Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2019

Venice - Islands, Bridges, Walkways and Waterways

Off from a cold weekend in Vienna which you can read about by clicking here, I took the train to Italy, hoping for warmer weather. 
My first stop in Italy was in Venice, which is quite an interesting destination. The train from Vienna will leave you off at Padova in Italy, where you will need to catch a regional train to Venice, and then a bus, train or water boat to proper Venice. The buses on the mainland are aged, but they do work quite well and are properly maintained. Age is just but a number.
Venice consists of a series of islands, with proper Venice being a mostly tourist destination abandoned by locals who have settled on the other islands around Venice. There is however a regular water boat service to the different islands and even a car ferry to the larger islands but not to Venice itself, where only walking and boating are allowed.
I took the train to the mainland station(Mestre) which meant that I had to take a bus over to the island and walk my way to almost the other end …

Beers of Kenya. The Ultimate 2019 Guide

Four years ago, precisely in 2015, I wrote about beer in Kenya in what has gone on to be my most popular post this year with more than 5,000 people reading it. It seems that there is a lot of interest in exploring beer in Kenya, which is understandable. The brewing sector has grown since then and we now have lots of options, which means it is time for another review.

Back in 2015, Kenya had one major brewer - EABL/KBL, challenged by Keroche and Sierra which is more of a small volume craft brewer, and arguably Kenya’s first craft brewery. It had also been joined by Brew Bistro which mostly sells its malted stuff at its outlets in Nairobi and later by Sirville, a bar located at Galleria Mall.

Sirville was later sold to Brew Bistro and converted to the latter for a while, before shutting down in what is alleged to be a tax dispute.

A Rainy Summer Weekend in Vienna

I have already talked about my trip and stay in Germany extensively, which you can read  about by clicking here to follow the link. My next stop was Vienna in Austria. I found a discounted train trip on Google for just under 13 Euros (one of the few trains Google resells in Europe). Good thing too because Google ensured I could book in English and not German, which is spoken in both countries.

The train was a high-speed Deutsche Bahn train that took just over four hours to reach its destination and on top of that, I found the economy class seats to be quite comfortable. This being Germany and Europe, you can bring food and drink on the train, including beers. I had bought some Belgium beers at Biervarna in Munich and took the opportunity to enjoy some of them on this trip. It was a rainy Saturday morning and I connected to the Munich main train station (Ostbahnhof) through the U Bahn.

The D Bahn to Vienna takes you through rural Germany, giving you a view of the country’s agricult…

EuroTrip: A Hot Summer in Munich

This article is the second in a series of posts on visiting Europe. The first piece on planning a EuroTrip can be found by tapping or clicking here. 
Western European countries are known to be cold, at least in Nairobi where I come from. But that was not the case when I walked out of KL1791 from Amsterdam into the Munich airport. I had to double-check my boarding pass on that early August morning in 2018 to ensure that indeed I had taken the right flight, into Munich. I mean, besides Delhi and its 40 degrees summer temperature, Munich at 35 degrees is the second hottest place I’ve been to on earth.


In Nairobi, where I am from, 30 degrees is an exception and 32 degrees is pushing it.

My next challenge, I was supposed to take a train to Hohenzollernplatz (Why does everything here have a long name?) but looking out of the airport terminal building, there was no train! And so I asked and was pointed down some stairs. I soon got to the S-Bahn, and found a machine where I could buy a ticke…

EuroTrip - What to know when planning your trip

Planning a Eurotrip can be daunting. First, that’s assuming that you have a Schengen visa, especially if you come from an African country. It is usually hard to get this visa, but the good thing is that once obtained, unless in unusual circumstances, a visa to one of the main European countries allows you to visit the rest - of course the UK is an exception.

Another good thing is that it is quite easy to travel across Europe. Again, once you cross into a Western Europe country, travel between the different countries is considered a local trip, meaning you do not need to have your passport stamped to cross from one country to another.

However, your passport may need to be presented for inspection at some crossings, and also on flights.


More important, you need to carry your passport when crossing from one country to another and it is also highly advised to carry your passport when travelling from one city to another, even in the same country.

Within a city, you do not need to car…

Can I pay by credit/debit cards or Euro in Budapest?

In Budapest, credit and debit cards are largely accepted,  especially in tourist areas, though there's also a significant number of business that only accept cash. 
It is however more advisable to pay in cash, especially if you're there for more than a day. When paying,  you will keep getting the question "cash or card"? 
If paying in credit or debit cards, you will notice your bill often comes with a "service fee" which is often an extra 10% of your bill. This is pretty high and adds up fast. 
To avoid overpaying, withdraw cash at an ATM and pay by it instead. 

Eating out on a budget in Oslo

Eating out in Oslo can be quite pricey, with a decent meal in a non-fancy place setting you back about $20 or in the range of 150 Norwegian Kronor.

If travelling on a budget, then you may need a few tips beyond McDonalds or Burger King.
You can try food trucks which tend to be less pricier.Supermarkets are a great choice if you're here for just a few days. For example, at Menu, you can get a variety of breads and sandwiches for breakfast from $10 or Nok 10, while lunch can be found in salads, lasagne pieces or pizza for about $5 to $7 (Nok 50 to Nok 70 or about 4 to 5 Euros) Oslo has many parks all over the city. In summer you can buy take out from the supermarket and enjoy your meal while also enjoying the park. A budget shouldn't keep you from enjoying Oslo.

Bus, Tram and Metro Tickets in Amsterdam Simply Explained

Getting around Amsterdam on public transit is often described as "confusing" on different websites. This, though, is far from the case as we'll see shortly and is more in line with other European cities. 
For most travellers, you'll rarely be travelling outside the Amsterdam City zone. Simply put, anywhere covered by a GVB bus, tram or Metro is within the Amsterdam city zone. 
A single ticket costs €3.20 and is available on the bus and tram but can only be paid for by credit or debit card. The single ticket is also available at ticketing stations at train stations and at the Metro station and this machines take Euro coins. 

Road Safety: Can Google Maps Help Kenyans Leapfrog Unmarked Bumps?

How long has it been since you heard the word “leap frog”?

It’s a term that grew in popularity as it was used to describe the outcome of the arrival and spread of the mobile phone in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For decades, “development” had appeared to stagnate in many of these countries, with slow-growing economies and little change in how people led their lives. In some instances, things appeared to have even gone into reverse gear.

But then, while the developed world was freaking about something called the Millennium Bug in 2000, mobile networks were coming up across the continent.

In the next decade, mobile phone usage would explode as many Africans were finally able to own phones for the first time ever. Previously, you had to lease a land line from a state-owned company and many of these had waiting lists several years long.

With mobile networks came SMS and USSD which innovative businesses took advantage of to create basic applications even within the limitations of these channels,…

Nairobi is a 2 Bedroom Haven

About two years ago, I looked at how much rent Nairobians pay in different parts of the city.

I also looked at how much they pay in matatu fare, and their perception of the safety of their neighbourhoods.

Then, I found that 2 bedrooms were the most popular followed by 1 bedrooms and then 3 bedrooms.

This shows that family units are more preferred. There was a twist to my findings - 3 bedrooms were partly less popular because some potential tenants could not find any/or suitable units, hence settled for 2 bedrooms.

In the last two years, 11 more people responded to my survey, in addition to the 43 who had previously responded. This means that about 25 per cent more people have since given their input.

Let’s see how the new tenants compare to the old data.

Again, 2 bedrooms are the most popular with half the respondents leasing these, followed by 1 bedrooms at about a quarter of respondents. 4 bedrooms and a bedsitter with one toilet inside each have one respondent, which is not so…