Photos: That Time Reykjavík Was Buried In Record Snowfall

Photos- That Time Reykjavík Was Buried In Snowfall

I’m pretty sure this was my fault. After living in Reykjavík for about a month, I was emailing my Grandma and informing her of the weather, as you do. “Oh it’s not too cold, just rainy and cloudy mostly…just like the UK,” I told her. And then that night, bam! 4 feet of snow dropped seemingly in one go. Thor was clearly not happy with being compared to England. Which is fair enough. So, we woke up to snow so thick we could hardly open the front door. This was, as we would discover, the most snowfall Reykjavík had in a single night for about ninety years.

We felt like children, charging into the street, gazing in awe at the sheer crotch-deep amount of powder that was bringing the city to a standstill. That was until all the tourists woke up and found their tours were cancelled, so wandered the streets in droves, in a mixture of delight and frustration. Not only this, but the main road out of Reykjavík was shut, meaning many tourists missed their flights home.

Aside from the tourists clogging the streets, Reykjavík was stunning. The skies were completely clear, the air completely still and the snow completely and utterly beautiful. Take a look for yourself…

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Living The Icelandic Dream

We are currently living in one of our favourite cities- Reykjavík. I was offered a chance to intern at The Reykjavík Grapevine, the country’s largest tourist publication, so we hopped on a flight ASAP and headed north.

We will be here for the next few months at least. I am still posting articles on our past adventures, whilst having new ones. For pictures of our beautiful new home, visit our instagram.

Takk!

Las Vegas’ Neon Boneyard: A Beginners Guide

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Anything can go out of fashion, including casino signs. And in Vegas, when something goes out of style, it’s tossed. Fortunately though, many of Vegas’ most famous casinos kept hold of their ‘out of date’ signs and they are now on display at ‘The Neon Boneyard’.

This two-acre outdoor museum is home to almost 200 signs which lean up against each other as a tribute to the glitz and glam of Las Vegas days gone by. At $19 per adult and a short taxi drive from The Strip, it is –in my opinion- a must-see addition to any Vegas holiday.

When should you go?

Self-guided tours are not permitted due to the possibility of broken glass and other potentially dangerous things about the place; you must book a slot with a tour guide. Tours run all day from 10:30-2100, so when is the best time to go? After reading reviews online, we decided against the more expensive ($25) night-time tours. The vast majority of the signs don’t work anymore and are lit up with spotlights on the ground instead. This doesn’t really replicate the original working lights plus you can’t see the characteristic flaking paint and blown bulbs, which is part of the charm of the place- you can see working signs on the strip, after all.

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neonboneyard-lostness-co-ukPersonally, I think the signs look best at around sunset. The golden light simply dazzles off the signs and reminds you that you are stood in the middle of the desert. That sepia tone the sun casts and the characteristic ‘run down’ nature of the place is reminiscent of Wild West movies.

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History is not something that people usually associate with Las Vegas, but it’s there if you look for it. So if you’re missing a bit of culture, step away from the slot machines and head over to The Neon Boneyard, and make sure you have plenty of memory on your camera, you won’t stop taking pictures.

You can book a tour through the Neon Boneyard’s website here. Or call them on (702) 387-6366.

 

 

A Real Page Turner: Tokyo’s Book and Bed Hotel

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Capsule hotels are a very Japanese thing. Originally designed as a cheap bed for the drunken salary man who’s missed the last train home, these ‘stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’ beds are now becoming a staple part of a tourist trip to Tokyo. The traditional capsule hotels are essentially rows and rows of beds built into a vast wall- a bit like a bed in a morgue, but less cold and with super fast Wi-Fi. The beds will normally be large enough to sit up in, and will often have a TV, personal air-con and ventilation system, and a night-light. If you don’t suffer from claustrophobia then this is a great place to rest your head for the night. Enter Tokyo’s up and coming capsule hotel: The Book and Bed.

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Coming out of the elevator on the seventh floor, you are greeted with this reception hatch

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Cosy bed nook

A slightly less traditional capsule hotel is the Book and Bed hotel in Tokyo. It’s essentially a fusion between a capsule hotel and a library. Behind an entire wall of books (both Japanese and English) are cosy beds complete with an outlet and night-light, so you can take a book to bed with you. There is also a separate bed space, away from the slightly noisier bookshelf area. The beds here are narrower and less cute, but cheaper and quieter. Surrounding the bookshelves are comfy sofas and large windows so you can look out from the seventh floor onto the glittering skyscrapers of Ikebukuro. There’s even a tea station so you can settle down with a cuppa while you read.

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This isn’t the kind of place that you come back to a 3am and pass out. It’s designed as a place to escape the rush, to retreat. You will want to spend the night in. It’s Japanese functionality meets hipster cool. If you love everything cosy and trendy, then you’ll love this place. As they say at the Book and Bed: ‘have a book night!’

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The Book and Bed is located on the 7th floor of the Lumiere Building, just a 30 second walk from exit C8 of Ikebukuro station. To reserve a bed, visit their website.

Our Top 5 Travel Apps

There is a lot of debate surrounding technology and travel. Some lament our constant connection to the Internet, and claim that our obsession with social media stops us from truly experiencing travel the good old-fashioned way. Others claim that technology has made travel far more accessible. Our school of thought is somewhere in between. So, for those tech gurus out there about to embark on a trip, here are our top travel apps…

Google photos

If you take lots of photos on your phone, get Google Photos. We were only a third of the way into our trip and I already had to delete everything expendable on my phone in order to take one photo. Google Photos allows you to delete your precious memories off your phone *gasp* and stores them in their handy app. Regardless of what device you’re on, all you have to do is log in, and they’re all there, safe and sound. Get it now and snap to your hearts content.

Airbnb

Ninety per cent of our accommodation was booked through Airbnb. So for us, checking Airbnb for new places to stay, messages and reviews became a daily routine. The app made this so much quicker and easier. It’s much simpler to navigate than their website, so if you plan on using Airbnb regularly, we suggest you download their app.

Maps.me

In Japan we had to go a week without Internet, and boy was it tricky to navigate our way round Tokyo without Google (such is the millennial way of life). In an attempt to look on the bright side I said to Jasper, ‘Christopher Columbus found America without the internet!’ to which he replied, ‘yeah but he was trying to find India’. Needless to say we soon downloaded Maps.me. It’s essentially a sat nav that uses your phone’s GPS, so you can find your way around without being connected to the Internet. It even has lots of off the beaten track trail maps, so you won’t get lost in the depths of a National Park (unless that’s your plan!). We would really recommend this app, especially if you’re road tripping for a long time. In the US for instance, car hire companies will try to charge you an extra $10 a day for a sat nav- that’s $300 for a month! Just download this (free) app and you’re sorted!

Revolut

When you are travelling long term, you simply cannot carry around months and months worth of cash. The only other option seems to be to use your regular debit card, but most charge a hefty fee for using it abroad, which will add up quickly! So what next? Get a prepaid travel card. There are plenty on the market which will allow you to upload cash at an interbank rate, without fees. But Revolut has an amazing app that makes transferring cash, checking your balance and paying others really easy. Your Revolut card will be accepted most places, as it has a Mastercard logo.

Lyft

Arguably the more ethical sibling to the infamous app Über, Lyft lets you book a taxi, pay for it online (so no more swindling taxi drivers), track the taxi’s location and rate your driver. You can even car pool. If you are travelling around a big city, and want a safe ride home, Lyft has you covered. Oh and they don’t support Trump, so that’s good too.

 

Technology generally doesn’t enhance the excitement of travel, but it does make travel easier and much less stressful. And remember you always have the option to disconnect- switch your phone off for a few days and get lost, just like the in the olden days!

Hocus Pocus and Halloween in Salem, MA

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Celebrating Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts has been on my bucket list for a long time. Most people know Salem as the location of the 1692 Witch Trials and, as a result of this dark past, Salem’s residents take All Hallows Eve very seriously. Salem actually runs a month-long celebration of Halloween called ‘Haunted Happenings’, with plenty of shows, exhibits and museum tours to be had throughout October.

Jasper and I were so excited to celebrate one of the best holidays in Salem, we felt we simply couldn’t do it alone, so my sister Molly came to join us, just for the occasion. And we tore it up: boss-witch style. Here is a list of what we got up to in this old town, full of darkness and intrigue…

“It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!”

Molly and I (and our two other sisters) first encountered Salem as children watching the family film and cult classic Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler (Jasper *reluctantly* watched this film a little more recently). If you have not seen this hoot-a-second movie then you might want to skip this section (and make a mental note to watch Hocus Pocus ASAP). If you have seen it, then you may be surprised to find out that most of the film was actually shot in Salem itself! Which means that there are plenty of film locations dotted around town, including…

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The Town Hall. Remember this? Where Max and Dani’s parents get drunk and Bette Midler sings ‘I Put A Spell On You’? #classic

You can find Salem Town Hall at 93 Washington Street.

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‘Alison’s House’, home to the most boring looking Halloween party ever. AKA ‘Ropes Mansion’. And look who we bumped into….

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It’s the Sanderson Sisters!

You can find Ropes Mansion at 318 Essex Street.

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‘Max’s House’. That super cool window at the top remains intact- not blown up by witches and/or teenage angst. Note: this is a residential house, so no trespassing, loud noises, or sprinkling salt barriers around the premises.

‘Max’s House’ is a little drive out of Salem city centre at, 4 Ocean Avenue.

Halloween Night

If you want to feel famous for a night, get an amazing costume and come to Salem on Halloween. We spent hours wandering through the streets just taking photos of people and telling them how amazing they looked. It wasn’t just us though, we were part of many ‘fangirling’ hoards, scrambling for photos of the best-dressed. We figured that there are approximately 3 different types of costumes…

  1. Genuinely terrifying:

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2. Amazing, but nothing to do with halloween:

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3. Cult characters/people in terrible 90’s clothes (it can be difficult to tell the difference)

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Yes, this is us.

There is a feeling of friendship as people walk the streets. You see strangers dressed as related characters converse without breaking character; Little Red Riding Hood commenting on how big Grandma Wolf’s teeth are, the Mad Hatter inviting Alice to tea, the Pope catching up with Satan (not even joking). In any case, for a guaranteed great time, get yourself a costume and don’t forget your camera.

Honourable Mentions:

 Stickwork

This sculpture in the centre of town is pretty hard to miss. Created by artist Patrick Dougherty, this installation is created by woven sticks and branches to create a wholly natural, almost Pagan looking piece, which juxtaposes against the manmade surroundings. If you want to see it, you’ll need to be quick: the exhibit is only on view until 31st March 2017.

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Bewitched Statue

In the centre of town is a statue of Samantha from the 60’s sitcom ‘Bewitched’. It draws in a large crowd, which is perhaps why a fundamentalist Christian picked this spot to yell continuously for eight hours. This is the only picture I managed to get without him in…

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Beautiful Houses 

We probably spent a good two or three hours just wandering around the residential areas of Salem, gazing at their beautiful, quintessentially New England houses. If you love architecture, we suggest you do the same.

 

 

Halloween in Salem has now been ticked off my list, and it was everything I hoped it would be. If you love Halloween, Hocus Pocus, or just beautiful New England towns, get on your broomstick and fly over here!

 

What about all the witches though!? Don’t get your cauldron in a bubble; we’ve got a whole extra post just about Salem’s most famous residents. Find it here.

Witching Hour: Top Magical Spots in Salem, MA

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Salem, Massachusetts is the location of perhaps the most famous witch-hunt in human history and it does not shy away from its dark past. As a result, Salem has become a place of remembrance for those persecuted in the late seventeenth century with many memorials and museums dedicated to the victims of what is often considered one of America’s darkest moments.

A trip to Salem would be incomplete without visiting at least one of the following sites…

Salem Witch Museum

The Witch Trials of 1692 are Salem’s –and possibly one of America’s- most famous historical events. In the space of a few months, mass hysteria gripped this small Puritan town resulting in the executions of 20 residents. Salem’s Witch Museum is a hugely popular museum, which has an interactive display detailing the trials themselves. It is really interesting and informative (though a little corny!). If it’s your first trip to Salem, or you know little of the trials, we suggest you start here.

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Another must-see spot is the Witch Trial memorial site which shows the names of all those persecuted in 1692 etched into large blocks of stone. Many still lay flowers in remembrance. Next to the memorial is a large graveyard, home to graves of many Judges who presided over The Witch Trials. It’s pretty spooky walking through here after dark, that’s for sure.

 

The House of the Seven Gables

If Salem’s history interests you, visit The House Of The Seven Gables. Originally owned by Judge Hathorne, this beautiful -if bleak- house was also home to his great-great-grandson, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was famously haunted by his grandfather’s involvement in The Witch Trials.

The Witch House

One of the oldest houses in Salem and home of another judge, Jonathathewitchhouse1-lostness-co-ukn Corwin, this house, known as ‘The Witch House’, has been kept by the City of Salem as an example of everyday life in a late seventeenth century Puritan town. Take a self-guided tour through the building and learn about the, let’s face it, bleak lives of the inhabitants of Salem in 1692. Although a simple little museum, this was probably one of the most enjoyable and informative ones we visited. 100% go here.
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Witch Shops

Because of its ties with witchcraft (even though imaginary), Salem has become a Mecca for Pagans, herbalists and spiritualists who now call themselves ‘witches’. There are plenty of witch supply shops around the town that provide herbs, crystals and even cauldrons for those who want to practice ‘witchcraft’. Our favourite was a little shop called ‘Hauswitch’. We have to admit that we are a little obsessed with this shop. Not only do they sell beautiful home wear, art, and spell kits, but they run meditation classes and tarot card readings in the evening. It is a feminist heaven and I really want to join their coven.

 

Salem did not disappoint. Regardless of its busy tourist industry, it hasn’t lost any of its New England charm. If you love architecture, history, or just a good ghost story, it is well worth the trip. There really are few towns out there whose identities are so wrapped up with their own history, but when this happens it creates a place full of intrigue, energy, and…magic!

Japan’s Must-Try Foods and Restaurants

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Visiting Japan without sampling their cuisine would be like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. And, speaking of France, Japan has actually overtaken them in number of Michelin-Starred establishments- so that just proves how amazing their cuisine is! We have compiled a list of the best food we tried and the most interesting restaurants we visited. So, in no particular order…

 

Sushi at Tsukiji Market

In the west, when we think of Japanese food, we think sushi. Perhaps this is because it seems to encompass Japanese life and culture in itself; simple yet artful, masterful and full of ritual. Probably one of the best places to eat sushi is at Tsukiji market in Tokyo. The market draws in tourists who watch at 3am as monster tunas, fresh from the ocean, are auctioned to different restaurants. Needless to say, the sushi restaurants next to the market provided the most delicious sushi we ate in Japan. A testament to the freshness of their fish, and also the popularity of the sushi in Tsukiji, is that past 3pm most restaurants have completely run out- so make sure you make it for lunchtime, or even breakfast!

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Moomin Café

If you weren’t aware, The Moomins are fictional characters from children’s books by Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson. They are cute, whimsical and quirky, so it is hardly surprising that Japan goes mad for them. If you too go mad for the adorable trolls, prepare to be impressed. The Moomin Café and Bakery, situated in the Bunkyo area next to the Tokyo Dome, has a variety of Moomin themed food and gifts. BUT the best thing is, that you actually get to sit with a Moomin character while you eat! The characters ‘rotate’ tables, choosing who they want to sit with- so who knows which one you’ll meet!

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Shave Ice in Kyoto 

So, throughout our time in Japan, people kept telling us to try shave ice, and we were really confused what all the fuss was about. It’s just a load of ice with syrup on it, how good can it be?! Turns out, very good. Like, so good. Like, our new favourite desert good. Although most places in Japan serve shave ice, Kyoto is renowned for it. We stumbled into a small restaurant near the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove -mainly to escape the stifling humidity- and ordered our first shave ice. It was exactly what we needed. The ice shavings are so fine that they melt as soon as they touch your tongue, the brown sugar syrup is deliciously sweet and the bean paste adds natural earthy flavours. All in all, it is one of the most refreshing and tasty desserts we have ever eaten. 10/10 would eat again.

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Animal Cafés in Tokyo

Japan is known for its cute and quirky take on everything, including the humble café. And what could be more cute than slurping a mug of matcha tea with a snoozing kitty on your lap? The correct answer is: nothing. So if you fancy cuddling an animal whilst getting your caffeine fix, Tokyo is the place. They have everything from bunny cafés, cat cafés and even hedgehog cafés!

Read more about our trip to some of Tokyo’s animal cafés here.

 Takoyaki in Osaka

 If you make it to Osaka make sure you try takoyaki- my favourite Japanese dish! Although you can find it throughout Japan, Osaka is credited as the birthplace of these little balls of heaven. Takoyaki consists of creamy octopus surrounded by fried batter, served with sweet sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise. Go to Dotonbori for the best takoyaki in Osaka and gaze at the vendors’ lightning fast frying skills; gigantic octopus adorn the buildings, and there are queues of people waiting to get their hands on this, the mother of all street food.

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Crêpes in Harajuku

Don’t you hate it when you’re craving a crêpe, but you also fancy vanilla cheesecake? Well Japan -the masters of ingenuity and efficiency- have solved your problem: wrap a slice of cheesecake in a crêpe and drizzle it with chocolate sauce. Needless to say, if you’re craving sugar, head to Harajuku. Stall after stall of sweet, syrupy, chocolaty, sugary goodness will keep you buzzing for hours.

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Find out more about our trip to Harajuku here.

Kobe Beef

A regular steak can cost upwards of £70, but if your budget can stretch to it, try Kobe beef. Failing that, try ‘wagyu’ beef, which can be cheaper. Wagyu is the generic term for Japanese cows which produce high quality, marbled, tender cuts of meat. In other words, Kobe beef is an example of wagyu meat specifically raised in Kobe. It has gained renown worldwide, and this demand has raised the price of Kobe beef substantially. Wagyu meat from other areas of Japan are therefore more likely to be cheaper, but still very good. We actually tried Kobe beef whilst on a cooking class in Kyoto, which was a much more affordable way of trying it. It was potentially the most delicious meat we’ve ever tasted- it literally melted in the mouth. *drooling*

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If this list doesn’t whet your appetite, nothing will. So if you love food, head to Japan and eat and eat and eat- it will be the best decision you ever make!

 

Top 5 Animal Experiences in Japan

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Japanese culture is very animal-centric; from the animal shrines in temples, to the kitsch and cute animae characters plastered on every billboard in Tokyo. It is hardly surprising therefore that Japan is awash with animal experiences to be had: cafes, zoos and even just wild animals roaming the streets!

However, Japan isn’t exactly famous for its animal welfare laws, and we certainly saw some pretty distasteful things in Tokyo’s pet shops. With this in mind, it is important to do some research before attending any animal experience, or you may run the risk of funding something that, in many other countries, would probably be shut down.

And so, here is our definitive ranking of all the animal experiences we took part in:

  1. Harry’s Hedgehog Café (Roppongi Tokyo)

Cons:

The reason this came in fifth is for the fact that, despite hedgehogs being nocturnal, the café is open throughout the day, meaning that the spike balls get petted and played with when they should be asleep. However, the staff do seem mindful to this and will prevent you from petting any hedgehogs that they feel need to rest.

Once inside, the staff teach you how to hold the hedgehogs and you also have the chance to buy some mealworms (¥500/£3.50), which you can feed them with a pair of tweezers.

The hedgehogs are pretty adorable, and it certainly is fun holding them whilst enjoying a cup of tea. The space is quite small and the number of customers is limited, so be sure to reserve your place in advance, as there can often be a queue out the door. The café is open until 2100, so perhaps go as late as possible to prevent disturbing the little prickle monsters.

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  1. Zao Fox Village (Sendai)

Cons:

The main problem we had with this place was the seemingly unnecessary number of foxes they had. It was almost as though they were breeding them for the sake of the attraction, rather than having the best interests of the foxes at heart. Admittedly however, the foxes did seem well looked after and happy.

The village itself is annoyingly tricky to get to. If you want rely on public transportation alone (usually not a problem in Japan), be prepared to get up early and spend 5 hours at the fox village. It is in the middle of nowhere and only 2 buses a day run from Shiraishi station, one at 0800 and one at 1335. If you’re short on time however, consider paying for a taxi at least one-way.

The fox village is made up of three main areas: the hospital, (where they treat injured or sick foxes) the nursery, (where young cubs are placed in a fenced off area next to the main park, to allow them to integrate safely) and the main area (where foxes can roam around freely). These foxes -in all red, white and black varieties- really are beautiful. You can feed them from the feeding tower, and although you are not allowed to touch them as they roam their home, you can pay about ¥200 (£1.50) to have a cuddle with one of the cubs.

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  1. Deer in Nara and Miyajima

The only wild animals to make this list! The towns of Nara and Miyajima are not only famous for their beautiful temples and shrines, but also the wild deer that roam the streets like pedestrians. In Nara you can buy crackers called senbei to feed them, which they go absolutely mad for. Seriously, if they think you have some in your backpack they will not hesitate to follow you down the street. The deer have had this relationship with tourists for so long that they have actually learnt to bow for their food.

In Miyajima however, senbei is not typically sold to tourists. So, the deer are a bit more…desperate. We actually had to help a guy wrestle his rail pass from the jaws of a peckish deer. You have been warned!

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Choosing an ice cream in Nara

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The Miyajima deer like to photobomb…

  1. Cat Café (Nyafe Melange, Shibuya)

Cat cafes have taken the world by storm. You can now find them in London, Manchester and New York…but none of them will be as kitsch and cute as the original Japanese ones. There are plenty of cat cafes across Japan to choose from, and they can really vary in quality, so research is crucial!

We visited ‘Nyafe Melange’ in Shibuya. They have a range of time and price plans, the cheapest being ¥600 (£4) for 30mins. This large loft space is home to 23 cuddly friendly cats that can sit in the main room, or if they want some alone time, there is a separate human-free room for their use only. Overall, it’s exactly what a cat café should be- totally chilled. The cats may come and sit on your lap and play with you, or –because they’re cats- they may choose to ignore you completely. But that’s the risk you take.

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Living the dream…

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  1. Sahoro Bear Mountain (Shintoku, Hokkaido)

We really wanted to see some bears when we were in Hokkaido. We also really didn’t want a wild one to kill us. So, the only option was to see bears in captivity. Whilst travelling around Hokkaido, we had seen a lot of advertisements for bear parks, such as the Noboribetsu Bear Park, and we were confused why it didn’t appear in our Lonely Planet guide. Just Google image search it and you’ll see why. It’s essentially a small concrete pit with no vegetation or stimulation where at least a dozen bears (who are solitary animals) are crammed in together. They have learned to perform tricks for the food tourists throw at them. It looks pretty grim to say the least.

Bear Mountain (which does appear in the LP Japan guidebook) is a world away from this. 15 hectares of forest house 12 bears. Ponds are stocked with fish; there are trees, grass and plenty of stimulation. Tourists can walk along an elevated walkway, and gaze below at the bears going about their business, as if in the wild. The walkway (which is only 370m long, so takes up a very small amount of the bears’ space) then leads into a room with a glass wall which allows you to watch as the bears frolic in the water together. At the adult price of ¥1836 (£13), it is also half the amount of the terrible Noboribetsu Bear Park. If you can make it to the slightly remote location- we highly recommend it!

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And that’s a wrap! There are about a bazillion other animal experiences in Japan that we simply did not have time to try. Let me know what you think of our list, and if there are any other animal experiences you would recommend!

Dear Travel Bloggers: Please Stop Saying ‘Anyone Can Travel’

Travel Is Not For Everyone

There are plenty of travel bloggers out there that will claim ‘anyone can travel if they really want to’. Although these posts are inspirational pieces of writing, rousing people to just save up and get out there, I find it quite difficult to read them without being reminded of this –pretty hilarious- sketch from College Humour:

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Just like the girl in this video, lots of bloggers fail to appreciate that going travelling is disproportionally difficult for some people. Disproportionate being the key word. Lots of bloggers claim ‘anyone can travel if they really want to’ as though everyone has the same opportunity to travel and therefore the only reason people don’t travel is that they simply can’t want it enough. Which is wrong. And not only is it wrong; it’s condescending, narrow-minded and reeks of privilege. Here is –in true blogger form- a list of every claim I’ve read on travel blogs, and what is wrong with them.

Travelling isn’t that expensive. Just save up!

Ok, so first of all the term ‘expensive’ is relative. I recently read a blog post that called expensive travel a ‘myth’, quoting the fact that flights from America to Europe are only $400 USD. Is that cheap for what it is? Yes. Does that mean it’s cheap? No. For some people $400 USD is what they need to survive for months, it is not cheap.

In terms of saving money, Jasper and I are very proud of the fact that we saved up the money for our trip whilst supporting ourselves. But the very fact that we had any expendable income at all, means we’re already ahead of many others. For a lot of people the amount they would be able to save means they would be saving for years. I have to be honest, if it were that difficult for Jasper and I, we probably wouldn’t have bothered.

You don’t think you can travel because that’s what society wants you to think.

One main reason it was so easy for us to travel was because we have no responsibilities: no children, no elderly relatives to look after, no one that relies on our continued, stable presence in their lives. Neither do we have any physical or mental conditions that would make it difficult to travel. All of these factors, although they do not make travelling impossible, do make it substantially harder, and that can make all the difference. And when you combine these responsibilities with lack of funds (because so often they go hand-in-hand), travel is basically a no-go. So no: it’s not just society, it’s life.

The world is your oyster!

Privilege affects peoples’ ability to travel in another way which, I am ashamed to say, I didn’t fully appreciate until recently. There are plenty of places in the world where just being who you are, is a problem: whether that is being a member of the LGBT community, a POC, of a certain religion, or a woman travelling alone. So, it is important to remember that whereas some people are able to look at a world map and see boundless opportunity, others look at it and, through fear of this very real increased danger, are forced to block entire areas of it off to themselves.

 

One of the main reasons these articles really get my goat is because usually the authors are part of the privileged few who are making assumptions for the masses, without thinking for a moment that perhaps their situation is different. It makes the people who are struggling in their everyday lives feel like, surely, they must be doing something wrong because according to these debtless college-grads, anyone can travel- right? No, unfortunately not; even in 2017, long-term travel still belongs to a small minority, and claiming otherwise contributes to a society that blames the single mothers for being so tired, the minimum wage worker for having no time, and ultimately, the poor for being so poor.