t really work out… I ended up staying there for more than a month because I really enjoyed it!

Why? Great people (and everyone is fluent in English it’s amazing), amazing city to spend the summer months in, so many outdoors activities while letting you do whatever you want. More importantly tho, they make great coffee! One of my friends owned a small coffee chain – Kaffereit and they do amazing flat whites/lattes so I can’t recommend it enough! You definitely should try their coffee

Canals, pretty colorful buildings and boats, what’s not to like – that’s Copenhagen for you

I was lucky enough to be able to rent an apartment for the month thanks to my friend in a really good location for dirt cheap (usually it would’ve been way more expensive) so I decided to stick around.

If you end up going there I can’t recommend highly enough to get a Donkey Republic account and rent their bikes, it’s easy and a quick way to go around – that being said, if you don’t know how to bike you probably would be better off staying far from the bike lanes – some people are kinda crazy ahah

Make sure you end up going to Reffen, especially durring the evening, it’s a cool spot with loads of different food stands, same goes for the spot on the other side of the Nyhaven bridge, I entirely forgot how it’s called I’m sorry. Rent a boat and go around the canals, that was such a blast (you could rent a kayak otherwise)

It’s a shame the winter kinda sucks there otherwise I may have stayed way longer…

Anyway, I can’t recommend it enough, only reason I left was because it’s expensive, but other than that – if you can afford it – you should absolutely go there! It’s definitely made it to the top of my list!


JUNE 2019: ENGLAND – FRANCE – DENMARK

I ended up going to London in order to meet up with a few other traders and have some cool discussion, which did take place and I ended up meeting new friends that I know are going to achieve a hell of a lot!

Yes, I’ve been to London too many times to find any cool original photos – I’m sorry

Anyway, the reason so many traders were in London was because @Falcon Trading Guidance was hosting a conference open to everyone which was a success and a lot of people showed up and learnt a lot, so all is good!

But I never stay in London for long since it’s bloody expensive (I just go back for the hot crossed buns πŸ˜€ )

So ended up flying out to France to house sit for my parents!

If you think I’m weird, I’m blaming my parents!

Which was really nice, I never say no to free rent and home made food – I’m easy to please yes! But spending a few days at home not travelling was really nice, I could relax and meet up with a few of my old friends!


MAY 2019: A quick trip around

When Paul was in Vienna we decided to get a few more countries under our belt – so we jumped on a train headed to Bratislava, in Slovakia, which was nice, but I have to say, I think we saw everything there was to see in a morning πŸ™‚

Classic Budapest photo πŸ™‚

We then headed to Budapest, which was really nice, there was loads of cool buildings with really spiky details it was impressive! I think Budapest is one of the cities where you have to be friends with locals to real discover it entirely but we were only there for a short amount of time so we didn’t get to explore that much

When you’re travelling you should always enjoy what is free πŸ™‚ So we found ourselves in a middle of an open air concert which was really good! The Biebers were so good! The main band that played after them was less impressive tho, but still!

Yes, the famous shoes, it’s important to remember the past to avoid doing the same.

MAY 2019: VIENNA

Ended up going to Vienna in May, was trying to choose between Budapest, Prague and Vienna, but the flights to Vienna were like 10 euros cheaper so I bought those (only to realise that the cost of living there was way more expensive than the rest)

I forgot how this place was called, sorry

Vienna was nice, especially because it was in May the weather was getting a hell of lot nicer but it wasn’t touristy. The best way to describe Vienna in my opinion, is a nicer version of Paris with way less tourists and everyone speaks English, which makes it very attractive as a location!

There’s a lot of nice coffee places to, but I have to say, my favourite spot in the entire city was at the bar on the top floor of the Sofitel, it gave a really good view on the rest of the city, plus it wasn’t too expensive!

Paul C. joined me there and we spent a week exploring Vienna together

I was especially lucky with Vienna because I ended up finally meeting Paul C. another trader so we ended up having a fair amount of fun exploring the city and getting (nearly no) work done πŸ™‚ Two friends from university also passed through Vienna for a few days so that was amazing! Always great catching up with them!


APRIL 2019: GREECE

I realised I probably should leave Lombok because doing a visa run every month was starting to get boring, plus it’s a good time to go and explore the rest of the world!

Yes I did go and see all the old buildings!

Ended up staying in Greece for ten days, which was probably seven days too many, it’s a lovely city for a few days, but once you leave the touristy & expensive part it’s a lot less attractive, it kinda felt like there’s auto-repairs shops on every single block…

So decided to go to Crete and see how the island life was over there!

The little town of Chania

It was way nicer over there! Would recommend going there for a few days if you are in Greece! Sadly tho, there wasn’t any co-working space, and my hostel wasn’t the most ideal place to work from so I decided to leave

It’s so interesting how an amazing location for holiday can be “less amazing” when it comes to the life of a nomad – but you have to try the location to know!


Visa runs between JANUARY 2019 to MARCH 2019

Ended up going to Kuala Lumpur, wish I really didn’t like, but I only spent a day there since I only went there to renew my Indonesian visa, and the flight was cheap!

@Azlanbaharudin photo

But basically, going to KL after having been to Lombok makes it over crowded, busy, dirty and everyone tries to hustle you (especially taxis if you take one from the airport, don’t do that mistake, take the train it’s as fast and way cheaper!)

I then went to Perth, Australia – and loved it there, had the opportunity to meet up with a few friends so that was great! Ended up spending a week there

Had drinks with Connor F looking back on this view… Was really nice

I’d recommend going to Perth, but it did feel like it was an amazing city if you had young kids and a 9 to 5, not the best for a “digital nomad” but it was still a great experience, especially knowing that they have a direct flight to Lombok these days!


JANUARY 2019 to MARCH 2019

I feel in love with Lombok, Indonesia – according to a highly credible source (me) it’s paradise on earth!

Not only are the locals really nice, and speak good english but it’s also still extremely raw, especially compared to Bali… There’s amazing beaches, really good waves if you want to surf, mountains to hike… And great coffee πŸ™‚

Kuta beach, Lombok

When I was there, I stayed at the hostel called So It Goes, I can’t recommend it enough, it is my favourite one in the world, the staff became my second family πŸ™‚

The local food is usually fried rice or friend noodles, but who doesn’t like that, especially when it’s that cheap! But if you ever get bored of a Nasi Goreng for breakfast… You can go to Bamba, a restaurant there and have delicious food too! There’s not that many restaurant in Kuta at the moment, and that’s part of the charm, there’s not that many tourists there yet so it’s still your own paradise πŸ™‚

Yes, the hostel even had a pool!

Between going (for the sunrise) to the top of Tampah Hills and having more or less the view on the entire south part of Lombok for yourself, going to the beach and getting a workout down, a quick meditation –> it’s the perfect time to rent a scooter and go around and explore, or get some work done!

I’ll admit, I never did work this close to the pool because otherwise I wouldn’t have been productive whatsoever! But the hostel had good wifi, not going to lie, sometimes it wasn’t that good, but hey, it gives you the excuse to take a break and go for a swim or just explore the island!

Ugh, I really loved it there! Considering going back for good, just need to figure out the visa requirements! I mean look at this…

View from the top of Tampah Hills

JANUARY 2019:

I’m currently in Singapore, well yeah Singapore…

Marina Bay Sands view from the Gardens by the bay

Man this city is amazing! Was nice seeing a friend from university again but I have to admit, the architecture here is really impressive!

Only spent two nights there so didn’t have the time to do everything I wanted to do but…

We started the day at the Gardens by the Bay which was a nice park! With a nice view too πŸ™‚

From there we did a walk to the Marina Bay Sands, it’s impressive truly is and then walked around the bay headed towards Arab street, which was really nice! Like it’s totally different than the rest of Singapore, there’s actually small shops and the vibe is really nice (we also saw Orchard road and little india and club road don’t worry πŸ˜€ )

But yeah, would recommend going to Singapore! But damm it’s an expensive city

JANUARY 2019:

I’m currently in Paris, France!

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Spent the night at a friends’ from university, (one of my old roommates) was really nice seeing him again!

It’s strange, at this point in my life when I say goodbye I really do not have a clue when I’ll see them again, but at the same time I love it – it really enables you to be spontaneous and jump on a plane to see your friends if ever that’s something you want

JANUARY 2019:

I’m currently in Barcelona, Spain!

The Sagrada Familia

I loved it so much last time I was here I decided to settle down!

Well…

That was the plan!

After searching and searching for an apartment (and getting rejected by three different landlords (1- I didn’t want to pay 12 months up front, 2- I’m a foreigner, 3- I wanted a one year lease) I came to realize that it probably was a sign it wasn’t meant to be!

I’m kinda sad about it since I really do like Barcelona – it has everything I want, the sea, nice weather, it’s walkable and there are coffee shops but it wasn’t meant to be!

DECEMBER 2018:

Spent Christmas with my family in France! Was really nice to see them all again!

Merry Christmas to you guys!

DECEMBER 2018:

I’m currently in London, UK (once again)

Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

Flew back to London for the end of year event organised by Falcon Trading – we had an amazing party at the top of the Gherkin, it was a really good time!

I mainly loved it because there are so many people I “knew” through trading and talked to for ages but never had the opportunuity to meet in person, but that happpened during this trip!

Ended up hanging out with a few traders (we were around 15) in Borough Market for lunch, it was fun! Really incredible to spend time with people you’ve talked to for more than 2 years online and finally get to meet!

But yeah this community of traders is just amazing!

Oh and I stayed in Brick Lane, lovely place to be! Loads of bars/restaurants and coffee shops close by and you can easily walk to the city from there! I’ll try to stay in that neighborhood next time!

DECEMBER 2018:

I’m currently in Barcelona, Spain

Arc de Triomf

Barcelona during winter is just gorgeous, usually during the summer when I’ve previously been here it’s just overcrowded with too many tourists and loads of pickpockets, but this time, it was fantastic!

The temperature being between 9 in the morning to 15 in the afternoon just makes it really enjoyable and peaceful! Really fell in love with it πŸ™‚

Here I’d highly recommend just going for walks and losing yourself! The old town (El Born, Gothico and Raval) are just really nice neighborhoods

If you want to have nice views of the city go to Park Guel and the Bunker de Carmen

Barcelona from the Bunker de Carmen

Also got to see over traders so that was fantastic!!

NOVEMBER 2018:

I’m currently in Geneva, Switzerland!

My sister asked me to take care of her rabbit and horse when she was away for work so I ended up spending the month here!

I mean, come on, I can’t refuse not paying rent for a month, that felt good!

I didn’t really love it here, it’s just so dammn expensive I didn’t really enjoy going out or doing much so I won’t recommend staying here for too long, if you are here for a week or a weekend that should be lovely, longer it gets quite dull, especially when its winter!

Geneva Jet D’Eau

But yeah, walk around the old town, do a road trip around the lake, go to the mountains, eat a fondue and all that traditional things and you should have a fantastic time!

OCTOBER 2018:

I’m currently in London, England!

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

It was getting cold in Poland so decided to jump away to “warm England”

London truly is a magical city, it’s a shame it’s just so expensive and that coffee shops aren’t amazing to work in because otherwise, I would definitively be living there!

This trip was fantastic, I was staying next to Battersea park which is a gorgeous park! I mean London does have its fair share of really nice parks but that one is one of the top 3 in my opinion! Only slight drawback was the lack of a underground station close by but there are buses all night long so it wasn’t a big issue

This trip was made even better since I was able to meet Mark Hutchinson in person (the founder of Falcon Trading) we had a really good conversation and it just reinforced my belief that he is truly doing this purely to help others and is a truly good guy!

Also really happy because I ended up seeing a friend from university while I was there and it had been ages I hadn’t seen her so couldn’t complain about this trip!

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2018:

I’m currently in Warsaw, Poland!

Decided to leave Berlin for Warsaw because spending one night in an Airbnb is 3 times cheaper here than in Berlin (20euros instead of 60) so the choice was an easy one!

Warsaw is fantastic – and people here speak fluent English like it’s really surprising, I never really expected it here, in Berlin I did but not in Poland, it’s really impressive! Most of the people I met were also really well educated and loved the EU which is nice!

The most lovely thing about Warsaw is that if you are living downtown then you can easily just walk around everywhere!

But here are my three most favourite things there:

1- The Palac Kultury i Nauky (photo above) it was a “present” from Stalin to show how great the USSR was, you can find similar ones in other countries of the old block, but it’s daamn impressive at nigh

2- The old town is really nice changes from that concert building and skyscrapers yet it’s only a 15min walk from the main square so you can easily just around πŸ™‚

3- Walking around the river is also really nice when it’s a warm day there’s loads of bars there and people just chilling outside, it has a really nice “vibe” so would highly recommend!

Also, theres really loads of coffee shops where you can work from, so I’d highly recommend it!

I will for sure be returning there!

SEPTEMBER 2018:

I’m currently in Berlin, Germany! (I went to Canada between Colombia and Germany tho but stayed with friends & had an amazing time)

Berlin!

I only stayed in Berlin for a few days knowing that it was quite expensive compared to Poland but…

My German is/was totally inexistent so I was happy to realise that nearly everyone could speak English, a big change compared to France or Colombia πŸ™‚

But after all, you only need to know “Hallo, einen kaffe bitte.” as long as we have our coffee fix all is good!

I have to say that over the time I spent there here are the 3 things I highly recommend:

1- Go to the Brandenburg Gate, I know it’s a classic and well known spot but it’s worth it, especially when I was there, nearly no one was there so it pretty damn impressive!

2- The Museum island is impressive, even if you don’t want to do any of the cultured stuff just go there and enjoy the architecture! The buildings are fantastic!

3- Okay I’m sorry I just have to name two really nice coffee shops, sorry but that’s where I spend most of my time! Halllesches Haus was fantastic, great location to get some work done, kinda sad it wasn’t walking distance from my Airbnb otherwise I would’ve spent way more time there!

The second one is Bagels & Coffee, pretty easy to imagine what it looks like with that name πŸ™‚ But they also sell books there which makes it a really chill place! Would highly recommend!

JULY-AUGUST 2018:

I’m Currently in Medellin, Colombia!

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Medellin!

It’s beautiful, the people are friendly, the weather is fantastic and the coffee is pretty good! What else would you want?

Medellin used to have a bad reputation due to drug problems and cartels but honestly, as long as you do not go to a few neighborhoods you’ll be fine!  I am currently staying in Laureles which is has a laid-back atmosphere while giving you the opportunity to go out to bars if you wish to! It’s probably the neighboorhood where you’ll find the most “digital-nomads” and expats if that’s something you want!

If I was to recommend three things to do in Medellin (go and read other blogs if you want more recommendations) it would be:

  1.  Go up Cerro El Volador (that’s where I took the above photo) you get an amazing view around the city and it’s actually “empty” –> Locals will recommend you to go to Peubilto Paisa but that’s hugely touristic and the views are pretty much the same so… Might as well enjoy the peace and quiet

2.  Go to the Communa 13 – it used to be the “murder capital of the world” (no kidding) and you’ll see that change is possible and allow you to gain a more hopeful outlook on life! Going with a tour will allow you to gain a more in-depth understanding of what happened so I would recommend you to do so! It’s worth it!

3.  Go and visit the Casa de la Memoria. Fair warning you are probably going to be sad after going out but whaoo, glad I wasn’t here 20 years ago that’s for sure!

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(there are loads of murals in Communa 13 so really make sure you go there!)

However,

If you are in Medellin, be sure to go to Guatape! It’s amazing!

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It’s mainly known due to “El Penol” this rock

This town is actually next to an artificial lake created by a dam, which allows you to have the feeling of being by the beach at 2,000m high!

Fair warning, the line you can see in the middle are the stairs to go to the top!

Yep…

750 stairs, that was a long and sweaty walk I have to admit

However, the view from the top is worth it!

If you go to Guatape you have to do three things:

  1. Go up the rock yep! It’s worth it!
  2. Walk around the town, it’s really colorful so if you needed to refresh your Instagram… It’s a good spot πŸ˜›
  3. Go on a Pablo Escobar tour! One of his (huge) villas is close by and you can even do some paintball inside od it which is insane!
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(The remains of his villa after it was bombed with 200kilos of TNT!)