As I have mentioned previously, hostels can be a great option to use when traveling. However, some can be better than others. Here are a few of my favorites:
M Montreal had great, well kept facilities while I was there. Each bed is equipped with privacy curtains, outlets, shelves, and large lockers. They also have two kitchen, and have added a rooftop sauna in the time since I’ve stayed there. It is well located and a good starting off point to get around Montreal.
The best part of Room2Board is its amazing beachfront location in the Costa Rican beach town of Jaco. They also have a pool that even has a small slide, and they offer cheap surfboard rentals to help take advantage of the awesome location.
Although it is slightly outside any major city, Hostel Paradiso is situated beautifully on the shores of Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua, and it is a great place to get away and relax. I swam in the crater lake, paddle boarded, kayaked, and took in the amazing views. The food is not included, but the options were good and well priced. And the dorm rooms were only $9 a night!
Youth Hostel Plakias-
One of the best and worst things of Youth Hostel Plakias is its location as one of the southernmost hostels in Europe. Getting there can be a slight challenge, because it will likely require getting a plane or boat to the north side of Crete, then taking two bus rides totaling over a couple hours. However, this also seems to help this paradise from getting overrun by too many tourists. The hostel itself is just a short walk from the cool little laid back beach town of Plakias on the south side of Crete. There are lots of beaches and places to hike, and it wasn’t overcrowded even in the high summer season. There were lots of cool people at the hostel when I was there and it had a great environment. They have big, clean showers, clean bathrooms, and good WiFi. Drinks from the fridge can be taken on the honor system, marked down, then paid for at the end of the stay.
Home Lisbon Hostel-
In my opinion, the best hostel I have stayed at is Home Lisbon Hostel. They beds are some of the most comfortable dorm beds I’ve ever slept on, and they are equipped with privacy curtains, outlets, a shelf, a reading light, and larger than average lockers underneath. Also, for €10 I enjoyed “Mama’s dinner,” which was a tasty three course meal cooked by the hostel owner, and came with plenty of food and drink. The hostel had a good social environment, making it easy to meet people while I was there. The staff were also very friendly and helpful.
The Freehand hostels I’ve stayed at in Miami and Chicago had the best bars of any hostel I have stayed at. Sungate One in Madrid had an amazing atmosphere and great hostel dinners, and Mermaid Hostel in Cancun had a great atmosphere and staff that went over and above what was expected. Auberge NOLA hostel also had a great environment and felt more like living in a house/mansion than a hostel. Another hostel with a great atmosphere was Planet Traveller in Toronto, and they also had free dance classes. City Circus had the most convenient laundry service of any hostel I’ve stayed in- just fill up a laundry box with whatever you want and they wash and dry it for you for one price while you are out exploring the city. Jacques Brel Youth Hostel in Brussels offered great craft Belgian beers at their hostel bar and had an absolutely amazing breakfast included.
Packing cubes are a great way to stay organized when traveling. I have been using Tortuga’s packing cubes, and here are my thoughts:
The Tortuga packing cubes are perfectly designed to fit in my Tortuga backpack. I have one large cube and two smaller cubes, and their dimensions are well designed to work with my bag without taking up all of the bag space, leaving room to put things in front of or behind them.
I can use the cubes to divide things by category and keep them organized. For example, I can use one for shirts, another for shorts/pants, and another for toiletries.
The tortuga packing cubes have a mesh top that allows me to see a glimpse inside, so I can quickly and easily see what I have put in each cube.
The Tortuga packing cubes are equipped with straps that allow me to easily grab them and/or pull them out of my bag.
It is tough to find a disadvantage to using packing cubes, but if I had to pick one I would point out that the Tortuga packing cubes are not waterproof. However, if you are looking for something waterproof to put in your bag I would recommend the Sea-to-Summit Dry Bag instead. Personally, I use the Dry Bag to store anything I want to make sure I keep dry (like electronics), and I use the packing cubes for things like clothes and toiletries.
I would highly recommend packing cubes for travelers that want to stay organized. They make packing and unpacking easier and more convenient.
What I did and saw:
Plaza de España-
Sitting in the Parque de Maria Luisa, Seville’s Plaza de España was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The semi-circle structure features shout outs to regions all around Spain. It is a beautiful place that has been featured in movies such as Star Wars: Episode II and Lawrence of Arabia.
Holy Week Processions-
I was in Seville during Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter. Similar to other parts of Andalusia, during this week in Seville there are numerous processions, where people (penitents) parade through the city wearing what appear to be KKK outfits. It was quite a shock to see, and many of the penitents are also barefoot. Also, some penitents carry floats depicting religious scenes.
Sandemans Free Walking Tour-
As I have done in a variety of other cities, I went on a Sandemans Free Walking Tour while in Seville. It started in the beautiful Plaza del Salvador and ended in the picturesque Plaza España. It was a nice way to get a recommendations, context, background, and other interesting facts about the city.
Plaza del Triunfo-
Many of the most impressive landmarks in Seville surround the Plaza del Triunfo. The Seville Cathedral, known as the Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, is a beautiful building. Across the plaza is the beautiful Alcazar, which has been featured in Game of Thrones. Due to its proximity to some of the main sites in Seville, the Plaza del Triunfo is a beautiful place that most visitors to Seville will likely pass through at some point.
Seville has what is said to be one of the largest wooden framed structures in the world. Resembling giant mushrooms, the “Setas de la Encarnación” structure is an interesting place to visit. Also, due to the relatively flat landscape of Seville, there are some nice views of the city from the top of the “Setas.”
While it has been exported to other parts of Iberia and throughout the world, Flamenco originated in the Seville area. Its origins are somewhat disputed, but it is believed to have been started by gypsies in the eighteenth century. Due to its Mediterranean location and proximity to Africa, the Andalusia area has allowed for an interesting mix of cultures that in part led to the Flamenco music and dance style. I had the opportunity to see a Flamenco show in the Triana neighborhood, and it is the best Flamenco show I have seen and worth checking out.
Where I ate and drank:
Torch Coffee Roasters-
Set next to the Canal de Alfonso XII, Torch Coffee Roasters is a great place to get a coffee. While I was there I had a high quality cold brew and club sandwich. They also offer other filter options such as V60s and a variety of espresso based options. There is a good amount of seating, and while I was there they also offered tasty alfajores (dulce de leche pastry).
Just around the corner from the hostel I was staying at in Seville was Cerveceria Internacional. They offer a nice variety of well priced tapas and montaditos, which are small, usually grilled, and often times open faced sandwiches. And as their name would suggest, they also have a very nice international beer selection in addition to some good wines including the Orange Wine made from local bitter oranges.
Located near the Metropol Parasol, Virgin Coffee is a take away coffee place with great coffee and service. They have limited seating, but there are places to sit in the area around the shop.
Just down the street from Virgin Coffee is La Jeronima. It is a place that sells books, craft beer, food, and espresso drinks. They have great food prices, good craft beer options, as well as paintings, mugs, and shirts for sale. It also has good wifi, which makes it a nice place to get some work done.
Hops & Dreams and Bier Kraft-
Both Hops & Dreams and Bier Kraft are great places to get craft beer, food, or just hang out. Hops & Dreams even had some legitimately spicy food, which is uncharacteristic for Spain, and Bier Kraft had some fun board games available to use.
Where I stayed:
Black Swan Hostel Seville-
Overall, Black Swan was a very good place to stay in Seville. There were no curtains on the hostel beds, but they were comfortable and there were outlets for every bed. They served a free dinner for hostel guests, and after the dinner they had a free Flamenco show. I was even able to get out of my comfort zone and join in on the show and try some of the dancing myself.
How I got around:
I arrived in Seville by bus from Granada (unfortunately there was not a great Granada-Seville train route). Once in Seville I walked to get around and see the city and its impressive architecture. When I left Seville I caught a bus to the airport (which was fairly convenient) and catch a plane.
My favorite thing:
I had some great food and drink while in Seville, and I was only able to sample a small part of the culinary offerings in the city. I also got to see some impressive architecture in the city. My favorite part of Seville is the unique mix of cultures that shows itself in theses ways.
My least favorite thing:
It would be nice if trains between major cities in southern Spain were more conveniently linked, but it is still significantly better than the train system in planes like North America.
For next time:
There are quite a few things I would like to do next time I am in Seville. While I was able to see the outside of the Alcazar and the Seville Cathedral, I would like to see them from the inside. Also, I would like to visit some of the food markets in Seville.
I bought my REI Pinecliff Rain Coat a few years ago and I have travelled with it frequently. Here are my thoughts on it:
I have worn my REI Pinecliff Rain Coat many times in the rain, and it has held up well. If I am in a tropical storm for an extended period of time some water might get through, but otherwise it keeps me nice and dry.
My REI Pinecliff Rain Coat is great in a variety of different temperatures. It is a bit uncomfortable to wear on a humid summer day, and it doesn’t provide enough warmth for below freezing temperatures, but it works well for most temperatures between those two.
I like the option to have the hood when it is raining, and I like the ability to take it off when it isn’t. Unfortunately one of the buttons on the hood attachment has broken, but it still work ok for me as of now.
Lots of pockets-
Originally I was going to purchase either the Baubax travel jacket that was prominently featured on Kickstarter, the Scott-e-vest jacket featured on Shark Tank or the REI Pinecliff Rain Coat (that I ended up buying). However, after reading some negative reviews about the Baubax jacket I decided to trust the reputation of the REI brand and go with their jacket. I do think there are some good Scott-e-vest options, and Baubax has come out with a new edition of their jacket, but the REI Pinecliff Rain Coat has held up well for me. It has 6 different pockets that I can use to carry a variety of different things in.
The REI Pinecliff Rain Coat has been very durable for me. With the exception of one of the buttons on the hood attachment breaking, there are no real signs of wear and tear after a couple of years of use. It is nice to have clothing items I can wear for a variety of different activities or throw in a bag without worrying they will get damaged.
If I ever do get my REI Pinecliff Rain Coat, I can just throw it in the washing machine, let it hang dry, and it is good as new.
As I mentioned above, one of the buttons on the hood attachment broke, but there are no other signs of wear and tear after a couple of years of use.
Rain can soak through in a downpour-
If you are stuck in a tropical storm for an extended period of time water will eventually soak through. However, if you are planning on being stuck in a tropical storm for an extended period of time I would recommend a high performance jacket instead anyway.
Not good for every temperature-
As I mentioned above, the REI Pinecliff Rain Coat is not good for below freezing temperatures or for extremely hot temperatures, but it is good for a wide range in the middle.
My REI Pinecliff Rain Coat has been and continues to be an excellent jacket, and I would highly recommended it. It is not available to directly purchase through REI anymore, but it can be found on some re-sell sites (for an even cheaper price!).
What I did and saw:
Castillo de Gibralfaro-
The Gibralfaro castle is a great place to walk up to. It offers some amazing views of the city, the ocean, and the mountains. It is also a very historic place with construction dating as far back as 770BC!
Alcazaba de Malaga and Jardines de Puerta Oscura-
An Alcazaba is the term for a Moorish fortification inside a city. The Alcazaba of Malaga was built in the early 11th century and is one of the most well preserved Alcazabas in Spain. There are also some Roman ruins by the Alcazaba that date back to the first century BC. The Jardines de Puerta Oscura, or Gardens of the Dark Gate, is a nice area to explore or to just sit and admire the ocean views. The Alcazaba is free to enter after 2pm on Sundays, but only costs a few euros on other days/times.
Museo Picasso Malaga-
Prior to living in Barcelona and Paris, Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga. While many of his works are now in cities such as New York and Madrid, there is still a good collection of his works in the museum in the city he was born in. The museum is free to enter during the last two hours it is open on Sundays, which was when I was able to visit.
Catedral de la Encarnacion de Malaga-
The Malaga Cathedral is a beautiful building located in the city center, but its construction was never finished. After one of the cathedral’s towers was completed, the money for the construction of the second tower was diverted elsewhere (there is some disagreement on exactly where it was diverted to). Because of this, some locals now call the building “La Manquita,” which roughly translates to “The one-armed lady.”
Mercado Central de Ataranzanas-
The central market in Malaga is a beautiful building that offers a variety of different foods for sale. There are also a good number of places to get something to eat or drink around the market.
Where I ate and drank:
Bodega Bar El Pimpi-
Around the corner from the Picasso Musuem, Bodega Bar El Pimpi is a nice, local, wine and tapas bar. It is worth checking out on a visit to Malaga.
I had a nice, tasty dinner at Los Gatos. It was also located right around the corner from The Urban Jungle Hostel.
Mia Coffee Shop-
Mia Coffee Shop is one of my favorite coffee spots, not just in Malaga, but anywhere. The coffee is delicious and the service is excellent. They don’t have much of a food menu, but what they do offer in terms of food is super tasty. I highly recommend stopping by this cozy little place if you are in Malaga.
Casa Mira is a historic place that serves ice cream and turrons. It is located on the beautiful Calle Marques de Larios.
Santa Canela Cafe-
Santa Canela Cafe is an excellent coffee shop in Malaga. They serve quality coffee, and I had a Chemex brew while I was there. I also at a “Pitufo,” which literally translates to “Smurf,” but it is the local term used for a type of sandwich unique to Malaga.
Cafeteria Bertani Cafe-
Cafeteria is another little spot in downtown Malaga that serves craft coffee.
El Rincón Del Cervecero, La Botica de la Cerveza, Cerveceria Arte&Sana, and Central Beers-
Despite its relative size, Malaga offers some great options for craft beer. Also, the Beer-amisu at Central Beers was super tasty.
Antigua Casa de Guardia-
Located close to the Mercado Central de Ataranzanas, the Antigua Casa de Guaria is a unique, rustic spot. It features a simple long bar that stretches almost the entire length of the space. Behind the bar are barrels of different types of wine to choose from. They also offer a small selection of food. One of the unique things about the place is they write your tab on the bar in front of you with chalk, then add it up when it is time to pay. It is an great, inexpensive place to try some local wine and snacks.
Where I stayed:
Picnic Dreams Botique Hostel-
I only stayed one night at Picnic Dreams Botique Hostel. Overall, it was a nice, comfortable place to stay. However, due to its downtown location (which is very convenient) it can get a bit noisy outside at night. There is also a very nice cafe in the lobby of the hostel.
The Urban Jungle Hostel-
I was very happy with my stay at The Urban Jungle Hostel. The staff were super nice and helpful. It is well located in the city center. Also, each of the dorm beds had curtains on them (which not enough hostels do).
How I got around:
I flew to get to Malaga, and took the metro to get downtown. The metro was clean and easy to use. Once in the city I walked to get around, enjoy the city, and take in the sites.
My favorite thing:
The weather in Malaga was very nice while I was there, and the downtown area is very walkable. I really enjoyed stopping at Antigua Casa de Guardia, and Mia Coffee Shop is my favorite coffee spot in Andalusia.
My least favorite thing:
There is not much to dislike about Malaga, but I’ve heard it can get crazy hot in the summer. Also, it may not be as big as other cities like Barcelona, London, or Chicago, but there are still a good amount of things to do and see and eat and drink.
For next time:
Next time in Malaga I would like to check out the beach, because I didn’t get a chance to last time I was there. I would also like to go outside of town to visit the Caminito del Rey if I got the chance.
In my opinion trains are the best way to get around Italy by far. However, I have been on some very good trains and some very bad trains in Italy. The train I took to go to Pompeii is one of the worst trains I have ever been on. There are a few different train companies in Italy, and here are my experiences traveling with them:
I highly recommend taking Italo trains when in Italy. They have the best prices, the more comfortable trains, and are more reliable. I have traveled between major cities in Italy for less than 10 euros. They also show movies in some train cars for no extra charge, but the movies are usually in Italian. The only time I had much of a delay with Italo, they offered a partial reimbursement for my ticket (and the delay wasn’t even their fault, it was due to a issue with the tracks). The only downside to Italo is their lack of access. The only travel to the more major cities in Italy, but their customer service is above average for a European company.
The state run train company in Italy is Trenitalia. The run trains such as Thello, Frecce, and Intercity trains. The Trenitalia trains are usually more expensive, lower quality, and less reliable than Italo trains. Also, I have never been offered compensation for a delayed train, and a high percentage of my Trenitalia trains have been delayed. The main benefit to Trenitalia trains is their high amount of destinations. In many cases, the only trains offered to smaller cities in Italy are Trenitalia trains. I have taken Trenitalia trains on journeys to smaller cities where I taught English camps such as Volterra, Casalmaggiore, and Cirie. Also, Trenitalia runs some overnight trains, which can be convenient and cost effective. However, both the Intercity Night train I took to Bari and the Thello overnight train I took to Paris were much lower quality than the Renfe-SNCF overnight train I took to get to Barcelona.
In the past couple years I have bought very few clothes (my merino wool products have worked out very well for me). However, one of the purchases I did make in Barcelona was a “Buff,” which is a appears to be a play on words of the Spanish “bufanda,” or scarf. The company was started in Barcelona, and while they sell a variety of different products, their flagship product is a piece of multifunctional headwear. Also known as a balaclava or neck gaiter, it can be worn in a variety of different ways. For example, it can be worn as a scarf, as a hat, or as earmuffs, just to name a few. I have gotten a lot of use out of mine in colder temperatures such as visiting winter markets in places like Germany and Belgium. I have found it to be very functional, and with its versatility and merino wool fabric it can be used in a variety of different circumstances. Also, it packs down very small, so it can easily fit in a backpack or even in a pocket. I have been very happy with my purchase and would recommend it to others.
Antoni Gaudi is considered the best known architect in the Catalan Modernism style. He has arguably had the biggest impact of any other human be on the architectural uniqueness in Barcelona, which is one of my favorite things about Barcelona. Just walking around parts of the city and looking at the buildings can be a great experience, even for someone like myself who isn’t an architecture aficionado. Here are a few of his works that I have visited:
La Sagrada Familia-
The most impressive building I have ever been in is the Sagrada Familia, and it was not even finished. Construction started in 1882, and although Gaudi died in 1926, the Sagrada Familia is not scheduled to be completed until 2026 (100 years after his death). I have seen building that are as big as the Sagrada Familia and I have seen buildings that are as detailed as the Sagrada Familia, but I have never seen a building that is as big and as detailed as the Sagrada Familia. It is one the most unique and amazing buildings I have ever been in.
Done for the Batllo family in 1904, Casa Batllo (also know as the house of bones due to its exterior appearance) has become an iconic building in Barcelona. It will be beautifully decorated for Catalonian holidays, such as St. Jordi (which is similar to Valentine’s Day in other parts of the world), when it is covered in roses. In the summer they also do a rooftop concert series, and an admission ticket allows for a tour of the building and a rooftop concert. It is a great way to see such an iconic building.
La Pedrera (Casa Mila)-
Passeig de Gràcia is arguably the most architecturally beautiful street in one of the most architecturally unique and beautiful cities in the world. Like Casa Batllo, La Pedrera (also known as Casa Mila) stands out as a star amongst stars. I was able to visit it on a field trip with some of the classes I was teaching in Vilanova i la Geltru. The “stone quarry” was built for the Mila family in the early 1900s.
Situated at a natural elevation that offers excellent views of Barcelona, Parc Guell is another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. While all of the park used to be free to enter, a portion of the park (the most beautiful part) now requires an entry fee during most hours, and the tickets usually sell out. This was done to limit foot traffic causing wear and tear to the site and to fund maintenance and upkeep. I would suggest booking in advance or going early for one of the free times. However, the free part of the park offers the better views of the city and is beautiful in its own right. Parc Guell was initially meant to be a housing development of luxury homes funded by Eusebi Guell, but this business plan failed in part due to the distance (and uphill walk) from the old city. It was then converted into a municipal garden and has now reached iconic status.
Church of Colonia Guell-
I had the opportunity to visit Colinia Guell on a field trip with some of the English classes I was teaching in the El Prat area of Barcelona. As its name alludes, Colonia Guell was also funded by Eusebi Guell, but when he ran out of funds the project was not completed. It is located a bit outside of the city of Barcelona, and while not quite as impressive as some of Gaudi’s other works, it is a nice display of his unique architectural creativity.
Located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona just off La Rambla, Placa Reial is a popular place for tourists to pass through. However, many people do not take the time to look closely at the unique lampposts, which were beautifully designed by Gaudi.
Lock Clock Misión Gaudi Escape Room-
Although it was not actually built by Gaudi, I was able to try a Gaudi themed escape room in the center of Barcelona. It was my first time trying an escape room, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And we made it out!
What I did and saw:
Alhambra and Generalife-
The iconic Alhambra is a picturesque, historic site that is visible from most places in the city. It frequently sells out, so I would suggest booking in advance. Also, the ticket time refers to the entrance to the Nasri Palace, not the entrance to the park. The park can be accessed both before and after the Nasri Palace, and I would suggest taking advantage of this because there is plenty of room to explore such as the Charles IV Palace (with exhibits inside), the Alcazaba (with some amazing views of the Sierra Nevada and of the city).
Mirador San Nicolas-
The Saint Nicholas lookout offers some excellent nighttime views of Alhambra. Also, while I was there some musicians were playing. It is a great place to hang out and talk with friends.
Patio de los Perfumes-
I am not a cologne or perfume expert, and I don’t even wear cologne most days. However, the Patio de los Perfumes offers a unique experience. They let you make your own personal cologne or perfume for about the cost of a standard cologne or perfume. They give the option of making everything from scratch for a slightly higher price, or selecting from a set of bases and building from there. A trained perfume expert walked me through the process and gave me tips along the way, but she allowed me to pick the scents I wanted to add to my cologne. It was a unique and enjoyable experience.
Holy Week Processions-
In Andalucia Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) is a big production. One of the main events of the week are the processions, which are large parades where many church patrons will wear outfits that are unfortunately similar to KKK outfits in a variety of different colors. Also, some patrons will carry floats depicting religious scenes.
Outsides of the Granada Cathedral and the Plaza de toros de Granada-
I was only able to see the outside of the Granada Cathedral and the Plaza de toros de Granada. However, I would like to get the chance to see the inside of both of them, particularly the Cathedral.
Where I ate and drank:
Although it is slightly outside the city center, El Fermentador is on the way into the city from the main bus station. It is a great place to go for excellent craft beer in Granada.
Al Sur de Granada-
I stopped at Al Sur de Granada on the way to the bus station, and I was very glad I did. They offer a great selection of wine, craft beer, cheese, bread, and produce. It was so good that after having something there I got more to go to take with me on the bus to Seville.
Bodegas Castenada is a great place to try the famous Iberian Bellota (acorn-fed) ham. It is a place where you can get all kinds of pork and other typical spanish tapas.
Ysla is a good place to try Pionons, which are a sweet pastry local to the Granada area. It is small and very sweet, and although it doesn’t top my list of favorite desserts it was definitely worth a try.
Minuit, Noat Coffee, Dulcimena Coffee & Go, and La Finca Coffee-
Each of these coffee shops were recommended to my by the staff at one of my favorite coffee shops in Spain, Mia Coffee in Malaga. Minuit offers espresso based drinks and some great bread. I had a cappuccino and an open faced salmon avocado sandwich while I was there. Noat has some good healthy food options and great coffee. While I was there they were using beans from Right Side Coffee Roasters in Castelldefels. Dulcimena is a tiny place that serves great coffee. I had a Kenyan Chemex while I was there. La Finca is another good place to get coffee that is located right by the Granada Cathedral.
Taberna El Aviso and Taberna La Tana-
Both Taberna El Aviso and Taberna La Tana are located in the Realejo area of Granada. Many people will hop from place to place in the area grabbing a drink and a free tapa. It is a nice way to explore the city while sampling good wine and free food.
La Hermosa Craft Beer Shop-
Located right by the hostel I was staying at, La Hermosa Craft Beer Shop offers some good craft beer close to many of the main sites in Granada. Their selection is not extremely large, but they pair their beers with snacks like chocolate that complement the flavors very well.
Bar Los Diamantes-
There will often be a wait at Bar Los Diamantes, but it is worth a wait. They offer very good free food with any drink, and it is located in close proximity to many of the main sites in the city.
Where I stayed:
White Nest Hostel-
I stayed at White Nest Hostel while in Granada. The staff there were extremely nice and even upgraded my room to one with a better view of Alhambra. I didn’t have breakfast there as it looked pretty basic and cost four euros. It is not an incredibly extravagant place, but it is very well priced, very well located, and I would stay there again.
How I got around:
I arrived in Granada by bus from Malaga, and I left the city by bus to go to Seville. While in Granada I walked to get around, and despite some hills and processions going on I found it to be very walkable.
My favorite thing:
I loved the Bellota ham, making my own cologne was a fun experience, El Fermentador had some great craft beer, and getting free tapas is really nice. However, my favorite thing in Granada was Alhambra. It is beautiful and expansive yet intricate, and definitely worth visiting.
My least favorite thing:
My least favorite parts of my time in Granada were the bus rides in and out of the city from Malaga and to Seville. The hilly terrain makes for windy roads that don’t always go well with my stomach.
For next time:
Next time in Granada I would like to sample more of the free tapas and I would like to go inside the Granada Cathedral.
While most other crime is not really an issue, pickpocketing is a massive issue in Barcelona. I personally have been pickpocketed twice, once when my phone was swiped out of my back pocket while on the metro, and once when my phone was swiped from my front jacket pocket when I was bumped into while walking on the sidewalk. Partially due to the high prevalence of pickpocketing in the city, many people in the Barcelona area will wear “riñoneras.” This literally translates to “kidney bags,” and it is essentially a fanny pack/bum bag that is worn across your body. This helps to significantly reduce the risk of being pickpocketed, because a potential thief would need to unzip or unlatch your bag right in front of your face. To reduce the risk of being pickpocketed a third time, I use my Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack and my Joe Rogan Datsusara Fanny Pack. I have already reviewed the Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack, but here are my thoughts on the Joe Rogan Datsusara Fanny Pack:
The Joe Rogan Datsusara Fanny Pack doesn’t stick out as much as other fanny packs/bum bags. It has enough space to fit what I need without being too bulky. Also, it can be good to take on a plane as a personal item. You may even be able to have it counted as a money bag and not have it count towards any bag, but I have not tried that myself.
The bag is made from hemp, which is a fairly sustainable material that is also durable and anti-microbial. The zippers on the bag are also high quality YKK zippers.
The bag features a small Velcro pocket, a small zippered pocket, and a larger zippered pocket. The larger pocket also features a divider, and can easily fit items the size of a standard smartphone, passport, or wallet.
I wear it across my body in Barcelona, but it can also be worn as an actual fanny pack/bum bag if you are in a location where pickpocketing is not such an issue. It can also be easily connected to my Datsusara Battlepack Core Backpack.
The strap isn’t the most comfortable bag strap, but it is originally designed to be worn around your waist, not across your body. Also, with its size I’m not really going to carry anything that would be heavy enough to even notice the strap anyway.
It sucks that there is a need for a bag to prevent pickpocketing. This isn’t really a disadvantage regarding the bag, but more about the world. However, even if I didn’t need to prevent pickpockets, this bag still functions very well as a way to add a bit of carrying space without taking a full size bag, or as a way to add a little room to my Datsusara Battlepack Core Backpack.
I would highly recommend this bag is you are in an area where pickpocketing is an issue. And as mentioned above, this bag can be great to use in areas where pickpocketing is not an issue as a way to have a little extra space and convenience.
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