Travel Tuesday: Cleopatra's European trek
Cleo at the Hluboká Castle in the Czech Republic. (Photos: Contributed)
Imagine living your life-long dream... the Europe-enthused artisan Cleopatra Powell backpacks through several popular and a few unfamiliar territories in Europe for this week’s #TravelTuesday.
“Travel is special to me because it offers a new perspective of life,” says Powell. “It highlights cultural differences, individualism and how as a society we often limit ourselves.”
Travelling to parts unknown has always been a desire for the 20-something, who’s currently on a sojourn across Europe (think: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland, among others).
SEE Cleo's journey through images here.
#traveltuesday Cleopatra treks through Europe
Powell, who goes by Cleo, has long experienced parts of Europe through TV, magazines, and from tourists lodging at her family-owned hostel in Gordon Town, St Andrew.
Powell’s travel buddy and her newfound family have helped make the trip even more worthwhile.
Loop Lifestyle is intrigued, let’s see what other travel gems Powell has to share...
Seeing how others live is extremely inspiring. It ignites change in such a positive way, birthing my desire to do more, see more and want more.
I’ve realized how things that seem unattainable comes naturally to others because of the process, progress, management, modernisation and ideologies of other countries and its people.
Personally, I feel refreshed, energized and hopeful after a getaway.
There’s more to see in this world than the USA – often a choice destination for many Jamaicans – there are so many places with more attainable visas just waiting to be explored.
I recently obtained a Schengen Visa which allows me to travel to 26 European states, known as the Schengen region.
SCROLL to see Cleo's Travel Must-Haves and Backpack Tips
My port of call was The Czech Republic with stops in Poland, Germany and Denmark.
No fancy resorts, nothing over-the-top because that type of travel is not attainable, at least for me.
Instead, Airbnb’s, traditional BnB’s, hiking and exploring were the sources of my joy.
What I loved the most was that each country I explored offered something different that I will forever cherish.
Czech Republic has some of the most breathtaking historical towns.
Prague is truly a stunning city. The buildings are so breathtakingly beautiful, the rich history oozes from the walls.
The grand medieval feel is like being transported into another time. One could get lost, appreciating every minute of it.
If you’re a nature fiend like I am, you will love the hiking trails and parks in the Czech.
Polish food surprised me! I love to eat, even though I have serious food allergies, which forces me to be a picky eater.
We went to this very quaint restaurant called U Leszka. From the outside looking in, I was hesitant to dine there as it seemed like a hole in the wall.
The regulars swear by U Leszka.
But as I entered, I became more and more impressed with the décor. It was very vintage eclectic, a true ode to the previous owners.
The ambience definitely set the tone for the unconventional dinner to follow. Everything was fresh, crisp and well done – truly one of the best food experiences I’ve had thus far.
Germany took the cake for hikes, which made me realise why the German visitors I’ve come in contact with love the hills so much.
I appreciate the little things, so the fact that the trails were properly labelled and in English definitely helped.
It didn’t feel like a maze, the pathways were clear and there were several ways to the popular spots.
The hills were clean and well maintained. Some of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen in my life were seen hiking through the foothills of Germany.
Climbing to the top is definitely worth the hours because when you get to the top it’s awe-eliciting.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, particularly Copenhagen, I saw what I deemed to be the most modern country I’ve been to thus far.
The technology the advanced way of life was really impressive.
The transport methods were easy to manoeuvre and so far have been the best I’ve encountered based on the countries I’ve travelled to.
What was even more interesting is that one of the primary means of transportation for locals is bicycles, something that would be frowned upon in Jamaica.
Cyclists even have their own lanes, traffic lights, parking and even trollies in the trains have slots for bikers.
Comfy shoes – If you really want to explore, be prepared to ditch your “hot gal heels” for some trendy, comfortable sneakers.
I decided to get hiking shoes/snow boots as well because that was a requirement for some parts of the trip.
Power bank – for the long-haul, whether backpacking/hiking. This is a must for those who don’t want to go completely out of touch.
Whether to listen to music or read books, take pictures for the ‘Gram’ or to access a compass for navigation purposes, a power bank will charge up all your devices.
Microfiber Towel – as I said, allergies aplenty, so for me, a microfiber towel is a MUST!
Offline maps – to navigate and minimise your chances of getting lost – you will get lost, it’s all a part of the adventure).
Ensure you download offline maps like Google Maps, Mapy.cz, ideal for European countries.
Universal Adapter – European sockets are different from the Americas. So, to avoid a digital black-out be prepared by purchasing the required adaptor for your destination.
Medication kit – Listen, if you have any type of food-sensitivity or allergies like myself, best believe you’ll need some quick meds.
Be sure to pack allergy tabs, charcoal tablets for any gut irritation, painkillers, nausea tablets, etc. You’ll thank me later.
Toiletries – Pack travel-size hygiene essentials like shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion, face wash, moisturizer, SPF etc.
Always check the climate/weather of the country you’ll be visiting so you can be prepared. This way you can pack accordingly and be able to dress appropriately. Also, planning your outings around weather conditions will make life much easier.
Carry a concealed travel pouch or belt you can find these on amazon. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Get a travel debit credit card if you’re able to. It allows you to switch between currencies with ease and there are minimal fees to use them.
Be sociable! Talk to locals they usually offer great advice for places to visit, especially spots that are not particularly tourist destinations.
Plan your trip ahead of time this way you maximize your productivity. Research attractions you’d like to visit beforehand so you’ll be better prepared. You can always make adjustments to suit incidentals, but having a plan is key for the best experiences.
Do not overpack! For short trips, especially when backpacking, it is important to be calculated about the things you pack.
Bring a reusable water bottle, it’s cost-effective and handier on hiking trips, you just fill up and go. Plus, you won’t always have access to purchasing water, so that’s something to consider.