How to arrange affordable voyages early in advance

Skites Hotel, Ouranoupoli, Greece | from IN WHIRL OF INSPIRATION

Some months ago an unfortunate incident was the reason to flip upside down my attitude towards early in advance airplane ticket bookings and the motivation to write this post too.

Let me introduce you to the emotional and environmental background of our story. We are in Amsterdam and outside of my window the wind is raging violently and the torrential rain dances its rhythm. I am on the lucky side of the window though and while I lean on it I am convinced that I wouldn't want to be outside by any means. From the smallest tree twig to the most poor cyclist, everything and everyone seems to suffer as he tries to survive in this cataclysm. I fill my cup with hazelnut and vanilla and right then it falls to my attention that my friend Vanessa, a true Mexican, sends me a storm of messages: "Despoina! There is a discount in air tickets to Mexico and they cost only 250 there and back. We have to go! Where are you; Are you in?".

Wait, hold on one second, what the heck? Everyone with the slightest bit of wanderlust in them knows that tickets to America from Europe cost at least 700 euros, maybe 600 if you win the big jackpot of luck. "Let's go", she continues "we will escape to Mexico for 10 days in February and while everyone else will try to survive the Amsterdam cataclysms -like now- we will drink mojitos under the sweet sun and live the summer like there is no tomorrow." Long story short she sent me the tickets link, I checked my agenda for obligations that period -nothing that can't wait me to come back tanned from Mexico-, I have some saved money aside, let's go girl! Vida loca! 

And suddenly I an unfounded concern strikes me. Maybe I have obligations for that time which are not written down in my agenda and when I will remember them it will be too late. Also is it safe there in Mexico City (to which concern, Vanessa reassured me that her house is far away from the various drug cartels of my mind)? Two hours and dozens of back and forth messages later, you could find me in the same stuck mental state and you could also see that the tickets were sold out. Obviously, only a moron (a.k.a. me) would let such a gift to fly away. I was inconsolable; I regretted that I wasn't more decisive, faster or more efficient in making my mind. I would go Mexico with my Mexican friend, best travel experience that could happen to me. Well I might lost a battle, but not the war. Since I love trips so much I had to develop a better protocol, so I would not lose another travel opportunity in the future.

So the following tips are more for me to absorb, but if they seem of any help to you too then this is a definite win-win in my book:

  1. Add in your agenda all the obligations of your near future (work/study/pleasure). That way nothing will be forgotten and you will be able to make plans early in advance. Any obligations that will arise after you book the tickets will be rescheduled for when you come back from your vacation.
  2. Have a "jar" of savings dedicated to future voyages. If your budget allows you to save a small amount of money each month that's a huge thing. Even the cheapest tickets you will find from time to time cost money and spending more than your already existing -and sometimes tight too- monthly budget can be a pain in the ass. So be prepared.
  3. Subscribe to the newsletters of the airline company you use the most or to newsletters from sites that collect and showcase cheap flight around the web. The trick in these discounts is to be quick and if you don't want to stay out of the airplane you should learn things first. First-come, first-served, right? In the cheap flight booking trick is speed Yan Verily stay off the airplane and so will learn everything first.
  4. The best trips I have ever done were the ones in countries /places where I had friends that they were locals. You feel safe, they show you the way around, they save you from touristic traps and in general you have a glimpse on how locals have fun. Ask your friends around the world if you can visit them and if yes start organizing from today. If they can provide you free accommodation too, well my friend you won the first prize of the lottery.
  5. Don't be stupidly rational and annoyingly indecisive (that's a general one I guess). Will it be dangerous? Will we make it? I am not in the mood for vacation (the day of the flight is in 3 months, ugh relax). If you afford this trip book now any flights (and hotels maybe) and when the time comes you will arrange everything like a pro. And yes, believe me, you will appreciate these few days away from your everyday routine.

The new year seems to be really stressful in this side of the hill. Also, it's not of a huge secret that I tend to carry more watermelons than I can carry. This is why I decided to take it easy with blogging and blog on weird things that cross my mind (like this?). I hope you enjoy them too. But, hey how do YOU arrange affordable trips early in advance? Please spill your beans in the comments below. xo

4 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

The city guide with everything you need to know about Amsterdam

Amsterdam City Guide | In Whirl of Inspiration

Now that I'm really starting to get this city, to learn its ins and outs and to confidently call it mine(cause it. is. mine), I thought that it would be nice to collect all my favorite places for eating, drinking (coffee & drinks), shopping and entertaining.  This guide will be found at the sidebar, so that you would find it quickly in case of searching something. And it will be renewed often, really often (aka after going out). 

If you live in Amsterdam or are willing to visit, feel free to take a look or two. So...

For lunch and coffee:

  • Cannibale Royale (Center, near Spui Square): Heavy wooden tables, atmosphere that gives you the chills (starting from the saws and the creepy portraits that hang from the wall) and greeeeat food. Serves until late (3am), but if you want to go in the rush hour  you should reserve a table.
  • Cafe de Jaren (Center, near Spui Square): Exquisitely bright thanks to its huge windows. It has tables outside by the river, for the good days too. A high ceiling, open and chic space for coffee, snacks and lunch.
  • CREA cafe (Center, East): The student cultural center's cafe is like it popped out of the "Murder in Orient Express", so perfectly cozy and buzzing and alive.
  • Coffee & Coconuts (De Pijp): An incredibly stylish shop by wood and ropes, 3 floors that contact with another, nice people, unbearably light and welcoming atmosphere. Such a favorite.
  • Ivy & Bros (Center, Red Lights): The Red District is full of  wonderful places for everything and this shop is no exception. Admire the huge (fake) shark jaws that hang from the wall and the granny's0house atmosphere and order a latte with your salmon and avocado sandwich.
  • Oba's coffee (Center, Central Station): East of the central station is the public Amsterdam's library. On the top floor, they have a loft bar-restaurant (buffet style). Portions big enough and value for money (don't forget that you live in the expensive Amsterdam). Let aside the perfect view.
  • Schinkelhaven Cafe (West, at the exit of Vondelpark): Having colored lights it can't go unnoticed. Even better when it gets dark for a drink, but also for food. Really cozy. Plus the cute waiters. :)
  • Sumo (center, Leidseplein): If you like Japanese cuisine, go there. The price for eating is fixed and you eat as much as you can. The best sushi I have ever eaten.

To drink:

  • Waterkant (Center, near Leidseplein): the perfect bar with picnic tables to drink our beer next to an Amstel's (never remember their names) tributary.
  • Bloemen bar (Center, near Spui Square): What a nice bar. Let me tell it again, what a nice bar. Reminiscent of the flower children and the hippie Woodstock. PLUS the have a huge disco balls and the organize the best parties.
  • De Biertuin (Center, East): Which the beer garden. So go to this beer garden, made by old bricks on the walls and a golden palm tree and drink your beer. (say beer one more time)
  • Casablanca Cafe (Center, Central Station): Come here for karaoke nights and go crazy. It is a really small bar, so it gets packed very quick. So, come early if you want to show this perfect(!) voice of yours.
  • Roest (East of the Central Station, in the world's end): It is a bit off center, but its great industrial style of this cafe will reward you. So effortlessly cool.
  • Tree Sisters Pub (Center, Rembrandtplein): Among all the touristy & kitchy places in Rembrandtplein there is this little gem. Seats to be lost in them (sooooo comfortable) and heavy wooden decoration. Order the "De Konnick" beer, it smells like caramel.
  • Club NYX (Center, Rembrandtplein): The most colorful gay bar (straight friendly too) with different music in every room (even in the toilets floor they have a DJ). See the best dressed guys and dance carefree as no Dutch casanovas will approach you every 10'. Unless you are a gay which changes a lot of course. 

For sweets:

  • Urban Cacao (Center, Rozengracht): The largest selection of chocolate bars from around the world, packed with the most impressive wrappers. And macarons and truffles and mind. blown. I sold my soul to the sugar god in there.
  • Petit Gateau (Center, Haarlemmerstraat): A petit space with petit sweet treats and petit confectionery workshops. Toooso sweet!

For shopping:

  • Klevering (Center, 2 stores): Whatever this store touches is turned in gold. Office supplies, books, kitchen equipment, selected furniture, jewelry and gadget, all bathed in the light of inspired designers.
  • Waterstones (Center, Spui Square): The bookstore that "stinks" UK. Go in there and stay there. No guilt. Plus I think I like the covers of the British publications more than the American ones. Just me being shallow and giving so much attention to the book covers. :) 
  • American Book Center (Center, Spui Square): Or the Amazon. Seriously this bookshop has everything written in English from the beginning of time. Everything.

TBA shops for DIY supplies, other places to have fun (apart from bars of course) and artsy fartsy situations. If you live in Amsterdam or you visited lately aand you have place to suggest I will be more than happy to hear (write them in the comments below). Have fun in Amsterdam, love that city and you will love it too.

Credits | Text & Image: Debbie Kortes

Comment

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Moving in Amsterdam - first thoughts & places for a drink or food

amsterdam by fall.jpg

Those who follow me on Instagram (thank you for this!) may noticed that I moved in Amsterdam. I was organizing this trip since August and 3 weeks ago it really happened. I still can't conceive the fact that I trully live here for 3 whole weeks and I will continue doing so for at least some months. It doesn't fit properly in my brain. Thing is that the past 3 weeks have passed very quickly and they can be describedperiphrastically as a mishmash of severe cultural shock, wonderful walks, rainy days and thick fog, frenetic house search, Dutch bureaucracy and paperwork and infinite  bike rides.

What could I say about this city?

  • Firstly; the bicycles.  They are everywhere and they are make me anxious. The are like Greek car drivers, paying no attention to traffic lights or signs (cause in Dutch they know how to bike better than how to walk). But the bike paths? Oh maybe the most organized network that I have ever seen.
  • On the other hand, cars and trams are the total opposite. They freeze when they detect your foot touching the pavement from half a mile away, even if you aren't on a pedestrian crossing
  • The city; it's city center is so small that you can walk/bike (that's better) through it and still it's so rich in events, fabulous bars, great places to eat, parks to walk through and a bit of craziness.
  • The fact that it gets dark really early has its pros and cons. It's kinda of depressing leaving from work and feeling it's midnight. However, when you feel like it's 9pm, but it is still 5pm, you can do so many more things during a 24hr day. Magic in winning time.
  • I forgot how it is to be the minority in a group of people. Being almost the only one speaking only English and not Dutch, can be tricky sometimes.
  • Guys! I live in a city that organizes Museumnachts (aka museum nights) (giggles). This means that you can go (almost) for free in whichever museum or gallery you want during that night. And let me remind you, that in Amsterdam that places touch the humble number of 50+ (!). Why don;t we have this perfect thing in Greece too? Who is gonna organize it? I want volunteers, come on. 
  • As for the food, I miss the good feta cheese in the supermarkets, even though you can find in them things that you only dream about. Also, I laugh at the crazy individually packaged vegetables. It's crazy and of course totally essential to recycle. After every time you visit the supermarket, you produce your body weight in trash. Very clever people.

As for my new discoveries:

  • Waterkant: a perfect bar with tables outside to drink your drink next to Amstel river.
  • Bloemen bar: What a nice bar in the Spui square. With reminiscent of the flower children and the hippie atmosphere of Woodstock.
  • Ivy & Bros: The Red Distric has so many wonderful places and this shop is one of my first discoveries. Admire the shark jaws hanging from the wall and the overall at-grandma's-house decor and ordered a sandwich with salmon & avocado.
  • Roest: a little bit out of the city center. However the industrial decoration will win you. I love that place. So cool.

I will keep you updated on my new life, don't worry. Also, if you want some snippets of the beautiful Amsterdam in you feed, don't hesitate to follow me over Instagram and Fb

4 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete)

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece)

Last weekend was a weekend of camping at the little paradise on earth, the Agiofaraggo (which means Sacred Gorge) in South Creta. We all had a really hard week, so that little adventure was exactly what our mind needed.

We prepared our tents and sleeping bags (some forgot theirs), food, beers and water, cameras and excitement and we hitted the road.


To reach the Agiofaraggo’s beach, you must cross a small canyon. It’s up to you if you want to wear flip flops (the route is very easy), but I shound recommend to wear your sneakers. You will walk less than 30’ (carrying your stuff), so take your time to enjoy the view, the one-hundred-years-old olive trees and the oleanders. There are also caves, In some of which live until today ascetics.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 2
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 3

With this and that we reached the beach, where we were welcomed by a hot little sandstorm, a kind offer from the 5 beaufort of that day. Splendid.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 4

Most campers set up their tents under the trees at the gorge’s end, but if you're lucky you can find a really special spot. As soon as the gorge ends, the wide beach’s sand area starts, look at your left  and beneath the high rocks you will find a small recess in the rock. Set up your tents in front of it, so that you will have a natural refrigerator for the food and the privilege to save time until 1pm in the rock’s shade.  Awesome Deal.

The best swimming is early in the morning, when the atmosphere is cool and the waters are crystal clear. After that look for beautiful pebbles, there are so many in this beach. I even found a heart-shaped one for the Follow your Heart Project.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 5
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 6
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece)7
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 8
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) follow your heart project

The dangerous hours of 1-4pm, when the sun is burning the sand and everything alive on it, try to sit in the shades as much as possible and to renew your sunscreen often. Now also is the time to eat, cause time flows more quickly when you are having fun and what’s more fun than eating? Going for a swim might sound like a good idea (never ever go swimming when you are full-of food-), but in the water you can burn easier these hours. However, I have you the solution for that: the smart umbrella. The smart umbrella will be activated and follow you wherever you go on the beach, even in the water as it is 100% waterproof.  To put it differently, be the beach’s attraction by carrying an umbrella in your sea like us. (hilarious moments)

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 9
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 10
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 11

In the afternoon  keep beers and  water cool, by putting them in the sea. The team’s rocket (let’s suppose that that’s us) trick is to take a cloth bag/purse, put a large stone in it and the drinks, tie it  with a string, hold the string by sitting on the beach and wait. In the meantime, you can take pictures of the waves’ splashes.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 12

Then while drinking something cool, read your favorite book (beaches are the best places for reading, after beds, don’t you know) until the dusk comes and you can’t see nothing apart from your nose. Also, be impressed with how close to the coast the cargo ships pass.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 13
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 14

In the evening you can always sit all together around your camping lanterns, to talk, eat, or drink. We tried light painting and we made terrific figures that jump from the darkness, knights, and mermaids. After that we slept because: a) we were exhausted, b) the camera’s battery was over and c) we forgot our camping lanterns at home.

light painting 1 Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece)
light painting 2 Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece)
light painting, knight
light painting mermaid figure

On Sunday afternoon we goodbuy-ed Agiofarango, farewell until next time we said.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) 15

Returning to Heraklion, from the hills of Phaistos ancient palaces we saw that unique spectacle. It was so hot (as you can’t –lucky you- feel) that almost all the sea was evaporating.

Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) phaistos hills
Camping at Agiofaraggo (South Crete, Greece) golden sun beams

I wish you happy adventures this weekend guys, have fun!

Find more adventures around Crete & Greece, at my voyages travelogues

Comment

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Tips on surviving at summer music festivals

tips on surving at music festivals

Ah! The season of summer music festivals and camping. It feels like yesterday, but it's one whole year ago when we got to Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium. 3 full days of absolute dirt, sitting on the "grasses", eating crap and listening to the bestest music (Eminem I forgive you for playing in this festival, I laughed a lot during your concert. We are fine.).

It's a common knowledge that summer music festivals can be either a blissful dream or a total mess, if you are not prepared for some basic little things.

Do you want to know what I learned from my music festival times?

1. Do not leave nothing valuable AT ALL in the tent when leaving it. I hope I was clear, but to be sure; n o t h i n g!

2. Do not take your good (& expensive?) camera at the festival. This is an obvious thing too, but I too mention it to remind you everything. Your mobile phone's camera or a cheap compact camera will capture sufficiently all the things that matter; the great time with your friends.

3. And also, don't waste your time in taking photos/videos of the bands on the stage. You will only succeed in shooting a shaky dull mess, that you will never ever watch in your computer. There are professional photographers, who will be paid to be at the best spots on & off stage for that very reason; to take the best photos instead of you. Have fun and you will find the photos that you want online after one day or two.

4. Have some medicines with you. Within the festival area there will be points for medical care, if something serious happens to you. But in the case of an innocent headache, don't lose your favorite band to go to the other side of the festival area. Take your Depon and be good.

5. Have some cleaning wipes with you. Most festivals sites have grassy terrain , which after of 1 day of being trampled under 100,000+ feet turn's to plain steppe's soil. If you are lucky enough to be at an area prone to rain, that soil will turn into mud too. In such (and many other) situations cleaning wipes can be lifesaver you know.

festival's filthiness  tips for surviving in music festivals

6. In areas with heatwave-storms quick transmissions be informed fir the weather before leaving your hometown. The countries near the northern sea, are prone to quick weather changes and that could ruin your vacations in case you were unprepared for such change. In addition to your summer festival clothes, just to be sure take 1 pair of good sneakers, 1 pair of jeans and a waterproof jacket (aka a cheap plastic "bag" that you wear over your clothes for protection) to walk around comfortably while raining.

7. Build an easy awning for shade in the camp area. Many igloo-like-tents have an extra sunscreen cap that goes above the tent. If you are a big company, set up your tents cyclically so that you have a space for yourselves in front of the tents. Then tie that sunscreen cap on the top of the tents, to shade that area in front of them(it will make a huge differences). Plus: a plaid picnic blanket to sit on and eat would be great too.

awning for shade  tips for surviving in music festivals

8. Take (a yoga) mattress for sleeping. Besides the protection that it offers from that damn stones, that you didn't threw away when setting up the tent and now they almost left you crippled on the back, it provides very good thermal insulation too. If you go to the north countries, where it rains often even in the summer (not everywhere is Greece, I forget it all the time) the soil will be very cold in the evening. For instance in Belgium, in the day the thermometer was hitting 26°C and at night the temperature was falling to 13°C (& air & rain).

9. Have dried food with you. Buy supplies (cereal bars, dried fruits and buts) before going to the festival. They don't need cool temperatures to be kept and they will save you these moments that you are starving between 2 concerts, but you don't want to miss neither of them. After them we will go to have proper food of course. :)

10. Avoid buying foods (and drinks) inside the festival area. Before going to the festival area in the morning eat a good breakfast from your supplies (we bought food from from Brussels) or if there is any town ner the festival go and check for supermarkets and other food shops. You'll save so much money doing so. For instance, we were eating a big baguette in the morning, we took another one with us in the festival (for lunch) and we had our snacks (see 9.) too.

11. Inside of your dresses, wear a pair of shorts. You sit down all day, on all sorts of dirt and awfulness. It's not cool that your pants will be in touch with these, not a bit cool.

beer in a bun tips for surviving in music festivals

12. Organize what drinks you will bring inside the festival area and don not drink excessively. Yes I know that you are checked in the entrance of the festival area and any alcohol is withdrawed from you, but seriously do you think that there are many fools that pay 5 euros to buy 330ml of beer in the festival area? If you're an unreliable teen who thinks he can and should drink unlimited volumes of alcohol until he pukes and faints at aprox. 9pm, stop reading now. However if you are mature enough to manage the drink and you do not want to be broke for 3 beers, try the bellow tips:

  • if you have long (& many) hair, make a low bun around a can of beer. You can wrap a scarf around it if you want to, for extra holding. Nobody will get a thing, believe me. 
  • to pass sangria in the festival, put 2/3 of sangria and 1/3 of orange or sour cherry juice in a juice carton. In the alcohol inspection, they will smell your "juice", but they want detect the alcohol-smell, so it will pass.
  • if the days are cold and you wear a sweatshirts, hide a can of beer in the hood. You get a bonus if you cover the hood with your long hair.
  • if you wear a dress, wear a shorts underneath it. (see also 11. for that) Fill a bottle with any liquor, but not until the top so that you will be able to press it and make it more flat. Then place this between the belly and the crotch of your shorts. Warranty.
  • drink not put any bottle of alcohol in your bag, cause they will find it and then they will search you better to find any secret hideouts too.
  • have always extra caps for water bottles with you. If you pass water into the festival, they will keep the caps I'll take the cap (filled water bottles hurled from something drunks can be very dangerous) if you do not drink you will not put it in your bag. While the extra cover but ...

13. Wake up really early if you want to shower. The hot water in the camping's shower points ends like a flash and if wake up at around 9 or 10 o'clock (like most of the people), you might wait for (even) 2 hours in the shower queue.

14. Have your ticket's file with you in an usb too. Apart from having tour ticket (or any other document) printed, have a copy of it in a usb too. You never know when you will lose/forget sth somewhere and it would be wise if you could reprint it.

15. Apart from the concerts, check for parallel extra fun activities which are organized by the festival. Do not be a snob, and you will build a 6-pack out of laughing. Cool, ha? 

16. Keep this flat touristy pocket/bag worn under your clothes all the necessary stuff (IDs, credit cards, extra money). It sounds ridiculous I know, but you will be in a festival with so many people and such things (like stealing or losing) happen. Running to the embassies won't be fun, plus it will ruin your vacation.

17. Chemical toilets, yuck. Seriously, try to find ANY other way to do your job. I had to use a restaurant's restroom (in the nearby town) when needed, cause chemical toilets are the most disgusting places visually and olfactory ever existed.


Well I hoped that my tips were helpful enough to save you from a bad incident next time you go camping in a music festival. If  learn something and want to share, I will be more than happy to read it in the comments below.

2 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Travelogue of Seville, vol. 1

Seville Travelogue and City Guide

From Seville began our tour. A voyage that I dreamed of for months and I still reminisce a lot.

It was a special trip mainly for 3 reasons: a) in all the cities that we stayed (except Lisbon) we had free accommodation, cause 3 of our friends were in the Iberian Peninsula for their Erasmus studies we were playing safe in Seville, Barcelona and Porto, b) the fact that we were staying with friends meant that we would mingle with their Spanish friends too, which minimized the touristic sightseeing and opened us a window to the life of the people there. Which in my opinion is the only real way to feel a city's vibe, c) we visited the coolest cities, so the tour's perfection was obvious from the beginning.

From now on, try to organize voyages that tick all the a-b-c above and you won't be disappointed.

But, let's start our travelogue of Seville now. Did we forget anything? Hmm no, Here we go then.

Seville city guide 2.jpg

Part 1: Introduction

We'll start with some monuments- musts to see, we will continue with some great ares for walking and bicycling around the city and we will end with some (great) places to eat. However, all these won't be enough to convey to you the Seville's feeling. The kindness of its inhabitants (there is no correlation to the ungracious people from Barcelona), the strong influence from the North African and Muslim art and the revelation that the thermometer in the summer conveniently reaches the 45°C and forgets to drop are stuck in my mind for this city.

Part 2: Places to see

We said that this trip was the less touristy one that I have ever done abroad, so I will suggest you the key attractions to see if you want a basic and full idea of he city. You won't even think of getting tired, believe me.

- Alcázar Palace of Seville: The ticket is 2 euros if you're under 25 and EU citizen, so that's a good deal. Let aside that this is an amazing palace too. The truth is that generally I get tired of vast palaces, there isn't anything more boring than walking around beautiful, empty rooms. Anything people. But this palace had something exotic with the influences from the Muslim art, the arabesques on domes and on every arch and with such variety of different tiles on the walls of each room. Moreover, the tapestries on the walls of the rooms were really unique.

- Seville's Cathedral: It's the largest Gothic cathedral and the third largest in Europe in general. This giant building doesn't just house a gigantic church. Since the beginning of the 15th century (when its construction started) until the 19th century the building went through numerous disasters and renovations and today we see the different wings that were built in each centuries depending on the Seville's administration in that period of time. The city passed from the Muslims to the Catholics and they all left their mark.

We were lucky enough to have a art conservator as our guide (you have to deal with your friends' friends in such trips, I told you), who revealed us all the dirty history's secrets in the most entertaining way. Certainly without her the possibility of acknowledging the building's value would be a zero one. Something that was really interesting was that each temple had the stamp of the era in which it was constructed, which gave as visual representation of the artistic currents of Seville from the 15th century until today. Plus, you'll see the biggest organ that has ever existed. Too bad we didn't have the opportunity to hear it too, it would be riveting.

Also, you'll see a statue of four men carrying (or not) the Columbus's bones. Well, that's what they say to the tourists, but the truth is that because of a disastrous flood somewhere in the 19th century the bones from all the graves in the cathedral were tangled. The monks of that era, places in the "Columbus's grave" bones of (around) 100 people as the latest DNA analysis showed. Ohh intrigue. Don't forget to look for the great Goya's piece of art with the 2 saints "Justa and Rufina" and for the huge "container" for storing wafers made entirely from the bloodstained silver from the South America.

- Giralda Tower: It is the tower of the Cathedral and I will definitely recommend you to go to the top of it. There are only 33 floors of twirled runway that separate you from a wildly spectacular 360 degree view of the city. Why there aren't stairs, but a twisting twirled runway you may ask, right? Because the king wanted to go on the tower's top and stare at his magnificent city on his own horse's saddle, that's way. Why walk when you are the king? The royal families are completely and entirely nuts. But somehow this weirdness turn out to be people with disabilities-friendly. So, let's say that everyone was, is and will be content.

The views from the tower, however, is magnificent. In front of the Cathedral Square starts the Alcázar palace and behind it extend the place's gardens (and what gardens, gosh, I will dedicate them a whole part 3) and on the horizon you can distinguish the two towers that flank my all-time-favorite Plaza de España  .

- Plaza de España: Have ever happened to you to love a landmark, wanting to take its pictures from every possible angle and visiting just to see it when you are around? Well, this square had this exact effect on us.

We visited it 3 times in 3 days and in the 2 of them we where cycling (Seville is super bike-friendly, we will talk about this in part 3 as well) as fastest as possible around the big fountain (in its center) with smiles up to our ears.

A semicircular square surrounded by an artificial stream (they rented boats to tourists, who were struggling to paddle in a 3x3 space, hilarious to watch), with the huge fountain dominating its center and two tower guards on its edges.

The perfect square.

- Metropol Parasol: The huge wooden structure resembles a giant mushroom, or "Las setas" in Spanish. I realized half of the people love it and half of them hate it. However, I found it just so harmonious with the area, as it was always there. Also, it's so photogenic from every angle and in the night it's so well illuminated that its designed emerges even more.

Metropol Parasol - City Guide of Seville
Metropol Parasol - City Guide of Seville

So that's it. Expect in the next days the parts 3 & 4 with my tips about perfect regions for walking/ cycling around the city, Seville's bestest parks and places for a drink or (very, very good) food. If you have visited Seville and have anything to suggest please do in the comments below, as I will definitely return this city soon ;)

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Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!