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Travel Tales and Tips from my Amsterdam Travel Blog

Rijksmuseum

They say that “There’s only one thing more precious than our time, and that’s who we spend it on.” It is fascinating to think that a year ago we spend a memorable week strolling happily around Amsterdam, taking photographs and scribbling on my notebook, my very own Amsterdam Travel Blog.

This year due to Covid-19, life for a lot of people has been very harsh, travel plans had to be cancelled. Life takes a very different perspective. The way that we all do simple things this year and have to follow the new Social Distancing rules.

Allow me to take a step back from this reality and present you with my very own Amsterdam Travel Blog.

My notebook is off the shelf and as I am turning the pages, I am overflown with memories, laughs, and cheers, everything is coming back.

Arriving at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam

We arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on a cold but sunny Tuesday morning. For those of you who are not familiar with Amsterdam, Schiphol is the main international airport in the Netherlands, located approximately nine miles from the center of Amsterdam.

Schiphol airport is actually considered to be an airport city and is the primary hub for the Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM, Transavia, Amsterdam Airlines.

So, plenty of choices when you are looking for flights to Amsterdam.

After we cleared passport control and got our luggage, we headed to the Schiphol train station, which is located directly below the airport.

The train took us to the center of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Central Station) within less than 20 minutes. Trains from Schiphol to Amsterdam city center leave from platforms 1 or 2. A single train ticket cost us €5,00 each.

Amsterdam Canals

Accommodation in Amsterdam

Houseboats in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, rightly called, “The Venice of the North” is a famous tourist destination built around various canals. Perhaps, this is the reason that more than staying in a hotel, most visitors arriving here, prefer to stay in houseboats. We did the same.

Our first two nights were at Radisson Blu hotel, and then five nights at the Trijntje houseboat. Most houseboats available in Amsterdam have been specifically designed to provide their guests with a really unique experience, cozy and very inviting atmosphere.

The best thing is that staying in houseboats in Amsterdam, is well within the reach of the average tourist. If I remember well, we paid 150, Euros a night, which is reasonable as hotels in Amsterdam are not cheap.

I also promise you; you will not find a better city center location than this one. It is very quiet at this part of the Prinsengracht. Most museums, retail shops, restaurants, cafés and clubs that make Amsterdam unforgettable are within walking distance.

The Trijntje houseboat was our luxurious home away from home for five nights in Amsterdam.

My Amsterdam travel blog by bike

Getting around in Amsterdam

Agree or not, sight seen in Amsterdam is somewhat incomplete if you don’t try to explore this beautiful city on a bike. Other than the cruises, the best way to explore Amsterdam is on a bike believe me.

Getting around this Dutch city is always a pleasure on a bike without getting confused between streets and city traffic. So, we rented two bikes, and we set off to explore the city.

Cultural Walks and Tours in Amsterdam

Museums, Canals, Cruises, Historical Buildings; all this and much more was awaiting us on our arrival in Amsterdam. Considered as one of the smallest capitals in Europe, Amsterdam is a hub of charming tourist attractions.

Below are some of the historical places that we visited during our holiday in Amsterdam.

The Anne Frank House

Our first visit was to the Anne Frank House, the place where Anne Frank hid and wrote her famous diary during world war II. This is a historical attraction of Amsterdam that will remind you of the second World War, when there was destruction all over.

The Koninklijk Paleis

Koninklijk Paleis or the Royal Palace on the Dam, was very high on our list, and we were not disappointed, a must-visit place during a trip to Amsterdam.

This former Queen’s residence was designed by Jacob van Campen. Watch out for the classical and magnificent interior and discover the rich history of the Royal Palace, that is set almost at the central point of Amsterdam.

The Rijksmuseum

When discussing the top places to visit in Amsterdam, one can not forget mentioning the famous Rijksmuseum. Also known as, The Dutch National Museum, this tourist attraction is a famous arts museum that was set up by King Louis Napoleon in 1809.

The main highlights of Rijksmusuem include Orient Art, Painting Department, Dutch History, Sculpture and Handicrafts and Print Room.

The Stedelijk Museum

Also known as, the Municipal Museum, Stedelijk Museum is one of the most modern arts museums of Europe. It was founded in 1885 and houses the famous Dutch and French paintings of 19th and 20th century.

The walk inside the sculpture garden of this museum was really a pleasure, and we saw the works of great artists like Renoir, Moor, Rodin, Visser and Laurens.

Van Gogh museum

The Van Gogh Museum

We really enjoyed watching the most extensive Van Gogh collection in the world at the Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam. The museum houses a huge collection of 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters, all of which are worth seeing.

We got to learn about Van Gogh’s works in the Museum’s Library. Apart from the library, there is a workshop and three different floors in the Van Gogh Museum.

Eating Out in Amsterdam

We were pleasantly surprised with the numerous choices of international cuisines on offer. Amsterdam has all the reasons to be called a foodie’s paradise.

You can really spoil yourself with all sorts of sweets, cakes, and desserts. A huge variety of delicious dishes from around the world are available at every street.

Stroopwafels

No wonder why, two full pages of notes have been scribbled in my Amsterdam Travel blog, on snacks, launches, and diners around the city.

Amsterdam has a lot in store to tickle your taste buds including some really delicious traditional Dutch delicacies. From the popular delicacies to the popular restaurants, we visited and tasted there are quite a few that definitely worth mentioning bellow, so if you are in Amsterdam you will not have a problem satisfy your culinary cravings.

Stroopwafels

For those of you who have a sweet tooth, Stroopwafels form a sinful temptation. This rich Dutch cookie is a must try if you really want to taste the true culinary delights of Amsterdam.

Also known as, syrup waffle, Stroopwafel is made up of a thin sandwich of two buttery waffle layers with sweet molasses in between. Watching this amazing waffle being made in front of your eyes is a pleasure in itself.

Pannekoeken

Poffertjes Pannekoeken or the Dutch pancakes taste almost like the French crêpes. Made up of buttery batter, these traditional delicacies are served in a plate-sized serving dipped with Dutch syrup.


Dining will be an experience of its kind if you relish the Pannekoeken with Poffertjes, also known as puffed pancakes. You can easily get these dishes at the bakeries like the Pancake Bakery in Amsterdam.

Dutch Cheese

Those of you who love cheese (I do) must try the famous Dutch cheese in Amsterdam. Gouda and Edam are the two very popular cheeses available in this city.

Also, try the goat cheese and different variations of handcrafted farmer’s cheese at places like the Amsterdam market stand. Taste the Dutch cheese yourself and also buy it to gift it to your loved ones back home.

Dutch Chocolate

Prior to the Swiss Chocolate, it was Dutch Chocolate that made the world aware of the seductive taste of the cocoa bean. While having a culinary delight in Amsterdam, make sure to choose a Dutch Chocolate as a dessert to have the proper aftertaste of the true Amsterdam cuisine.

Puccini was our favour chocolate shop, and we got plenty of Verkade and Droste chocolates to bring back home.

Dutch Beer

Situated near Belgium the talented beer brewer, Amsterdam is famous for its Dutch Beer. Beer lovers won’t be able to resist sipping some of the finest Dutch beers while indulging in a dining experience at Amsterdam.

You can also enjoy going on the special beer tours and visit the famous breweries of Amsterdam. We stopped at Oedipus Brewing, north of the River IJ.

My Amsterdam Travel Blog - Le-Hollandais

Popular Restaurants in Amsterdam

We also planned to dig into the gourmet cuisine of Amsterdam so we visited some of the most popular restaurants of the city.

We headed towards Rose’s Cantina, known to serve the New Mexican dishes in Amsterdam. All kinds of exotic beverages are served at the famous bars like Ship Chandler’s Warehouse, Moeders Restaurant and Le Hollandais.

Nomads is another exotic bar in Amsterdam serving all types of beverages. So, now you won’t have to worry where to eat and what to eat as you can simply try the above-mentioned delicacies and popular restaurants of Amsterdam to satisfy your taste for the local cuisine.


I can talk and write about Amsterdam and the unforgettable holiday that we had for a very long time, but I feel that my Amsterdam travel blog is incomplete, there are things that we didn’t have time to see and do in Amsterdam.

So, first thing on my bucket list as soon as the current pandemic is behind us (and believe me it will end soon) to head back to “The Venice of the North.” My Amsterdam travel blog will get another chapter soon, so stay tune for an update at Hotels-Fairy.com.

Amsterdam city of love - Amsterdam Travel Blog

About the Author

Nectarios, is a senior editor at Hotels-Fairy.com. He is also ardent traveler, a digital nomad. When he doesn’t travel, he manages a small hotel on the beautiful island of Crete.

How to survive a flat share

Flat share with friends

A flat share may be a new experience for you, especially if you are heading off to university. Living at home with mom and dad doesn’t quite teach you the necessary skills to live on your own with a roommate. It isn’t always possible to share a flat with a friend or acquaintance, and living with a complete stranger is common for people seeking to spread the cost of rent.


Unfortunately, sharing a kitchen, bathroom, and living room with a new person can have its problems. A flat share can be a culture shock for some that have never had to deal with a roommate before. Surviving a flat share is a skill, but not everyone can cope with living with another person.


Here are some key tips to remember when renting a flat that will keep both you and your roommate sane.

flat share with pets


Choose your roommate carefully


You may not have the luxury of choosing your roommate. Students at university may be put together with other individuals without much thought. This can be difficult as you are unaware of the other person’s habits and lifestyle.


If you have the option to choose your roommate, it can save you plenty of headaches later on. The best flat mate isn’t always your best friend. You may find that living in the same space with your best friend ruins the chemistry the two of you have.


It is important that both roommates understand each other’s lifestyle. Living with someone who is up all night or comes in at all hours of the early morning may not suit your 9 to 5 job or going to school.

sleeping on the sofa


Respect privacy


A bedroom becomes a special place when flat sharing. It allows each roommate to escape from the other or the communal areas of the flat. Having a private space can save a relationship and keep both flat mates from falling out.


When sharing a flat, you must respect your roommate’s privacy. Don’t go into their room without knocking and being welcomed in. It sounds simple to knock before entering your roommate’s room, but it can be something you are not used to living at your parent’s house.

Flat share meeting


Communicate for a perfect flat share


One of the most important aspects of any relationship is communication. You may not be close friends with your flat mate, but living together means you will see each other regularly. Good communication can keep the two of you on good terms. It can also prevent issues from coming up from time to time over problems with the living arrangements.


Modern technology makes it possible to communicate more easily than ever. A WhatsApp group is perfect for anyone with multiple housemates. Of course, the best way to sort any issues you have sharing a flat is to speak face to face. Major issues should always be communicated in face to face situations allowing all parties to understand the problems.

Pub


Hang out with each other


You may think that flat mates spend all of their time together when they are not at work or school. That isn’t always the case. Flat mates may become friends over time but often, still have their own friends. Spending time together, especially when first moving in together, can help build a relationship between flat mates.


New roommates can plan a few different events such as a film or video game night to get to know each other. You could even plan a small party allowing a few friends to come over and meet each other. There are even more activities new flat mates can enjoy such as playing mini-golf, going to the cinema, or even just hanging out at the local pub.

Keep out from my room

Make rules for a perfect flat share


Sharing a flat isn’t always fun. To make the relationship and flat share work, however, you must come up with some rules to abide by. One of the biggest problems flat mates have is with cleaning. Oftentimes, cleaning the house can drive a wedge between people in a flat share.


The easiest way to avoid problems is by creating a list of cleaning chores for each person. Each flat mate will be responsible for certain areas of the accommodation. You may prefer to create a rota allowing each other to take turns completing chores. If rules are put in place from day one, you won’t have a problem later on.

Fridge full with groceries


Buying items for the flat


There is nothing worse than purchasing toilet paper only for your flat mate to use it all up. Even worse is when they don’t replace it. You may feel like you are paying for your roommate to live comfortably. This can be aggravating and another reason why communication is key.


Making lists of essential items needed for the flat is a great way to keep all parties pitching in. You may create a kitty that everyone contributes to with money. You can then use the house kitty money to get those important things like toilet paper.

Surviving a flat share can be difficult. It is a new experience and one that no schooling can train you for. These tips should help you survive your next flat share and come out better off when you move.

How to rent a room without stress

Housing estate London

What to look for when renting a room?

Finding the perfect room to rent can feel like an impossible task. Although it can be difficult sometimes to rent a room without getting stressed, but it can be done. So we have compiled for you a short cheat sheet, to make your life easier.

You need to remember that your accommodation is the place you will spend most of your time after work or university. Locating the perfect place can have a major impact on your mental and physical health.

Renting a room isn’t as daunting a task as it seems. It just takes a bit of time and research to locate a place that ticks all of your boxes. Before heading out to find your next room or flat, these tips will help you create a strategy to locate the best place possible.

Searching for a room to rent

Research

Finding the ideal room to rent begins with research. Too often people look online for accommodation and select the first thing they find. This inevitably leads to problems down the line. Research is the most important part of searching for accommodation. You will spend more time reading through adverts and scrolling through pictures of flats than actually viewing them in person.

Online research also prevents you from wasting valuable time visiting properties or speaking with estate agents trying to sell you on a place you don’t want. Searching allows you to narrow down your options quickly. You can filter searches to see rooms that fit into your budget. You can also find accommodations that are located conveniently near your work or university.

Good research saves time and money. Getting bogged down looking at the physical properties doesn’t just waste time but can frustrate you.

Visit shortlisted property in same day

Researching properties allows you to narrow down the ones that tick your boxes. After creating a shortlist, you can plan to visit the properties and make a selection. Dedicating one full day, or a weekend, to visit the properties gives you the chance to see everything and make a decision.

Estate agents will try to sell you on a property when visiting. They may pressure you to make a decision by claiming the property is being viewed by other people. While this is often a tactic used by estate agents, properties do go quickly. You may have to act fast and seeing all the properties in the same day gives you the chance to compare them right away.

Finding accommodation doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process. Visiting the shortlisted properties in the same day is one way to make the process go quickly. It is also a tactic that prevents you from missing out on the room you really want to rent.

Room for rent for students

Ask questions and make sure the room is for you

A room can tick all the boxes at first but once you have signed the contract and moved in, it may not be the accommodation of your dreams. Estate agents and landlords may not disclose everything about the room to you without being asked first.

When viewing a property, you should ask questions about any aspect of the property that is important to you. Good Internet connection is vital for many people these days.

If you are a student or work from home, you need to know the Internet connection is strong. You may also stream your entertainment and need the connection to stay, well, connected. The property may not have good Internet connection nor mobile phone reception.

A viewing gives you the chance to ask questions about the room that you need answers for prior to moving in. It is also the time to check the accommodation.

You should check the taps to ensure they work. Flush the toilets to ensure they clear and re-fill properly. Look through the wardrobes, cupboards, and test out the doors to see if they work or if there is damage. Any damage should be pointed out to the estate agent or landlord.

Location, location, location

Location is often just as important for a person when renting a room as the accommodation. It is vital to survey the area when visiting a property. You should locate the public transportation links and stops if that is how you travel to work or university.

The public transport routes should be appropriate for your daily travel. You don’t want to select a room that adds to your commute and makes it a hassle. Look for amenities such as shops, supermarkets, restaurants, and pubs in the area. The area should fit all of your needs.

When searching for the right location, one of the worst decisions you can make is selecting a property on a busy street. A street-facing room can make it difficult to sleep or concentrate at night. It may even limit your privacy as people can see in the windows.

You should also shy away from rooms above restaurants, bars, cafes, and any other businesses that stay open late at night.

These tips should help you search for your next room to rent. Creating a strategy can save you time and money. It can also prevent you from renting a room you later regret.

Top attractions in Sheffield for a city break

Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel & Spa

Through the years I’ve been to Sheffield a few times for work, attending seminars and visiting clients around the city but I never had the chance to explore Sheffield.

So when my Dutch girlfriend said that she had booked us a long weekend break back home, I had no idea that we would end up in the South Yorkshire and in Sheffield.

Flying to East Midlands airport from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport takes approximately one hour and thirty minutes. On arrival we were picked up a by a Sheffield taxi that we had prebooked the day before. East Midlands airport to Sheffield by taxi is about an hour drive on the M1.

For a British expat coming back to the UK after living abroad for nearly ten years, was really a pleasure to see again the British country side.

We checked-in at Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel & Spa, a very modern hotel in the center of the city, our home for the next three days and we set off to make the most of our long weekend back in the UK.


Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel & Spa

Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel & Spa

With a relaxing spa and impressive city views, the 4-star Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel & Spa features stylish and luxury rooms which are elegantly decorated.

Guests at the hotel can relax in the sauna and steam room at Spa Naturel, which also features an ice fountain. The fitness center has an indoor swimming pool and a fully equipped gym.

Sheffield Day One

The Peace Gardens

The Peace Gardens in Sheffield

First stop just across the road from our hotel the Peace Gardens.
We had a relaxing walk around the Peace Gardens whilst having a wander around Sheffield city center.

The gardens have some amazing water features which are well maintained and was a joy to watch the water cascade down them. This really is somewhere to bring the family on a hot summer’s day!!!

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Just five minutes’ walk down the Fargate street, took us to the Sheffield Cathedral. We loved this place, a mix of traditional and modern architecture fitted perfectly together in a light, airy and tranquil setting.

The stained glass in the modern chapel was breathtaking, we had a few photos and took some time to rest, reflect and even light candles for our loved ones.

On the way out we came across a group of Japanese tourists arriving with a Sheffield minibus hire company who told us that the Sheffield Cathedral was one of the most popular destination for Japanese tourists in Sheffield.

The Kelham Island Museum

The Kelham Island Museum

Not to waste time we hailed a taxi for our next destination, the Kelham Island Muesum. I have to point out here that Sheffield taxis are very reasonably priced compared to the taxis in Amsterdam.

The museum is located in one of the city’s oldest industrial districts, and it is built on a man-made island over 900 years old. The Kelham Island Museum was opened in 1982 to house the objects, photos and archive material preserving Sheffield’s industrial heritage.

The interactive galleries of the museum present the story from light trades and skilled workmanship to mass steel production and what the life in Sheffield was during the Industrial Revolution. From the Victorian Era and the two world wars to the most recent steel making developments across the world.

On a recommendation by our friendly and very knowledgeable Sheffield taxi driver who came to pick us up from the museum we end up at the Millhouses Pub, where we enjoyed two huge portions of fish and chips with some very nice British ales.

Sheffield Day Two

After a very tasteful English breakfast at the hotel, we walked to the Sheffield Winter Garden which is next door to the Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel & Spa.

Sheffield Winter Garden

Sheffield Winter Garden

We were really impressed with the Sheffield Winter garden; I do not even know how we missed it the previous day as it is exactly next to the hotel. The actual “building” which is a huge glasshouse is one of the biggest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK.

We were told that there are more than 2,500 plants from around the world in the garden creating a really beautiful atmosphere. The actual building itself is 70 metres long and 22 metres high (apparently large enough to house 5,000 domestic greenhouses!).

Together with Peace Gardens and the Millennium Galleries, the Winter Garden provide visitors with a unique experience in Sheffield city centre.

The Millennium Gallery

The Millennium Gallery

The Millennium Gallery is a great place to come and see the free exhibitions that are on display. On the day of our visit a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition was taking place.

It was amazing to see that most of the Leonardo Da Vinci drawings had the royal seal on them, on the bottom right corner (compliments of Edward VII in the early 20th century). Visitors can see other exhibits as well, generally from the local area.

The Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens Sheffield

Our next stop the Botanical Gardens which are situated approximately a mile South West of Sheffield City center. We could have gone there by foot in 30-35 minutes but since we wanted to see as many attractions as possible, we called the Sheffield taxi company that we used the previous day to get us to the Botanical Gardens.

The Botanical Gardens date from 1833, another masterpiece from the Victorian times. They are classed as a grade 2 listed by English Heritage due to the preservation of most of the original design, and the concentration of historical listed buildings and structures on the site.

The Glass Pavilions are some of the earliest curvilinear glass structures ever built in the UK. The entrance to the Gardens is free through ought the year and they tend to attract plenty of visitors. The Rose Gardens and the Four Seasons gardens were very busy at times.

We also stop at the Curators House Tea Room & Restaurant, a small Café inside the gardens, had a couple of freshly baked scones and two turkey sandwiches with some coffee. The place was packed. Overall we spent 4 hours at the gardens and we wish we could have spent more time there but at 17:30 the gardens close to visitors.

Sheffield Day Three

Meadowhall Shopping Centre

Of course, we could not have left Sheffield without visiting the Meadowhall Shopping Centre.

I had personally been to Meadowhall before, but I knew my girlfriend would love it. She was pleasantly surprised by the experience. There is a lot to see and do, shopping wise there are shops inside that cater to all budgets, and plenty of choice for food too.

There is also a cinema inside the shopping center which is a great way to end the day if you would like to make a day out of your visit.

Unfortunately for us, we were flying back to Amsterdam in the evening and we had to leave Meadowhall by lunch time to head back to the hotel.

Visiting Sheffield

Most parks are easily reach by Sheffield taxi

I don’t know why Sheffield is not actively promoted as one of the top destinations for visitors to the UK from continental Europe. Location wise Sheffield can be reached easily from most of the UK airports at very reasonable times.

Transportation in Sheffield

Public transport in Sheffield is provided by trams and buses. The tramway system, is known in the city as the Sheffield Supertram, which is operated by Stagecoach Sheffield. Most of the attractions in Sheffield, hotels and parks, can be easily reached by public transport.

Airport transfers to Sheffield from the main regional airports are also at a very reasonable rates. The Sheffield taxi drivers are very knowledgeable too. Like having a private tour guide with you.

I will highly recommend you put Sheffield on your travel bucket list. For a long weekend or even a full week, Sheffield would happily exceed your expectations. There are so many things to do and see in the city.

The Industrial Revolution has enriched this former medieval town with Georgian and Victorian buildings that have been well-maintained and re purposed to serve well the modern and vibrant city of Sheffield.

A Digital Nomad’s confession: Driving for Uber & coding Uber clone script

Uber app

A lot of people that I meet in my travels, tend to ask me how I manage to travel for 12 to 15 months at a time? How do I support myself financially? I must be coming for a wealthy family?

The truth is a combination of hard work and smart work, with proper and meticulous planning.

I was born in the US, into a single parent family and from very early stage in my life I learned to work hard for myself.

I did plenty of casual jobs as a teenager but when I got my driving license, I decided to use our family car and drive for Uber in the weekends while I was still at university learning C++, Java, Python and Swift.

Driving for Uber  

Driving for Uber was and still is a great way to make money for traveling, I got many rides from fellow students on Saturday and Sunday nights from downtown. Quite often I use to get back home with close to $250 for a 10 hours drive over the weekend.

However, driving for Uber intrigue my curiosity into mobile apps and how they are changing the landscape of the modern economy. Many people across the world are making a living or supplementing their income by driving for Uber and Lyft.

The sharing economy of Airbnb and the gig-economy are challenging the 9 to 5 stereotypes that our parents’ generation was brought up with.  

The old economy could not support a nomadic lifestyle but the new sharing economy thrives on it.

Coding apps and Uber clone script

Uber clone script

My first apps where simple games that I sold on Freelancer and Flippa, it was nothing major like you seen on the news with the Angry Birds app or the Summly app which was bought by Yahoo on those days for more than $25.000.000.

Or even the Flappy Bird app which by the end of January 2014, it was the most downloaded free game in the App Store for iOS.

During that time, its developer said that Flappy Bird was earning him $50,000 a day from in-app advertisements as well as sales. Not bad for a free gaming app.

I was not in that league but my first apps gave me enough cash to buy myself a ticket to Asia and experience Thailand for couple of months without worrying about money. There I met more like-minded app programmers and got into designing Uber clone script for various taxi startups.

Becoming a Digital Nomad

By learning to code and learning iOS development with Swift, I can now make tailor made apps for Digital agencies and even sell directly to local taxi companies. I have managed to become a location-independent freelancer.

I have been doing this for the last 4 years, and made a reasonable income, and lived all around the world.

Nikola - Uber clone script


From a pure enjoyment and the freedom perspective, I prefer to create my own apps and make a business around it. If you are smart and driven, you can definitely make a living doing just that.

Regardless of whether you write code or designing a product, make sure that your idea solves somebody else’s problem. That is that key to successful outcome.

David, the author of “A Digital Nomad’s confession: Driving for Uber & coding Uber clone script to fund my travel” works for Smart Car Tech an innovative app design company.

Travelling to Manchester England from the US

Travelling to Manchester in England from the US, used to be quite expensive, but not anymore. I have just come back from a short trip to the UK for less than $500 return flights. That was Boston Logan International to Manchester England, with the Thomas Cook airline.  Here is a short guest post for the Hotels-Fairy.com followers. Enjoy!!!

VISA – for travelling to Manchester in the UK

First things first, U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa for tourist or business travel to the United Kingdom for a stay up to 6 months. A valid U.S. Passport is required.

Manchester Airport

When arriving at Manchester Airport be prepared to tell security exactly what you will be doing in Manchester. I’ve found their security team much more demanding than the US airport security.

A few years ago again at Manchester Airport I was stuck at the gate for two hours while security verified who I was visiting. I have no hard feelings, I appreciate people doing their jobs.

Manchester Piccadilly

Also make sure you have some change on you at all times. Especially if you travel at all after normal business hours. You may be charged to use the restroom at the airport and train stations.

Manchester Piccadilly station charges 30 pence (approximately equivalent to 40 cents U.S.) to use the restrooms. Manchester Piccadilly is located in the heart of downtown Manchester.

Travellers tips

When staying at a hotel there are 3 things I would like to bring to your attention. The first is I didn’t find WiFi included with any of the hotels I stayed at. It was always a separate charge.

Second, in the U.S. many hotels include a continental breakfast free of charge. I didn’t find this to be the case anywhere I stayed. Last but not least if you stay pass your checkout time you will be charged. Keep that in mind (Even if it is a very short period after checkout).

Even these days free WiFi is hard to come by, not only in Manchester but anywhere in the England. However, there is one business that I have found that offers it, Starbucks. The sign in process is very simple.

Enable your laptop, tablet or mobile device in Starbucks wherever you see the Free Wi-Fi signs. Once you’re connected, open your web browser and go to www.btopenzone.com.  Just click on the ‘Connect’ button and you will be instantly connected to free Wi-Fi!

Each Wi-Fi session lasts for 2 hours but you can have an unlimited number of sessions every day – just reconnect after 2 hours. Additional rules may apply but I found it to be as simple as that.

The Manchester city centre has plenty of shopping and pubs to keep you busy. The sidewalks are crowded with people on the weekends. Many people are putting on a show for tips. I was pretty impressed with the football skills of some of Manchester’s locals.

I would suggest before leaving to find some time to get on a train to the Old Trafford Stadium. Old Trafford Stadium is the home of Manchester United. Manchester United’s football team is quite possibly the most popular sports team in England, and in the world.

They offer tours of the stadium just about every day, which includes walking through the team’s trophy room, locker room, and viewing of the field. Also it is highly recommended to check out the tunnel and the entrance to Manchester United’s field.

Where to stay when travelling to Manchester

Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa

Conveniently located, Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa offers easy access to Manchester’s main tourist attractions. It also provides a sauna, free WiFi and body treatments.

Rooms are air-conditioned and feature top-of-the-range amenities such as an iPod docking station, a mini bar and luxury toiletries. They all include a refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom.

Guests in search of a meal and wanting to stay nearby needn’t look any further than Macdonald’s in-house restaurant, which is open each day for breakfast. In the evening, guests are welcome to wind down in the cosy lounge bar. A variety of cafés and restaurants are also available close by.

Find the best rates

 

 

SACO ManchestTravelling to Manchester - SACO Manchestererer

Strategically located in the middle of the city, this 4-star property makes for an ideal base in Manchester. Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, it is less than 10-minutes’ stroll from Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink Station.

There are a range of amenities available to guests of SACO Manchester, such as meeting rooms, VIP rooms and free WiFi. A fitness centre is available to those wishing to keep up their exercise regimes while travelling.

All the contemporary apartments at Saco Serviced Apartments Manchester provide internet access and a kitchenette.
SACO Manchester offers breakfast every morning that guests can enjoy before heading out to discover the local region.

Saco Serviced Apartments Manchester is conveniently situated for discovering Manchester with Piccadilly Gardens within walking distance. Guests are also able to visit Manchester Town Hall, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Find the best rates - SACO Manchester

 

Holiday Inn Manchester

If you are a member of the InterContinental Hotels Rewards Club you can earn points or redeem your points by staying at the Holiday Inn Manchester, which is set in the heart of Manchester.

Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre is situated near Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink Station, and just a few steps from nearby dining and nightlife options. It provides free WiFi and a laundry service, and is a short walk from London Road Fire Station.

The hotel has 298 well-appointed rooms that are accompanied by a range of essential facilities to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay.

Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre features both a restaurant and a bar where guests can unwind at the end of the day.

The hotel is situated amongst the area’s popular sightseeing attractions, including Manchester Cathedral, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Central Convention Complex which are a short walk away. It is within walking distance of Shudehill Interchange, which allows for convenient access in and around Manchester.

 

 

 

The cost of travelling to Manchester England from the US, is half to what it use to be 5 to 10 years ago, obviously the recent decline of the Pound (the British currency) has attributed a lot to that. So what are you waiting for? Visit the UK while it is a really, good bargain!!

Kimberly Agnes, the author of the “Travelling to Manchester England from the US” is a US fashion executive who regularly travels to the UK and Europe form the US.

Greek Islands: Four romantic days on the island of Naxos

Old windmills at Filoti village

Last summer my girlfriend and I were in a big dilemma regarding our holiday destination where we could spend a few days to relax away from the busy life in Athens. The choices between the Greek Islands?
A few hundreds. After several recommendations from our friends the decision was taken with a great enthusiasm.

What was the destination? The beautiful island of Naxos.

Naxos Town

The island of Naxos is located in the center of the Aegean Sea and it is part of the Cyclades islands. Naxos is ideal for couples and families as it offers an excellent cuisine, perfect beaches and plenty of activities to choose from.

A lovely donkey near Moutsouna beachI would strongly suggest to rent a car rather than a scooter or ATV for your transportation. The distances tend to be long and the roads are in a good shape.

However, some times in order to reach your destination you have to go through gravel roads with sharp stones. Also some times the roads are quite slippery and with many U-turns and relatively high elevation.

In addition you have to bear in mind that the public bus service doesn’t have a very dense schedule so if you wish to explore most of the island you must definitely rent a car.

I will also recommend you arrange your accommodation in Chora (the capital of the island) so you can be near the night life and the harbour so you don’t have to drive more than you really need.

If you wish to be on a more quiet and relaxed area, Filoti village is a very good choice. It is located in the center of the island and getting to all the main beaches around the island is significantly easier.

Four day itinerary on the island of Naxos

 

Marble streets on the island of NaxosDay 1: Leave from Chora and head to Apeiranthos. An amazing village with old traditional buildings, some have been built with marble and they are dated back to the years of Venetian occupation of the island of Naxos, some even predate that.

The village of Apeiranthos is famous for its local meats and cheese delicacies. The locals are extremely hospitable and willing to help you if you need directions to get to your destination.

Go around, walk and explore the side streets, admire the old buildings, the two Venetian towers, when you need a rest sit at one of the local restaurant and enjoy the local cousin.

I would definitely recommend Platanos restaurant, since we sat there and we were very happy with the quality of the food and prices of the restaurant.

After you taste the local cousin and enjoy a cup of coffee, you can head to the beach of Moutsouna which is approximately 25 to 30 minutes by car. The road is full of turns and on a high elevation so drive slowly and carefully.

At Moutsouna beach we discovered two traditional fish restaurants which unfortunately we did not have the chance to try as we were full from our previous stop but both looked quite good. We are planning to try their delicacies on our next visit to the island. Once you eat or swim you can move on to the beach of Panormos which we found amazing, relaxing and very quiet.

The amazing and quiet beach Panermos

On the Southeast side of the island and away from the crowds of tourists it’s definitely a place you should visit in case you just want to relax. However go there well equipped. There is a small and friendly canteen but it is a bit pricey and there are not many parasols.

Once you rest enough by the beach it is time to drive all the way back to your accommodation which is not a short drive so plan ahead and try to head back before the sun sets.

In the evening you can spend your time exploring the town’s side streets, the various romantic restaurants or the night clubs and bars to enjoy your cocktail.

Clystal blue-green water at the hidden beach near AgiassosDay 2: The second day we choose Agiasos beach located at the South side of the island.

However, the beach I am talking about is located 500 meters after Agiasos village. So once you see the sign ‘to Agiasos’’ on your left, simply ignore it and drive 500 meters further down the road. You will see a small gravel road heading to the beach where you can drive and park your car.

There you will find two amazing beaches that are not crowded at all.
Warning the smaller one on the far right end quite often is used by nudists. So be aware and make your choice.

If you continue on the gravel road you will find Alykes beach and Kastraki beach. On the last one try to visit the old deserted hotel and its deserted beach where you can swim all by yourself without anyone else!!! Your own private beach.

On your way back you can visit the cave of Za, which is located on a hill. To get there you have to drive up to a certain point on the road and then walk the rest of the way up.

You will definitely need sports or hiking shoes because a big part of the path is not paved. Be careful when you are entering the cave as its very dark and slippery, but for us it definitely worth the effort.

View from Za cave at the Island of Naxos

On your way back you can stop at Filoti village, where you can enjoy the local meat products (try the lamp chops!!!) at the traditional taverns situated in the center of the village under the huge trees. Many shepherds live in the village so if you are interested in buying dairy products straight from the producers, feel free to ask the locals at the square and they will direct you to one of the producers.

Once your rest you may wish go back to the city and enjoy an ice cream at Waffles house or have a drink at People’s bar.

Don’t forget to visit the famous Naxos candy store situated in the old city. It makes candies with traditional flavours and aromas such as Ouzo, Cinnamon and Citron, you can also find many modern and unexpected ones such as various combinations of Spicy, Sweet and other tastes. The owners were very hospitable; they even gave us a nice shot of a local drink called Raki.

One of the many beaches at Agia Anna on the Island of Naxos

Day 3: On the third day of your stay on the island of Naxos, you can visit Agia Annas beach and then Maragkas and many beautiful beaches situated one after the other, you would be spoiled for choice, believe me. If you like pizza try to find the “Mama Mia” pizzeria which is quite famous on the island. The Italian owners have brought a taste of Italy on the Greek island of Naxos.

A grandpa enjoing his coffe and the wonderful dayDay 4 : I would suggest on your last day to go to the Panermos bay. The driving is a bit long and strenuous for about 1-1.5 hours and there are not many interesting things to see or do on the way. However, the sandy beach is honestly incredible; it feels like you are not in the Aegean Sea but on an island somewhere in heaven!!!

Make sure you bring with you plenty of water, parasols and everything else you might need because after a certain point on the road there are no super markets or villages. Also there are no sun beds or umbrellas for hire so plan accordingly!!

On the right edge of the beach there is a very nice tavern with an amazing view of the beach and the Aegean Sea with very hospitable owners. The Panermos bay is quite far away, but if you can give it a day I am sure it will be the highlight of your trip.

While on the island of Naxos there are certain things you must definitely buy or taste. I would highly recommend the local dairy products such as Arseniko, Graviera and Ksinomizithra. Also the meat products which are produced on the island with traditional methods, the local fish and last but not least the local honey called Zikomelo.

We only stayed on the island of Naxos for four and half days but the people, the beautiful sceneries, the refreshing and relaxed atmosphere of the island were more than enough to recharge our batteries and keep us going through the hot summer.

Sunset,view and your girl._what more can you ask

I will definitely recommend the island of Naxos for a long holiday or even a short trip to unwind, relax and explore the beauty of the Greek islands.

This summer live your myth in Greece!!!

Spyros Skouris the author of the 4 romantic days on the island of NaxosAbout the author

Spyros Skouris the author of the article “Greek Islands: Four romantic days on the island of Naxos” can help you arrange your dream vacations on your visit to Athens in Greece.

He also owns an apartment in Athens which is available to rent on Airbnb.