Two Russian Spies in Rotterdam? A Hostel story

Two Russian Spies in Rotterdam? A Hostel story

„It was a summer, when two young Russian guests came to our Ani&Haakien Hostel in Rotterdam to do the check-in. They were two friendly guys, maybe a bit serious, like people can be :) They were carrying two suspicious long thin hard cover bags with them. With big eyes I was fantasizing about two Russian spies with guns coming to our Rotterdam. I asked the guys, what they are doing in Rotterdam and what they brought with them. They said they would go to an event and that they have their boats with them. So I mumbled a bit „Yeah

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Travel with Rose-Colored Glasses

Travel with Rose-Colored Glasses – My Nicaragua Experience

Nicaragua was not kind to me. My luggage was delayed, I had a violent bout of food poisoning. My belongings were drenched with rainwater when a hostel roof collapsed, and I suffered through a debilitating, week-long illness. And when my prized dSLR was stolen from my hostel dorm room? I had thoroughly had enough. (Are hostels safe? Analyzing the safety) But if Nicaragua taught me nothing else, it’s that every single experience is valuable. Every experience shapes you; I learned from those hardships and am better off because of them. Travel comes with no guarantees except that it’ll be worth

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Varanasi, a City to Die - Travel Story India
Varanasi, India

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Varanasi, India: a terror attack in the city to die

I cannot imagine myself in a more awful yet interesting place than Varanasi. It is one of the oldest cities in India and the holiest city of Hinduism. Varanasi is also considered as Shiva’s favorite city which he never leaves. Above Varanasi hovers a mixed mist of smoke and fumes, so that at night no stars can be seen. The narrow streets are littered with garbage and feces, and cows, pigs, dogs and monkeys are roaming around. Drug dealers and pimps are standing near the Ghats, the stairs leading to the Ganges, looking out for tourists to scam. Many religious

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Short Travel Stories from Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela

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Short Travel Stories from Santiago de Compostela

We, Anna&Matt from Hostelgeeks, went to Santiago de Compostela, and beforehand we were not really sure what to expect. But we knew many pilgrims will arrive at „kilometer zero“, the spot right in front of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The place where people from around the world will come together, to celebrate their victory with the new friends they found along the trail. “Every time the path is the same, but the experience is different.” Alex from Montreal, Canada We talked to pilgrims in front of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. We are keen to share with

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We met at a Hostel in Bruges, 10 years later we are still married
Bruges, Belgium

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We met at a Hostel in Bruges, 10 years later we are still married

In 2002, after finishing college on opposite ends of the Earth (Florida and Australia), fate threw us together at a Hostel in Bruges during our solo travels. I was assigned the top bunk, and a cute curly haired brunette had been sleeping in the bottom bunk. A few of us went out for drinks that night, as people do in hostels, and Bell and I just clicked. We both happened to be traveling to Amsterdam, so we briefly met up again there. Then, we also organized to meet in Rome before going our separate ways to opposite ends of the

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Rishikesh, India - meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden
Rishikesh, India

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Rishikesh, India – meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden

Located at the foot of the Himalayas, crossed by the river of Ganges, Rishikesh is an important pilgrimage city. From here the Ganges heads to the Himalayas, and from here pilgrims start their voyage to the holy places in Garhwal Mountains – like we did on our trip “On foot to India“ (originally in German: Zu Fuß nach Indien). Like in many sacred places in India meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden in Rishikesh – an absolute dream destination for vegetarians and vegans. Lakshmana, this lion among men, one of three brothers of Rama, whose deeds are written down in

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Chickens, Goats, and Abba - the bizarre bus through Ethiopia
Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

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Chickens, Goats, and Abba – the bizarre bus through Ethiopia

I always use public transport; I believe it is the best way of getting to know a country. On route from Lake Wenchi to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia I had not only the bumpiest journey of my life but also the most bizarre. Chickens casually strolling around nibbling on my toes, two goats strapped on the roof, people sitting on my lap meanwhile the driver also acted as a DJ playing only ABBA tunes for 3 hours. Loved it.

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Stumbling across Live Piano Music in Matanzas, Cuba
Matanzas, Cuba

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Stumbling across Live Piano Music in Matanzas, Cuba

There is always noise in Cuba. In the countryside cockerels crow and dogs bark, in cities drivers honk their horns and reggaeton blasts from the bicitaxis. Strolling through the busy streets of Matanzas, I glimpsed the sparking of sun on the surface of water and I went to the bay hoping for quiet. The noise of the car engines seemed to die down as beautiful piano music drifted out of an open window. I laid on the wall, closed my eyes, basked in the afternoon sun to the wonderful sound, and said to myself again that I love this country.

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Flattering Disasters in Paris - Kissing in France?

Flattering Disasters in Paris – Kissing in France?

Before exploring the city of love, I wandered into a nearby park to enjoy some long-awaited down time. Unbeknownst to me, my blissful repose would be cut short by a disheveled meandering charmer. He made his way over, sat down, and began his flirtations, selectively oblivious to the fact that I was deep in that whole writing alone thing.  No matter, within minutes he somehow managed to kiss my hand, write his number in my journal, and propose that “all French and Americans kiss on the lips.”  With swift persistence, I joked my way on out of there oddly curious about

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Chasing Koalas on the Great Ocean Road

Chasing Koalas on the Great Ocean Road

We were quietly eating breakfast in the morning sunshine at a picnic table at our Great Ocean Road campsite. We’d hired a campervan for a few days, and it had been our first night on the road. All of a sudden a fluffy ash-coloured koala walked across the grass in front of us without a care in the world. It was our first sighting of a wild koala, so we left our brekkie and followed the cute creature across the woods, where it decided on a new tree to climb. He loved the attention!

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Skydiving 15,000 feet over Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

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Skydiving 15,000 feet over Queenstown, New Zealand

Absolutely petrified. That’s one way of describing my anxiety before jumping out a plane at 15,000 feet. But I had never done anything like this before so that made it desirable. What makes traveling different is the unknown, the ability to experience new things without over thinking it. So that’s what I did; at 15,000 feet of course. And I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life. Complete silence as I free fell into nothingness. It was exhilarating.

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Climbing away from the Russian Mafia in Thailand

Climbing away from the Russian Mafia in Thailand

The Russian mafia had a gun pointed at the owner. Trouble is usually found when I get feisty at a bar, not innocently laying in silky pajamas (actually tradional Thai clothing for massages) receiving a massage in Phuket. He bellowed, “I give you money! You give me disrespect!” The girl giving me the massage motioned me to follow, crawling toward the back of the establishment. As Mr. Mafia’s attention ventured to expose spectators, the gal quietly removed a large Buddha painting, reveling a hidden door. I channeled Alice in Wonderland and climbed to safety, as the fuming Russian and his

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The Sleeping Dragon - Dalai Lama And Me
Salzburg, Austria

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The Sleeping Dragon – Dalai Lama, Salzburg, and Me

I can feel the snowflakes softly falling from the sky. They land gently on the tip of my frozen nose. At the top of this mysterious peak, famously called “sleeping dragon” by the Dalai Lama, I am alone. It is just me and the mountains. Okay, that’s not exactly true. It’s just me and a dozen yapping crows soaring through the mist. Up here on Untersberg, as I look down at Salzburg below, I know that it’s me against the world. That it’s just me and the silence that threatens to engulf me whole.

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Warned about the children of Cambodia

Warned about the Children in Cambodia

Be careful and judge each situation for yourself! We were warned about the children of Cambodia asking for hugs and stealing your watch yet we saw none of this. The children we’ve met so far are blind to prejudice, race, gender, religion… They simply wanted attention and we spent afternoons in Sihanoukville, Cambodia throwing them around the ocean, chasing them up and down the beaches, we taught them card games and they smiled proudly as they practiced their English. They had little but were content, it was beautiful to see. I don’t know what’s next but I’m so happy living

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Are there wolves in Umbria? Nicola did not reply

Are there wolves in Umbria? Nicola did not reply

“Are there wolves in Umbria?” Just silence from Nicola while the howling was still coming from the valley. We were alone, sleeping in a tiny tent in the wood along Spoleto – Norcia, Italy abandoned railway. We had been too adventurous cycling along the hills and camping in this isolated spot. Maybe we (and by we I mean Nicola) could have learned how to light a fire to protect from the animals; maybe we were going to be attacked by a pack of wolves. “Nicola?” He quietly answered “A few”. Wolves sounded far from us, but I felt frightened and

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Blocked Road and The Tuk-Tuk Driver Saved Us
Luang Prabang, Laos

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Blocked Road and The Tuk-Tuk Driver Saved Us

On our bus-ride from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, Laos a truck blocked the entire road and no vehicles could go through. We were all stuck there in the highest mountaintop and the driver told all the passengers that we could be stranded there for days. People began to camp out, but we had a train to catch back to Thailand, so we walked down the mountain to the other side for hours until a kind tuk-tuk driver delivering groceries to small villages rescued us. Thanks to this experience we got to see the most majestic landscape of Laos!

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Traveling to Jamaica To Record our 1st Reggae Song

Traveling Jamaica to record our 1st Reggae Song – Travel Story

Our adventure in Jamaica started with a wonderful mistake. My boyfriend and I had booked a hotel two hours away. Instead of paying $50US to sit with tourists on a charter, we paid $2US and traveled with the locals. Four days later, we stood on the side of the road to catch another $2US public bus to Ocho Rios. Bumping into a local couple we befriended, they set us up with some of their friends that were going to pick us up and drive us around to find a new hotel.  Rule #1 Always trust your gut. Our new friends

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From Zero to Kilimanjaro, the Highest Peak of Africa
Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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From Zero to Kilimanjaro, the Highest Peak of Africa

This was it. What was I thinking? “Stephanie, you have never climbed a mountain in your life, never mind starting with Kilimanjaro.” At that stage there was no going back, it was time to take on the challenge. After spending two months living with a Massai Tribe, the decision came to tackle Kili with three friends. This was an experience I will never forget. These overwhelming feelings of happiness, fear, tiredness, excitement and anxiety all at once. Standing at the highest peak of Africa I told myself, this was my time. It was time to challenge myself and do it

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Machu Picchu's Gigantic Aura - Reminder Why I Travel
Machu Picchu, Peru

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Machu Picchu’s Gigantic Aura – Reminder Why I Travel

On day three of the classic Inka Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, we reached the summit of Abra de Runkuracay eager to take in the views around us. The day was unusually warm; wispy white clouds rolled in and out of the deep green valleys, aided by a gentle breeze. We scuttled up to the highest point we could find. Even though the clouds obstructed much of the view, I could feel the enormity of the valley we were perched above. I searched for snowy peaks in the distance, searched for the river far below. In that moment, I

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Don't make Elephants angry - my elephant experience in Botswana

Don’t make Elephants angry – my elephant experience in Botswana

When I visited Botswana in hope to get close and personal with Elephants, I certainly got my wish. I remember it clearly – we were sat in the open-top jeep, observing quietly as the herd of Elephants trundled across the road ahead. All of a sudden a loud trumpeting sound came from behind us and we realized this angry, tusk-less mother was warning the others of our presence. In panicked haste, we sped off as she tried to catch us up until we were stopped dead in our tracks by the biggest bull Elephant I have ever seen. My friend,

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A Paelle Pan and a Harpoon, please!
Malaga, Spain

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A Paella Pan and a Harpoon, please!

My very first backpacking trip by myself started in Malaga, Spain. It was also my first time at a hostel, so I was really new to all this travel scene. At the hostel I met lots of nice people, and two 18-year old guys from Berlin. We talked, had a beer or two and after a while they told me they were celebrating their high school graduation with a flight to Malaga to travel around Spain. They only had €80 with them for 2 weeks of travelling, and they spent already €15 on a paella pan and €25 on a

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