Sunday, 30 April 2017

Amsterdam: A Michelin Star Experience

There has been a few months since I am living in Amsterdam, but I have not yet been to a fine dining restaurant in order to continue my culinary experience. Therefore after three months, me and two of my fellow students decided to book a table at the Ron Gastrobar.

Chef Ron Blaauw launched the restaurant in 2013 and a year after it was awarded its' first Michelin star. The Ron Gastrobar offers the opportunity to every guest to enjoy world class food without paying exorbitant prices. A regular 3-course dinner would cost between 40-60 euros. The Ron Gastrobar is located near the Vondelpark and it can be easily reached by public transportation or on foot.

Firstly, let us talk about the service. One of the first things I have learned since I was a child is that service is the dominant factor in Hospitality. More than a decade later, one of the first things that I have learned at the Hotelschool the Hague is that service is indeed the dominant factor. When I dined at the Ron Gastrobar, I have noticed that the service is not at the same level as the food that the chef offers. This is observed by little details which if made in the right way they make an experience special and memorable. Someone may say that I am looking at little details that do not matter that much because I do not want to say good comments about the restaurant. Trust me I am not like that. For instance when a waiter serves wine, he or she first shows the bottle and the writing facing the guest in order to confirm that it is the correct one and then the guest can have the opportunity to taste it before he or she finally decides. Also when pouring the wine or water the waiter must be cautious not to drip any into the guest's food or on the table. These procedures were not followed by the staff. Moreover, the use of formal words add value to the guest's experience which was also not the case for Ron Gastrobar. This does not mean that the waiters are not good, it means that for this level of dining small gestures and details matter.

Furthermore, let us talk about the food. Ron Gastrobar as aforementioned, offers the opportunity to every guest to experience fine dining in reasonable prices. Me and my friends enjoyed a variety of courses and types of dishes. The standouts were the baked onions as a starter and the BBQ Ribs for the main. However, in my opinion you cannot judge the quality of a restaurant until you taste the desert. When I tasted the Paris-Brest with Blueberries and caramel ice-cream I was convinced. Light and sweet, acid and crunchy, fresh and ripe, all of these combined in one dish. The reason why I judge the quality of the restaurant especially from the desert course, is because it is the final course and it also shows uniqueness, taste and technique variety.

All in all, the Ron Gastrobar deserves to be regarded as a fine dining and a Michelin restaurant as it combines a modern touch together with serving fine dishes in reasonable prices. However in my opinion, in order for Ron Gastrobar to be considered as a Michelin star restaurant that can even be awarded a second star, service must become a dominant factor instead of the quality of the food and the reasonable pricing that it offers.

Friday, 14 April 2017

University or Not

Personally I have had countless conversations with friends and family regarding whether an individual should attend a university or if it is better not to. This topic is not something that can be answered by a 'yes' or a 'no', it needs a lot of personal thinking and decision making.

Recently I came up with an idea regarding a hotel. My cousin and I decided to carry on with a business plan and asked lecturers, professors, company owners and regular citizens for their opinion. Most people were impressed and very enthusiastic about the plan and willing to assist in any way that they can. We are both university students. I am studying at Hotelschool the Hague which is one of the best Hospitality schools on the planet and my cousin is studying at the University of Reading, a leading business school in the United kingdom. The question is, "do we need academic knowledge in order for our plan to become a reality?".

The first question that someone needs to answer, is whether he/she knows what he/she wants to achieve in life or not. If the answer is 'no', then academic life will serve no better than sitting on their couch watching movies all day long. However, if the answer is positive then there is a second clarification needed. "What do I need to do in order to achieve that goal". Usually the most important part is knowledge and then comes time, money and people. Then you are in a good position to decide what path you want to follow.

There are many paths in acquiring knowledge and skills. Most people believe that going to a university provides a stable life and a future career. Unfortunately this is not true. You need to find a university that provides the right knowledge for your future career but also the right tools in order to pursue it. There are thousands of universities and colleges, however only a few or maybe none of them can provide a "stable future". Therefore something else is needed after all and that is "motivation". Many people think that they are motivated because they have a dream, but actually they are not because 'a dream is a dream' unless you work hard for it in order for it to become a reality one day. Only a handful of people achieve their actual dreams, whether they are academically knowledgeable or practically and theoretically skillful.

Therefore, in the end a person that has spent approximately 20-150 thousand on education for 2-6 years may have the same result as a person who has been working during that time. Thus the person who has spent all this time on education is broke whereas the worker has been saving a stable amount every year.

Finally, everyone has heard about people that have not attended a university but turned out to be billionaires. In my opinion this is possible if you have the right tools. These are motivation, determination, an unparalleled will to succeed but also the knowledge needed in order to succeed. What I always believed is that "if someone attends lectures just for a degree then they should not be there".

Many people asked me, "are you going to wait until the end of your studies in order to pursue your dream?". My answer is, "I am going to pursue success as early as possible, university only provides the knowledge and skills needed in order for me to finish my business plan and then find investments. If I find the investment needed before the end of my studies I am going for it with everything I got." Therefore I hope that this article will help you decide what you want to do in the future and take some serious time before you do.

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Amsterdam, the name that brings into people's minds weed, prostitution and partying. All those are true and unique experiences but Amsterdam's beauty does not stop there.

First of all let as talk about the weed, prostitution and partying. The famous red light district and the surrounding areas offer all of the above. In order to get there and not get lost by any chance, you need to reach the Dam square from the central station and then take the left turn behind the statue. Then walk for five minutes and you will reach your destination. Half naked women behind windows offer their services and a wonderful view to the tourists. Coffee shops such as the Bulldog offer the most famous attraction of Amsterdam which is weed. And finally the area is full of clubs and bars in which you can party and have lots of fun.

However Amsterdam offers a lot more as aforementioned. The famous canals which create an amazing and relaxing atmosphere during the whole day and especially at night with the light reflections that make Amsterdam even more beautiful. Also the beautiful architecture off the city with its' red bricks together with the characteristic of cycling those beautiful city bikes provide a very hospitable feeling to anyone who visits the city.

Moreover there are dozens of parks in which people can walk or sit and enjoy the view along with a nice lunch. The most famous park is the Vondelpark which in my opinion is a must see in Amsterdam. After that you can visit one off the many markets of the city. I would recommend visiting the famous flower market of Amsterdam which is something different and unique but at the same time something very beautiful to witness.

Finally there are many museums for hose who would like to learn Amsterdam's history and generally the Dutch culture. The museumplein is one of the busiest centers in Amsterdam. The famous ''I Amsterdam'' sign is located right in front of the famous Rijks museum. There are also other museums around Amsterdam such as the Anne Frank museum and the Heineken experience or for others who would like to experience something different there is the sex museum or the museum of prostitution.

All in all Amsterdam offers a diversity of attractions to everyone who visits the city. From unforgettable nights out to some of the most beautiful canals on the planet it is the perfect travelling destination.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Eiffel Tower: Summit Or Not

Millions of people from around the globe travel to Paris in order to visit one of the most famous national landmarks. The Eiffel tower, one of the most iconic architectural structures ever build by human attracts approximately seven million people per year. The question is : Does it worth going up the tower and if yes till which level?

The Eiffel tower has three levels. Every floor can be accessed through a number of lifts and in order to reach the summit you will need to change lifts on the second floor. There is also the option of going up to the first or second floor using the stairs.

So, does it worth going up? My answer is, it depends. If you would just like to see the Eiffel tower and a majestic view of Paris in my opinion you should just visit the tower from bellow and then head to the Sacre-Coeur in order to witness one of the most amazing and one of my favorite sightseeing experiences. However if you are so eager on visiting the summit or another floor, it is a great experience but for me the view is overrated.

Lastly, which floor should you visit? The prices vary depending on whether you would like to go up using the stairs or the lifts and also which floor you would like to go up to. In my opinion if you are going to spend the time going up you might as well buy a ticket for the summit which costs between 8-12 euros depending from where you buy it.

Overall, I cannot deny that visiting the Eiffel tower is something to remember and worth doing. However spending around half an hour to reach the summit and then another fifteen minutes back to the bottom of the tower are not exactly that time saving, if you consider that the view from Sacre-Coeur is extremely beautiful.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Beautiful Paphos

Paphos for those who have never heard of the name, is a Cypriot city located on the west side of the Island. Most people know the names Protaras, Ayia Napa and Limassol however for me Paphos is the second most beautiful part of Cyprus after Ammoxwstos. Paphos has it all, from majestic seaside views like the one in the picture, to nature hikes that you would not expect in a country like Cyprus.

Firstly, let as talk about Mythology. Paphos and more specifically Petra tou Romiou it is known as the birth place of Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love. If you ever visit Cyprus I can assure you that you will find both beauty and love in Cyprus and especially during the summer months. There are many places in Paphos that have to do with Aphrodite like the Baths of Aphrodite and her Sanctuary.

Moreover, another place that you should definitely visit in Paphos is Akamas. Akamas is a peninsula that it is located on the most western corner of the island and it is by far one of the most beautiful sites in Cyprus and maybe even Europe. Cliffs that form gorges like the Avakas gorge, small rivers flowing towards the sea, secret caves along the sea shore and many other attractions of the area attract tens of thousands of tourist to join safari tours in the area.

Further I have to talk about the nightlife of Paphos. Most people think that Ayia Napa has the best nightlife and they are right but Paphos is really close. There is a strip located at Kato Paphos which is the area of the Harbor and the castle that it is identical to Ayia Napa but a little bit smaller. Therefore if you ever visit Paphos you should definitely have a nice dinner and then head straight for a nice walk along the Harbor, see the castle and then let the party to begin.

Finally there are many other amazing places to visit in Paphos if you have the time. The church of St. George is a magnificent place with a great view and a small marina. There are many monasteries in the area. My favorite one is the St. Neophytos monastery. Another interesting place is the Tombs of the Kings UNESCO world heritage site. Finally if you ever get the chance you should visit the Ancient Kourio.

Overall, Cyprus in general it is the most beautiful country in the world for me. This has nothing to do with the fact that it is my home but it has everything to do with the beauty, the fun and the serenity that you experience while you are there. Therefore I believe that every person should visit Paphos and Cyprus in general.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Budget Travelling vs Holidays

A few days ago I came across a comment about me that was written by a woman on Facebook. The woman wrote ' he may have traveled to all those places but what did he see without paying a lot of money? Because in order to see things while travelling you need to pay. '. Therefore I decided to write about it.

Firstly, what is the difference between holidays and budget travelling? The word holiday means relaxation, luxury, serenity, getting away from things and so on and so forth. Budget travelling means visiting a place while spending as little as possible. People go on holidays and spend money in order to relax. Budget travelers spend a small amount of money in every destination in order to visit as many places as possible.

However spending less money does not mean that you do not get to see things that that someone on holidays does. It means that you get to spend more time finding cheap ways to see everything. For instance if someone who is on holidays wanted to visit Auschwitz from Krakow, he or she would probably book a private tour. However if a budget traveler wanted to do the same he or she would probably use the public transport which saves you about 25 euros.

Finally in my opinion some aspects of travelling and visiting new places have changed. For example now instead of booking a private walking tour you can simply join a free one, thus saving a lot of money while receiving the same information and sometimes better feedback on your questions.  Also people began to realize that you do not need to visit every single museum that a city has in order to learn something. Let as say that you are in London. You do not need to visit the London transport museum in order to learn how people commuted back in the day, unless you are so eager to see it with your own eyes.

All in all I believe that travelling has changed because of the internet and the information it offers on historical and general knowledge. There is a huge difference between going on holidays and budget travelling and most people do not realize what those terms even mean. However one thing is certain. Travel while you are young and go on holidays when you grow old.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

A Three Michelin Star Experience

During my last night in London I wanted to experience something special. Therefore I booked a table at the Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester which is considered as one of the best restaurants on the planet.

I have had a Michelin star dinner before but never something like the one that I have had at the Dorchester. The experience itself is worth every penny that you pay. The way everything is so balanced, the way the waiters serve simultaneously, the treats that you get before and after every meal, the freshly baked bread, the chocolates, the trolley with every fresh herb that you can imagine and of course the soft warm cloths before the desert.

Then there is the actual meal. There you have a choice of the a la carte menu, the tasting menu and the black truffle menu. The prices are not expensive at all for the whole experience. The a la carte costs 100 pounds and 120 if you want to have two mains. The tasting menu costs 160 and the black truffle 220. After you order the waiters serve what is called amuse gueule, which is a dish that you have before the starter. It is free of charge, as well as the freshly baked bread and the chocolates that you get before the desert. Then the rest proceed in a normal manner, you get the main, you wash your hands, then the desert and finally you can have a tea.

Overall I believe that every person must have an experience like that. It gives you an idea of how complex and tasty a simple ingredient can really become. Of course there is a price to be paid but it is worth every penny that you pay if the restaurant is chosen well. However in my opinion there is nothing better than a traditional Cypriot meal that you cannot stand up after it because of the amount of food that you have consumed, while the table is still full of food.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Pembroke Shire

The last stop of my UK experience was Fishguard. Fishguard is a small village that it is located at the south-western corner of Wales. It is famous because of its' ferry services to Ireland, its' historic significance and its' beauty.

When me and my cousin first arrived at Fishguard we were very glad to be so close to the sea again. We checked-in in our hotel and we headed straight for the famous coastal path. The coastal path of Fishguard goes up to Newport and even further to Dina's Head, which is the peak of the cliffs along the shores of Pembroke shire.  The path is really nice even in the winter with really wonderful views and you can visit all those little beaches and towns which is something different and truly amazing.

Then we headed to the center of the town in order to find a nice place to dine. Most restaurants and pubs were closed but we entered a traditional tavern that seemed very hospitable. We ordered two fish and chips and when the food came we were delighted. The fish was huge and really tasty and the funny thing was that the next day we had lunch at a local pub and the burgers were huge as well. Therefore at those little towns you can find some really nice big dishes without over paying.

Another thing worth mentioning is the people. We visited pubs, restaurants and a hotel there, and every single person was really kind and willing to help you if you needed anything. You just order a beer at the pub and people start talking to you and you end up talking with them for hours.

Finally let me tell you a short story. Do you remember the stories that you were told at school or by your parents about Stonehenge and the ancient rocks that are located there? The rocks were not actually found there but they were taken from Fishguard to Stonehenge and if you ever visit Fishguard you can actually visit the place were the rocks were found in the first place.

All in all Fishguard was the perfect ending for my travelling in the UK. I am sure that in the summer Fishguard is a lot better than during the winter and full of parties along the coast and that is why it you should definitely visit or you can visit any other town of Pembroke shire because the whole coast is really beautiful.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


During my UK and Ireland trip I have visited Swansea. Before I started travelling I read an article about the best places to visit in the UK. Swansea was ranked number one. However I have to say it is nowhere close to number one.

During my stay in Swansea I resided in a friend's house in Gowerton, a small town outside of Swansea. The weather was not that good but we had the chance to visit the mumbles and catch a bus ride in order to see the whole sea shore. I have to admit that Swansea has some really beautiful beaches and coves if you compare them with other cities in the UK. However I have not yet visited Cornwall in order to have a complete picture and also if I compare them with those in Pembroke-shire Swansea's will lose.

Moreover I have also visited the city center of Swansea and the Harbor. The city center is nothing special. It looks like a common UK city center which is nothing impressive if you compare it with London, Edinburgh or Dublin. Now when it comes to the harbor. The harbor of Swansea seems like two different ones. The old part and the new one. The harbor is nice but nothing amazing. You can take a walk and take some pictures, then head towards the older part and walk along the coast. After the walk, what we have done was to have a nice lunch at the sky restaurant in front of the harbor. The view was really nice and the food was delicious and the prices were comparatively cheap if you consider that it is a sky restaurant.

Overall, I believe that ranking Swansea as the best city in the UK is an overstatement. However I would recommend visiting Swansea during the summer months but not for many days. Also if you are looking for amazing coastal holidays in Wales I would recommend Pembroke-shire which has a lot more beautiful coastal cities and towns.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Why Do I travel

I asked my self many times the exact same question. Why did I chose to travel? When I try to answer this question the answer goes on and on and on realising that I could write a whole book about it. So in this article I am going to try to explain to you 'why traveling' in just a few words.

First of all for the experience. Traveling gives to a person the opportunity to meet different people, places and countries. Therefore you are able as an individual to gain a better understanding of our world and where you belong in it. Then when you grow up you can tell stories to your children and grandchildren about your experiences.

I also chose to travel because it is fun! In all those places and countries you visit you always come across of something new. Thus this creates a state in your mind in which you are a little child being excited and happy because you saw a colourful toy. Of course you can also refer as fun the actual fun of going out with people that you meet at the hostels or the hotels that you are staying. Believe me, a night out with some complete strangers seems very risky but it is a lot of fun because it is something that you personally do not usually do in your home country.

Finally I travel because I am searching for something. When a person is young he or she always thinks about money, success and that they want to leave from their parents houses. I completely agree with that and I believe that it is everyone's obligation to control their lives. However at which point does a life become a routine, a really boring routine? That point comes when life moves like a bad movie that you just fast forward in search for some fun in it. That is where traveling comes in. While traveling I always feel like my life is moving in a slow motion. The kind of slow motion that a small child feels every day during its' early life stages because every day there is something different and exciting to do.

Overall, many people have different interpretations about traveling and its' values. However one thing is certain. Everyone travels in order to be happy and in order to be able to say when they grow up that they have lived a life. Therefore one question remains. Will you live your life or just let it pass by?


My next stop after Edinburgh was Dublin. I arrived at Dublin airport at nine o'clock in the morning, then I hopped on the 747 bus towards the hostel that I was staying in. When I arrived at the hostel I left my bag and I assembled my glidecam and I started sightseeing.

At first Dublin did not seem anything special. I visited the cathedrals, the castle which does not seem like a castle at all because it is in the middle of some appartment buildings and it is located at low ground, the St. Stephen's green park and so on and so forth. Every single one of these places was not something special for me and therefore I started feeling bored.

However after I returned back to the hostel in order to check in I headed out again and surprisingly enough, at night Dublin looks amazing. The river, the lights, the little streets, the buildings and the bridges all looked so different and beautiful. Nevertheless the best part of Dublin for me were the Irish pubs. The atmosphere that Irish pubs have always felt like home and every time I visit one there are so many memories and happy moments that I can recall.

Finally my last visit in Dublin was Howth. Howth is a small village located north of Dublin and it is surrounded by water. I took the bus 31 from Dublin to Howth summit and when I reached the summit I headed straight for the famous cliff path. The view was simply beautiful. The flowers, the red colour combined with the green trees, the dark colour of the rocks and the sea made it one my favourite places ever.

All in all Dublin may have seemed a mediocre destination at the beginning. However always wait before you judge something or someone because sometimes a city or a person needs some time in order to show you its' real character and beauty.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Sleeping At The Airport

Today I had to catch a flight from Edinburgh to Dublin at 8 o'clock in the morning. Therefore I said to my self 'why don't I sleep the whole night at the airport?', and that is exactly what I did.

Last night I left from Edinburgh at approximately nine o'clock in the evening. I arrived at Edinburgh airport around 9:30. I headed straight to the bathroom where I brushed my teeth and then I headed on to finding a nice spot in order for me to get some sleep. Surprisingly I successfully managed to sleep until six o'clock in the morning and then I woke up and made my way to the boarding gate.

The question is 'why did I sleep at the airport?'. There are two parts in this answer. The first one is obvious. It costs less. Instead of paying another 20 pounds in order to stay at a hostel I slept for free at the airport. The second one is the fact that I prefer sleeping at the airport than waking up at five in the morning and walking in the freezing cold in order to catch a bus that would get me to the airport.

Overall some of you may think that this makes no sense. However if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. And of course it is an experience that I will never forget and in fact I will be doing it tomorrow night as well.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Edinburgh: The Final Verdict

Last night I had a very good sleep and I woke up today at eight o'clock in the morning. I got my camera and after a wonderful English breakfast I started walking.

The first stop was Artur's seat. In order to reach Arthur's seat a 20 minute walk from the city center is needed in order to reach the base of the mountain. Then another 30 minutes up to two hours are needed depending on your pace in order to reach the top. It may sound difficult for some but the view from the top is magnificent.

After that I began my decent towards the national monument of Scotland. It is also located on high ground but it is not so difficult to reach as the Artur's seat because it is not located that high. Approximately 30 minutes are needed in order to reach the top from the bottom of Artur's seat. From there you can also witness a very nice 360 degree view of the city.

Moreover I headed towards the village of Dean. It is a small village located right next to Edinburgh. In order to get to Dean you will need about a 30 minutes walk from the national monument of Scotland. The reason I have visited the village was for its' wonderful paths next to a small stream which separates Dean and Edinburgh. The walk is really interesting and relaxing and I really recommend it for couples or families with small children.

Then I walked down towards the harbour. The harbour of Edinburgh is nothing special but there is one attraction worth visiting. The royal yacht Britannia which is used by the royal family and that is why it is a very important sight. However I personally do not enjoy visiting such places and thus I did not visit it. However if you are interested in royal history or yachts in general it a very interesting attraction to visit.

Finally I visited the castle and the Christmas market of Edinburgh. The Christmas market is very lively with many different selections of food and beverages and of course amusement park attractions for both kids and adults. Therefore it is a great place to be during the winter while it is still open. However I did not stay at the Christmas market for a very long time because I wanted to visit the castle. The castle of Edinburgh is located behind the Christmas market on a small hill and therefore it is a great place for photographers and filmmakers. The view is amazing especially during sunset and the castle itself is really beautiful and interesting to visit.

Overall Edinburgh is located very high on my most beautiful cities list. I definitely recommend it for all types of tourists because of its' diversity and at the same time its' unique character.

Monday, 2 January 2017


After a two month working and living experience in London it was time for me to continue my travelling. Therefore I booked my tickets, packed my bag and took my camera. The first stop is Edinburgh.

To be honest I did not know what to expect from Edinburgh in January. I hoped that I would see some snow but unfortunately the UK disappointed me on this matter. However I was really surprised with the beauty of Edinburgh and its' unique character. The Christmas market, the streets, the architecture and of course the people who seem a lot more relaxed and happy than what I am used to in London.

But there are a lot places that I need to visit in Edinburgh. Thus tomorrow morning I need to wake up early in the morning and start walking because it is my last day in Edinburgh before catching my flight to Dublin.

Therefore stay tuned because there are a lot more to discuss and review. But I have to say, that only a few cities impressed me so much in just a few hours and I cannot wait to see what Edinburgh still has to offer.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Auschwitz: An Unforgettable Experience

Today I am going to share with you an unforgettable experience. My visit to Auschwitz. Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Auscwitz-Monowitz camps are the most famous concentration camps of the second world war era.

Many people think that Auschwitz was just one concentration camp but they are wrong. The camps were three as aforementioned. The first one was created in 1940 a year after the beginning of the second world war and by 1942 the other two camps were built. Approximately 1.3 million Jews and 200.000 Polish, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah witnesses, homosexuals, Romani and many other groups of people were killed during Hitler's Final Solution.

Therefore I booked a guided tour of the camps while I was in Krakow. The tour costed 30 euros which sounds expensive when you compare it with the 5-7 euro cost of the public transport in order to get to Auschwitz. However, it was one of the rare occasions that I have paid extra for a guided tour during my traveling but I can assure you that it was worth every single penny and minute that I have spent during my visit to the concentration camps.

During the tour you are able to see where the prisoners lived, ate, showered, worked and died. The first thing I remember while entering the camp was the gate of Auschwitz and funny enough it reminded me of the X-Men's movie scene where Magneto discovered his powers. Except that little moment everything else was a complete tragedy. When you see in person the way those people lived and died, something changes inside of you. The sight of tons of human hair and the gas chambers is something you cannot read in books and that is why I believe everyone should visit a Nazi era concentration camp.

Overall, if you ever decide to visit Auschwitz or another camp I believe it will change you and the way you think about those atrocities that took place during the Nazi era of power. Whether you chose to do it with a tour guide or on your own it will be something that you will never forget.