10/10 would Rennes again!

When I think of northen France (and northern to me is anywhere above Tours), I can’t help but imagine depressing, gloomy towns filled with people with funny accents. This was why I’d never gone north before (besides Paris, which isn’t really the north). I tended to stick to the warmer climate down south, but I recently spent four days over the New Year in the amazing city of Rennes and was pleasantly surprised.

After spending a couple of days back home in Scotland for Christmas, I jumped on a flight to Paris and then caught the TGV with a friend and we headed on-wards to Rennes. The next few days were filled with many whiskys and cokes, a bar with a pet parrot and a quick day trip to Le Mont St-Michel.

I hadn’t know much about Rennes before I’d went but it’s safe to say I’m keen on spending a lot more time there (possibly will head there when I’m finished with studies to teach again..) The town is bustling with young students who are ready to hop into a bar at a moments notice. There is a belief that people in the north of France are unfriendly, which I found to be completely untrue (at least in Rennes). We met so many new people just by chatting over a few (way too many) drinks. It’s crazy how your confidence and language skills improve when you’re un peu bourré. Below are some places I think you should visit if you’re in the area, you can probably tell from my recommendations that I’m prone to a good drink..


  1.  Le P’tit Vélo 

This is a great wee pub with friendly staff and decent prices. There’s plenty of seating outside too if you’re keen to smoke a cheeky clope. You’ll find it in the dead centre of town on Place St-Michel. We returned to this bar a few times over the weekend as the atmosphere was perfect for some pre-drinking!


2. Rue de la Soif

Rue de la Soif  or ‘Street of thirst’ in English is a stones throw form Le P’tit Vélo and boasts a fine number of bars for you to spend a whole night here. The street is packed with like-minded youngsters looking for a good time. There’s bound to at least one bar to suit your taste and who and who can complain when ‘happy hour’ prices can get you a pint for as little as 3 €. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or a place to drink into the wee hours of the morning, this is the street for you 😉

rue de la soif

Eric – a testament to the friendliness of Rennes 


3. Poutinebros

After all that drinking I’m suggesting, Poutinebros is the perfect spot to meet all your hungry needs. As the name suggests, this place serves poutine but they also do some very decent burgers too! Super friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere make this a great place to grab a quick bite before exploring the city again.


Poutine, version crise cardiaque


4. Le Mont St-Michel

Rennes is situated only a short bus ride from one of the most famous monuments in France and the indeed the world. It would be rude not to check out this little village/ island/ abbey / whatever you would like to call it when you’re so close.. The bus was fairly cheap and entrance to the abbey was free for those under 26 and with EU residency.

Mont st micch

The great northern weather


Other than what I’ve already mentioned, take the time to walk around the town and take in the incredible architecture!! Also, bring an umbrella as although the unfriendly stereotype of the north may be untrue, the bad weather certainly is not 😉



Hollywood’s favourite couple spotted in the Basque country…

So, a lot has happened since my last post. From trips to Spain, hungover train journeys and my very first Thanksgiving, there has never been a dull moment!!

I recently had 2 weeks off, so I decided to make the 2 hour trip south to Spain and spend a few days in  San Sebastian with some friends. The city is one of Spain’s most expensive but compared to France, everything was a steal – including the alcohol 😉 It was even warm enough to take a swim in the sea which was weird considering it was almost Novemeber… We spent most of our time either drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol, eating pintxos (tapas) or down at the beach. We were lucky enough to experience pintxos pote on a Thursday night – a drink and a small tapas for a mere 2euros!! It’s safe to say we ended up more than intoxicated that night. Our drunken states allowed us (or should I say my two friends who were looking for a pull) to fall vicitim to some pick-pockets. However, thanks to the Basque police all ended with laughs and we got everything back except our dignity.. San Sebastian is a must visit town with greats bars, nightlife and surf!


Playa de la Concha



Surfs Up!


Back in Pau, things have been in full swing. Work is going well and I genuinely enjoy teaching. Even if some kids couldn’t care less, most of them are keen and motivated. I don’t spend much time at home, every night I’m usually found at the Galway bar with mates or wine-ing and dining like a true Frenchman. I also spent a weekend in Bordeaux which consisted of more wine and good food. Pau might be small but its not lacking in things to do and I’ve met some of the best people!



Hiking in the Pyrenees.


When the paparazzi just can’t leave you alone… #Leo&KateWho?



Giving the fans the photo they want #attractive



Jersey Shore got nothing on us


My first Thanksgiving – basically Christmas minus the presents



What beauties!!



As you can see, life here is top notch! I’m heading to Grenoble next weekend which should turn out some crazy stories so keep and eye out for my next post 😉


La vie en France

So, if you haven’t already heard, I moved to France!! For the rest of the academic year I’ll be working as a language assistant in two high schools. Me teaching children, who would have thought? I’m living in Pau which sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it’s also wine central so it can only be described as a 100% win-win.


The funiculaire with the mountains in the distance!


I’ve already managed to find my own flat in a residence which is specifically for young workers, so meeting people has been very easy. Although, I’m kind of tired of people asking if Scotsmen really go commando under their kilt… I also had some luck at the bank and managed to open an account. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about how difficult it was to open one but it couldn’t have been more straightforward. I even managed to bag some free home insurance so I felt obliged to go back the next day with some shortbread to say thanks. I’m 110% their new favourite customer. I have to go back again next week to give the manager my French phone number, I think it might be for admin purposes but I’ll assume that it’s because she fancies me…


View of the mountains at sunset from my flat window….


You’ll all be happy to know that I’ve made some new pals but don’t worry I’m not replacing you! I’ve been out almost every night since I got here, mostly with other assistants and some Erasmus students. But, we managed to make some new French pals who are keen to go for a drink (or two) this weekend. I’ve also had to take the art of pre-drinking to a new level. A pint here costs at least 5€ whereas 10 beers from le supermarché will set you back a mere 2,80€. I’ve found a new local (sorry Ark) called Le Galway and even though it’s and “Irish” bar, the staff are all French which means I can practise the lingo.

I went for a coffee at a cafe last week to find out the guy who served me plays for the local rugby team (Section Paloise) and was on the winning NZ squad for the 2015 world cup. He also has 80,000 followers on insta (#famous). His wife runs the place but I think he just stepped in to lend a helping hand. Pau is a small town but it is definitely full of characters! There’s also been a few funny nights out but I’ll spare you all the details for another time.

I don’t start work until Monday but I’m going into one of my schools tomorrow to meet the other teachers and find out my timetable – praying for a 3 day weekend. I’m only an hour from Biarritz, so hopefully can try some surfing there and then when winter comes head to the mountains for le ski. 

I think that’s all to update for now so I’ll leave you with some pictures:


Winners of Tour de France (Pau stage) painted on the road



Pink Umbrellas in the main square for breast cancer awareness month



Cool little side street



Panoramic view from the Boulevard des Pyrenees

The best spots in Budapest for a drink

I spent almost three months in Budapest this summer, so I think it’s safe to say I found some cool spots over the few months I was there. I tended to avoid the more touristy places because not only were the prices cheaper but also the atmosphere much better.


1. Telep

Telep was hands down my favourite spot to grab a beer with friends and guests of the hostel where I worked whilst I was in Budapest. It doubled as an art gallery and a cafe so sometimes I’d grab a coffee (or beer) there during the day. The atmosphere feels very homely and the staff are super friendly. Each night there is a different DJ playing a set in the corner of the tiny bar. Often people spilled out into the street, which was why I liked this place so much. The open-air feel was really nice and due to the set-up of the windows it was possible to still here the music. It was only 500HUF for a standard beer which is around € 1.60 and much less than you would pay a stones throw away on Goszdu Udvar. It’s closed on Sundays but at least they are thinking of your hangover and giving you a day off 😉

Telep 2

Telep: good crowd, cheap drinks and great atmosphere. 



2. Dürer Kert

If you’re willing head away from the Jewish Quarter and Old Town then you’ll spend a great night at Durer. This venue is home to some cool decor as well as a chilled out courtyard, trolley-bus-turned-seating area (yes) and various concert halls inside. You won’t find many tourists or even non-locals here which is great if you are looking to get away from the crowds and see a more authentic side of the city. There is always a great line-up of music and festivals going on and more often than not, entry will be free. Again, this is somewhere that you can also chill at during the day. Trolley-bus number 74 leaves from various stops in the centre of town and drops you off right outside which is ideal! A beer will set you back a mere 450HUF (€1.50).


Perfect venue for drinking, eating and listening to live music.


3. Kőleves Kert

Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or looking for somewhere to spend at least a few hours then Kőleves is your place. With a relaxing garden out back and a restaurant inside, this place is ideal. You can find hammocks dotted around the garden which are for chilling with a book and a beer during the day. In the evening, the place is brought to life with cool lighting and large crowds creating a great atmosphere. This place is close to the touristy spots so you might find a few like-minded travelers but for sure still has a local feel to it. Again, like most places in Budapest, you are not going to break the bank here.

4. A38

A38 is one of the most unique places I’ve been to. It’s essentially a bar, restaurant and music venue all-in-one but not only that, it’s an old Soviet barge which rests on the banks of the Danube. I was lucky enough to see some great shows here. They always have a great programme going every month both during the day and at night so there is definitely something for everyone. Many people will spend some time on the banks just beside the venue before shows drinking their own beers which is a cool way to start the evening (not sure how fun this would be in winter though). You can get a beer here for a little as 590HUF (€1.90). Many of the shows are free and even if you’re not there for the music, the bar and restaurant are good too.


A38: A unique experience



5. ELLÁTÓház

Now I did say that I tended to avoid the touristy spots – which is true for the most part – but we all have our guilty pleasures and ELLÁTÓház was definitely mine. Situated in the courtyard of a party hostel this is a great place to grab drinks until the early hours of the morning. Whether you’re looking for a party, open-mic or just somewhere to enjoy a few beers with friends, this is your place. Different events each night means that there’s never a boring night to be had here. It’s located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and is easily accessible from most parts of the city. You’ll pay a little bit more for your drinks here but it’s to be expected given it’s location.

Budapest to Belgrade Night Train

I had a weekend off from work and thought I would head to Belgrade as I had heard some great things and was intrigued by this city that has belonged to numerous countries in the past century.

The easiest option from Budapest was to take a train and to save some money on accommodation I decided to take the night train.

After looking at some blog posts and forums about the night train, I was slightly nervous about the whole idea. The posts ranged from “infamous night train experience” to “avoid avoid avoid” and theft seemed to be a recurring theme. However, it was 26EUR for a return ticket and I thought it’d see for myself what all the fuss was about…

My experience was not like any of those that I had read. Those stories were either highly exaggerated or untrue. The train was super comfortable, albeit a tad slow but there was everything I needed – including power points to charge my phone! For the first 30 minutes or so, I was on edge looking for the “thiefs” I had heard about, however it was clear everyone was purely on the train for the same reason as I was. I sat next to a really friendly Hungarian and across from me were some old Serbian ladies who spent some time drinking Palinka (Hungarian national drink) and giggling about the stories they must have been sharing. Crossing at the border was very simple – show your passport and travel documents and you’ll be on your way. After drifting in and out of sleep for most of the night, I woke at around 5am to the most incredible sunrise, it really was special. An hour later I found myself in the Serbian capital ready to start the weekend.

I would urge you not to believe every bad story you read on the internet and actually live the experience for yourself before making your mind up. As I said, the night train was a great experience and one I would do again.

The price for a single ticket is 15EUR or you can buy and open return for 26EUR.


View over the Sava River, Belgrade.

Winter in Alicante

Alicante in the Costa Blanca, Spain is a vibrant little town with heaps to do. I found a return flight with Ryanair for a total of 17 pounds just before christmas and couldn’t help myself. I stayed at X Hostel and it was amazing. Check out this video montage I made of my time there!!

Amsterdam. Booze, bikes and being baked.

I went to Amsterdam for the second time with a few mates after I decided to book a ticket when I was drunk – always a good idea. Amsterdam has a lot to offer and this post aims to highlight that stuff as well as talking a bit about smoking doobies and licking boobies.

The first thing you’ll have to worry about is accommodation which is usually your biggest expense – or if you’re a lucky bastard like me, you’re mates will let you stay with them for free. Yass. If you’re alone, I’d definitely recommend booking a hostel because not only are they cheap but they’re full of like-minded travelers who will want to be your pal. Everybody wins. I’d recommend staying at either St Christopher’s at the Winston or The Flying Pig. They both boast an amazing atmosphere with a cool crowd so you’ll be sure to have a good time! However, if there’s more than two of you then maybe stay in an apartment and save yourself a few pennies that can go towards alcohol and other pleasurable “activities”. Check out airbnb who have endless apartments at a price to suit your budget.

flying pig 2

The Flying Pig Downtown hostel has a cool bar and it’s own smoking room. 

People always ask what is there to do in Amsterdam? Aside from the really obvious “get pissed, get high and shag a prozzy”, there’s heaps to do!

During the day I’d recommend doing what’s considered the “boring” stuff such as visiting the museums and getting your picture took with the infamous Iamsterdam sign. The Heineken Experience was one of my favourite places in Amsterdam, not only did I get three beers at the end but I found out a lot about what makes a good beer and why apparently Heineken is the best. Now, you’ve probably all heard about Anne Frank Museum and how you must go but to be honest, I gave it a miss both times I’ve been in Amsterdam. The first time I tried to go the queue was too long and the second, I was too hungover. However, I’ve heard it’s worth a visit so head to their website to find out more if you’re interested.


The Heineken Experience, definitely worth the money!!

Amsterdam is packed with shit to get up to at night. From the famous Red Light District to the Leidseplein, there’s always something going on. The first few nights, we hung around the Red Light District. There’s heaps of bars and coffee shops and many a place to get your fix. Head to  For cheap pre-rolled joints head to Stone’s Cafe on Warmoesstraat – there’s many to choose from but beware this shit is strong, well at least for an amateur like myself. By the end of my first joint I thought I was genuinely on the Hogwart’s Express with Ginger Ron and Harry. Nonetheless, a good experience.


Are we cool yet?? #amsterdamn

For a good night head to Leidseplein which is crawling with bars and clubs. We went into the first place we saw, not the best of places but “Club Nasty” still gives me and my friends a good chuckle to this day.

If it’s a quieter night you’re after then try Cafe Brecht, a German bar/cafe that offers good Deutschland beer for as little as 3euros. I was on a different flights from my friends so spent the most part of my first day here running up a tab. We returned later in the weekend and had some food too which was pretty good. The tortilla wraps are recommended by my mate but not sure if they were actually good or it was just her appetite after a space cake.


Cafe Brecht. Good food and beer. 8/10.

Amsterdam is bustling with things to do and I’m certain you’ll find something that you will enjoy. I was there for a holiday so spent around 280euros over 4 days but it probably could be done even cheaper.Have fun and be safe.

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