traveling

The Great Beijing Adventure: on getting there in the first place

No matter how hard it might seem to plan a week long trip to East Asia or how many unfriendly tips you may hear about China, if you can get your hands on decently priced tickets, come check this country out! I’ve been here for less than 24 hours and it already feels worth the long journey we took to get here. Want to know how?

how to get to beijing cheap

Well, first of all, this trip (just like another one you probably read from me before) starts one sunny afternoon in July 2013, back when the austrian.com website decided to have a small glitch in its system (a so-called error fare) that allowed me to book two tickets from Geneva-Vienna-Beijing and Beijing-Vienna for 250 Euro each. Yes, you heard it right, China was less expensive than a ticket from Vienna to my hometown Sibiu that lie about 800 km away from each other. Even if this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, I highly suggest you check out cool deal websites such as exbir.de (where I found this offer), urlaubshamster.at or even my Facebook page, since we all regularly post ticket prices you wouldn’t find if you are not obsessed with booking – I am and I can gladly help you out :) .

From that point on, I had to solve some simple stuff to make my trip towards Beijing more pleasant: I got the tourist visas (60 Euro each from the Embassy in Austria, even if we are both Romanian citizens living here – we just needed our Meldezettel), the ride from Vienna to Geneva by train and a night at a lovely Airbnb in Geneva near the center of everything (totalling 85 Euro per person). I also reserved a place to stay in Beijing (which I managed to find quickly on Booking.com using a system that never failed) for 5 nights and 90 Euro per person…in an interesting Hutong (old part of the city, quite close to the center). That plus what we spent in half a day in Geneva plus all the rides with buses from and to the airports plus the five hours we spent in the Viennese airport makes about 500 Euro to get a week into a country that I never thought I could have the money to visit during my student years.

Yes, I was tired upon arriving here. But believe me, living this experience makes all the fatigue go away. Once we served our first Chinese meal at a restaurant near our hotel in Beijing, the spices of a country that is so different from what we are used to kicked in. And that was just the first in a series of events we were about to witness…

[stay tuned for more]

Travel and tell stories about it

Beijing Great WallThe first time I ever went abroad was back in 2006, when I was 14 and freshly out of middle school. That was the year my dad managed to find the necessary cash for us to drive and visit not one, not two, but eleven countries in Europe, checking out their most famous sightseeing spots as we moved ahead. At the time, I had heard so many stories about “strainatate” (countries abroad) and knew that the chance of visiting all of them was so little, that there was no use for me to hope to see the world. We had had little to no budget of going on vacations over the past years and I was starting to get used to the fact that Bucharest would probably be my last stop on the journey towards self discovery.

Then I met Vienna. It was my glimpse of hope for a better future, for myself as well as for the ones that will arrive after me. I felt secure walking down the streets of this wonderful city, it felt like the home I never quite managed to get in my hometown of Sibiu. It was the city I needed for a start worthy of the dreams I’ve always had – and just didn’t have the courage to pursue until that age. And soon after, in 2008, after visiting Croatia and traveling back to Sibiu via Vienna, I called my father telling him that I want to study in Vienna more than anything in the world.

In 2010, we made it happen. With the help of my amazing family, I’m able to write these thoughts from one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world, getting ready to wrap up my studies in the field of Communication and Media. It’s 2014 and I’ve been traveling these past months more than I did in my entire life (just read the first paragraph again to see how many countries I saw in my first trip through Europe and come back here). I’m trying to remember all the places I’ve seen in 2013 and up until now, but honestly, I didn’t even get the chance to upload all the photos I’ve shot in my last 5 trips onto my computer let alone think about each experience. And that’s a shame.

Since photography is a just a hobby, but writing is my life, I really want to tell you the stories I’ve been living these years. Some are boring and need a lot of insider information to get even slightly logical, but the most of them make a lot of sense and are worthy of being written down. If somebody would have told me that I can get to NY for 300 Euro and to Beijing for 250 Euro, I would have probably laughed hard and thought that person is crazy. But look at what I’m doing now…and look at where I’m heading towards next ;) .

The city that never ends

The cityIt’s been a great week, a week that has left a lot of beautiful memories behind of the streets that have been walked and the words that have been talked. It feels as if I am leaving a piece of me behind in this place, in this room, in this city. I’d roam through Manhattan 24 hours a day if the Starbucks coffee I plentifully enjoyed over the last couple of days would have actually kicked in. I’ve met interesting people and the people I already knew have become even more interesting than before.

The city has been a cold, but colorful companion to me. It’s been kind, hasn’t ripped me off even though I still am just a tourist wondering on its lanes and getting lost on its avenues. Although I enjoyed the warm, Californian weather on its Western coast more, this country has made me truly believe that if I can made it there, I’ll make it everywhere. I’m so in love with the images that have once been showed to me on the big screen and are now being revealed in real life.

Normally, it feels so hard to go away and try to live your life in another spot. New York makes you want to reconsider your options once more and see just how soon you can find a new ticket to return to its streets. I didn’t even care about the fashion, all I could think about these days was to go more in depth with the buildings, the people, the lives, the places, the food, the coffee, the endless search for a good WiFi to post my shots in real time.

New York, I promise I’ll be a good girl if you promise to have me back soon. Until then, let’s keep in touch through blog posts and novels that still need to be written.

Writing about traveling as a non-travel blogger

Reaching for the EmpireI may not be a travel blogger, but I really do like to travel a lot! Thing is, until just about two days ago, I didn’t quite manage to get the time, sit down and just write what I’m experiencing during my trips because…well, I really like to travel and I’m more of a “let’s go out and explore the city instead of sitting around” kind of person. So much so that I didn’t even manage to post the photos I liked most from my past three trips (London, Dublin and London again) – not to mention start blogging about them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. I’d write 10 hours a day if I knew that by the end of it something good will come out of my thoughts. The fact that this trip to NY is just about me and about how I can manage my own sightseeing + shopping + gift buying time meant that there could finally be a part of the day during which I focus on…you guessed it, writing. I didn’t even know I needed this extra time until I got here. And I’m so glad that I’m doing this right now, right here, from the 23rd floor of a beautiful Manhattan room.

I’ve been wishing for this moment to come for the past 12 years of my life. That moment when I sit down and write my soul away on the streets of a big city – that moment has arrived. This is the time to stop wasting the days in places I don’t belong and simply focus on what’s most important to me. And right now, I really need to get to Chinatown, check out Bleecker Street once more and tell you all about it. See you later!

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