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Nikki & Jamie's Travel Adventures

Well well well. Our adventure has to end somewhere :(  We landed the night of 01-Oct 2012

We survived the 19+ hours of travel. Jamie ended up getting a fever and breaking the fever all in one flight (a damn long flight at that!) It didn't stop us from having drinks at the Toronto airport! By the time we landed, our legs were swollen sausages and we were ready for a hot shower and our beds! Jamie's mom picked us up and surprised Jamie with an apartment make-over while we were gone! What a warm homecoming. We absolutely loved our trip and met so many great people along the way. We will look back and laugh at all of the funny mishaps that happened along the way. Until next time....

Stop by Indy Hostel to say hello and swap traveling stories soon!

Budapest, Budapest, Budapest - September 28, 2012

What can we say? Well it was certainly a PARTY! What else did we expect when we booked three nights at Grandio Party Hostel? The title of the place says it all. It certainly is a party hostel and a good time. We landed on Friday 28-Sep 2012 and our bags fit carry-on on Ryan Air (a mighty fine accomplishment if I don’t say!). We walked into Grandio and it was already popping in the hostel bar/garden area. However, one thing you don’t want to hear when you are checking into a hostel is a guest complaining of “tiny specks of blood” on his sheets! Ha ha! What did we get ourselves into? Luckily we got a private “room.” Notice the quotes around “room”…that is because this thing…while private…was about the size of a closet. It was one giant bed (two twin beds together under a queen size sheet) and about a 2’ x 3’ space! But hey, we are likely the only ones in the hostel who got any sleep and an unlimited supply of linens thanks to Mace.

Our first night we decided to join the pub crawl, which was a 2:15 female to male ratio. Us being the 2! Ha ha. We got to see many pubs all in one night, met lots of cool people from all over the world, and took many hilarious photos! I ended the night by watching the start of the Sydney Swans game at Retox w/ Shan and Daniel, before Daniel passed out face down on the table. Ha ha. But I also got to chat w/ “Snoop Dog” (I actually don’t know his real name). That dude was one of the funniest people I’ve ever chatted with! The next morning, we got a knock at the door at 12:30pm telling us to finally get up! Like I said, we were the only two who were awarded any sleep. Thank the lord for earplugs and eye masks. We actually had a great nights sleep!

Day two we headed out for a walk around town. First, we had a typical Hungarian lunch at Menza, which was lovely and dirt cheap! Next we started on a 5 mile walk all around town. First a walk down Andrassy and a quick metro ride to Batthyany Ter. Once we walked out of the metro, we were greeted with a beautiful view of the Parliament House. Stunning. We then walked up to Mathias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Next stop, a walk around The Castle and there was even a little market and concert taking place. After a quick stop for delicious cake ball, we started our trek back to the hostel walking across Erzsebet hid bridge. As we approached the hostel, Jamie had a great idea of getting our hair professionally washed at a hair salon! Great pampering idea after 8 days backpacking with limited beauty supplies! We were all ready for our next adventure, a harbor cruise, with the hostel! Again, the female to male ratio was hilarious! We ended up taking tons of “couple” photos with random strangers. I can’t imagine how many facebook profiles we are on! Ha ha! Cruising around the harbor at night was absolutely beautiful and definitely worth it. We ended the night by docking and entering another boat, which is actually a club. Strange concept…I know…but definitely an experience!

Day three: we started the day with a coffee in the bar area where we decided we were going to visit the baths. It first started with us and our new friend Aron and we were going to leave in 20 minutes. 20 minutes quickly turned into 40 when we decided to add another two people, Irina and Robbie, to our group. When we were about to leave, Lisa, finally decided to get up and by this time we were already drinking beers so we decided to wait “15 minutes” more for her. About 30 min later we were finally ready to leave, then Luke decided to join our group. Then we all needed to finish our drinks and get more for the walk. So about 2.5 hours later we were finally ready for our departure. Then we all decided to get hungry at varying points (and picked up some Burger King hats) and again needed more drinks for the walk. I think we arrived sometime around 5pm. Ha Ha. Such a randomly fun day we our new 5 friends! We finally got to Heroes Square for an impromptu photo shoot that also included a group of guys from Ireland! We took the best photos ever and it was FINALLY off to the baths. Jamie and I, of course, didn’t know that we should have packed bathing suits (for which I blame Mickey. He assisted in my travel arrangements and completely failed to mention this key fact). However, we didn’t let it get us down. We created our own outfits. Nikki in a pink sports bra of Irina’s and black undies…oh and because my ankle was still jacked…I wore my tennis shoes when walking from bath to bath. So basically I looked like I was in a photo shoot for a work out video! Jamie wore a black tank top and undies (and the Burger King hat). Do you think we looked like travelers? Ha ha! It was great fun hopping into the varying baths…until Jamie got us involved in a game we coined “Toss the American!” Jamie decided we’d go be social and since I could barely touch the ground of the bath, she carried me. Then caught sight of a dude’s bathing cap and tossed me off to an Italian man fitted with gold chains, a full back of hair, and a bathing cap. He then proceeded to toss me back and forth between him and his friends while yelling “I love your country” into my ear. Where was Jamie you might say? Oh she bailed once she got the bathing cap. After laughing at me for a good 5 minutes, Luke finally came to rescue me. Thank you!!!!!! We ended up closing the place down while chit chatting with fellow people. Where did we go next you might ask? Well Jamie decided we needed to take our non-American new friends to Hooters for wings, beer, and football! So there we were. Disasters stuffing our faces with food. Very disappointed they were out of fried pickles, because “they didn’t arrive.” I’m not sure why they couldn’t go to the store and fry some up…but apparently they are shipped in. After we stuffed our faces, we headed back to the hostel to celebrate Peter’s birthday. Then we went to sleep after reading like good little girls.

Budapest was definitely the perfect end to our adventure. It’s packed with beautiful sites, cheap deals, and tons of people looking to party! We met lots of super fun people including, but not limited to “Chicago,” Daniel, Shannon, Aron, Lisa, Irina, Luke, Robbie, “Snoop,” "Canada," and the Grandio hostel crew: Mace, Nick, and Peter. Thanks for an amazing time!

If you ever get a chance, go there!

"Tja Tja" Stockholm, Sweden

We arrived to Stockholm Central Station via SJ express train that took a little over 5 hours and we caught up on some ZZZ's and so did the dude next to us with the ridiculously loud snore. The night we arrived in Stockholm (25-Sep 2012) was a little chilly, but rain free!!!! We checked in at City Backpackers (in Norrmalm), showered, and made our way to a little Italian restaurant named Pizzeria Alforno in Odenplen. James, our waiter, was a sweet guy who's a half Swedish half Italian mix. He greeted us with free drinks and ended our dining experience with a free dessert. It was lovely. We then headed back for some much needed sleep! The next day we made our way to our friend Mickey's place in Sodermalm and greeted the day with a coffee and lunch in a local cafe nearby. We then headed to the Vasa Museum to check out the ship which sank during her maiden voyage on August 10, 1628. It's the only museum of it's kind and still has 95% of the original vessel...reconstructed of course! We wandered around, snapped some photos, and ended up playing a few rounds of backgammon in the Member's Only area! Once we stepped outside we quickly realized we were, once again, met with a rainy afternoon. :( We headed to the Vasastaden area for a bite to eat and a cappuccino (they even made hearts in the whip thanks to our beautiful barista Amanda)! After a quick bite, we headed to Bagpipers Inn where we stayed until an hour after closing (ie. 2am)! Its just one of those places you can sit and meet the locals for hours. Johnny (aka Kurt), our bartender, was great and made it a much remembered experience by giving us a discount! We even introduced them to our new saying "Tja Tja" which translates to "hey hey," the common casual introduction in Sweden. After we watched them close down the bar and lock up for the evening, we walked back to our hostel for some much needed sleep! The following was NOT raining and was perfect for a day of getting lost...which we did! We walked for 30 min in the wrong direction on Drottninggatan before realizing our mistake. Ha ha! At least we got to check out the northern part of Vasastaden! We finally made our way to the pier to catch a ferry to Vaxholm to check out some of the Archipelago islands. It was a relaxing 1 hour ferry ride to Vaxholm, a quick walk around the island, and a 1 hour return. We departed the ferry on Gamlastan and walked along the harbor to Mickey's place for a farewell visit. We then walked all around Old Town and decided on a restaurant named Chokladkoppen in Stortorget plaza with amazing wait staff. The owner even served us food after the kitchen was closed! Our friend from Copenhagen, James, was in Stockholm so he met us out. After a much needed meal, we ended up in a pub in Old Town. As the traveler knows...random times are bound to happen when cruising the local pubs. We ended up visiting with a group of construction workers who were out celebrating a "roof party," which apparently is a common way to celebrate a new construction project (after the roof is put on)! So there we were...spending time with the local construction workers. We ended up staying til close then wandering around with them looking for another place to hang out...which we never found. So Jamie, James, and I went back to our hostel and were greeted with a party in the common area. We ended up sitting there playing Loopin' Louie with a bunch of fellow travelers from Germany, Netherlands (or Holland depending on where you are from), and Ireland for hours! A great way to end our last night in Stockholm! The next morning we woke up, packed, showered, and said goodbye to all of our new friends we met in Stockholm. Off to the Central Terminal for our bus to Skavsta airport where we catch a plane to Budapest. Do you think our bags will make the strict Ryan Air carry-on limitations? Let's hope so. Tja Tja Stockholm...until next time!

Copenhagen was lovely, cold, and wet! - September 25, 2012

We don't know what it is about our trip, but the weather luck has not been our side! The day we touched down in Copenhagen(23-SEP 2012), it was lovely weather. Then the next day was freezing and rainy! :(
After we landed we took the M1 metro to Kongens Nytorv and the hostel, Generator, was just a few minutes walk from the station! It was perfect because once we stepped out of the station, we were greeted by the lovely site of Nytorv, a beautiful canal lined with multicolored buildings, people walking hand in hand, and vendors selling delicious smelling food! We stopped to take a few pictures and met a fellow traveler who worked as a Ryan Air host. We sat and chatted with him for a while as Jamie stole a bite of his Nutella crepe then it was off to the hostel for check in and a much needed shower! Our motto in Munich was "No Soap til Copenhagen" ha ha! We then headed out to see what Copenhagen had to offer! We ate large pizzas and ended up watching the fireworks outside of Trivoli, which we didn't enter due to the fact that they were closing in 20 min and were still trying to charge us 95 kr! So we grabbed a few drinks and watched the fireworks from across the street with our new friend who we call "LA!" We ended the night swapping stories with fellow travelers at the hostel! So interesting to hear people tell their stories and why they are out and about traveling!
The next morning, we realized we missed the 11am walking tour so we enjoyed a coffee at the cafe named "Mojo" and walked around for a bit! We decided to do the 1pm walking tour and of course jumped a bus headed in the wrong direction! We quickly realized our mistake, hopped off, crossed the street, and caught the correct bus! We made it to Town Hall to pick up the Sandemans New Copenhagen walking tour with tour guide Chloe from Tasmania! Of course, we ran across the street to grab some Burger King before the tour began (typical Americans!) We enjoyed our 3 hour walking tour through 6000 years of Danish history! (Not ideal given my ankle injury, but I'm not letting it stop me from seeing a city!!!!) We ended up becoming mates with James who is in the British Army, Ingmar from Germany, and ED from Virginia! As the day wore on, the weather got colder and wetter. We were freezing our butts off!
After the tour we headed to Central Station to purchase our tickets for the following day (and we scored the tickets for super cheap!!!! Even the ticket salesman couldn't believe the price)! Then headed back to the hostel for a drink to warm us all up! it turns out, we ended up sitting at the bar until close (7 hours later) meeting people, exchanging travel stories, and laughing with all of our new friends from all over the world! Then some of us ventured to the local pub down the street! They had a juke box and Jamie was in heaven playing American tunes and dancing around! I even ended up in a discussion of indigenous cultures and land rights with a Danish guy we nicknamed "Angry" because he just seemed so mad at the world....for those of you who know me...I bet you are not surprised! Ha ha!
Jamie's been so confused about the currency she even tried to pay the bartender with a 10 cent euro coin, a paper clip, and an American penny! She then resorted to just holding her hand out filled with money and having the bartender pick out what the fare was! Its was a pretty funny site!
Departure day started with breakfast at the hostel before heading to Christianshavn. Jamie was in charge of getting directions...needless to say we ended up in the wrong metro station! Ha ha! After finally finding our way to Christianshavn...we stopped to take more photos of the area. We went to Christiana, a little area which isn't considered part of Denmark as its a small commune where anything goes. No pictures were allowed inside. We walked around for a bit before stopping for coffee at Nemoland Cafe, which played old school hip hop (not expected for the type of place)! People were selling who knows what out of little stands lining the roads, kids smoking cigarettes like its normal, and everyone looked a little zoned out. However, it was an interesting experience! Then we headed back to Central Station to catch the SJ express train to Stockholm.
Copenhagen was a lovely little city with interesting history, but now we are ready to see what Stockholm has to offer! ....and guess what? 80% chance of rain tomorrow. For our first big out and about in Stockholm :( just our luck!
Stay tuned...

We Survived Oktoberfest! - September 23, 2012

Well...we survived Oktoberfest....barely! Ha ha!

After 12 hours of flying, we landed in Munich a little ahead of schedule due to great tail winds! We hopped on the S-bahn and headed to central station. we walked around for 7 hours w/ our packs on while enjoying a sandwich in the sun near the fountain in Karlsplatz, visited Alto Pinakothek, enjoyed coffee at Woerners in Marienplatz, and shopped for our Oktoberfest costumes. Then it was to off our camp grounds "Campingplatz Obermenzing" for the Stoke Travel party.
Once we arrived, our tents were set up and the party was already popping in the Stoke area! It was great fun until the rain started at midnight and didn't stop til 8pm Saturday, which made for some interesting times. Ah...the life of the backpacker!
We woke up that morning at 6am sharp, waited to get on a Stoke coach for an hour.  Then we attempted to get into Hofbrau tent...waited in line for 4 hours...before giving up and going to Psorr Barsaul tent. But smushed up next to strangers in line at Okoberfest makes for some interesting stories and memories!
Once inside the tent we had lots of fun drinking, dancing, singing, and making new friends until I jumped off the bench and twisted my ankle (which just got taped by a rock climber and is now elevated as I type this message)!  We ended the night back in the Stoke party area of our campsite dancing and jumping around (which didn't help the ankle situation!).
Today we nearly missed our flight to Copenhagen, but it worked out because they over sold the flight and bumped us up to Business class. So now we are all showered, cleaned up, and ready to see what Copenhagen has to offer!

(photo of Nikki & Jaime saying "Prost!" at Oktober Fest, complete with Indy Hostel shirts!)

The Beginning - September 19, 2012

Hello! With our ever-expanding new staff members at Indy Hostel, join us as we follow one of our newest staff members, Nikki, through her upcoming travels to Europe! Nikki joined the Indy Hostel family two months ago. She’s visited 13 countries and has acquired 42 stamps in her passport! Departure day is set for Sept 20, 2012 as she sets off on the newest adventure with her international rookie friend, Jamie. The two mates will be traveling to Munich for Oktoberfest while doing the party camping with Stoke Travel. Then they jet set to Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; and finish with a bang in Budapest, Hungry! Four countries, 11 days…it's bound to be a whirlwind journey!

At Indy Hostel, we promote traveling and experiencing the world so join us as they encounter the journey of international travel….the ups, downs, laughs, and frustrations that come along with the backpacking adventure! Stay tuned…