Mount Bromo. The place to go

Hiking in Mount Bromo, Indonesia

When people think of Indonesia, most people think of Bali. But Indonesia has so much to offer and I got to experience some of it when I was there. I spent one full month in Indonesia and thought I would just lounge around the beaches in Bali and drink smoothies. But as relaxing as it sounds, it felt a bit stressful to me. It was my first time in Indonesia and I wanted to make the most of it – I wanted to move my body and I wanted to see the country!

When my friend in Bali told me that she had done an incredible hike sunrise hike to see an active volcano, I knew that I had to go wherever it was. She told me that it was in Java, not in Bali, and that I had to catch a ferry to the other island. No problem. I booked a trip tot Java and never looked back. What I didn’t realize is how tricky it would turn out to be to get there. Java hasn’t become a developed tourist destination yet, or at least not like Bali, so when I got there I felt a bit… lost. Luckily, I met up with two other guys who were also going to Mount Bromo but we were all three a bit naive. We just went to a small town called Probolinggo and heard that there would be minibuses there who would leave once it would fill up. Problem is – it never filled up because it was only the three of us who wanted to go. So we were stuck there for hours, trying to hitchhike and trying to get a better price for the three of us. But then something miraculously happened – a man had seen what was going on and offered us to go with him on his Uber. He was obviously the smart one.

We checked in later that night, had a bit of food and went straight to bed, only to wake up a few hours later. We started to hike in the middle of the cold night, following our map and trying to decide where the best place to see the sunrise was. I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what to expect so when the sun started to rise, I was absolutely shocked. It was more amazing than I would’ve ever expected. The colors of the sky mixed with the incredible view we had in front of us over the volcano made it all worth it. We continued to watch the sunrise for a while before heading down with motorbike taxis. When the sun was completely up, we hiked on top of the volcano and I can’t remember a time when I felt as impressed as I did now.  I really recommend anyone who’s going to Indonesia to hike to Mount Bromo. It was the highlight of my trip to Indonesia.

This post was made possible by the support of our sponsors at Microblading Boston.

Romania. The home of Legends

Romania: More than just Dracula

What pops up in your mind when you think of Romania? Dracula? Or nothing at all? Romania is one of the most underrated countries in Europe and not many think of visiting this Eastern European gem. Even though it’s one of the cheapest countries to travel in when it comes to Europe, people seem to skip Romania because they don’t know what to expect. If you go to Italy, you know you’ll have amazing food such as pizza, pasta, gelato. But what do they have in Romania?

Well, let me tell you. They have a lot! Although tourism in Romania is just starting, people tend to only visit the capital city Bucharest and forget the parts that really make this a great destination. Yes, there’s the Dracula castle in Brasov and it’s actually situated in a really beautiful city. But there’s so much more than that.

If you’ve never heard of Cluj-Napoca, it’s about time that you do. This city is located in Transylvania and is the second biggest city in Romania. What many people don’t know is that it’s also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Here you have cobblestoned streets, mesmerizing churches, old buildings full of history, a huge restaurant scene and alternative cafés that will make you stay for hours and hours. Let’s not forget about the booming nightlife as well (if that’s your scene). Cluj-Napoca, also known as Cluj, is also close to many other cities in Romania that’s worth visiting. Take a bus to the medieval city of Sibiu or head over to Sighisoara, a colorful little city where you can wander around for hours and where every little corner is prettier than the other.

When it comes to food, which is arguably one of the best parts of traveling, the Romanian cuisine doesn’t disappoint. As with many Eastern European countries, they eat a lot of meat. But if you’re a vegetarian like I am, don’t fret – there’s tons of options still. Some traditional dishes you must try are “sarmale”, which are cabbage rolls filled with either meat or rice. When the weather gets a bit cooler, order a “ciorba”, a thicker tripe soup. But make sure that you save some room for dessert. My favorite is “papanasi” which are a sort of fried doughnuts that’s best served with some berry jam and sweet and sour cream. It’s absolutely divine!

So if you’re thinking about where to go in Europe, give Romania a chance. Right now is the best time to go as well since the tourism is still just on the rise, but hasn’t bloomed yet, so you’ll find that you have some spots all to yourself. The locals are also very friendly and warm, and if you’re lucky, they’ll invite you home for a traditional Romanian dinner. It’s a place that simply cannot be missed.

This post was made possible by our sponsors at Lowell Auto School.

Taiwan, A travel destination

Taiwan – The most underrated country in Asia

When people are traveling in Asia, they usually go to destinations such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, etc. But you won’t find a lot of people who will say “I’m going to Taiwan!”, and that’s exactly why I wanted to go there. I had two weeks in the-country-that-no-one-goes-to and was really nervous before I landed. I didn’t really know what to expect. I did some research before I left, but I didn’t want to do too much in case I’d spoil too much. I wanted it to be a surprise. And it really turned out to be one of the biggest surprises during my trip.

I was backpacking in Asia and thought I had figured my itinerary out. But all of a sudden I had a 2 week gap that I could do whatever I wanted to with. I was deciding on whether I should go to Singapore or arrive to Vietnam earlier. But then all of a sudden I saw that there were relatively cheap tickets from Indonesia to Taiwan and I didn’t hesitate – I just booked it.

Taiwan is a curious little country that seems to possess a little bit of everything. You have beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, traditional cities and huge, metropolitan ones. But what made it so interesting was that there were almost no tourists there at all – I was almost alone in my hostel and the few people I met were either living in the hostel while waiting to get an apartment or came there for the same reason as me – to explore the unexplored. I didn’t think I would love this place as much as I did. Taiwan felt safe, developed, clean and the locals were friendly and open-minded. There were a ton of things to do and see, and I quickly realized that two weeks would not be enough. It was in fact, one of the few places in Asia where I could see myself living for a while.

It’s definitely an off-the-beaten-track destination so if you’re looking for a place to go with only few tourists, Taiwan should be the next place you visit. The prices are still affordable, although the only thing that is a bit pricey is accommodation. It’s not as cheap as Southeast Asia (nothing really is), but it’s way cheaper than Japan and South Korea for example. You can still find really good food for a good price. I highly recommend anyone who’s going to Taiwan to try their cold noodles with peanut sauce. It honestly works both for breakfast, lunch or for dinner. I wouldn’t hesitate eating it 3 times per day though. I promise, it is THAT good! And to top it all off, incredibly cheap.

Although Taiwan is right now Asia’s most underrated country, things are bound to change. The more tourists who come here, the more people will spread the rumour about how fantastic this country is. Which it really is.