Travel Guide: Rome, Italy

If you are reading this blog post, I would guess that you are planning trip to Rome or you are already there but don’t know what to do. Or then you are just interested what I have to say about this Italy’s ancient city. I have to start by saying that during my visit to Rome I didn’t fall in love. The city is nice, there is a lot of things to see and Vatican was amazing. But I didn’t fall in love. That doesn’t change the fact that Rome is still one of those places everyone should see at least once in their life time and so here is travel guide to Rome for anyone interested!

ancient_rome

Basic facts of Rome:

As the capital city of Italy Rome is also the fourth largest city in EU when compared by the population. Inside of Rome there is also Vatican, the smallest country in the world by population and area. Here some more basic information about Rome:

Population: 2,8 million
Language: Italy
Currency: euro
Time zone: UTC+1
Summer weather: dry and warm, average day temperature of 30°C
Winter weather: humid and cold, average day temperature of 12°C

rooftops_rome

Should I travel to Rome?

The short answer? Yes.
Rome is like a big museum so if you are not someone interested in history, museums and old buildings, going to somewhere else may be a good idea. But even then Rome is travel destination you should experience once in your lifetime. Walking around the old narrow streets takes you straight back to Europe’s ancient city and there is something to see literally everywhere.

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When to travel to Rome?

The right questions would be when is not the right time to travel to Rome. We made the mistake everyone should try to avoid making. July and August are just inevitable death so don’t travel at that time. The average temperature of those months is about 26°C. What this means? Sunny days are impossible to get around in the heat of over 30°C. Especially if you are from a northern country like me and not used to over 30 degrees.

On the other hand, January can be quite cold if you are used to warmth. The best time to visit Rome would be late autumn, early summer or late spring. 

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How long should I stay in Rome?

Whatever you stay for a weekend or two weeks, you won’t have enough time to see everything. Rome is big, full of historical attractions and place that makes you quickly bored. In the end, you can get an overdose of all the history and cool places so I don’t recommend making the trip just to see everything possible. Take your time and be ready to miss some of the major attractions. Decide beforehand what you want to see.

The shortest time I would stay in Rome is for three full days. Think it this way: You will need one full day for Vatican, one day for Colosseum area and one day for just walking around, doing shopping or going for a day trip outside of the city. But the more time you have the better.

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Is Rome expensive?

Once again short answer is yes.
If you are not careful in Rome, you will end up paying too much for the things locals can get a lot cheaper. Main areas of this capital city are made for tourists and so also the prices are high. Check out the prices of attractions beforehand from the internet and see should you book online or buy tickets in Rome. When eating, go for the smaller side alleys and compare prices of different restaurants.

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The most important tourist attractions

  • Colosseum, Forum Romanum, and Palatine Hill: These are maybe the three most important landmarks and tourist attractions in Rome. You can access all of them with the same ticket valid for two days. Just remember that you should start from Palatine and buy your ticket from there. We got inside with no waiting at all because there was literally no queue. After that, you can go to the shorter line in Colosseum.
  • Spanish Steps: It’s long tradition for tourists to take a break and sit on these steps while writing postcards to send back home. Perfect place for people watching (Following those vendors who try to sell everything touristy is too much fun!) but also amazing opportunity to see the beautiful view to Rome if you just have the patience to climb up.
  • Piazza Navona: Souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular places to hang out for tourists. Wander around the small streets, visit churches and just enjoy the atmosphere this plaza offers.
  • Capuchin Crypt: One of the most unique attractions in Rome. This crypt has remains of 3 700 humans. Their skeletons make out most of the crypt and its decorations. Definitely part of Rome’s history but a little different take on it. Not for easily scared people!
  • Vittoriano: Huge white monument honors the first king of Italy. It’s nice to see from outside but mentioned on my Rome travel guide for a totally different reason. What many people don’t know is that you can take lift up to the top part of this monument and see beautiful panorama view to the city.

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Vatican

Vatican is small country inside of Rome and one of those places you shouldn’t skip at any price. It is worth of using one full day so it also deserves its own post in my blog. Next Wednesday I will publish small post full of information about Vatican and all the travel tips I learned while visiting there. For nor I can just say a few things…

  • Buy your tickets beforehand or you will wait in line for hours.
  • Take a guided tour to their gardens! It’s totally worth it.
  • There are too many people everywhere.
  • Read the map before exploring Vatican museum. You won’t have enough time and willpower to see everything as well as you want so pick out the most important ones to see for you.
  • Don’t trust the “Vatican” sign in the metro! It’s a trap. Or well not really but it may be sign for the wrong entrance.
  • If you try to find the Vatican’t entrance and decide to ask help from local, they may not know the right way. We even asked help from a military person but he didn’t even know in what direction the country is. So, have a map and read street names.

Street art Rome

I have seen too much history… What to do?

  • Markets! Campo de’ Fiori, Borghetto Flaminio Market, Fontanella Borghese Market and Campo de Fiori are just a few markets you could wander around in Rome. Visiting at least one market is must to do thing for every travelers. Pick your favorite from flea markets, food markets or markets selling literally everything.
  • Go to see the sea and spend day on beach. Follow the locals on train and spent nice relaxed day on beach. You have deserved one day of rest between all the sightseeing in Rome. The ride only takes about 30 minutes.
  • Jewish Ghetto is always one of those places you should check out in bigger European cities. It has its own atmosphere and style when compared to the rest of the city. Rome’s Jewish quarter has many attractions for travelers from Tiber Island to synagogues and from small cafes to bohemian shops.
  • Roman Cat Sanctuary aka Torre Argentina may be historic attraction. To be exact it is the place where Julius Caesar was murdered. So, why should you visit here is your brains got overdose of history? The ruins are taken over by about 250 cats and animals always make everything better, right?
  • Testaccio is one of the local neighborhoods in Rome. You don’t see many tourists here and so it is good place to escape the too packed historic areas. Visit at least local food market and Macro Museum of Contemporary Art (even if you don’t go to the museum, their yard is old slaughterhouse and super cool). And don’t skip partying because there is several clubs and bars in interesting buildings all found side by side from same street.
  • Nothing wins shopping! Rome is historic city but also paradise for shoppers. If you are on budget go to the cheap flea markets and if money isn’t problems the area around Spanish steps and Piazza di Spagna is full of high-end shops. There is also some cheaper shops if you start from the Piazza del Popolo and continue along Via del Corso street. Basically Rome is full of shopping areas so just use Google and find the nearest ones.

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Rome + Low budget = no problem?

Rome is often seen as expensive tourist destination that isn’t fit for those traveling with small budget. This isn’t the whole truth. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, Rome has many free things to do and some of them also happen to be must things to do in Rome.

  • Spanish steps: Spanish steps is also included as one of the major tourist attractions in this blog post. As long as you don’t end up buying something from the vendors walking amongst tourist it should be 100% free.
  • Churches: Rome is the city of churches and most of them are totally free to enter.
  • Pantheon: This old temple is the most influential building in Rome. It is best-known from photos of beautiful light coming inside of the hole in its roof. Definitely worth of seeing and free.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica: This is free part of Vatican if you don’t have the money to go for tour inside. However be ready for long queues and waiting before getting in the crowded basilica.
  • First Sunday of the month: This may surprise you but first Sunday of every month is day when you can see Colosseum, Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill free of charge. You just have to wait in line for long time but hey, it’s free! Also many Romae’s museums are free on this same Sunday.

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Beware of scams!

As super touristy city Rome is the paradise of scammers and shady people. Be always on your toes and if something feels too good to be true or just not right, get away. It’s not worth the risk of getting robbed. Here is list of some of scams or dangers you may encounter in the ancient city:

  • Help is not free. You will probably encounter this scam if you are buying tickets from the main touristy metro stations. There is someone standing between two ticket machines “helping”. In reality you could just turn the machine to English and buy your tickets cheaply. After you have bought the tickets this person helping you will snatch the change you get back from the machine as tip for helping. Tip: Pay the exact amount of your ticket price or make sure you are ready to lose the change you would get.
  • Fake tours, guides and tickets. Only buy tickets from official people. Someone may offer you possibility to skip lines or get cheaper tickets but remember to always think: Why would this guy get any special tickets if anyone else doesn’t have? Remember also ask the price always before buying anything from anyone.
  • Rose for beautiful lady. This tourist scam is getting popular around Europe. This usually happens for couples or families, not as often for solo travelers. Man offers you rose because you are so beautiful just to demand high payment after you have taken the flower. If you are girl traveling with boy, they ask the price from man traveling with you because what kind of guy doesn’t buy flowers to his girl, right?
  • Fake products. This should be clear thing. Be always careful when buying brand products and especially if the price seems to be off.
  • Photo with pigeon. I saw this a lot when traveling in Italy and around eastern Europe. Someone will throw food around you or take your hand and put food to your hand just for pigeons appear to eat around you. What any tourist would want to do in this situation? Take photo of course! Just be aware that it will cost… a lot.

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Useful tips to remember

  • Water fountains can be found around Rome and you can get free drinkable water from them. Yes, I know this sounds suspicious but it’s the truth. Locals drink from them, tourists drink from them and even my mom ended up drinking the fountain water (before our trip she was totally against it). Just check carefully that the fountain you are using is truly for drinking and not just for decoration. If others drink from it, there is big possibility that you can too.
  • You can skip the longest lines if you are clever. Traveling to Rome means waiting in queues for too long whatever you do. However with small research and clever thinking you can skip the longest lines. We mentioned these things already but here is two examples: For Vatican buy your tickets beforehand and there is almost no waiting. When visiting Colosseum go first to Palatine hill where you can buy the ticket right away. Instead of few hours of standing in line in front of Colosseum you only have to wait for about half an hour.
  • Always carry big scarf with you. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with chilly weather or covering yourself from the sun. Churches and other sacred places in Rome have strict dress-code. You can’t enter if your knees or shoulders are showing. During the summer months top and shorts seem like luxurious choice but it means churches are off limit for you. Except if you follow my tip and cover yourself with scarf when needed.
  • Some locals enjoy “siesta”. This means that there is shops and restaurants closed during afternoon hours but it depends a lot from area to area and even from shop to shop. People in Rome usually eat later at evening so you should too.
  • Use metros or trams and save yourself from terrible bus journey. Streets in Rome are narrow and often full of traffic. We didn’t use any buses during our trip but that was because many people warned us about them before we left. Metros and trams are easy to use and don’t get stuck to bad traffic!

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I saw Rome, what now?

Have you spent more than enough time exploring Rome but still feel like you could continue your adventure to somewhere else? Don’t worry! I am expert at making long and difficult travel plans so here is a few possible ways you can continue your trip from Rome to somewhere else in Italy or Europe.

  • Train: Taking a train from Rome is maybe the easiest and fastest way to get Around Italy. Some tickets are a little expensive so it’s good to buy your trip beforehand. However there is some cities you can reach with only using ten to twenty euros. I recommend cities like Nice, Florence and Pisa.
  • Long distance bus: This is slower alternative for trains but also often cheaper when we talk about longer distances. Remember always check the current rates for trains and buses so you will know which one to pick. Taking night bus is easy way to move between two cities but it’s good to know that Rome’s main bus station is kind of shady and chaotic. I recommend using buses for places like Venice, Milan or Verona. If you want to go outside of Italy, Zurich or Ljubljana are interesting destination accessible by cheap buses.
  • Airplane: Rome is big centric city in Europe so many low-cost airlines fly around the continent from there. At least right now you can get flight to many countries only with 20€. (This is not advertising in any way but I use SkyScanner to find my cheap flights. Currently they are the only website I know with working “Fly Anywhere” option.) Those twenty euros flights I found were destinations like Bulgaria, Malta, France and Romania.
  • Cruise: Many cruises visit Rome or leave/end up in Rome. So, what would be better way to continue your holiday than board luxurious cruise ship? Some of these cruises sail around Mediterranean Sea visiting France, Spain, Greece and other cities in Italy while some ships sail even further.

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So, this was my Rome travel guide for anyone who is planning their trip. It was first time I write guide like this so any feedback would be nice. Do you want to see more guides like this? I had fun writing so whatever your answer is there will be probably more posts like this coming. Sorry! Have you ever visited Rome or do you have any tips I forgot to mention? All comments are welcome like always.

Also don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

With love,

Lost Viivi

My 5 Favorite Travel Experiences

Traveling changes us. That’s a fact. Going to new places, seeing all these interesting countries and meeting these people who have been raised so differently when compared to your childhood. Traveling is full of amazing experiences and if I had time I would love to share all my own with you and hear all of yours.

Recently my travel blogger buddy from DreamsVoyager wrote post about his best travel experiences. In the end he asked everyone to share the first 5 travel experiences that come to their mind. So, here I am copying him and answering this question. What are my 5 favorite travel experiences?

Travel Blog Gdansk

5. Rainy Gdansk with princess umbrella

I never found inspiration to write about my Gdansk trip so you haven’t even heard about my unfortunately meeting with ‘umbrella man’. Maybe I will share that funny story with you sometime soon? Well however, it was raining in Gdansk during my trip. And when I say raining I mean RAINING. There was water everywhere and I was almost considering not going outside at all one day. In the end I went and it’s one of my favorite travel experiences so far.

I took tram from the city center to close-by beach. I had my white lace-heart-rose-ribbon decorated umbrella with me (all blame for buying that cute thing goes for the umbrella man…) and my sneakers had huge holes in them. Not so good outfit for rainy beach. It was almost the last tram stop and I was only left in the carriage. When I exited the tram I saw no one. It was raining, there was mist in the air and not even single person anywhere. I walked through small place looking like a ghost town before seeing the sea. Have I ever mentioned how much I love sea?

After that I walked along the empty beach, sat down every now and then to the towel I had smuggled out of the hostel and just enjoyed life in the rainy weather. It just felt magical. I continued walking until I came to long wooden pier. It was my first time seeing one in person and I fell in love. Old wooden piers are just thing to live for. So pretty, magical and like from storybook. After a while I was freezing and all my clothes were wet.

I decided to find the tram again and leave but then small cozy looking restaurant by the sea took my attention. Of course I went inside. It was empty expect the workers. Handsome looking waiter took my order and came soon back with warm ginger chai tea and cheesecake. I ate while watching the sea and started writing this story that had been in my mind for a while. It was so simple and still so perfect.

I have so many moments like this and if I could I would list all of them as my favorite travel experiences.

Travel Blog Origami Japan

4. All the people I meet and things I learn from them

I am totally introverted but I also love meeting new people and talking for people that come from different culture or just different place than I. Mostly I have met these people in hostels or through funny travel situations. In the other hand lately I have been talking for super cool people because of my blog and even been brave enough to meet someone face to face. I never thought that I would be able to connect with so many people just because I am writing to internet. (I am always happy to talk with other travelers so feel free to start conversation for example in FacebookTwitter or in Instagram‘s private messages. Just be warned that I am and will always be super shy and awkward!)

However, just meeting these people isn’t my favorite thing. Learning something new and unexpected from these people made meeting all of them one of my favorite travel experiences. So what have I learned? EVERYTHING… I once listened three hours when German guy taught me and two Korean dudes how they learn hiragana and katakana (Japanese alphabets) in Germany. May sound dull but I had amazing night.

On the other hand, I have learned a lot about different cultures and things to do and not do in countries I didn’t even know existed. A few times other hostel guests have tried to teach me how to cook. That never works out but at least I get to taste tasty food. Sometimes you meet people who know something really special. Once I got some tips from this professional travel magazine photographer and another time older lady with her 5 years old grandchild taught me how to make origami.

Travel Blog: Japan

3. Concerts, gigs and music in general

If you have been reading my blog for some time you may know (or if you are new: hello welcome, now you will learn something new about me!) that I love music and especially listening to live music. When I say music I really mean all kind of music from classical symphonies to hardcore rock. This is why music has made its way to my top 5 travel experiences list.

The photo above is from my Japan trip. I saw that group playing drums million times while they were having street performances around Harajuku. I had to stop and listen every time. My first trip to foreigner country without my family was to see Super Junior’s concert in London. I had amazing adventure with my friend and the concert was totally worth all that money and traveling.

I have a lot of music related travel memories. If possible I always try to go to local gig or concert while in new country. In Brighton I didn’t even have to find the music because it came for me. I was staying in hostel and that hostel had also local lively bar. That nice small bar also had live performances every freaking evening. If you have ever been in hostel, you know that those buildings are never soundproof. So, when I was hanging out in my hostel room at 7pm or trying to sleep at 2am, I had to listen these local bands and DJs. Funny thing was that I was able to hear it as loudly as if I had been standing in the bar…

Travel Blog Flying

2. Leaving for my first solo trip

There is no feeling like standing alone in the airport with your too big suitcase before sunrise. More rational people would have first gone for shorter sole trip but I decided to start from the extreme. Three months alone in Japan living in hostels. I didn’t speak the language. I had never even lived alone. I was just lost 20 years old girl who had no idea what to do with her life.

It was crazy to sit alone in the plane and know that after 24 hours and a few layovers I would be alone in Japan. This 24 hours of flying goes to my best travel experiences list. I have never felt so alive and I will probably never feel like that again. Being first time alone, just surviving by yourself, is amazing scary experience that changed me as person. 

abandoned japanese amusement park

1. Getting lost in abandoned amusement park

And then number one in my travel experiences list. Accidentally visiting abandoned amusement park and getting in trouble! This is memory that will forever stay in my mind. If you haven’t yet read the whole story, check our my three too long and boring posts about this mishap. Seeing abandoned place is always special. Place that is left by humans and taken over by the nature.

This travel experience was even more special because of the people I met. All those polices and driving crazily small streets in their police car while they asked me all kind of funny questions and gave touristy travel tips. People who went inside the amusement park before me. And of course talking with fellow travelers in hostel afterwards and laughing for my adventure. It may have been against law and I may have gotten in trouble but I would probably do it million times again to just experience all this.

.          .         .

These are my favorite travel experiences but like Anub did in his post I will now throw the ball for you. What are your favorite travel experiences? Don’t think too much. First five things that come to your mind. What amazing things have you experienced? 

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

How To Make Friends In Hostel?

Hello all fellow shy travelers! Today’s travel post is all for you. As totally introverted and socially awkward person traveling and especially hostel life may feel like a nightmare. You want to make new friends and learn about these amazing different cultures but something inside you just makes it impossible. With these tips you will be step closer to being that social traveler in hostel. (Or at least everyone will think that you are the social one…)

Of course anyone asking themselves the question ‘How to make friends in hostel?’ can follow my tips but these are made especially for all us shy people who wouldn’t usually start conversations with strangers.

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Photos from Unsplash

Everything starts with a smile

Don’t laugh, it’s the truth! With smile you can go a long way making friends in hostel. If you look like you are having the best day of your life, other hostel guests will more likely begin chatting with you than if you are just sulking in the corner. Make eye contact (not too often that’s just creepy) and smile. They will probably answer to your smile and if you are lucky even start talking with you.

This usually works because there is two types of people in hostels. Those who want to talk for others and those who don’t. And then of course those subcategories for people who only talk for pretty girls, with the staff members or when they are intoxicated. So, when you smile people know that they can safely approach you and start talking. Soon you may find yourself with new friend!

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Greet everyone always and everywhere

After smiling greeting other guests is the most important thing in making hostel friends if you ask from me. I have had many people starting interesting conversations with me after I have greeted them for a few mornings and evenings in row. Some people just take longer to warm up for you and greeting them every time you see them is good way to achieve just that.

In the other hand. It’s also the best way to make new friends on your first day in the hostel. And with the people who have just arrived to the hostel and are going to spend there their first night. You could call it the good first impression. You will snatch the best new hostel friends for yourself before they make friends with someone else and starting conversation with them will be harder.

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Easy questions always work

The most usual way to start conversation with someone in hostel is to ask where they are from. You might think that asking persons name would be one of the first questions but surprisingly sometimes it may take hours of talking before thing like that comes up. Crazy, right? But if knowing someone’s name is important you can always tell the “by the way, my name is ____” and they will probably tell you theirs.

The beginning of conversation when making friends in hostel usually goes by asking and answering questions. You will get hold on to it quickly after making your first few hostel friends. Ask them about their home country, how long they are going to stay in the destination, where they are going next, where have they been before, what they know about your home country and even tips for some destination they have been before. After a while the conversation will start flowing on its own. So, don’t worry too much.

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Pay attention to the small details

Paying attention to people around you is important part of making new hostel friends. Why? You may accidentally find reason to start conversation. I just recently talked a little with another hostel guest because we had identical laptops.

A few times I have made friends because I saw someone reading books, watching Youtube videos or talking with someone else about concert they have just been to. If you know something about the subject yourself, feel free to start conversation. “Excuse me, I could not hear you talking about being in the concert. You have good music taste, I love that band.” It may seem hard at first but after a while you will get used to it.

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Ask help or offer help

You are sitting in your dorm room, new guests walks in and you greet them happily. They start searching for their bed but look a little bit confused by the numbering system of your room’s beds. You have been following them in the corner of your eyes while surfing on your computer. Then you ask if they need help and tell them where their bed is. They will probably thank you and you can introduce yourself and ask where they are from. After that it’s easy to start talking and if they don’t look too tired after traveling you can even tell them that you were just leaving to eat something and ask them to join you.

Asking help and offering help is easy way to break the ice and start new friendship with your fellow hostel guest. I think this is one of the most common ways of making friends in hostels.

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Bride with food

You can’t get true friends with money but food is totally different subject. Some of the most interesting hostel friendships I have had have started with food. Recently in Bremen my dorm roommate made me breakfast because I woke up too late to eat it every morning. We talked a lot after that. During my Japan trip I made friends again and again with food. I especially remember the Halloween night when group of us ended up sharing candies to everyone and talked far into the night.

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Everything starts from the common room

After long day adventuring around the new city you are probably ready for the bed. However staying unsocial in your dorm room means no easy friends for you. Buy food or snacks from convenience store, take book or computer with you and set towards the common room or kitchen area. Then just find nice spot for yourself with many seats around you and began your waiting. Eventually someone will start talking with you.

Just remember all the other tips I have shared. Remember to greet every guest arriving to the room. Usually if you greet someone and even more often if you are the only person in the room, they will ask would it be okay to sit with you. Then just start talking. Ask them where they are from and hope for the best.

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The more the merrier

Don’t be scared of big groups. It’s more than normal for hostel friend groups grow uncontrollably. You may talk with one person, then third person starts talking with the two of your, fourth person asks if you know any good restaurants and you start all together planning meal together. Then a few hours later you will find yourself with six other hostel guests from too small restaurant for you all to fit in properly. Just normal hostel life…

So, be prepared to hang out in bigger groups and don’t be scared to start talking with people even if they are already with someone. And if you are asked to join group going out say yes! You can regret later and find stupid excuse to escape.

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It will either work or not

In the end you can’t force hostel friendships and making friends in hostel is more about lucky than social skills. Sometimes you make too many friends to even remember their names and sometimes you will only smile for someone and that’s it. That happened for me in Sweden. During my stay I only talked about two sentences with my roommates and I never met anyone else in the hostel. Bad luck.

My last tip for making friends in hostel for shy people is to just go for it. At first it is hard but you will get used to it quickly. Always keep in mind that if you don’t want you don’t have to see anyone here ever again. Heck, they don’t even know your full name so they will never find you anywhere. You can make fool of yourself or be totally awkward without any consequences. Making friends in hostel is perfect way to learn social skills. Feel free to fail as many times as you need.

And that’s all I have to say now about making friends in hostel from the introvert’s point of view. Do you have any tips or tricks for making friends? Or maybe someone more social person would like to tell how they start the first conversation in hostel? Like always all comments are welcome and thanks or reading.

And btw, don’t forget to follow my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi 

10 Things To Do In Stockholm

Stockholm is interesting northern city divided to idyllic old town and modern city full of shops, culture and tourist attractions. For me the best 10 things to do in Stockholm would be mostly museums BUT I know not everyone is as art freak as I am so this list tries to contain also other things you can experience in Stockholm. I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave your own tips to the comments section.

(I will add more images afterwards because I am busy now…)

10. Skeppsholmen

Stockholm has many small islands and Skeppsholmen is one of them. Skeppsholmen is best known as home of interesting museums. Modern art museums Moderna Museet, Bergrummet museum in old tunnels, Asian art museum Östasiatiska museet and Arkitektur och designcentrum museum that has information about Swedish architecture.

In addition to these museums (most of them free) Skeppsholmen is beautiful island full of nature so I recommend walking around it. There is also old Af Chapman ship that works as hotel and restaurant. From its deck you can see beautiful view to central Stockholm.

 

9. Canal Walk

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Stockholm has several bridges and canals and that’s why walking among them is one of the must things to do in Stockholm. I recommend starting in front of Royal Palace where you can feed birds and take cool photos. Then continue your trip among the water. Another good place to start is from Stockholm City Hall and walk among Klara Sjö. It may be a little more remote but you get to see real Stockholm.

If walking isn’t for you, taking canal cruise is also good option. Sit in boat while sailing through beautiful Stockholm. However some of the smaller, more remote and in my opinion more beautiful canals may be better places to visit and offer you more authentic Stockholm experience.

 

8. Moderna Museet / Modern Art Museum

yayoi kusama moderna museet

I already mentioned this place when talking about Skeppsholmen island being one of the must things to do in Stockholm. However, Moderna Museet is definitely my favorite place in Stockholm and deserves its own recommendation section. (I think I would write its own post for this place if I wasn’t this lazy… Seriously, visit here even if you hate art!)

Moderna Museet has world class modern art exhibitions and in addition to that totally free huge permanent art collection. If you don’t want to pay to see art, consider at least giving quick visit to that free side of this museum. When you fall in love with it, because I surely know you will, visit their expensive changing exhibitions. I have seen everything from Yayoi Kusama’s colorful infinity rooms to Marina Abramovic’s questionable raw films. Definitely one of the best modern museums I have visited.

 

7. Kulturhuset

The name ‘Kulturhuset’ already tells why it’s on my ’10 Things To Do In Stockholm’ list. Who wouldn’t like culture? If I tell the truth I fell in love with Kulturhuset, because of its amazing rooftop cafe/restaurant. Those views are just amazing and one of the must things to do when you come to Stockholm. I always start my city trip from observation deck and Kulturhuset fits that purpose perfectly.

I have visited Kulturhuset every time I have went to Stockholm (and that’s a lot). However my solo travel to Stockholm earlier this year was the first time I did more than just had coffee at the rooftop cafe. Kulturhuset has huge tourist information center that is the best place to start your trip. They have a lot of free guides, maps and friendly staff that is always ready to help you. If you need free internet, they also have that.

In addition to these more touristy things, Kulturhuset has libraries and theater. If you have extra time, try visiting one of the libraries. It’s not just a normal books but real media center full of new experiences and interesting settings. Kulturhuset also arranges several design, art and fashion exhibitions every year.

 

6. Royal Palace

sweden sky and sea

Sweden is lead by royals so of course Royal Palace is one of the must things to do in Stockholm. I feel like bad tourist because I don’t have that much information about this place. I only saw changing of guards (one of the major things to see in Sweden) for the first time this year. So, I don’t have much to say except visit here or at least take some cool photos.

 

5. Djurgården

Djurgården or Kungliga Djurgården (Royal Park) is one of the island in central Stockholm. If you want to see nature in city, this place is for you. Its touristy place but also locals like to spend sunny summer days here. Walk around, drink coffee and enjoy fresh Swedish nature. Djurgården is easily accessed either by foot or by ferry from old town. There is also several museums like ABBA: The Museum, Vasa Museum, Thielska galleriet, Junibacken and Biological Museum.

One of the most popular museums (and the one I recommend for everyone coming from somewhere far away) is Skansen open-air museum. It has zoo and it displays traditional Swedish way of living. So, if you want to learn something about this Nordic country you have just visited, Skansen should definitely be on you must things to do in Stockholm list.

 

4. Fotografiska Museet / Photography Museum

I don’t know why I haven’t visited here before the trip I did to Sweden this year. This photography museum made its way to my favorite things to do in Stockholm right away after I stepped inside. Firstly, who doesn’t love photographs? Secondly, the atmospheres in different exhibitions were perfectly created with right lighting and correct layouts. I have nothing bad to say (except maybe the expensive admission but I can understand why…) This place is a little walk away from the most central area of Stockholm but it only fits well with the nature of this museum.

 

3. Stockholms Stadshus

Stockholms Stadshus (or in English Stockholm’s city hall) gets place three from my 10 Things To Do In Stockholm list because of the view you will see from its garden/yard. Old town and the colorful buildings reflect beautifully from the water and create perfect place to take photos for tourists and those loving photography. They also have interesting shop with cool souvenirs and you can visit the city hall itself.

 

2. Shopping

 

Stockholm is like northern shopping paradise. You can find everything from world-class brand stores to old small local vintage shops. My favorite is Gallerian shopping mall (that was apparently the first shopping mall in Stockholm’s central area and is still one of the most popular ones). You should also visit Åhlens because even if it may be a little expensive for traveler’s budget it definitely has its own charm. Newer place I haven’t had change to try but that I have heard a lot of good things about is Mall Of Scandinavia. It has many brand stores and is truly shopping PARADISE.

 

1. Gamla Stan / Old Town

sweden_photo

Like I have said million times: I love old towns. Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (Swedish term for old town) is one of my favorites. Narrow streets, colorful buildings and -of course- cute little cafes. They have nutella waffles everywhere so I recommend tasting those. I spent most of my time in local book shop but if you want to see something more touristy try Kungliga Slottet / Royal Palace and go see the changing of guards. Also royal shop near Royal Palace is something worth of seeing.

 

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I am traveling to Stockholm with my family this weekend so I thought now would be good time to publish this ’10 Things To Do In Stockholm’ article that has been waiting for too long. I mean I have traveled to Stockholm at least two times during the last year I have been writing this blog. So, do you have any new recommendations for me? All tips, tricks and opinions are welcome like always.

Have an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

5 Easter Travel Destinations in Europe

April and Easter are here! This may be one of my favorite times of the year. Its spring, you can find tasty chocolate eggs from every shop and who wouldn’t love Easter? This holiday is celebrated differently around the year so today I decided to share 5 funny Easter travel destinations with you. Enjoy!

 

5. London, UK

Big ben and Telephone box London

What would be Easter without egg hunt? One of the biggest and most popular egg hunts happens every year in London. Download app and run around the city trying to find eggs with The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt. In addition to egg hunting London has also other activities that do it one of the best Easter travel destinations. There is fireworks, performances around the city and a lot of events for families.

 

4. Small villages of Malta

cross
Photo from: unsplash

Malta has its own traditional ways of spending Easter that is why it is one of the most interesting Easter travel destinations in Europe. Good Friday is the start of everything when villagers dress-up as biblical characters and praise God. Religious statues, that have been carried out of churches, are important part of this ritual and mood is quite sorrow.

On Sunday locals celebrate risen Christ with festival like events. There is singing, dancing and partying. In the end they carry statues back to churches. However, don’t worry! Even if Easter in Malta seems very religious they also have delicious chocolate eggs for children (and for older chocolate lovers). Even if you are not religious person Malta is definitely THE Easter travel destination everyone should try once in their lives.

 

3. Any city in Finland

Travel Year 2016 Helsinki

Of course I should mention my lovely home country… In Finland Easter Sunday is like Halloween. May sound funny but that’s the truth. In fact we don’t have that many ‘trick-or-treaters’ on Halloween but on Easter we have even more people doing something similar.

Finnish kids dress-up as different characters (traditionally as witches but nowadays I see more of superheroes and other famous characters) and they decorate branches with colorful feathers and ribbons. Then on Easter Sunday they go from door to door and change their branches to chocolates, Easter eggs and money. This changing process goes usually kids waving their branches while saying:

“Virvon varvon tuoreeks terveeks tulevaks vuodeks. Vitsa sulle palkka mulle.”

After that they get candy. So, if you visit Finland during Easter time you may see (almost) real witches going around the streets. Also don’t forget to taste our traditional Easter dessert Mämmi (yeah, yeah, I know it looks like poop but some of us Finns really like it!)

 

2. Colmar, France

easter
Photo from: unsplash

Colmar is known as one of the best Easter destinations in Europe because it has two huge Easter markets. Citizens also celebrate spring at Easter time so there is colorful decorations and happy people everywhere. Usually Easter in Comar starts with families’ own egg hunts at home but after that everyone gets together around the town to different Easter events. There is everything from traditional exhibitions to ‘Eierpicke’ egg fight and from egg race to colorful markets.

 

1. Vatican and Rome, Italy

candles
Photo from: unsplash

First place in my Easter travel destinations list goes to Vatican and Rome because of pope. There is several events around these cities during Easter that are lead by pope. And who wouldn’t like to pope at least once in their life time? Most of these events are free but also crowded. Maybe the most popular event is however pope’s mass on Palm Sunday in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican. If you decide to do Easter traveling to Rome that is must thing to do.

Another important and impressive event is on Good Friday. Huge Via Crucis cross burns against the dark sky. Pope is also present in this event giving his blessing but so are big crowds of tourists and believers. Easter celebration end at Monday to beautiful fireworks and partying.

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Happy early Easter for all you travelers reading this! What kind of traditions does your country have for Easter? Or what are your favorite Easter travel destinations? Like always all comments are welcome and I would like to know what you think.

Also this is my first time writing about places where I have never been before. What do you think? Do you want more posts like this that I have written solely doing research? Well, I had fun writing this so whatever you think I will probably do more of these (subject recommendations are always welcome too…)

With love,

Viivi Severina