Photo diary: The catacombs of Paris

Many people recognize Paris as a capital of romance, so they often miss one of the darkest secrets this beautiful city is hiding. Just few steps away from Denfert-Rochereau metro station, there’s an entrance to Paris Catacombs. Underground ossuaries hold the remains of about six million people in a small part of the ancient Mines of Paris tunnel network. A little history lesson: the ossuary was founded when city officials were faced with two simultaneous problems, a series of cave-ins starting in 1774 and overflowing cemeteries (particularly Saint Innocents). This underground cemetery has been open to the public on a regular basis since 1874 and it’s still well-visited nowadays. Visitor numbers are restricted to 200 at any time, therefore be prepared to wait outside in a queue for a little less than an hour. We didn’t have luck when we went – the rain was pouring down and the wind was playing its own game with us, but not even that convinced us to leave the line.

As for every other tourist attraction in Paris, you have over 200 stairs to climb. 130 to go down and 83 to go up. Not that surprising, I suppose. It’s not everyone’s style to go there, that’s understandable. But even though it sounds a bit morbid, I can’t recommend the catacombs enough. Seeing skulls and bones pilled up in different formations is not just scary, it’s also utterly fascinating and so inspiring! While there, I took over 300 photos and when going through them, I got goosebumps, so I simply have to share the best ones.

Photo diary: Catacombs of Paris | The Cheerful Wanderer

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Travel Movie Monday: The Beach

Every second Monday I’m going to recommend you one travel movie (in no specific order). Each one of those mentioned, had some kind of an impact on me and I’m sure they will affect you too. Travel movies have the ability to inspire your wanderlust, the motivation to a new destination and give you the power to chase your goals.

THE BEACH (2000)

Travel Movie Monday: The Beach | The Cheerful Wanderer

Twenty-something Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss – excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

Leonardo DiCaprio at the beginning of his career, isn’t that a good reason to give it a go?

The Beach takes you to Tailand and once you’re done watching, you’ll mostly likely find yourself feverishly searching for an airplane ticket to Asia. The movie follows Alex Garland’s novel about young backpackers who set out to find paradise but end up destroying it. Read More

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How to pay under $50 for Broadway tickets

Visiting New York City and not seeing a show on Broadway would be just wrong, don’t you agree? However, with the city itself being so expensive, you’ll soon find yourself searching for new options to save some dollars. Or maybe you have the whole list of shows you need to see.

When I was there, I choose a comedy called A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and it was fantastic! Jefferson Mays amazingly portrayed 9 different characters, songs were extremely catchy and the plot was ridiculous. Unfortunately, the final performance of the show on Broadway was January 17, 2016. The price we paid was $42 per person, all fees included. We bought our tickets on Goldstar, a reliable website that offers discounted tickets for various events. The discounts are typically 20-50% and they also have off-Broadway offerings. The great thing is you can buy them last minute, if still avaliable. We bought ours a day before the show.

How to pay under $50 for Broadway tickets | The Cheerful Wanderer

If you want a list of all shows currently played and you wish to know what’s the lowest price you can get, visit Broadway For Broke People. As you can see, they are mentioning “Lotery”, “SRO” (meaning standing-only) and “Rush” tickets. Many Broadway shows have implented these kind of tickets to make tickets more affordable. Let’s start with so called Lotery tickets. This means you have to go to theater earlier (read policy of the show you’re interested in for the exact amount of time, the avarage is around 2 hours before the show). Names are drawn at random and you have to physically be there to claim them, if you score. Rush tickets do not require as much luck, but you still have to be organized. They sold first come, first serve when the box office opens. Queues can get quite long, so try to google a little to see how popular the show is and when it’s the best to get there. And lastly, Standing-only tickets. There are numbered spaces that are the width of a regular seat, usually located at the back of the orchestra. The disadvantage is, they’re only sold when the show sells out, so keep that in mind. Note that all Student Rush ticket purchases require a valid and current student ID and Lottery Rush ticket purchases require a photo ID. Some theatres may not accept cards, so take some cash with you.

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The best places to enjoy dessert in Ljubljana

It’s no secret I love food and I bet you won’t be surprised when I say I LOVE dessert. Don’t we all? Here’s your guide to the top places to enjoy a finger-licking dessert when you’re in Ljubljana and your sweet tooth calls for a luciously decadent treat.

ZVEZDA

Zvezda means star in Slovenian. When you enter, I suggest you to go to the glass case full of delectable cakes and desserts and choose there, rather than just look at the menu. The selection of cakes and ice creams is very wide; they offer chocolate cakes, raw, vegan and diabetic cakes, pies, studels, nut rolls, creams in a cup and more. Check out online. The quality has never been a question, anything you pick is amazing. You can also try Gibanica, a traditional Slovenian cake! But be ready to wait a little bit to be seated, the cafe is very popular with locals and tourists, and because of that almost always full.

The best places to enjoy dessert in Ljubljana | The Cheerful Wanderer
Price range: €4 – €16
Address: Wolfova ulica 14, 1000 Ljubljana

RUSTIKA

Chocolate lover? Then Rustika’s a place for you. Exquisitely designed chocolate that melts in your mouth. You for sure won’t stop after your first bite. They also offer homemade ice cream, cookies, cakes and pretty much anything you can imagine being made out of chocolate, so if you need to buy some sweet souvenirs while in Slovenia, look no further. Everything is made from natural Slovenian ingredients.

The best places to enjoy dessert in Ljubljana | The Cheerful Wanderer
Price range: €2-€100 examples in online store
Address: Trubarjeva 44, 1000 Ljubljana

PUFFY LIL’ PANCAKES

One of the most popular places to have a sugar fix. The pancakes are fluffy, but if you ask me the best part are various amazing toppings. No idea what I’m talking about? See their Instagram.

The best places to enjoy dessert in Ljubljana | The Cheerful Wanderer
Price range: €3
Address: Čopova ulica 14, 1000 Ljubljana

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Survival guide: Hostels

Staying in a dorm room gives you a possibility to meet more people but it can also be also be a cause of all kinds of trouble. Snores that don’t let you sleep all night, drunk people doing stupid things or beg bugs; it can be truly intimidating, so here are my tips for making your hostel experience more pleasant.

Survival guide: Hostels | The Cheerful Wanderer

1. Female only or mixed dorms? Small or bigger rooms?
Many hostels offer female-only rooms. If you’re a solo female traveller, consider booking one of those. They are usually cleaner and quieter, but that’s not the rule. Maybe it’s just my luck, but I’ve never had any problems with male travellers, so I usually go for mixed bedroom instead. They tend to be a lot of fun and you will meet and bond with other people much faster.

On the contrary to popular belief, smaller rooms are not always the best choice. When I was travelling to London with my friend we somehow managed to book seperate rooms. She was in 3-bed mixed dorm, while I ended in 9-bed mixed dorm. When we went ot unpack and see where we sleep, we seperated. Fifteen minutes later, when I was joyfully chatting with three Brazilian students, my friend came to our room and told us her dorm stinks and a guy who was taking a nap at that time, was snoring loudly.

I discovered I meet more people in 9-bed or 12-bed mixed dorm. However, I only booked 20-bed room and regretted it a lot, because there’s absolutely no way you won’t get waken up every hour when there are so many travellers sharing a room.

2. The centre of the city or a quiet area?
Staying somewhere further from the city center has its advantages. Prices are usually lower, there is less traffic and supermarkets are more common. It’s smart to first check the public transport connections. In London, for example, it’s not the most intelligent choice to stay in a hostel situated in Zone 6. Underground tickets are very expensive even without that. While in Barcelona I’ve found the cutest hostel 25 minutes away from everything. And if you plan to party all night, stay in the heart of the city. It’s better to be close to the club, when you’re returning to your bed early morning.

3. Invest into a fake wedding ring
If you don’t want unwanted attention, buy yourself a cheap wedding ring on ebay or aliexpress. You can get them for $1 and yes, they work.

4. Flip-flops are not just for summer
Something I learnt the hard way, unfortunately. Nail fungus is the consenquence I still have to deal with (I know, gross). Always carry a pair of flip-flops if you plan to use a communal shower or option two, don’t shower at all (please don’t go for option two). Believe me, foot conditions are not something you want to deal with.

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