Adelina is a curious globetrotter and food lover and has lived abroad in the Netherlands and Hungary. She loves telling stories, going on adventures, and eating her way around the world. You can often find her behind the camera lens or out exploring new places. Follow along as she decides her next adventure on her blog and connect with her on Twitter , Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+
1) What hidden gems of the country (s) you visited could you share with someone who has never been there?
Canada is a huge country and there are so many hidden areas to explore. A region close to home that is still relatively undiscovered is the Okanagan Valley, known in Vancouver as a great wine region. Instead of heading to Napa Valley, consider visiting the Okanagan. With so many wineries in the region, some winning international awards, it has the makings of a fabulous wine holiday.
I lived in Hungary for a couple of years and while Budapest is a great city, it doesn’t reflect the country as a whole, I would encourage people to get out of the capital and see the rest of the country. Other great cities and regions to explore are Pécs, a beautiful university town, the Tokaj region in the northeast for its delicious wines and Lake Balaton is fabulous in the summer.
2) Any places you would recommend that visitors may not find in a guidebook?
Vancouver has an amazing food scene with lots of Asian foods available. The influx of immigrants from numerous Asian countries has allowed the city to be home to fantastic and authentic foods from across the ocean at very reasonable prices. Vancouver also has the great fortune of having easy access to the great outdoors. Often tourists will visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but further down the road is the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge which is not only free, but generally only visited by locals. The Cleveland Dam is also a cool place to visit for a unique experience.
In Budapest, I always tell people to visit Memento Park which is an open air museum on the outskirts of the city. When communism fell, all the statues were moved out of the city and are now on exhibit here. The park offers an interesting look into a tumultuous time.
3) What is your favorite place you have visited and why is it your favorite that’s not considered off the beaten path. For example, Paris would not be considered off the beaten path but you stumbled upon something hidden there that you weren’t expecting to find, whether it was a walking trail or place where the locals hang out?
The whole of Slovenia was a lovely surprise. It’s a small, but beautiful country that most backpackers on their tour of Europe completely skip over. Lake Bled is like something out of a fairy tale with its island church set against the cliffs atop which the Bled Castle stands.
Slovenia has a beautiful seaside found in the city of Piran. There are so many outdoor areas to explore like gorges, lakes and caves. Plus, it has great food, with influences from its surrounding countries, at an extremely affordable price (yummy Italian food anyone?). If you’re planning a trip to Europe, I definitely would recommend visiting Slovenia. It’s stunning and I definitely left a piece of my heart there.
4) Can you share some local haunts you have found in your travels that the locals themselves have shared with you?
Recently on my trip to Portland and the Oregon Coast, we were wandering the streets after midnight in search of Voodoo Doughnuts. A random biker stopped my friend for a cigarette and in exchange we asked him to recommend a place for brunch. He told us of a great little place in downtown called Bijou Café. The next morning after being deterred by lines, we found ourselves following his advice and it was wonderful.
That same trip, we were heading to Crater Lake National Park and our sand dunes tour guide recommended we stop along the drive and see the Toketee Falls. We had never even heard of them, but it was so worth stopping. It was right in the midpoint of our drive, perfect to get out of the car for a bit of a stretch. If he hadn’t told us about it, we would have just drove on past.
5) Now that you have seen some of these ‘off the beaten path’s and hidden gems, would you consider trying to find more of these places when traveling or would you stick to the usual tourist places to visit? For example, many people visit Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and Rome for the Coliseum but there is more to these places than what we have seen.
I have no problems seeing all the usual tourist places in the city. Why would I go to London and not see the Big Ben and the Parliament Building? It seems silly to me to go all that way and not see one of the most iconic buildings in the world. That said, I also do like to set out and explore some lesser known areas based on recommendations from friends that have visited or live there, random people I meet along the way and sometimes a visit to the local visitor’s centre is a big help. When I travel, I usually stay in hostels and the workers there are so helpful in pointing me in the right direction.