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When I got to Nadi I had to stay one night there at the main island, because all the boats leaving to other islands come only in the morning. Most, if not all travelers have to do that so there are various hostels in Nadi. I stayed in Smugglers Cove Backpackers located on the beachfront, however ugly beach. The dorm was nice and clean, internet worked well, so I cannot really complain. The food at the restaurant could be cheaper, however I guess you’re also paying for the fire and dance show.
The day after I had an organized transport to Mana Island, after a friend of mine recommended me this place as inexpensive backpacker’s way to see the island. I was picked up by a friendly driver and driven to the shore where I boarded a boat. We sailed for around 2 hours to reach the island. The place was indeed beautiful and the beach seemed like from the famous postcards of Fiji. Mana Island has a resort, two hostels and a village. I stayed at Ratu Kini Backpackers & Dive Center, supposedly a better backpackers on the island. The place has a nice terrace where the meals are served, but the rooms definitely need to be painted and renovated. However, for Fiji standards it was definitely fine. I was one of a few people who didn’t have a meal plan set, so I could choose to either buy something from the meal plan (simple things like burger, spaghetti, curry, etc.) or get ‘a la carte’ meal, such as seafood chowder. The hostel organized some night activities, such as Cava making [Cava is a traditional Fijian alcohol] or limbo.
I went with a group of people from the hostel for a half-day island hopping tour. We couldn’t stop at the majority of the islands due to a landing fee of 70 FJD per person, but we managed to stay for a bit at the Plantation Island Resort. As our guide said ‘it’s amazing because it has a mini supermarket’, but I guess when you’re living on Fiji you can get extremely excited over chocolate or yogurt Anyway, the Plantation Island beach was amazing indeed and definitely worth paying a visit.
The only bad experience from Fiji I had was my boat trip back to the main island due to a storm. I’m never seasick, but this time after 3h on a boat jumping on the waves and water being thrown on me I definitely didn’t feel great after… oh well, guess it’s a part of the experience!
A trip to the Fiji islands was my dream pretty much from the age of maybe 5 or so when I watched the Blue Lagoon with my mom. Although at the time, because it’s one of the most further away places on earth from Europe, it seemed like a fare-away dream. When I had a chance to visit some islands a bit more than a year ago I chose to pursue the Cook Islands as they seemed to be less touristy. This time I knew that when my trip to Australia was finally happening I had to add Fiji to my itinerary. I knew it was a popular destination for backpackers and people on round-the-world gap years, so lots of budget friendly options are available there, however planning a trip to the islands is not as easy as just booking a plane ticket. Fiji has various local airports and one international in Nadi, not in it’s capital Suva. Firstly, I was considering taking Jetstar, Australian Ryanair-like airline, tho hidden fees for the checked-in luggage made it totally not worth it. I flew Virgin Australia International, booked by HanhAir – a German consultant airline to make it cheaper. However regular airline VA seemed to be it turned out to be pretty shitty… luggage was included indeed but that would be the only freebie received. Entertainment costs 20AUD even when the flight is over 4h and only water is served for free.
Anyway, coming back to the issue of planning… Fiji is not like the Cook Islands that you can just fly to the main island and it’s all good. Also, leaving planning till you get to the island makes it (as I found out from other travelers) exactly twice as much as I’d pay beforehand. I only had 5 days in Fiji, wish it was more, but it’s more than enough to see it and enjoy it. Fiji has over 20 islands, divided in two regions – Mamanuca and Yasawa, is obviously it’s not necessary to see all of them. Island hopping option is nice, but it’s quite pricy so I decided to organize my own ‘hopping’…
I finally made it to Australia! After a very long flight with Malaysia Airlines with a layover in Kuala Lumpur I got here without any problems. Funny, but I guess interacting with Australians helped me become familiar with the accent, while the waist majority of travelers say ‘What?’ when the Aussies speak
I have to say that I thought Sydney would be like England when it comes to style… However what it reminds me of is a mixture of Cape Town and Chicago. I walked around the Circular Quay and the Opera House today. The opera itself is not as big as I thought it would be, but it’s definitely nice.
Foodwise, surprisingly it’s easier to find a kangaroo-related products in Holland or England than in Sydney. I haven’t seen a restaurant or cafe where kangaroo meat would be served. It’s a shame really… I’ll have to wait till my tour to the Blue Mountains next week to eat some.
I was waiting for a long time to finally visit Porto, so when I saw the cheap tickets to Porto (Oporto) I didn’t hesitate to book them. The plan was easy – me and at this time boyfriend booked tickets out of Maastricht and return to Schiphol Airport. However, quickly enough I realized that this trip was going to be a disaster… When I broke up with my boyfriend I asked my good friend to go with me instead, since my good company was paying for my hotel anyway. Easy as it seems, she booked her tickets for the other dates, so we could spend only one day in Porto together. But let’s start from the beginning…
My trip was Maastricht was delicately speaking a disaster. Always trustworthy Dutch application “9292.nl” this time failed miserably. It told me to go from Amsterdam to Utrecht, then change to train to Maastricht Centraal and get off at Sittard station to get a bus. First of all in Utrecht the train arrived to another platform what resulted in me getting on a wrong train. However, I managed to fix it and how surprised I was when I finally got to Sittard and heard there were no more buses and the next train to Maastricht would leave in an hour – I had to take a taxi what, I’m not gonna lie, wasn’t cheap at all and it’d have been probably cheaper to just go to Lisbon from Schiphol Airport for the same total price.
Maastricht Airport was small enough so the only eatable thing was very bad ham and cheese semi-panini, but what can you do when you’re hungry. Anyway, by the time I finally got to Porto I just took a cab to the hotel and crashed. Talking about the hotel… I’d advice everyone not to try to book things last second – I’ve always been an organized person but due to 2 full-time jobs and full-time Master’s degree my free time has been limited to zero and finding a hotel in Porto wasn’t my top priority. As a result the only hotels available to book the same day of arrival were obviously luxurious expensive ones, that wouldn’t be covered and the EasyHotel. We ended up staying at EasyHotel and to be fair I was quite satisfied with it. Simple as it was it was satisfactory enough with a strange design – capsule shaped bathroom.
I wish Porto itself was as satisfactory as the hotel. Honestly speaking there is not much to do there. I visited the famous main station with beautiful walls, I went to a few wineries with free tastings of Port, but that was basically it from the attractions. Especially when it’s freezing cold and it’s raining. We visited the beach, however after 20 minutes I got literally frozen and then it started raining like crazy,
Foodwise I saw a similar pattern as in Brazil – there are absolutely no restaurants in Porto – and if you’re lucky enough to find a good cafe bar they serve mostly sweet things or bread. Luckily, we met a Californian chef who stayed with my friend at the hostel before I arrived and she cooked us dinner. How surprised we were when from a simple spaghetti call we got an excellent aubergine pate with garlic bread, then grilled vegetables with carrot sauce and amazing pasta. WOW!
More airline adventures for my lovely fans – yes, this time I haven’t managed without troubles. I took Transavia airlines and to be fair… I thought Dutch people are a bit more organized than kicked the passengers out of the terminal and putting them in a queue outside on a pouring rain. We stood outside with our umbrellas, watching arriving passengers running to the terminal trying to escape from the rain…