Chasing Aurora Borealis in Tromsø

I’ve been waiting for years to be able to check this on my bucket list and I’m finally doing it. Yes, it is pretty expensive, I paid for 950NOK (92€) for the big bus chase (up to 50 people inside the bus). If you want to get the small bus or even private, yes it’s available, just check the ticket price on their website.

Be aware that there will be no guarantee that you will be able to see the northern lights. Even if you see them, the shape and intensity will always vary as it is a natural phenomenon where forecasting will take days to do. As I mentioned above, the particles exposed from the sun is called the solar storm, it takes up to 3 days to reach earth, yeah it’s a long time. My suggestion for forecast apps will be Aurora Forecast (available for iOS and Android) and Aurora Borealis Forecast & Alerts (only iOS).

Bert-20200131-DSC00765

The whole bus

The tour started at 17:45 near the port, it was already dark. Everyone started gathering and the guides were checking our bookings so that we can enter the big bus, the bus is quite full. Since we can see there are some mid clouds coming, the guides were always active on checking where will the tour go. My guide, Bert, explained so much about his experience about the Aurora Borealis, it’s so cool. It took around 20 minutes to reach the first stop, which was in Kvaløysletta Island. The northern light wasn’t that strong, but very glad that we found them as there were more mid clouds coming. It’s not really visible with naked eyes, it was just a green tint in the dark sky.

Bert-20200131-DSC00809Bert-20200131-DSC00822

Since the situation wasn’t getting better, they decided to leave for another place, Ramfjordbotn. It was quite far, it took at least 2 hours to get there. We were lucky enough to find the Aurora Borealis again here, it was such a long wait! We even had our snacks (it was provided) which was cookies and hot chocolate until we saw the lights showing up. This time, it was quite strong for like 3 minutes! Though the Aurora wasn’t dancing due to weather conditions, I was still overwhelmed by the beauty of this earth.

Bert-20200201-DSC00880

I would definitely recommend this tour IF you have some savings and if you travel alone. If you have the chance to rent your own car, do it! Wanna see how I found the northern lights myself for FREE? Check my previous blog post:) See you on the next one!

Tromsø Must-Do Checklist + Tips & Tricks (3D2N)

Hi there! Are you planning for a winter trip to check out the northern lights? The northern lights are known as Aurora Borealis, a natural light display you can see from high latitude regions. Why is it green first of all? It happens from a chemical reaction, simply saying that there is a great collision between the earth’s gaseous particles and charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere. The most common color you’ll see is yellowish-green, it comes from oxygen molecules around 100km away from the earth–super far! If you’re super lucky, you can see a red-colored aurora which happens at least 300km away.

A little warning, Tromsø is a very expensive town, so be ready to splurge a lot of money here. You can also find cheaper northern lights destination; Alta or Varanger. There will be no direct flights to Tromsø from Bergen with Norwegian Air, so be sure to consider other airlines such as; SAS and Widerøe. How many days will be enough for this trip? Well, if you have a lot of savings, I would suggest at least 5 days so that you will have more chance to see the Aurora Borealis.

DSC00791

Anyways, let’s also explore what’s around Tromsø as a town and some tips about being a smart traveler there. Let’s start with some tips here;

Don’t get fooled by getting the 2-way ticket by the official airport bus 

Traveling smart and on a budget can be similar. Doing decent research on the cheapest transportation is necessary! Since I didn’t do that, I purchased the overpriced official airport bus ticket for 180NOK (17€). Instead, you should get the “Tromskortet” Transport Card. It can be bought both online and offline (in minimarkets in town). To be able to commute better, download these 2 apps; Troms Mobillett (for buying the online ticket) and Troms Reise (to check out the specific time table and bus stop locations).

Book your accommodation early

Booking a month earlier is a better idea since this town has very limited space for its tourists! Home for 70,000 people, the expected tourist yearly is way more than that number. Accommodation can be very expensive if you book them last minute, I paid for a bunk bed in Tromso Activities Hostel for 50€ a night, though their customer service is very amazing. You can get a better deal;)

Here’s where you have to visit:

Skansen, The Oldest House in Town

Nothing to expect, to be honest, it’s just a very small yellow house near a roundabout. I guess it’s just overrated! I mean, the houses nearby it is built since mid 19th century. Since the road is covered with snow, the cobblestone wasn’t visible.

Polarmuseet i Tromsø

Have you ever wonder how do people live in the north back in the days? Coming here will be the answer. Though the museum is not interactive–it’s a very old one, you will get so knowledgable after your visit here. They show how people hunt food, how the seal is a very important source of economy, until how people create a map centuries ago!

FYI, this museum is open daily from 11:00-17:00, it’s very affordable, I got my bundle ticket of 50NOK (student price) which also includes Tromsø Museum. Interesting fact, as long as you keep the physical ticket with you, you can go back and forth for the whole year. So, if you’re in a rush to just visit half of the museum, you can!

Sunset by the port

It’s always great to enjoy nature while traveling, especially here in Tromsø!! With only 5 hours of daylight, we definitely deserve some sun on the face! During that day, the sunrise was at 09:27 and sets at 14:29, super early! It feels so weird to be far north.

DSC00773

Tromso Library

Not a fan of books but I’m here for the architecture. I adore the dome-shaped roof, and their glass doors and windows, so futuristic! Since Tromsø is also a student town, you will see so many students studying inside, don’t bother them! You can clearly see that this building is newly made, the interior is so minimalistic and clean, I love it! They also play with different colors, it creates a great tint to the whole vibe. The library opens at 09:00 and closes at 19:00, so make sure to stop by and check out their beauty.

DSC00797

Perspective Museum

Are you a fan of photography? If yes (just like I do), this will be HEAVEN for you. I can’t tell how amazed and amused when I was there. During that time, they are showing a temporary exhibition by Erlend Berge, it was about traditional houses across Norway, it’s very eye-opening! Also, there will be a designated place for black and white pictures, so amazing.

DSC00817

Erlend Berge’s Exhibition

This museum’s opening time is 10:00-16:00, and it’s free. What else can you ask for? This is a must-go in my point of view. The location is literally 5 minutes from the center.

Northern Lights Chase by Chasing Lights

Another blog post dedicated to this will be posted;) Stay tuned.

Tromsø Museum – Universitetsmuseet

Guess who’s using the most out of her bind-ticket? Me! Well, I decided to come in the first place because I have the Polar Museum ticket bought bound with Tromsø Museum. As the oldest Northern Norway’s research institution, Tromsø University Museum has strong research and development approach! The museum itself isn’t that huge, they have only 3 sections; natural sciences, cultural sciences, and the temporary exhibition upstairs.

What caught my interest was the exhibition about The Sami, they explain how they live in the 21st century, they work like other Norwegians, Swedes, and Finnish. They also show education has been compulsory for them back in that century. FYI, during winter (up to May 2020), they open on Mon to Fri at 10.00 – 16.30, Sat at 12.00 – 15.00, and Sunday at 11.00 – 16.00.

Fjell­hei­sen (Tromsø Cable Car)

I was very curious to try this cable car since Tromsø is such a small town where you can see the panoramic view from that cable car ride. The ride wasn’t that long, maybe around 7 minutes one-way. Keep in mind that the ticket is quite expensive, 210NOK for a two-way trip, the time table is not exactly clear as they just go whenever the cable car is full (departure should be on the half-hour).

By the time you reach the viewpoint, there are different spots you can choose from. You can either stay at the closest viewpoint, which is just right by the indoor café/restaurant or go for a short walk to the second viewpoint, where you can get a clearer view of the whole Tromsø. It might get super windy that the short walk can get a little bit dangerous. The opening time is 10:00-23:00 daily.

DSC00924

Polaria Aquarium

As a fan of marine animals, this is on my list. But I gotta give an honest review to you, it is not worth it! The adult ticket is 175NOK and students for 90NOK for a 3-room aquarium. The building is old and unrefreshed, though the seal feeding was quite interesting. There’s also an aquarium hallway where you can sit and enjoy some beautiful animals; seals and sharks.

DSC00987

Dinner at Burgr

Can we eat cheap in Tromsø? Not really. I decided to go here with some new friends because it’s one of the most affordable places in town. My burger was around 150NOK, but since I share a french fries with a friend, my total was 175NOK, not too bad for such a well-made burger. The vibe is also chill, you can spend hours talking here.

Beer Tasting at Ølhallen

Since it was a Saturday (they close on Sundays), though I was tired, I decided to come here because of my love for craft beers. Another information, their opening time is 11:00-00:30 on Mon – Thu, 11:00-01:30 on Fri, and 10:00-01:30 on Sat. The atmosphere is so amazing, this is literally a real old school pub, located just next to the world’s most northern brewery, Mack, they serve 72 fresh Norwegian beers on tap. Ølhallen is also the oldest bar in town, serving since February 1928!

Since there were so many of those–it’s super hard to choose, I decided to take the tasting trays of 5 different beers brewed by Mack (which cost me 270NOK). They served me from bright ale to dark and creamy stout. It was hard to choose, but the fruity and flower-smelling pilsener was amazing! Just look how happy I am with all those beers, you’ll definitely enjoy them<3

Night Stroll Around the Town

Since Tromsø is also a student town, it was pretty crowded and dirty (people were super drunk already) while walking on the street. But definitely worth the walk to check out the simple but fun nightlife in this small town.

Dog Sledding by Klook

Another blog post dedicated to this will be posted;) Stay tuned.

Arctic Cathedral

The walk through the bridge was unbelievable, the wind was extremely strong that it will push me away, but I survived! The view that you’re gonna get is so breathtaking, you can see the port from the height, I even saw someone fishing just by the coastline. It was a 25-minute walk east from the city center, you can also get the bus if you’re not a fan of walking.

By the time you reach, the exterior of the building is so futuristic, it looks a luxurious igloo! If you’re an architecture fan, you will fall in love with the 11 aluminum-coated concrete form the cathedral has. This masterpiece by Architect Jan Inge Hovig was opened on November 19, 1965. They open daily from 13:00-18:00, and the adult ticket price is 50NOK.

By the time you’re inside, you can sit there forever, such a Zenn feeling. The glass façade is beautiful, just look at how detail the interior is. If you can’t get enough of this view, you can also go for the Northern Lights Concert at 23:00 every Thu – Sun which costs you 200NOK.

Tromsø Center for Contemporary Art

Wondering what to do after 15:00 where most places are closing? This contemporary art hall is open from 09:00-17:00 (daily except Mon and Tue). When I arrived, there was no one, though it’s nice for me though. The entrance is free, and they offer so many free postcards and art magazines. You can also buy some art books, beautiful design notebooks in their shop. During that time, I went to the temporary exhibition about the moon and light, it was quite scary as the room is a labyrinth, but the show was very unique. The receptionist is super friendly, she even suggested some places to eat.

Northern Norway Art Museum

I am so down for Norwegian art, so I decided to pass by this one. An adult ticket is 80NOK and children under 18 are free. There are so many landscape paintings from across Norway, those earthy colors calm my eyes, including the Aurora Borealis drawn by pencil from the 1830s, WOW. They also have some clay and metal 3D arts.

DSC01211DSC01217

The temporary exhibition was by Betsy Akersloot-Berg, she’s a marine painter that travels across the world, dating back to the early 1900s. She literally stayed by the coastline every time she travels, her paintings are unbelievably real, I can feel that I travel back in time!

Dinner at Huken Pub

Remember the nice receptionist that I talked about before? She suggested this place as it’s famous among students, so here I am. The place is super small but cozy, I literally got the last available table, some people gotta leave since there are no more space available. The interior is all wood, with some antiques around! They also have some choices of alcohol, including different types of bottled beer (from Mack too). I ordered this burger, it taste so mouth-watering. The price is also super amazing, that lovely burger costs me 155NOK, worth it<3 FYI, they open daily only from 14:00-02:00.

Chase your own Northern Lights at Prestvannet Lake

Since I am a curious cat, I decided to go to this lake, which is located 20 minutes by bus from the city center. It started snowing and I lost hope to find the Aurora, but guess what? She appeared for like 2 minutes before the big clouds full of snow hits back. The hike around the lake was very interesting though, there were some locals running through the dark, so peaceful.

The whole trail I guess was around 2km? I even walked to the frozen lake, it was quite scary since I don’t wanna fall to the water! There were some benches for you to chill out there, enjoy the frozen lake! There are so many houses around since it is a residential area. The last bus back to the city center reaches midnight and it leaves every 15 minutes, so don’t worry and enjoy the most of your time there:)

DSC01266DSC01273

Now the question is, do you think this trip is worth it?

 

 

 

 

A 29-km AurlandsFjord Tour with Norway in a Nutshell®

A little warning, this trip is a self-guided trip where all the purchased tickets are bought as a bundle by Norway in a Nutshell®so there will be no guarantee that you will be exploring with the same people (you can obviously make friends, as I did!). Is it worth it buying as a bundle? YES if you’re planning this trip last minute (like a week beforehand). I calculated every single ticket (if bought independently) and you will only save around 20€, the bundle will cost you 1740NOK (170€), it is EXPENSIVE. So, here’s the breakdown of the whole trip:

  • Bergen to Voss by Bergen Railway

Ready to wake up early in the morning? The train to Voss will leave at 08:39 from Bergen Station, make sure to be on time (the train ain’t gonna wait for ya). You will realize that there will be a lot of people with the same ticket (as you do) as you buy them from Norway in a Nutshell®. Both printed and electronic tickets (save the planet please) are excepted. There will be a specific seat number assigned for you, but I don’t think people really check or care about it. The train ride will take 1.5 hours, so you can still rest;)

  • Voss to Gudvangen by Bus

When you arrive at Voss, you won’t have much time to explore around since you will only have 15 minutes before the bus will leave. Well, I decided to have a short walk just around the lake and enjoy the pristine water and air. Stretch up your arms and legs for the rest of the journey. The bus ride is short, just an-hour-long! You will also pass by some amazing sceneries during the bus ride, some lakes, and snowy mountains.

  • Gudvangen to Flåm by a Sustainable Cruise

Gudvangen is unbelievably beautiful, I can’t even tell how clean it is, the view is breathtaking. WOW, it is more beautiful than Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Look up to check out their snowy mountain, and just enjoy those fjords before leaving by the boat. I would suggest getting a take-away lunch before leaving for this trip. Prices will be very expensive (eg. a regular sandwich for 8€), you will starve!! The best you can get inside the boat will only be hotdogs… The rest-area will also sell some souvenirs if you’re interested.

created by dji camera

Interesting fact, the cruise is fully sustainable! It’s so huge, the boat’s capacity can be up to 200 people. You can stay both indoor and outdoor, well obviously I chose to stay mostly outdoor, ain’t gonna waste that money! You will see how long Aurlandsfjord is:) The wind will hit so hard though, so don’t forget your thick gloves, hat, and scarf. The boat will stop once by a village named Aurlandsvangen, if you book the bundle differently, you can also spend a night here. Since the bundle that I booked is the simplest one, we’re gonna continue the journey to the next village, Flåm.

Flåm is a very small village, located in the inner end of Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the giant Sognefjord. You will only have 40 minutes in the village. So I decided to send a postcard to my little sister, fly my drone, and check out the Visit Flåm Museum, it’s free! The museum is generally small, you can check out a brief history of Flåm Railway, Flåm itself, and how locals live back in the days. During this short time, I just use most of it to enjoy the amazing landscape outside:)

  • Flåm to Myrdal by Flåm Railway

Widely known for the most beautiful train ride in the world, this train will take you up to the high mountains, Myrdal. You will definitely enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snowy mountains, hidden waterfalls, local houses in the middle of nowhere, and of course orange leafless trees. In this 20km long ride, you will have a stop by Kjosfossen Falls for a photo stop, a great spot to take some pictures 🙂 The whole train ride is 50 minutes, so make sure you enjoy every second of it, remember that this railway took 20 years to be done, it’s a real artwork.

I would suggest choosing the seat on the right side when going from Flåm to Myrdal as most of the beautiful scenery is on that side. It’s also possible to open the top part of the window to get a more HD view of the landscape.

DSC00510

  • Myrdal to Bergen by Bergen Railway

Well, technically you will change to the train that you use at the beginning of the trip (the one from Bergen to Voss). The whole train ride will be 2 hours towards sunset, enjoy the sunshine before it leaves. When it was the end of January, the sunset was at 16:20, so early! The whole trip was extraordinary, I would also recommend this tour for families. Though you have a designated seat on your ticket, most probably the train will be empty, so free seatings:)

DSC00517

Will you choose this bundle after all those amazing pictures I’ve shown you? You decide;)

 

Low-Cost 2 Nights Travel in Oslo, Norway

First off, make sure you check if the Oslo Pass will suit your needs. The idea of getting it is to enter some attractions for “free”, but again, it depends on where you want to go. Personally, I wouldn’t have the need of buying it since I look under 18 years old (children price for me and usually tickets are FREE). FYI the 24-hour pass is 445NOK (46€), 48-hour for 655NOK (68€), and 72-hour for 820NOK (85€), so it is pricey.

To save more money on you, I will definitely suggest you guys buy the Oslo Transport Pass which worths 111NOK (10€) for 24 hours. This card will allow you to use every single transportation in the city, from the bus, tram, boat, and metro around zone 1 and 2 (basically all the main attractions in the city!).

Here we go, here’s a 2-day itinerary for you guys who are very curious about checking out a lot of attractions in a day. On average, I walked (way too much) around 20,000 steps a day, so for those who love long walks, this is just for you.

Short information regarding airport-to-city transport, I took the “Flytoget” bus number F1, F1X, or F2 for 120NOK (11€) one-way (student price), this is way cheaper rather than taking a train to the city.

The drop-down for the first day will be this one;) All the links are all in pink. I really enjoyed the walk so I hope you guys do too!

Take a free walking tour w/(Oslo Free Walking Tour)

It’s always good to have an idea of what’s the best way to explore the city by joining these free tours. I usually gave the tour guide around 5€, ranging from 1-2 hours long tour. As a curious ass girl, knowing the history of the place I am visiting has always been on the list, so it was very interesting for me to know that Norway got its economy boost only since the 60s since they are so rich in oil mining.

Oslo Opera House

Though it was a shortstop, make sure you spend half an hour to reach up to the top part of the opera house since you will have a better look at the city, it’s free to just walk up. But anyway I didn’t do it, but instead, I continued walking to see more what’s around. There’s also this sauna “boxes” just by the opera house where you can book them online and release your muscle stress when you have free time. For anyone who is interested, check them out KOK Floating Sauna (price starts at 1800NOK = 180€ for 2/3 hours).

DSC09690

The sauna that you have to book online

Oslo City Hall (Rådhuset)

Since I joined the free walking tour, we even had free access to the city hall plus some explanations about the various number of city halls that were used before. They even have several artworks to check out inside. Make sure to be amazed by the paintings on the walls, it’s so beautiful!

Oslo Stock Exchange (Trondheimsveien Oslo)

A very shortstop again. This is where the tour guide really explains the history and the economic boost of Norway. Nothing really special about this place, but make sure to do some research about it if you’re not interested in doing a guided tour.

Christiania Torv 

Another stop for some dose of history, it’s basically telling that Norway has always been seen the little brother of Denmark and the Norwegian king didn’t like the idea. Since then, there’s this monument showing that Norway indeed starts at that point in the city.

DSC09702

Aker Brygge

This is a literal dock where you can take some boats across the archipelago (the one that I took on day 2 to Havedøya). But here, you can also find a lot of fancy restaurants and bars that I really can’t pay for (you know how cheap traveling feels like). But anyway, a very great view of the city line here.

DSC09717DSC09716

National Theatre

Nothing really special, but for those of you who like to explore more landmarks here you go! You can also see two statues in front of the theatre, one of them was an ex-king of Norway.

DSC09752

Karl Johans Gate

From the city, you should walk around Karl Johans Gate and follow the pathways to get to the Royal Palace. For those who wanna do some shopping, walk east from this road. You will also pass by a park where there will be an ice skating rink during winter time (Spikersuppa Rink), they charge 7€ for a pair of skating shoes and free of charge if you bring your own.

The Storting (Norwegian Parliament)

Another stop by a monument by the walking tour. Again, nothing much. Just for the picture. Unfortunately, guided tours only start by Spring 2020 (every Saturday from 22 Feb-20 Jun), where it starts at 10.00 and 11.30 in English only. No bookings needed and it’s free, so just show yourself up:)

DSC09762

The Royal Palace

Have you ever wonder how the change of guards is like here in Norway? It ain’t similar to that huge ass amount of guards in London, but make sure to pass by at 13:30 to see the change of guards. It is daily, so don’t worry about the days of the week that you’ll be there for. The whole process will take approximately half an hour, so make sure to get some pictures on how they march and walk!

DSC09781

Sunset around Aker Brygge

Hope for great weather when you’re in Oslo (especially during winter) as the sun-time is super short and most probably it will be cloudy all day long. You will also see a lot of people with their dogs walking around there. FYI, Norwegians are one of the most outdoor humans in the world, even during bad weather they still go out!

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

Damn, I’ve been dreaming to get into another modern art museum and here I am. Ticket price is free for me since I “paid” for the children category. But the adult price will be 130NOK and students for 90NOK, they are open during winter (Jan 2- Apr 30, 2020) daily, generally saying from 12:00-17:00. Don’t be surprised regarding the timing as Scandinavians have fewer working hours during wintertime.

DSC09862

The collections they have are just crazy, they have paintings and other tangible artworks from the 40s until the ones from 2019. I was just amazed at how these talented artists have this image in their minds centuries ago. That time, they had a temporary exhibition of animal organs, quite disturbing but interesting.

Clench your thirst to a bar (Underbar)

To end up this tiring day, I decided to get a craft beer in a bar nearby. Again, don’t be surprised because of the price. It is amazingly expensive, I had mine (330ml) for 9€, the pale ale was perfect though.

Are you ready to go for your second day? It’s gonna be fun!!

The Viking Ship Museum

After such a long day that I had yesterday, I started at 9 am in the morning to go on the way to this museum. They open from 10:00 – 16:00 up until April 2020. Adult price is 120NOK and students for 90NOK, for me it’s free (under 18) 🙂 It’s definitely a must-go museum, you can see such details and stories about the Vikings back in the days. They have 3 ships on display, The Oseberg, The Gokstad, and The Tune Viking ship. Keep in mind that these ships are from the 9th century, they restored it super well, it took them more than 15 years for The Oseberg ship.

The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

Save up 1.5 hours for this place and really, don’t go to the exhibitions since it’s not interesting… If you’re interested in Sami culture, do check out the exhibitions though, you can see how they survived from the past centuries and how they make their traditional handmade clothing.

The open-air museum is so unique, so have a walk around it, you’ll find so many traditional Swedish houses, barns, and chapel. Be careful if it’s raining since the road will be muddy🙂

Island Hopping to Hovedøya-Lindøya-Bleikøya (Havedøya Route)

Two museums in a day are just enough, who’s up for island hopping? Since Oslo is an archipelago area, island hopping is a great idea, especially during the summer. I went when it was raining on a cold winter day, not a good idea but it was still crazy amazing.

I went only to the island of Hovedøya to visit the Havedøya Kloster. It is a ruin of 1147 monastery and fortress, I can’t say it’s not preserved that well, but the short walk (10 minutes) to that landmark is very enjoyable, tall trees and smell of the ground, something that you can’t find in the city.

Keep in mind that the boat (B1) from Akker Brygge leaves only every 30 minutes for the cyclic route of Hovedøya-Lindøya-Bleikøya, plan your time well. Check out the skyline before arriving at the dock:)

DSC00073DSC00083DSC00086

The Vigeland Park

Take a break and chill here! It’s completely free and open for 24 hours. This park is located 25 minutes north-west from the city by taking Tram 12 (included in the transportation card too!). Going during daylight is much preferable since you can see clearly all the meaningful sculptures. Made by Gustav Vigeland, his message regarding this artwork is about humans, it’s just so timeless.

Walk around the city

Nothing will beat just strolling around, searching for nothing to experience a city. Close your Google Maps and just get lost and be amazed:)

 

Enjoy your trip! See you soon for another pocket-friendly itinerary to Bergen, Norway.

 

 

Escaping the Crowds to Oaxaca

I was looking for a state where I can see a very dense culture of Mexico. Should I see the north or south? But again, Miriam (my bestie) has been telling me for months that I should come to visit this state.

“Maria, it’s so amazing. You have to visit Oaxaca”, she said.

Again, I decided to travel from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara in the beginning to save up more money. By then, I flew to Oaxaca through Guadalajara. Flying with Volaris is actually not that bad, looking at the cheap flight I paid for.

dsc09725

The Pochote Organic Market

Right after the short flight and my “luggage drop” in the hostel, literally I just growl for food. After asking recommendations from the hostel reception, I decided to come for the great chicken mole they have. They have quite some selection of food there, super nice<3

Downtown Strollin’

Make sure to allocate some time to walk around the downtown and check out how locals are selling some local food. And if you’re lucky there will be some musicians, too! Just a little break from those long walks. Nice enough<3

Museo Textil de Oaxaca

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museo+Textil+de+Oaxaca/@17.0589275,-96.7243412,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c72240ab2f6aa1:0x48f8ac0322ca77e5!8m2!3d17.0606751!4d-96.7230172

Belly is happy now:) Next, one of the must-go museum in Oaxaca, honestly the clothing pieces are very unique. Plus, you can also see some other exhibitions on the upper floor.

Centro Cultural San Pablo

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Centro+Cultural+San+Pablo/@17.0589275,-96.7243412,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c72240a7b1779d:0x43bc1da2cdbdaed!8m2!3d17.0608271!4d-96.723319

Just a short visit here! The buildings are very artistic there; I just love how they put together this place to be a cultural center. Besides, they also have a coffee shop just by the entrance, get your laptop and your book, here:) And look what I found, a dad and his kid walking around this pretty place.

Zócalo Oaxaca

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Z%C3%B3calo+Oaxaca/@17.0602609,-96.7256823,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c722407fd5b687:0x506383de32c967f8!8m2!3d17.0605258!4d-96.7252924

Shopping? Here’s the place for y’ll. Food? Name it! They have so many places to shop and eat!

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cathedral+of+Our+Lady+of+the+Assumption/@17.0602609,-96.7256823,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xd0608e6f7a9ea305!8m2!3d17.0615431!4d-96.7250296

Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, Santo Domingo

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museum+of+Cultures+of+Oaxaca,+Santo+Domingo/@17.0658464,-96.7253494,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c7224ec7ba0447:0xe9d3bacda9641a28!8m2!3d17.0658413!4d-96.7231553

By the time I stepped my white Adidas and glaze the inside inside, I was very calm. This place is so elegant… Unfortunately I went inside just 40 minutes before they close (it was 5.30pm already!), but still getting a glimpse of it. So worth it! It has several floors up and more than 20 show rooms to check out. Plus! The sunset was so amazing that time.

Don’t forget to pass by Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán after your museum visit! The fretworks are so amazing!!

Museo de la Filatelia Oaxaca

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museo+de+la+Filatelia+Oaxaca/@17.0660009,-96.7238058,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c7223946a1d52b:0x9f447f5fee9b7bb5!8m2!3d17.0659958!4d-96.7216117

“Hmm what else I can see just around the corner?”, I thought.

I clicked on the Google Maps icon on my large-screen phone and I found this museum just a 5 minute walk from where I was before. Hell yeah! Fun fact: I am actually a philatelic (I have dozens of stamp collection books and albums back home).

I am literally amazed. And I found the 3 pieces of penny blacks stamps. Damn!!! It got such an interesting design, they have this kind of slider-design where you can view all their collections based on its category. And you can also learn about some histories here;) AND, FREE ENTRY. Will be even better if you visit this museum in day time, though. You can chill for a bit in their lounge for free coffee😉

See you on the next one!

Hiking Day at El Cerro de La Bufa, Guanajuato

PRO TIP: this itinerary is for those of you who’s searching for a day trip around Guanajuato!

I was quite confused that morning, where should I go? And, I was alone which makes it even more difficult if I wanna travel a bit far. But on that morning I met a friend from the hostel that I lived at, Mau. He gave me this idea to hike a mountain which is located around 45 minutes away from downtown, hell yeah! Without even thinking, I decided to go, but breakfast comes first!

Gorditas Las Gueras

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gorditas+%22Las+G%C3%BCeras%22/@21.0163783,-101.2541273,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b73f80440885b:0xea3dabe3a5223aa7!8m2!3d21.0163733!4d-101.2519332

Yuuuuum, gorditas for breakfast is a MUST here. As always, chicharrón (pork skin) is my favorite😉 I need power!! The sun was bright that morning, great choice for hiking! Plus, the price is reasonably cheap! That’s why we gotta wait the line for quite a while.

 

El Cerro de La Bufa

https://www.google.com/maps/place/El+Cerro+de+La+Bufa/@20.9945541,-101.2554007,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b76ad47b3b807:0x36b93df945de0754!8m2!3d20.9945541!4d-101.2532066

After so long I’m finally hiking again! We were talking a lot about live, together with some chill music? Enjoying the clean fresh air, just something rare from where I live. Love the positive vibe happening. There were not so many people surprisingly.

DSC09344

Entrance!

The beginning of the hike was medium (already!), pebbles were very dry, making it so slippery to walk on. Mid way, we have to climb up with our hand. Be careful from the black poisonous worm, it’s so common.

 

By the time you reach a flat surface, you’ll know that you’re almost there. Take a little break; you deserve it. Look at those trees around, pretty hills. In about 30 minutes from the flat surface, you will reach the top! There’s a blue cross right there. The view to downtown is super broad—from downtown to the other part of the city.

 

created by dji camera

The huge hill;)

created by dji camera

Spot me!

Presa de La Olla

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Presa+de+La+Olla,+Barrio+de+la+Presa,+Guanajuato,+Gto.,+Mexico/@20.9945541,-101.2685327,14z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b76ad47b3b807:0x36b93df945de0754!2sEl+Cerro+de+La+Bufa!8m2!3d20.9945541!4d-101.2532066!3m4!1s0x842b7159a491b15f:0xd5d7afec1ca9ca31!8m2!3d21.0020053!4d-101.2388527

Just a 10-minute drive down from El Cerro de La Bufa, you will see this pretty spot; it’s a dam. Not like other dam, the background is very pleasing to see. Green forest, humongous hill, and smooth breezes. Take a deep break and clear your mind<3 But first, lunch! I finally got the chance to try one of Guanajuato’s authentic food, the guacamaya! For those of you who don’t know, it’s a tasty torta originally from Leon, Guanajuato. It is served with pork rind, avocado, and spicy sauce. Heaven in the mouth honestly.

 

 

Also, take a chance to climb up the small red tower (el faro), just an extra lovely view to see the dam from a height. Also, you can spot a lighthouse from here. It’s actually made as a decoration by the dad of La Cina–a vigilant back in the days. Additionally, check out the small park just by the dam.

 

 

Casa de Las Leyendas

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Casa+de+las+Leyendas/@20.9945541,-101.2685327,14z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b76ad47b3b807:0x36b93df945de0754!2sEl+Cerro+de+La+Bufa!8m2!3d20.9945541!4d-101.2532066!3m4!1s0x0:0xdb69968b9342c99f!8m2!3d21.0069832!4d-101.2469798

Another recommendation from my besties, Miriam. It was just 30 minutes before the closing time (5.30pm), we thought they closed already—there was no one on the ticket booth AND no visitors at all. Not expecting anything to be honest. But after some knocks, someone turned up and gave us an access!! Just 40 pesos ($2), guide is also included.

 

There are about 6 rooms in total, telling different histories about Guanajuato—including Callejón Del Beso story. Moreover, they also tell us histories about the lighthouse that we saw before. So muuuuuch things to see and learn!! One of the best museums I’ve ever been in life. So authentic and affordable❤ Oh! The whole tour was in Spanish (English is not even available), so be aware.

 

The sun was almost out; we decided to walk back to take our bag in downtown. For me, I will enjoy my extra couple hours chilling in downtown before taking my bus back to Puerto Vallarta. Another cute friend I found there, Magnus! See you guys all in other part of the world!!

DSC09478

The walk back down

DSC09486

Eating elotes just by Teatro Juarez, that is Magnus!

See you next Thursday. Let me know your travel stories, too!

City Tour around Remarkable Guanajuato

Other than enjoying Guanajuato for Cervantino, I also explored so many places in the city. Let me explain how the vibe is. Guanajuato is a very historic city among other places in Mexico. Most of the historic center’s building; plazas, mansions, churches, and civil constructions are made from pink or green sandstone.

Back in the time, Guanajuato was found as a mining spot, looking that the mountains are full of minerals. Additionally, its richness made it as one of the most influential city during the colonial era. Well, here we start our 2-3 day trip!

Teatro Principal & Templo de la Compañía de Jesús Oratorio de San Felipe Neri

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Templo+de+la+Compa%C3%B1%C3%ADa+de+Jes%C3%BAs+Oratorio+de+San+Felipe+Neri/@21.0170966,-101.2548121,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b740801695313:0x84d5095180f9a393!8m2!3d21.0170966!4d-101.252618

Just a little stop here! The theatre was closed though. Just with baby steps, I saw the church building; it was just like another church HAHAH!

División de Derecho, Política Y Gobierno

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Divisi%C3%B3n+de+Derecho,+Pol%C3%ADtica+Y+Gobierno/@21.0170676,-101.2530328,20z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b740801695313:0x84d5095180f9a393!2sTemplo+de+la+Compa%C3%B1%C3%ADa+de+Jes%C3%BAs+Oratorio+de+San+Felipe+Neri!8m2!3d21.0170966!4d-101.252618!3m4!1s0x842b7408061729b3:0x4a61f53547a3b45d!8m2!3d21.0170675!4d-101.2530329

Another great findings, unexpectedly they are having this HRGIGER exhibition, I feel like I’m in space…….. They are exhibiting illustrations back from the 80s, I can’t even imagine how the illustrator even had that vision back in the time.

DSC08910

Universidad de Guanajuato

I entered with another super cool exhibition, Galería Jesús Gallardo. Fascinating. The paintings, the murals, I got crazy—in mind. I’ve never felt so small in this earth after exploring more the American continent. The path from the exhibition leads me to the main university building. This 386-year-old university is huge, and I just went to one of the building—can’t imagine.

Museo de las de Momias Guanajuato

https://www.google.com/maps/place/University+of+Guanajuato/@21.0170676,-101.2533064,19z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b740801695313:0x84d5095180f9a393!2sTemplo+de+la+Compa%C3%B1%C3%ADa+de+Jes%C3%BAs+Oratorio+de+San+Felipe+Neri!8m2!3d21.0170966!4d-101.252618!3m4!1s0x842b74080eb904c7:0xd4701880473a296f!8m2!3d21.0170713!4d-101.2535144

I took a bus to come here from Plaza de la Paz, it’s faaaaar! After the 20-minute drive, I finally stepped on the high altitude part of Guanajuato. The sun glazed the whole area, it was hot! I feel like taking my sweater off tbh. I went in with 50-pesos ticket, the guide is included too. Remember guys; always try to be one step ahead to come here! The line is craaaaazy, it will take you an hour (or even more) if you come in the afternoon.

DSC08936

The experience was great, the mummies have different stories behind. They died with various reason, I got scared a little bit >_< Even, I saw the smallest baby mummy in the world; he died with his mom…

Panteon Municipal + Observation Deck

I was thinking what else I could see here. I decided to ask some people around, and they told me there’s this observation deck. I don’t wanna be repetitive but it’s soooooo beautiful. I flew my drone for a bit, and here we go!

DSC08975

Mercado Hidalgo

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mercado+Hidalgo+Gto./@21.0177845,-101.2601884,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b740f4c7cb13f:0xce74ea30b8ab9fb0!8m2!3d21.0177795!4d-101.2579943

Warning: You need a shopping spree? Here’s the place for yaa!

The market is enormous, ranging from food, souvenirs, meats, until garments. But, way too many people. But I just went for ma lunch, so I chose to eat the seafood cocktail. Daaaamnn good! Don’t forget to eat it with extra avocado and crackers;) I ate like 8 packets of crackers for this medium sized cocktail.

Museo Casa Diego Rivera

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museo+Casa+Diego+Rivera/@21.0182175,-101.2573972,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7408f50c12f5:0xb0b01bb19c1582fb!8m2!3d21.0182125!4d-101.2552031

Again, student card alert! 10 pesos and I was in;) This museum gets more interesting when I know who’s actually Diego Rivera, great man who creates history. I’m a fan!!

Monumento el Pípila

https://www.google.com/maps/place/El+P%C3%ADpila,+Zona+Centro,+36000+Guanajuato,+Gto.,+Mexico/@21.0144986,-101.2566734,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7407baac1d6d:0x4188f7ab906a5e2f!8m2!3d21.0144936!4d-101.2544793

I think I need to burn more calories today!! I went for the short hike to the pípila and it was almost sunset, just perfect. Those sweat and hard breath was crazy worth it. I felt amazing within, and also outside.

The view is breathtaking… I have no words to really explain my feeling, super mixed. The wind got through my beige sweater. Wind was huuugee but I decided to fly my drone HAHA! To be honest, I just pray that it won’t crash or got thrown away because of the wind. Anyways I did it!!!! Look at the shots.

Teatro Juarez

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Teatro+Juarez/@21.0152603,-101.2552375,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7407ef067b45:0xa7f4cdbcd8596dcd!8m2!3d21.0152553!4d-101.2530434

So radiant… Even though it was close for public, but the lights made it super elegant from the outside. There were so many people in front of it, they just fill up all the stairs. Another time to meet new people;)

DSC09070

Callejón Del Beso

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Callej%C3%B3n+Del+Beso/@21.0164688,-101.2586663,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b740621eed1e3:0xed7b23671d40258e!8m2!3d21.0164638!4d-101.2564722

A.K.A The Kiss Alley. Thank you Rami (a new friend I met because I flew my drone in the pipila) for the local guide around Guanajuato. He explained me so well the history of this spot. Super interesting and sad… Basically there was a wealthy girl and poor boy falling in love with each other. They usually come to this small alley to hide and kiss each other. But in the end, the father of the girl killed his own child because he has no mercy. Uff, crazy story.

DSC09075

Regional Museum of Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Alh%C3%B3ndiga+de+Granaditas,+Zona+Centro,+36000+Guanajuato,+Gto.,+Mexico/@21.0188021,-101.2600288,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7408d3b4699d:0xfae636f5532c4843!8m2!3d21.0187971!4d-101.2578347

Another must-go place but I had no time to come inside:(

DSC08989

The alley before Alhóndiga de Granaditas

(day 2 begins here)

El Truco 7

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Truco+7+Restaurant/@21.016739,-101.2558981,17z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x842b7408d3b4699d:0xfae636f5532c4843!2sAlh%C3%B3ndiga+de+Granaditas,+Zona+Centro,+36000+Guanajuato,+Gto.,+Mexico!3b1!8m2!3d21.0187971!4d-101.2578347!3m4!1s0x842b7407e4c1b24d:0xbbfd9ae66a44ab85!8m2!3d21.0162995!4d-101.2532421

Just a short walk from the hostel, I finally found this hidden gem that my lovely friend Miriam told me. The place looks old, they even have a queue line at 9 in the morning, I wonder how great they are. By the time I entered, I chose the table just by the terrace. The view, the chill wind, and all the colors… Just a great start for the final day of Cervantino. Mole de pollo (chicken mole) for breakfast, who’s not drooling to eat them?

Bocamina San Ramón

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bocamina+San+Ram%C3%B3n/@21.0408283,-101.2575431,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b74798790ae9b:0x8c796b8371e3fe1e!8m2!3d21.0422214!4d-101.2581258

Aquí tenemos más lugares?”, I said (Are there any places here?)

That’s how I found out this place. I’m so into natural stones so I decided to come and check it out. I started walking through some stores and finally entered for the tour. It was fine, not super great to be honest.

La Hojaldrería De Guanajuato

https://www.google.com/maps/place/La+Hojaldrer%C3%ADa+De+Guanajuato/@21.0189334,-101.2593351,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7408dbb20497:0xfe66b7e8202bff13!8m2!3d21.0189334!4d-101.257141

I need snack!!! Just a little stop here and I decided to just chill by the street way;)

Plaza de la Paz

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Plaza+de+la+Paz/@21.0166053,-101.2562145,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7407df1264cb:0x3b522cbb83d33f0f!8m2!3d21.0166003!4d-101.2540204

DSC09223

Museo Iconográfico del Quijote

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museo+Iconogr%C3%A1fico+del+Quijote/@21.0144972,-101.2542407,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842c8d75a62cbf67:0xc6308c1729e6aa3a!8m2!3d21.0144972!4d-101.2520466

Another art museum and I loved it!! I was just there staring at the paintings for minutes (I wish I had hours). The color was so surrealistic…

Nonton di Teatro Juarez

Calle Subterranea

https://www.google.com/maps/place/calle+subterranea/@21.0153512,-101.2541553,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b73f8734eb0af:0x5c1623b9a2030a8d!8m2!3d21.0153462!4d-101.2519612

Guanajuato is well known for its underground street way. Even, they have some restaurants and bars just underneath. I was squatting for so long to get these shots, it was worth the walk!

La inundación de 1905

https://www.google.com/maps/place/La+inundaci%C3%B3n+de+1905/@21.0174359,-101.2582924,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b740890587789:0x668e785f0b346b9d!8m2!3d21.0174309!4d-101.2560983

Needing a beer and a great talk at night? Try to take one here. The environment is so friendly, the people who work there are very welcome (yes, they are young!), and the drinks are affordable.

See you on the next one!

Euphoria at Cervantino XLVII, Guanajuato

“You should go to Guanajuato just for this, it’s crazy, Maria”, said Miriam (my lovely bestiezz)

And damn, I went for it!! Again, one of the best experiences I had in life. Being alone in a land very far from home, experiencing the most important artistic and cultural festival in the whole world history?? I feel DAMN small. So excited to see people from all around the world just for this.

I started my cold-morning journey at around 8 am, Armando (remember him from the last post? He’s the reception guy LOL) dropped me off at the bus station. Gracias! The view of San Miguel de Allende was very alluring. This time, the bus ride is not that long, just 2 hours!

The city’s color caught my eyes… I really can’t wait to reach the downtown. By the time I went out from the bus, the first thing I took was the Cervantino pamphlet. I just rolled my eyes to that day, October 27th 2018. Hmm, what can I see today? Turns out everything will come to live around 5/6pm, that’s why I started strolling around the city first.

Again, I began with putting my bag in the hostel. Well, sometimes I gotta except the worst case scenario. It’s the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed in my whole life, El Casa del Tio.

Just right before the sun went down, I finally found my first stop to enliven this event. The city is crazy crowded, there’re always thousands of people passing by on those small alleys.

Plaza Mexiamora

Because of my height, I gotta walk among those people to reach the front of the stage. I was standing there for minutes, looking at people’s eye. I wonder how amazed they were, HAHA! Even though I actually don’t know what’s the band exactly, but this Swedish performers killed it! All 4 of them are making great music and jokes around. Lovely!

DSC09059DSC09062

Regional Museum of Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Alh%C3%B3ndiga+de+Granaditas,+Zona+Centro,+36000+Guanajuato,+Gto.,+Mexico/@21.0188021,-101.2600288,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7408d3b4699d:0xfae636f5532c4843!8m2!3d21.0187971!4d-101.2578347

Looking that we have so many people around, me and Rami (a friend I met when I was in el pipila) decided to come earlier before the semi-final event started in Regional Museum of Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas. And damn, the queue was already like a 100-meter snake?? But thankfully, we made it just before the Rajasthan Drummer started.

DSC09080DSC09082

We were sitting among thousands of people on those stadium chairs. There were waaay more people down there, paying a seat. Well, I just don’t have that much money to spend on! Why not enter for free while you can?

The show was beyond expectations, BEST PERFORMANCE EVER. So youthful, fresh, and new. People were dancing around just because they’re playing this wooden clap as if they are a rapper. Go with the beat!!!

DSC0000

Looking amazed af

My Saturday just swift so fast with great experiences, new people, and new places. Let’s move on to the last and final day of Cervantino!

I woke up with a very huge march of people with big trumpets, drums, and little kids just by the centro. They were making a very long line, representing their own musical clubs. The kids are super cute! Rock on:)

DSC09157

Templo de la Valenciana

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Templo+De+La+Valenciana/@21.0409401,-101.2598239,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b7479f124b069:0x71678f5ab294470b!8m2!3d21.0409351!4d-101.2576298

Goal of the day: watch as much show as I can today. So that’s why I went for this one without even knowing that I need a paid ticket. I took the bus that time, I waited for soooo long that time, but I managed!

created by dji camera

Templo Valenciana from further away

created by dji camera

It turns out that I need to book a ticket in advance and it costs 380 pesos, quite some for a backpacker like me. And I was lucky all over again, I had this lady that I just knew by my side. She told the coordinator that I’m a reporter from Indonesia because I’m fully equipped with my big bag, big camera, a tripod, and a microphone. And goddamn I got a free entry!!! The show was 75 minutes long, Ensemble Ricercare Antico (Giulio Romano) gracefully performed like for the whole show. I was fan-girling most of the time, Francesco Tomasi is soooo cute!

DSC09165

Templo Valenciana from inside

DSC09170

The violinist!

I really don’t wanna end this event:( But time is not stopping for anyone!! The last drip of Cervantino here we go! Again, I passed another unique performance on my way back to the centro. So bohemian and colorful.

DSC09251

Puppet show in front of Teatro Juarez

Final Performance of Cervantino

Again, I’m coming back for the final show here in Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The line is snaking (of course!), I waited for almost an hour but I got lucky, again;) Sh*t, this random girl just told me that she won’t be using her ticket anymore. So, instant entry for me!!! Thanks broo!

Walking through the empty lane feels great. I felt the cold wind so badly as I forgot to take my jacket with me. I started looking at people’s eyes, people are genuinely having a lot of fun. For the final stage, it was Aguascalientes’ performance. It was cool, especially with all the fireworks afterwards.

DSC09282DSC09290DSC09306

By the time they announce that Cervantino is officially done, literally (almost) everyone started to pack up and leave the city. Then, I decided to put my bag and stroll the city at night. By that time, the streets and alleys were empty. There were barely people walking anymore. So cool that people just left in just a blink.

But then, just by Teatro Juarez, the performers from Callejoneadas were still performing. What else I need to call this a day? FYI Callejoneadas is an ensemble team full of  students playing everyday from 12pm-11.45pm. They usually ask you to pay for about 100 pesos to see their march around the city.

DSC09319

DSC09320

Another show just by a bar in centro

See you next year Cervantino!!!! It’s been an amazing experience with you<3

Breathing the World’s Greatest Beauty in San Miguel de Allende

IMPORTANT: This blog post is highly useful for you guys who’s planning a visit for 2-3 days.

It’s finally time to leave Guadalajara, such a great place! But by the time I see San Miguel de Allende, everything changed. BEST PLACE I have ever been in my life. I feel it a lot in my head; my eyes are sparking every time I see something new there. Weird feelings, but true. The bus ride was 5.5 hours though, considering that both cities are more than 300km away.

  • Central de Autobuses (first day starts here)

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Central+de+Autobuses/@20.9543136,-103.1750839,8z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b504b93bcd443:0x4846d1db21616b73!8m2!3d20.9146055!4d-100.7589466

That time, I chose to use ETN Autobuses because it has the cheapest ticket, I paid 688.50 pesos online, sometimes they have special discounts there. Plus, the bus is super convenient, I even get a meal and a drink with it. Highly recommended!!

As a pure backpacker with a deep philosophy of “buying the cheapest”, bus (or even getting a free ride;)) will always the best idea. Bam! Just 8 pesos to downtown, come on!! I’ll get that sh”t.

DSC08450

Bus ride with a man reading newspaper

  • La Catrina Hostel and Breakfast

https://www.google.com/maps/place/La+Catrina+Hostel+and+Breakfast/@20.9151811,-100.7434457,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x726c223ac9493297!8m2!3d20.9192545!4d-100.7420406

Bags off and ready to go! To be honest, best hostel I’ve ever stayed. A well-written review alert! Priority is the price though; I paid 120 pesos for 1 night on a weekday and 150 pesos on the weekend. How cheap?? And breakfast is (damn) included. They have 4 types of cereals, some jams with bread, coffee, and bananas. Can’t complain with that!!

That time I chose a room with 6 bunk beds (all female), and they gave me a full set of bed sheet and pillowcase. Check-in was fast, I gave my passport to one of the reception, Armando (he’s so nice!!). Then, stored my bag for a bit in the locker (just by the reception) looking that check-in time is 3pm.

  • Mercado de Artesanias

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Artisan+market/@20.9151811,-100.7434457,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x71ebd2c30389475b!8m2!3d20.9174205!4d-100.7417938

Being hands-free is great. I started walking the alley that leads to the artisan market. They sell so many natural jewels (which I’m dying for), handmade bags, clothing, hats, till’ food! It’s not that big though; I stopped there for my fruit-stop. Always try to balance my diet even though I’m on holiday.

DSC08477

Selling medicine plants

  • CCH & ASOC. Parque

https://www.google.com/maps/place/CCH+%26+ASOC./@20.9165574,-100.7447395,18z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b51b76dcb0fa1:0xddea5ecc0ef4db77!2sCCH+%26+ASOC.!8m2!3d20.9165574!4d-100.7447395!3m4!1s0x842b51b76dcb0fa1:0xddea5ecc0ef4db77!8m2!3d20.9165574!4d-100.7447395

I literally came on the right time of the year; it was just 4 days before El día de los muertos. The locals were selling so many sweets with different shapes. Mostly are the faces of catrinas, you’ll see! Don’t forget to grab some cempasuchil or marigolds (the most important symbol; it’s an orange flower) to show your awareness;) People also buy candles in the purpose of lightening the graves of their family.

  • Templo de Santa Ana

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Templo+de+Santa+Ana/@20.9151811,-100.7434457,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b51b9d90dc91d:0xfcafb638037cdf28!8m2!3d20.9166388!4d-100.7433602

Just a little stop though, look!

  • Parroquia de Miguel Arcángel

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Parroquia+de+San+Miguel+Arc%C3%A1ngel/@20.9150842,-100.7434628,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b51b0a9e2727b:0x7fff299b5d6bf6a2!8m2!3d20.913807!4d-100.7437726

The most iconic part of San Miguel de Allende, this parish was reconstructed during the year 1880-1890. The style is definitely Medieval-European. Honestly, I do feel like in Europe! And just by it, it’s the Allende Garden (Jardín Allende), beautiful!

DSC08509created by dji cameracreated by dji camera

created by dji camera

Allende Garden (Jardín Allende)

  • Historic Museum of San Miguel de Allende

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Historic+Museum+of+San+Miguel+de+Allende/@20.9150842,-100.7434628,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b51b0af5e149d:0x954e2208d8400e29!8m2!3d20.9138164!4d-100.7440663

They explain the history of Señor Allende in the old times super well!!! Surprisingly, San Miguel de Allende was actually a part of New Spain back in the days. Learning histories of countries are one of my interests, too actually. Sadly, my logic regarding history is very low (HAHHA!).

  • Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromate

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Centro+Cultural+Ignacio+Ram%C3%ADrez+El+Nigromante/@20.914568,-100.7459626,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b51b7340f0cb5:0xd9286b3d6ab0ce1c!8m2!3d20.9149476!4d-100.7456347

Thankfully the tourist help center recommended me to come here. Muchas gracias! They have these cute chairs where you can read your book, grab some drinks, or chat with your loved ones. The atmosphere is so calming, they have some specialty classes too (like painting and ceramic molding). If I had more days, I would love to join!

  • Public Library of San Miguel de Allende

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Public+Library+of+San+Miguel+de+Allende,+A.C./@20.914568,-100.7459626,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x45b3642da4961bd3!8m2!3d20.9167202!4d-100.7436908

By the time I reached the entrance, I can see so many youngsters wandering around the place. They’re doing artworks, studies, and group works. Thankfully, I’m (partly and physically) not in school now (HA!). Bless the world so that I can just travel the world my whole life…

  • Limerick Pub

Time to grab some beer!! This bar is greatly recommended (from me and Google!!), plus the location is exactly at downtown!

Second Day begins here

It’s time for a short trip with a bus-tour. Honestly, I don’t wanna walk that far (like 45 minutes uphill) south, so I decided to take the bus tour that brings me there. Cheap though—120 pesos only I guess. The tour at 9am is completely in English and Spanish, note that!

  • “El Tumbagón” Dulce Tipicos

https://www.google.com/maps/place/El+Tumbag%C3%B3n/@20.9081945,-100.7497516,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b51b1c55e2335:0xfa79f81a7ac87be2!8m2!3d20.9081895!4d-100.7475575

Mornings with sweets? Hell yeah!! There’s this little girl and a lady there. We did some tasting with dedos de novia and crema de tumbagon, it way more interesting with a legend behind it. For the tumbagon, make sure to put your finger in the middle of it. Then, try to eat it halfway without breaking it.

Fun Fact! Based on the legend, the white sugar means purity that the person has in the heart. Regardless, breaking it while eating means they’re unfaithful.

  • El Mirador

https://www.google.com/maps/place/El+Mirador/@20.9082947,-100.7466616,16z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b51b1c55e2335:0xfa79f81a7ac87be2!2sEl+Tumbag%C3%B3n!8m2!3d20.9081895!4d-100.7475575!3m4!1s0x842b51bb4563a0a7:0xb37cb82d92169d90!8m2!3d20.9097323!4d-100.7386878

Literally I was always one step ahead to fly my drone, not enough time!! The viewpoint is gorgeous; we can see the whole city. I thought the city was way smaller, though!

created by dji camera

created by dji camera

The mirador from faraway

  • Lavaderos del Chorro

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lavaderos+del+Chorro/@20.9082947,-100.7466616,16z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b51b1c55e2335:0xfa79f81a7ac87be2!2sEl+Tumbag%C3%B3n!8m2!3d20.9081895!4d-100.7475575!3m4!1s0x0:0x34036e39273d0470!8m2!3d20.9086762!4d-100.7414304

I have no idea in the beginning why this is a historic spot. But after reading some facts, it was known that Juan de San Miguel’s dog went there to drink in a fountain here. Then, they found out that it was a fountain up there. By the 18th century, the Canal family decided to build bathrooms (lavaderos in Spanish) and a chapel, which is located in the highest spot of this place (where the fountain was).

  • Plaza de Toros

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Plaza+de+Toros+San+Miguel+de+Allende/@20.9118975,-100.7435211,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x842b51baf44eeb03:0x52e9bdd8a31bc897!8m2!3d20.9118925!4d-100.741327

Here we go, a bullring! The sun was shining so bright, I can feel some sweat drops just under my purple felt shirt. I start to feel my heavy bag full of my camera kit. But the on-going-decorations encourage me to explore more. They’re apparently on construction though!

  • Parque Juárez

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ju%C3%A1rez+Park/@20.9118975,-100.7457097,16z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b51baf44eeb03:0x52e9bdd8a31bc897!2sPlaza+de+Toros+San+Miguel+de+Allende!8m2!3d20.9118925!4d-100.741327!3m4!1s0x0:0x69857bcd85dbdf53!8m2!3d20.9084119!4d-100.7425515

Skipping lunch but getting a muffin instead was a good idea. I sat on the green bench for a bit, the air was so fresh. Green leaves, footsteps, and the soft breeze made me feel so grateful about being alive (AND traveling).

  • Julian Carrillo Alley

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Juli%C3%A1n+Carrillo+5a,+Guadalupe,+37710+San+Miguel+de+Allende,+Gto.,+Mexico/@20.9118975,-100.7500871,15z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b51baf44eeb03:0x52e9bdd8a31bc897!2sPlaza+de+Toros+San+Miguel+de+Allende!8m2!3d20.9118925!4d-100.741327!3m4!1s0x842b51b7ef575865:0xcbefd2e100f01005!8m2!3d20.9196628!4d-100.7446209

Just one more area to visit for today! The northern part is a must-go for you guys who enjoy art. The 20-minute walk was worth it; I spotted some minimalist cafes, artisanal shops, and graffiti. A cute finding this time, I was chatting with this lady who’s drawing a building in front of her. She said it’s just a little hobby that she does while traveling. If you guys are curious, urbansketchers.org is where she post her work!!

  • Fabrica la Aurora

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Fabrica+la+Aurora/@20.9215657,-100.743722,17z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x842b51baf44eeb03:0x52e9bdd8a31bc897!2sPlaza+de+Toros+San+Miguel+de+Allende!8m2!3d20.9118925!4d-100.741327!3m4!1s0x842b51b8093f56e7:0x5498f2e0d731cfd4!8m2!3d20.9227376!4d-100.7416315

“This is so fascinating”, I said.

I stepped my white Adidas on the entrance, it seem to be a small space. By the time I get inside, they have sooooooo many showrooms inside. Selling from jewelries to furniture. All of them are made aesthetically; I wish I had a house to decorate!! I bought a small wooden plate for my jewelry, so cuuutee.

  • Night Walk

After the sunset, I decided to walk for a while. It relaxes my mind…… Sometimes I just need my own time, doing absolutely nothing but looking at the dark sky. Plus, the cathedral is actually very pretty at night. My feet ache like A LOT, but that’s just another perk of traveling (damn I burn so much calories).

What excites you during your travel?

Searching for Fresh Air in Mascota

Traveling alone in Mexico has been something very controversial for me. The feeling of not being safe sometimes scares me. But today, I just feel like I need my ultimate personal space (as I always do in Japan). I mean, as a women you should always be aware everywhere else in the world. So, I just started this trip in the morning, alone, myself and my red-blue Ben Davis backpack full of my camera kit. Of course, my new Mavic Air from my brother (love you), too.

“I am really going this time”, I said to myself a day before.

After having a little research about how to go there, I finally found the bus stop from Puerto Vallarta, it’s Parada De Camiones ATM Las Glorias;

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Parada+De+Camiones+ATM+Las+Glorias/@20.6348576,-105.2474731,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x48289efd411997f!8m2!3d20.6348576!4d-105.2299637

The bus schedule starts at 09:00, 12:30, and so on from Puerto Vallarta direct to Mascota. And going back, it starts at 15:30, 16:30, and 18:00 from Mascota back to Puerto Vallarta. Bus ticket is 165 pesos (around $8), and if you guys have your student card, 20 pesos discount! I waited for a bit and finally I stepped on that red-turquoise bus, sitting on the front seat (like all the time). I was wearing just a sleeveless top and a short jeans, the air started to get very fresh!! Thankfully, I am very tolerant to cold–I’m good! But for you guys out there, bring a jacket!