Tokyo City Guide by a Local

A_Local's_Guide_to_Tokyo

Our three day stay in Tokyo was short for such a big city but we had other places in Japan to explore such as Kyoto, Koyasan, and Osaka.  To get a little local taste of Tokyo in such a short time we enlisted the help of a Tokyo resident to give us a local’s guide to Tokyo the capital city of Japan via Tokyo Free Guide.  In a packed half day we visited districts off the beaten path such as Shimokitazawa, Nippori, and Yanaka.

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Turkish Delights In Istanbul: 10 Top Things To Do

Istanbul City Guide: Top Things To Do

Istanbul_Top_Things_To_Do

Istanbul has gone through a few hardships of late but it’s an amazing city to explore that is buzzing with culture and flavours making a visit to this beautiful capital city of Turkey most enjoyable.

Istanbul exists over Europe and Asia, divided by the Bosphorus strait and connected by two suspension bridges.

The European side of Istanbul is considered the old city because of its historical significance and you’ll find most of the famous tourist attractions here. The Asian side is more residential, with high street shopping, markets and nightlife.

Here are just 10 of the many top things to do in Istanbul: 

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Food in Japan is not just about Sushi – Japanese Food Adventure

Food_In_Japan_Not_Just_Sushi

A Guide to Food in Japan

Sushi is of course one of Japan’s most famous exports.  For lovers of fish, sushi is a beautiful way to enjoy the fresh delicate flavours that only seafood can provide. I love fish and I love sushi, but what if you don’t like fish or sushi?  Japanese food has something to offer everyone, pretty much all of which is tasty, some a bit weird, but you’ll be sure to enjoy an amazing adventure of food in Japan.

Japanese food is probably the most palatable of all Asian foods to the west.  Simple fresh flavours seasoned with salt and sugar to boost umami.  Japanese food is perhaps the Italian cuisine of the Far East in terms of highlighting the flavours of the natural ingredients rather than overpowering them with herbs and spices (although you’ll probably find a bottle of 7 flavour chilli powder – Shichimi containing chilli, sansho, orange peel, black sesame, white sesame, hemp, ginger, and nori) on most restaurant tables for those after a healthy spicy kick).

Japan is a wonderful place to have a food adventure and experience amazing tastes and flavours.  Here are some great food options to try in Japan other than sushi.

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Best Travel Cooking TV Shows and Chefs | Food & Travel

Best_Travel_and_Cooking_TV_Shows

Travel and food go hand in hand.  There is no more accessible way to discover a country’s culture, history and environment than food.  We love travel and we love food.  I love food so much I jacked in my nicely paid job in digital marketing to become a chef (or try to become a chef) at a lovely London restaurant.  Maybe my dream job would be to be a chef travelling the world sampling the diverse flavours the world has to offer.  In the meantime I’m still enthralled by travel cooking TV shows where chefs and presenters immerse themselves into local culture and cuisine.  Here we round up our favourites and what we think are the best travel cooking TV shows.

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Iceland: Self Drive Beats Guided Tours – Reykjavik, the Golden Circle and the Southern Shores

Holidays in Iceland have always had a reputation for being on the expensive side, but with Iceland Air’s great flight and accommodation deals and Iceland’s depreciating currency we thought it was a great opportunity to visit the land of waterfalls, fire and ice.

With so much natural beauty to see and do outside of Reykjavik we pondered whether to take the many guided coach tours or to self drive to see the natural beauties around the Golden Circle and the Icelandic Southern Shores.

Researching the Iceland activities and tours we wanted to do, we calculated that it would cost £554 for two people.  Pretty expensive, especially when you consider that most of the tours require you to be stuck on a coach for half a day.

Iceland_4x4_self_drive

We looked into hiring a 4×4 to do our own self drive tour, which surprisingly came out much less than the combination of tours, totalling £311 for 4 days hire including petrol via Thifty.  Not only was it cheaper, but we would have more flexibility and could drive off in any direction at a whim (we did get stuck up a mountain though), and we wouldn’t be stuck on a slow coach for most of our time.

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Cracking Krakow and an Emotional Auschwitz | Baltic Trip Part 5

Poland, the Last Leg of Our Trip

The last stop on our whirlwind tour of the Baltics was Krakow, Poland. We caught the smallest plane ever from Lithuania (it even had propellers) and landed in Krakow via Warsaw. We were only in the country for a couple of nights so really had to condense the major things we wanted to see and do in this historical city.

Our main reason for visiting Poland was to see Auschwitz.  We whole-heartedly recommend that everyone should go there, but we’re glad we went at the end of our two week trip through the Baltics.

We got to Krakow mid afternoon and the weather was hot, for some reason I never expected Poland to be a warm country so I was pleasantly surprised. We struck gold with our accommodation.

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Shit things to do in London

London is a great city to explore whether you’re a traveller, a tourist, or a local.  However there is a lot of shit that people still continue to do or see in my lovely home city.  If you’re coming to London I implore you to avoid the following, they are some of the worst things to do in London.

The Shit Guide to London

Oxford Street

A busy street full of high street shops is one of the most visited “tourist attractions” in London.  Why??? If you really want to shop for major brands that can be found pretty much anywhere in the world go to a more spacious and clean place i.e. Westfield.  They have one in west London and east London, so there’s no excuse.  Plus you won’t be tempted by the hundreds of tacky souvenir shops selling all sorts of crap with the Union Jack or Wills and Kate plastered all over it.

Piccadilly Circus

It’s just a bunch of advertising signage that lights up.  That is all.

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A guide around Vilnius Lithuania and the Repulic of Uzupis | Baltic Trip Part 4

Vilnius_Old_Town

After a 4 hour coach ride from Riga we ended up in Vilnius the capital city of Lithuania and the 4th country on our Baltic Trip.  Like Riga, Vilnius has also been voted as a European City of Culture, and it’s Old Town is also a World Heritage Site.  So yes we were excited to explore Riga, stretch our legs and find things to see and do.

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Tangled up in things to do in Riga, Latvia | Baltic Trip Part 3

Stopping off at Riga Central Market

The next stop on our Baltic trip was Riga.  We arrived in the capital of Latvia suitably relaxed and refreshed and got off at the main coach station to start our Latvian travel adventure.  We had to walk through the Central Market to reach our accommodation and it was bustling!

Riga is the largest city by population in the Baltics and the Riga  Central Market is not only the biggest market in Europe but also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The raw hustle and bustle of daily life at the market was a marked difference in atmosphere to the picturesque Tallinn.  The energy that hit us immediately after stepping off the coach widened our eyes and only increased our excitement for things to do in Riga  during our 3 day stay in the characterful city.

Riga has a beautiful Old Town filled with Art Nouveau buildings, but unlike Tallinn it feels as though the Riga Old Town is for locals as much as tourists.  It is abound with fashionable boutiques, galleries, hip restaurants and bars.  After a relaxed day of discovering the Riga’s old town, we hit a few of these bars.

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Estonia Travel Guide: A Picturesque Medieval City and Lush Landscapes | Baltic Trip Part 2

4 Highlights of Estonia

We began the second part of our Baltic trip by entering Estonia and the World Heritage site of Tallinn via the Gulf of Finland by a high-speed hydrofoil which covered the 85 km in less than 2 hours at a cost of 20€ each.  Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and this was apparent with the cobble-stoned alleyways and picturesque buildings  we saw as we entered Tallinn Old Town.

The old town is no doubt touristy with its pristine streets and many “traditional” restaurants, but it is beautiful nonetheless.   There are sprinklings of the new and hip with modern culture graffiti and retro cool Soviet style cafes such as Kohvik Must Prudel facing ornate orthodox churches and historic residential buildings.

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