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Budget Travel: 2 Days in York

Budget Travel: 2 Days in York Itinerary.

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View from York City Wall to the Minster
York Minster

York Minster

York is a fantastic weekend destination from the North or South of the United Kingdom. Situated in the heart of the railway line between Edinburgh and London means that even if you have less than 48 hours then you can still enjoy all York has to offer.

We recently visited York for a one night trip from Edinburgh, catching the 7.30am train to arrive at 10am before departing the following day at 6pm.

Day 1

10am – After an early start you might want to grab a steaming cup of coffee in one of the old City wall tower Cafes so that you will be refreshed enough to hit the tourist trail. And what a trail it is. With 2.5 miles of 2,000 year old city walls surrounding York it is the best place to start your exploration. With various breaks where the wall has been removed then there are ample opportunities to rest and explore different areas around the City.

The wall is also interspersed with a number of Bars (gatehouses not literal ‘bars’) that allowed access into the City during medieval times or as defensive positions during times of war. The Bars are perfect stops during your walk and provide snapshots in history that will keep old and young busy during the 2 – 3 hour stroll. It is definitely not hard-work and is worth the effort.

Walking around the York City Wall

York City Wall

1pm – For lunch just follow the crowds and your nose to the local market stalls. A gathering of smells from around the world will assault your senses with Noodles from Asia, Pancakes from the Netherlands, Meatballs from Morocco, Sausages from Germany and Paella from Spain to name but a few dishes. The small dishes for £4 will satisfy your hunger. Just try to leave room for the delicious home-made pastry and cake stalls dotted throughout the market.

2pm – Your next stop should be the building that you would have seen towering above the City skyline; York Minster. It is one of the most well-known Cathedrals in Europe and provides some fantastic photo opportunities from the City walls. Take note that it only opens at 12pm on Sundays due to services in the morning. Every other day it opens from 9am. £9 for adults gets you a free guided tour (optional) and entry to the Undercroft, Treasury and Croft. An extra £5.50 is required if you want to tackle the 275 steps to the top of the Tower. Excellent for checking out the entire City and surrounding countryside.

5pm – By now your parched throat might be reaching a peak and you are in need of a pint. You are in luck. They say that York has one pub for every day of the year so you are going to find a few good ones. However we went to a couple of different pubs during our stay but unfortunately I wouldn’t rave about them. I am not going to do them injustice by mentioning their names on here and will let you try and find the better ones.

7pm – What I will do is recommend heading to Ask Italian restaurant for a cheap and delicious meal. The restaurant is situated in the old York Assembly Rooms which makes the dining area GIGANTIC. There is nothing flash about it apart from the food. It is also extremely well priced, with the entire meal including drinks for 3 costing £55 all up.

9pm till Late – With over 365 pubs and bars in York its up to you to decide how you want to spend the rest of the night.

View from York City Wall to the Minster

View from York City Wall to the Minster

Day 2

If you want a cheap place to stay for your 1 night then you can’t look past the local YHA. It’s situated a 20 minute walk along the river or a 5 minute taxi ride. Just a quick note; We were told by the staff at the YHA not to walk along the river at night, I expect it can get a bit rough and seedy down there. The YHA does a breakfast buffet that will fuel you until lunchtime for £4.95. Plus you get the added bonus of sneaking pastries into your handbag on your way out for mid-morning snacks.

11am – Jorvik Viking Centre should be your first stop this morning. It is the site of one of the most famous and astounding discoveries of modern archaeology that creates a groundbreaking (sorry no pun intended) visitor experience that enables you to experience the every day life of a Viking in York 1,000 years ago. What is amazing is that the site is laid out below your feet under a pane of glass.

If you travel with kids (or big kids like myself) then they will love it as you can race around the floor with a map in hand finding all the objects exactly as they lay when they were found.

There is also a roller coaster back to the future type ride. I say type as it is not quite as exciting as a full on roller coaster, and actually felt a lot like Jurassic Park. I kept waiting for the T-Rex to jump out and eat the goat tied to the stake. The kids will love it though.

1pm – By now you should have burned off that big brekky so navigate your way back to the markets and get stuck in again. Make sure you do get the pancakes this time if you didn’t before. De – li – cious.

2pm – Meander your way through the cobbled lined streets of the Shambles and marvel at the maze of tightly lined alleyways full of crazy angled boutique stores and shops that look like they are about to topple over. I seriously don’t know whether they originally built them like that out of whatever length of wood they could find or if they have slowly subsided over the last couple of hundred years.

York Museum and Gardens

York Museum and Gardens

3pm – With your shoes worn out and your knees aching its time to rest them in the relaxing grounds of the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. If you picked up a few snacks from the market then this is a perfect place to stretch out for the afternoon and enjoy the ancient ruins around you as well as the fine Museum before you jump back on your train.

Final Tips

With this fantastic guide there is no need to hit the Tourism Information Centre but if you do want to then its just around the corner from the York Minster at: 1 Museum Street, York, YO1 7DT.

Super helpful staff and I do actually recommend popping in first thing.

Our costs per person for our 2 days in York are outlined below. You can definitely do it a lot cheaper than we did as well:

  • Train ticket = £35 return from Edinburgh
  • Hostel = £33 a night for a private room
  • Food = £31 per day
  • Alcohol = £8 per day
  • Attractions = £25 total

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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My Insane The Red Light District Tour of The Amsterdam Peep Shows

Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here

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Amsterdam Peep Show

An Amsterdam peep show in the red light district is a must, like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay, slightly different. But you have got to go for the erotic experience!

And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam, then more than likely, you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be a worthwhile tour, to check out Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Amsterdam Moulin Rouge Red Light District

Something about the red light district brothels draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe the bright red neon lights illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.

Or maybe it is just the fact that sex does sell.

My Amsterdam Peep Show Tour

When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends, we spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough. Then we headed over to Germany, where high-class escorts had us covered.

Not like that, of course!

We couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is, for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room was staggering.

However, we have not enticed ourselves to fork over 50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I want to clarify here that it was Adela that was the keenest. I didn’t want to let her down, so I went along with it…

Amsterdam Red Light District

Visiting the Amsterdam peep show

Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!

The very name initially “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red-light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entranceway, your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds, and disturbingly smell.

All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A whiteboard lists the movies you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:

The circular structure sits slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along its walls.

Those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.

The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out 2 euro coins for ease of watching.

Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. She could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics with her flexibility!

Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.

The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night, the booths were making a roaring trade. From the hen parties to the couples, nearly everyone else was there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.

On the other hand, the shifty-eyed single men skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.

If you ever get the chance, we highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the performances and the ones on the streets!

Top 10 Amsterdam Peep Shows in 2022

  • 1 | Stripclub BonTon
  • 2 | Male Strip Show in Amsterdam For Women
  • 3 | Casa Rosso Sex Shows
  • 4 | 5D Porn Cinema
  • 5 | Moulin Rouge Amsterdam
  • 6 | Bananenbar
  • 7 | Sex Palace Peep Show
  • 8 | Hospital Bar
  • 9 | Club LV
  • 10 | La Vie en Proost – Lapdance Bar in Red Light District

Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or a Sex show? Tell us about your experience.

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Paris on a Budget: Best Cheap Eats in Paris

While Paris used to be regarded as an expensive city, you can now enjoy Paris on a Budget. Use our guide to find the Best Cheap Eats in Paris.

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paris woman smiling eating the french pastry macar 2021 08 28 23 14 41 utc 2

Although Paris has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities globally, the rumors are now unfounded. In 2012, Paris dropped ten places in the Mercer cost of living survey. And with the Euro looking weak, now is probably a good time to find cheap flights and discover the city of love on a budget.

Eating in Paris can catch a lot of tourists out. Avoid the expensive restaurants serving fancy dishes like salmon wellington and snooty maître d’s on the Champs Elysees and follow our guide for the best cheap eats in Paris.  Spend less on food and possibly splurge on friendly hotels in Paris instead!

girl eating croissant in paris 2021 08 26 18 36 43 utc 1

Girl eating croissant in Paris

Best Cheap Eats in Paris

Best Cheap eats in Paris, Eiffel Tower at Night, Paris

Head to the Marais

Famous for its selection of ethnic eateries, the trendy Marais area of Paris is perfect for picking up a quick snack.

Check out L’As du Falafel, where you can grab a flatbread bursting with golden fried balls of falafel, smothered in hummus and accompanied with red cabbage. For €4 to take away, you can’t argue with that. Simply head to Chez Hanna down the street for equally tasty food at similarly low prices if it’s too busy.

Best eats in Paris, The Louvre, Paris

Enjoy an Oriental baguette.

Vietnamese food is popular in France, and nowhere can you see the fusion of two cultures more clearly than at Saigon Sandwich in the Belleville district of Paris.  Their specialty, banh mi, is light and crusty French baguette filled with flavors of South East Asia.

There are only a few options (poulet, boeuf, Maison, and unique), but for €3 ago, you could happily sample them all.

Find French food on the cheap.

Believe it or not, there are some restaurants specializing in French cuisine that won’t see you stumbling into your overdraft. Les Temps des Cerises is one of them.

Described by Yelp as a “Dive Bar,” nothing could be further from the truth.  Run by a cooperative, it attracts a distinctly bohemian crowd. The menu is small, but the food is prepared from ingredients that sing with freshness and high quality.

View from the top of Arc de Triomphe

Eat like a local celebrity …

Rumour has it that Pierre Herme, one of Paris’s most celebrated pastry chefs, visits the Belleville restaurant Le Baratin. The prices are surprisingly low for the delicious Argentinian fare.

Time Out Magazine recommends the tuna carpaccio with cherries or the spicy basque lamb. Pop in at lunchtime for the prixe fix menu. At €18 for three courses it’s hard to complain.

… or eat like a local office worker

Bistro Victoires is a favorite amongst Paris’s locals. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and the wine list leaves a lot to be desired, but when you sit down to enjoy some of the best steak frites in Paris, all else will be forgiven.

Portion sizes are enormous, and the waiters often remind patrons that if they order a starter, they won’t be able to tackle the main course. Despite being a famous location steps away from the Palais Royal, it still manages to be a hidden gem.

Champs-Elysees Sunset

What are your tips for finding the best cheap eats in Paris?

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Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence

Whether you spend a half-day or full day in Pisa, we recommend that you Train to Pisa from Florence. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to get there.

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train to pisa

Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see the beautiful countryside of Italy. The train from Florence to Pisa takes about an hour, and the journey is stunning. The route takes you past vineyards and medieval villages, through tunnels and over bridges, with breathtaking views of the Tuscan hillsides. You can even see the Leaning Tower of Pisa as the train approaches the station.

Woman traveling by train looking out of window

Upon arrival in Pisa, you can explore the historic center and visit the famous cathedral, before enjoying a leisurely lunch overlooking the River Arno. With its stunning scenery and convenient location, a train trip from Florence to Pisa is a great way to spend a day in Italy.

Leaning tower of Pisa, HDR, Italy

How to get to Pisa from Florence

You have a couple of different options for your own half-day trip to Pisa from Florence depending on how you like to travel. But if you are like us and enjoy travelling around Italy by public transport, then you will definitely want to train to Pisa from Florence.

Train to Pisa from Florence

Florence and Pisa are less than 100 km apart and the easiest way is to train to Pisa from Florence. The entire trip one-way takes approximately an hour depending on your route with no transfers.

Trains leave from Florence S.M.Novella for Pisa Centrale a few times every hour. The closest train station to the leaning tower of Pisa is Pisa San Rossore, but it’s not worth the extra time or transfer required. Pisa itself is small and it takes less than 30 minutes to walk to the leaning tower from Pisa Centrale.

Plus you get to explore more of the city such as the River Arno lined with beautiful stately homes.

Pisa River, train from pisa to florence

If you want to book online then a one-way ticket by train to Pisa from Florence will cost from €7.80 (US$10.40) in 2nd class. It is important to make sure that when you are searching online via the Italian train booking site, Trenitalia, you search for “Firenze” rather than Florence.

The train schedules are very easy to understand so we recommend booking your ticket from the self-service machines on the train platform. The return journey is just as easy in reverse. Just watch that you don’t miss the last train around 10pm most days and carry cash with you for the ticket.

Finally, validate your ticket before boarding the train. We forgot a couple of times but used the typical “I’m a stupid tourist” line to get out of any fines.

Bus to Pisa from Florence

Another option is to catch the bus to Pisa from Florence.

There are two main bus companies, Terravision and Autostradale, run regular buses to and from Pisa Airport and Florence Airport into the Florence city centre, they don’t actually go into Pisa itself. The train to Pisa from Florence is so reliable, fast, and cheap, that you may not want to consider this option.

However, there are some advantages to taking the bus. You will see a lot more scenery from the window of the bus, and it’s definitely cheaper; sometimes you can find fares as low as 4 Euros, especially on Fridays.

Travel Guide to visiting Pisa from Florence

Driving to Pisa from Florence

If you have hired a car or scooter in Tuscany then you might look at driving to Pisa from Florence. However, even though the distance is less than 100km, the trip will still take approximately 1 hour.

Aside from the fact that the train to Pisa from Florence typically takes less time than driving, you also have to avoid the crazy Italian drivers. Not to mention trying to find a carpark in two of the most popular cities in Italy. Impossible.

Travel to Pisa from Florence by train, Leaning tower of Pisa HDR

Guided Tour to Pisa from Florence

If you have been enjoying the sunset in Florence and all the city has to offer then you might want to take in a guided tour to Pisa from Florence. Not only do you get a great guide to learn all about the history of the area, you also don’t have to worry about getting to Pisa from Florence.

You might want to check out this guided tour around Pisa or get a little bit more adventurous and try out a segway tour in Pisa. Perfect for the family and it will keep the kids entertained between stops.

If you have a whole day, and haven’t managed to fit in a hike around Cinque Terre, then we recommend looking into the Pisa and Cinque Terre day tour. Lasting roughly 12 hours, you will travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, with a 2 hour stop in Pisa to see all the main sights.

We also reckon guides help you get the best photos, as they have seen all the poses.

Adela funny jumping Pisa

Tell us below if you have taken any funny photos in Pisa!

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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