Less than 2 months earlier, I have launched this blog with a strong desire to share my travel stories while keeping it updated, fresh and clean. I’ve covered the first leg of my summer trips in Paris and I have shared my feelings about the cancellation of my flight to Croatia, a country I absolutely wanted to visit before it gets into the EU. I have also covered events during my stay in Morocco such as Meditel Morocco Music Awards and TEDxEMSI. Following my 3 weeks in Casablanca, I’ve been to London for a week mainly to reconnect with friends.
The second leg of my trip took me to Central Europe for the first time, Italy and San Marino. 5 countries that I have visited in 2 weeks passing by 9 cities. I’ve updated the blog on a daily basis giving my readers a deep look into my experiences and adventures. It has given me much more practice and tips about managing this blog and making it more than a passion but rather a bigger project.
My summer holidays are not over. Even though, I’m writing this article as a summary of what happened in this blog the last 2 months. So what city I liked most during my trips? What place I should definitely recommend? What are things to avoid for next time? What did I learn? How did I manage myself and my plans? How am I doing with stats? And what now?
Start of the blog:
All started with an idea to record 3 minutes videos of myself while travelling… Then it comes out to be a little bit harder with no proper material so I’ve come with the idea of starting a blog to share about my travels and daily life between London and Casablanca. I’ve written my first article to greet my first readers in Paris, followed by my first tries…
07/06/2013: Paris, France On a friday night, I’ve taken a bus from London to Paris for my cousin’s wedding the next day. I’ve stayed around 6 days there, I’ve organised my monthly Free Hugs event and taken time to visit places I’ve never been to before. Among those places, there is Montmartre with its Moulin Rouge, Sacré Coeur and its tiny streets. For my cousin/friend’s birthday, we’ve taken the lift up in the air… yes, to the top of Eiffel Tower. However, some personal circumstances made my trip not that much enjoyable and I’m not really a fan of Paris!
12/06/2013: Zadar, Croatia On 12th June, I was due to take a plane from Paris to Zadar in Croatia but the flight has been cancelled due to an air strike by french controllers. The low-cost company proposed to replace my flight free of charge for the next flights but unfortunately, there was no flights until sunday which was already my return date… So I haven’t been to Croatia this time! Another time…
14/06/2013: Casablanca, Morocco Home sweet home! I was happy to get back to Morocco after a deceptive stay in Paris. I’ve taken time to spend time with my family in Meknes and enjoy sun. Moreover, I’ve had the opportunity to plan well the rest of my trip!
04/07/2013: London, United Kingdom After 3 weeks home, I finally get back to London for 6 days which I spent entirely catching up with friends and attending some cool events such as British Summer Festival. I had few days to get ready for my 2 weeks trip so I packed and took time to plan carefully.
10/07/2013: Bratislava, Slovakia First stop of my trip. I spent 2 nights in the capital of Slovakia where I discovered some parts of the culture and the Slovak lifestyle, not different from the rest of Europe with some soviet roots from the communist times. I was also happy to be in a fairly small capital city where people are generally enthusiastic about my origins as it is not a common destination for Moroccans. During both days, I’ve seen the Old Town, walked along the Danube and met some nice people.
12/07/2013: Vienna, Austria From Bratislava to Vienna, I’ve taken a bus for like 1 hour paying 7 euros. Once in the heart of the heart of Europe, I felt lost a little bit. The language was german which I have no clue what any word means, I had a heavy backpack and no company for a long time that day. Luckily, I met two girls from France who are travelling as well so we hang out together and visited the city. On a sunday, I’ve experienced a typical Austrian hobby as I’ve been climbing with a group of friends.
14/07/2013: Budapest, Hungary This city has been on my list for a very long time! When planning my trip, I made sure I stay there longer than the others. I stayed for around 3 days in Budapest discovering the city and its treasures such as the Castle, the Royal Palace, the Parliament and more. During my whole stay there, I met the french girls again with whom I spent most of my time as well as a friend from the UK who was travelling too. Finally, one of my best experiences is an afternoon relaxing at Szechenyi Bath.
17/07/2013: Milan, Italy I enter Italy for the first time since 2010 after a short flight from Budapest. I kicked off my trip there starting in Milan where I’ve seen the famous Duomo, the ‘Cimetero Monumentale’ and the canal. I enjoyed my time and I felt like one day was enough there as it is more like a shopping destination.
19/07/2013: Venice, Italy One of the most exciting times of my whole trip, I could even say of my life- if and only if it was not that hot there! I have taken 4 showers on a single day in Venice but still it wasn’t enough! The high temperatures and the crowds where not helpful to enjoy to the maximum Venice and its canals. However, after sunset, I was able to breathe again! Streets are lighter and less crowded, temperatures get cooler a little bit and the nightlife is awesome. During my stay there, I was lucky that it did cross over with Redentore celebrations so I met a group of CouchSurfers on a party to enjoy fireworks.
21/07/2013: Rimini, Italy Still in Italy… To change a little bit, I’ve decided to stop in this beach resort to try the Adriatic Sea water and sand. I’ve made the right decision as I spent some good times with Clarissa from CS who made sure I see more than Rimini and took me to Santarcangelo a village nearby where I had some of the best italian in my whole life! The other reason why I chose Rimini it’s because of its strategic localisation just few miles from San Marino, another country.
22/07/2013: San Marino, San Marino No, I’m not singing some verse from an Italian song, the city’s name is San Marino as well as the country! This is one of the smallest countries in Europe and it is known as the oldest republic in the continent. I entered San Marino on an evening for a dinner with Clarissa and other surfers and came back for a day trip to see more of my 20th country!
23/07/2013: Pavia, Italy For my last night in Italy, I spontaneously ended up in Pavia a city far by 35km from Milan. It is a lovely city that I visited during the day walking around its streets. It has definitely a lot to offer even though it is just a small city under Milan’s shadow… but I had my plane back to Morocco the same day so I didn’t see much.
– Getting to the top of Eiffel Tower is one of my highlights, the top of the tower offers an amazing view over Paris and its surroundings. It was cloudy and a little bit windy but it is worth paying 13 euros for such experience.
– My first climbing experience in Vienna was unforgettable! I climbed twice on a rock with some fears at the beginning but joy when I reached the top.
– Since I knew Budapest for its baths, I absolutely wanted to try this once. Once again, I paied 13 euros to have a full day access to Szechenyi Bath which is known as one of the best. Even though, it was very touristic I enjoyed my afternoon and thought it’s something I would really like to do in Budapest again.
– Being in Venice was definitely the best thing from the whole trip! I really liked the city despite the heat. It is like an open-air amusement park!
– San Marino became the 20th country I visit, it is such a nice number for my young age making me proud of my strong passion.
The blog has been active for around 2 months on a daily basis, articles were written in every place I’ve quoted above. The stats have been good:
- In average, there are 46 views per day since the start.
- In total, the blog have been seen over 2,500 times so far.
- The best number of views ever recorded is 1,200 views in one single day!
- Most viewed post is: 11th July: Still at the Slovak capital… with 663 views so far.
- Viewers come from 52 different countries with a top 10 views by country:
- – Slovakia (932 views)
- – Morocco (670 views)
- – United Kingdom (212 views)
- – France
- – United States
- – Czech Republic
- – Hungary
- – Germany
- – Austria
- – Spain
- http://bratislava.sme.sk/ has been the top referee, followed by Facebook.
Source: WordPress Stats as at 3rd August 2013.
Just like in a relationship, I am questioning myself on what is next concerning the blog and my personal trips…
I’ve met a travel blogger from the USA in Venice and he told me about TBEX conference taking place in Dublin, Ireland this october. It is a global conference where travel bloggers and professional meet. I would like to make some money out of this blog so I will think of getting a domain name with .com, create a Facebook fan page, remain present on social media and maybe start doing advertising on the blog.
Concerning my trips, my Schengen Visa expires on 8th August 2013 and I think the soonest I would get it renewed is next year. Therefore, I will not have much possibilities to visit Europe so maybe it is time to see more of the UK especially outside England so Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I plan to see one of those countries before university which is on 20th september. And some time in 2014, I would love to get to South America for the first time for some days in Brazil as a Casablanca-Sao Paulo direct line will open very soon.
So, stay tuned. I will soon be in a city near you! 😉