Work Chronicles: Kindness Matters

Happy 2019!!

So a new thing I think I’m going to start writing about more are certain scenarios that happen at work. In October I started working at the front desk of a local Homewood Suites by Hilton and almost everyday encounter different situations that leave me thinking longer than after the moment ends.

The past couple weeks I have not been able to stop thinking about the concept of kindness in regards to how easy it is to show kindness to people and how often it seems as though people just unfortunately don’t get to be treated kindly.

I’m going to begin by explaining the story that initially inspired this post.

At some point between Christmas and New Years I had a family staying with two boys who seemed like the could be somewhere from nine to thirteen years old. Immediately after check in the kids began to walk into our little store to pick out some snacks. As the parents remained in the lobby waiting for them the older of the two boys calls out to his parents and ask them what kind of ice cream they would like. After his parent questions him he simply responds that he wanted to buy ice cream for everyone to enjoy.

So immediately this sounds like a super generic story– someone buying ice cream– yippee. However I was initially intrigued when the young boy decided this and at no point demanded his parents buy him an ice cream. Instead his first thought was to think of what everyone else wanted before he picked out what he had wanted. The other reason I was intrigued was because literally everyday I see kids walk into our little snack shop and demand their parents buy them sweets and in some situations, through a fit when they do not get their way.

Next, when the boy goes to pay he hands me a debit card that almost seems like it is some sort of visa card he probably received as a Christmas gift. As I go to put it through the system the card declines. At this point, however, I truly was feeling touched by how this boy wanted to do something nice for his family and told him he could have the treats and not to worry about it.

The boy was shocked. He was in complete disbelief that someone was going to allow him to have these things without paying. As well, this was not the fake shock people do when they have almost manipulated a way to get something for free– this was genuine surprise– because every time this boy came down to buy snacks and I gave him a discount or a discounted price he was still in disbelief. At one point later in the night he even came back down after he found out that his younger brother had taken something without asking/paying to offer payment for the treat and to apologize.

Now I am not saying that in order to be kind you have to give things away for free. What I am trying to more or less get to is that first, that kindness inspires more kindness, and yes my effort of kindness where to let this boy have some snacks on the house but more importantly, that a boy, so young has already learned to not expect kindness from others; you can demand and beg to get what you want but by simply being a good person you get nowhere. You can be cruel and nasty and have everything you want but by putting others first you end up a step back.

How sad.

So this brings me to my next story that left me speechless for a moment. Similar what I learned from the previous story, this one features some kids who had learned not to expect kindness from other people.

After returning to work from vacation I just so happened to look in my drawer at work to find a big yellow envelope. Honestly at first I was nervous to open as I was expecting to see some sort of complaint- not that I had done something I thought someone would be unhappy about but often times people are more likely to let someone know when they are dissatisfied versus satisfied.

Instead, I open this envelope to find thank you cards that ended up being from kids who had stayed at our property. To be completely honesty, when I first read through the thank you notes I almost didn’t remember these kids. After reading the notes to me from the kids listing very specific things I did I finally remembered. The reason I had trouble remembering the kids was because I couldn’t remember doing something that deserved a thank you like this.

The notes gave thanks for me putting out more hot chocolate and hot water for them, and giving them some treats for less than the listed price in our snack shop.

It truly shows that you never know how your actions are going to affect people. In the cards that kids wrote that I was the nicest hotel worker they have ever met. This is simply not true. However, these kids only elementary or middle school aged had once again already learned that when they go someone they should not expect kindness and I am so honored and happy that I was able to show them that this doesn’t have to be true.

Kindness matters. Simple as that. You don’t have to do crazy acts to show kindness but by simply trying to do a good job you can out a positive effect on someone else without even knowing.

So if you have read to this point here is your little reminder to do something nice for someone today. It doesn’t have to be giving something to someone for free but by keeping a smile of you face as you walk around, or saying hello to someone you pass by,  or holding the door you can have the biggest impact on someones day or even have the ability to change someone’s life.

xox Hannah

Orange Cat Coffee Review, Lewiston, NY

Coffee shops… where to begin? I can’t think of one person who does not enjoy going to a coffee shop whether it be local or chain. Stuck right on the heart of main street in Lewiston lies a local favorite coffee shop: Orange Cat Coffee. Inside the shop or outside on the patio you can find a really cool mix of local retired regulars, students from the local universities, and friends of all sorts chatting over a cup of coffee, specialty latte, tea, pastry, or lunch item.

IMG_2625Orange Cat is the exact image that comes to mind when you think of your ideal small town coffee shop. The environment is cozy and small yet roomy with plenty of places to sit. The staff is super friendly and welcoming, knowing regulars my names yet also greeting first time customers with a smiling face, and the overall vibe of the shop is super charming with its cozy features making it an inviting place to enjoy with a group, a friend, or alone.

Orange Cat is one of those places on the main street of Lewiston that is always at least somewhat busy. I have gone in when it is easy to get a prime spot on the couch and I have gone in when I have to wait in a line out the door for coffee. Either way the shop is usually well traffic. I will make a note here that if you are going in alone and plan on sitting for a while and feel a bit awkward, the initial walk to the back area to find a spot on a busy day can be quite intimidating on a busy day being surrounded by groups of people laughing together.

So on to the food and drinks. I’m pretty sure I have mentioned Orange Cat in a post or two before but the shop features a large selection of freshly brewed flavored and regular coffees with rotating flavors, specialty lattes, tea, cookies, scones, muffins, and a lunch menu with a soup of the day and salads.

This is a place where I can honestly say I have tried almost everything and literally everything is good! My personal favorite when it comes to the pastries would definitely be the snicker doodle cookies. First off it should be noted that these cookies are about the size of your had and at least a half inch thick. I have personally found myself to be a very dedicated fan because they are soft cookies—so basically when you bite in it does not snap or crunch. It is simply just a velvety bite of sweet deliciousness and the best part is that because of the size you can enjoy longer than the average cookie. The muffins and scones are also super delicious and these usually become my go to if I am lucky enough to be here when there is a fresh batch out of the oven.

Coffee wise I usually go with one of the flavored coffees of the day simply because the prices are honestly really good. I think on the days I get a coffee and a cookie it comes to right around three dollars, which I think is extremely reasonable—especially cause I have spent at least this much on Tim Horton’s for something comparable. Recently my go to with the flavored coffee has been to mix the two flavors of regular coffee if they seem as though they may go together.

On a special day if I have a taste for something sweet or a flavor catches my eye on the latte menu I will opt for a flavored latte. Honestly I think the most interesting thing I have had here would be the latte that has I believe caramel coconut and kiwi, which I believe is called funky monkey. I initially had to get it because I was skeptical of Kiwi in coffee. This ended up all mixing really well together to make the perfect treat for my little extra need for sweet. Today I opted for a latte as my eye caught the sweet and nutty latte, which has cinnamon and almond flavoring.

Today is also the first day I am trying out the lunch menu. I decided to try the falafel salad and was honestly surprised with how inexpensive it was. The salad was 4.95 and because of this I just assumed it would be a small portion but instead the salad came out definitely a full portion that I would say would be filling for lunch.

So my meal today came to right around nine dollars for a salad and medium specialty latte and I would personally say I am quite satisfied with the price I paid. I can 100% say that this is far more reasonably priced than other local places and even than other chain such as Panera or Starbucks. As well, the taste is definitely comparable if not better than most places.

Another really cool note about Orange Cat is that everything on the menu is vegan. So all the pastries and salads are made vegan and dairy substitutes are available for coffee. This is something that doesn’t really seem to be advertised, partially because I think people freak out when they see vegan thinking its going to be ultra healthy. But here you can treat yourself to a super decadent pastry, salad, or coffee with a clear conscience knowing your goodies are cruelty free.

So If you find yourself in Niagara county and are looking for a place to go for a coffee or to sit back and catch up with friends or family, or a place to go to study or get some work down Orange Cat should definitely be on the list of places you need to try. I think the only way you could literally not like it here is if you don’t like coffee and you don’t enjoy sitting in a coffee shop. Even then—give it a try and be ready to leave with a happy heart and a satisfied stomach.

Syros Restaurant Review, Lewiston, NY

As many of you could probably tell by now, I am a lover of all things brunch and breakfast food. Seeing the words ‘all day breakfast’ on the menu for me is like walking into a store and seeing the words ‘clearance’ in large font.

One of my favorite places to go for breakfast in Lewiston and a top contender for Niagara County would be the restaurant Syros in Lewiston, right off main street. I first discovered this restaurant about four years ago with my family when they came to visit me at college for parents day weekend. We were walking around the town of Lewiston for the Harvest fest and happened to ask for a suggestion for a place to go for breakfast. Luckily for us the restaurant Syros was suggested and I have been loving going here ever since!

Syros is the place to go to enjoy a bite to eat amongst family, catching up telling stories, and enjoying the company of loved ones. Or a place I’ve found myself with friends recapping an evening after a long night out, filling in the gaps in each other’s memories. Or more recently, a place I’ve gone several times alone, enjoying a quiet breakfast eavesdropping on the ever-intriguing chatter of small town gossip from the locals. No matter what the situation may be I always find myself feeling welcomed here with fantastic service and even more incredible food.

Food wise Syros is basically your average diner style food but with some super unique specials. My go to here for the last couple of times has been to get a gyro and feta omelet, which comes with potatoes and toast, and then to kick it up a notch a side of tzatziki sauce. After having my breakfast with tzatziki sauce the first time, I really don’t think I can go back. Even if I were to find myself ordering something that tzatziki was not included with I would literally pay extra to have it.

Now I know the restaurant does do a lunch and dinner menu but I have never been during this time, and even if I did I would probably still order breakfast.

Another really great thing about this restaurant is that there is quite a lot of seating yet the restaurant still feels cozy, which in my opinion is the best sort of vibe for a diner.

I have been able to share some awesome memories, great laughs, peaceful mornings, and amazing food here at Syros and I always look forward to any opportunity to go here or recommend this restaurant.

So what are you waiting for???

Time to go try out Syros !!!

 

Power City Eatery Review, Niagara Falls, NY

IMG_2626

Good Morning!! This Sunday morning I got up the courage to get myself out of bed and head down to my favorite coffee shop in Niagara Falls: Power City Eatery. I have been going here for a little over a year now and have always enjoyed this little spot on third street down town Niagara Falls.

This morning I came in here with the intention of getting some writing and other work of that sorts done. One of the reasons I chose Power City over the many coffee shops closer to me in Lewiston is because I love the atmosphere. I find for writing Power City Eatery has for me, an ideal vibe. I can sit in the very open space and get my work down without feeling claustrophobic in a small town coffee shop—don’t get me wrong though, I have nothing against a small town coffee shop, today was just not one of those days.

Anyways, apart from an awesome cup of coffee, some great pastries, and tasty food, Power City Eatery is surprising very large inside. The whole interior has a really cool industrial looking vibe and features information about Niagara Falls as décor. The rest is just kept really simple which creates overall a great welcoming atmosphere.

On to the food now.

My go to when I come here has been to get a latte or a cappuccino and some sort of scone. Today’s choice was a large cappuccino and a blackberry chocolate scone. For someone that usually stays away from fruit and chocolate combos you can trust me when I say that this flavor is awesome! I know what you’re probably thinking—Hannah, why did you order a blackberry chocolate scone if you don’t like fruit and chocolate? Too be honest I’m still thinking about the same thing. I seem to have this habit of pointing to something in the pastry display and just going with it. In this case we had success! Fortunately the scones are always delicious here so it is kind of difficult to go wrong.

Some other things I have been able to sample here are the breakfast and lunch sandwiches. In both situations the sandwiches are well loaded up with all the goodies. My personal favorites were either the turkey or roast beef sandwich. Once again I am not normally a roast beef person but the reason I enjoyed it so much was because they kicked it up a notch by adding thinly sliced apples and topped it with this really tasty horseradish mayonnaise. Similarly, I enjoyed the turkey sandwich extra or the spicy mayo sauce that goes with it.

 

My only two complaints about the place are that it is a tad pricier than other places and the hours. For example, today I ordered a large cappuccino and the scone and it came to a little over 8 dollars. After tipping and everything I spent about 10 dollars. I don’t really have too much of a problem with paying this but basically what I am getting at is there are definitely places that would be less expensive. As far as hours go I believe it is only open until around 3pm every day. As well, the do stop serving breakfast at 11am. I could be a bit biased because I am a lover of all things all day breakfast but I wish they would keep their breakfast going a tad bit longer.

Anyways, Power City Eatery is an awesome place to go for breakfast or lunch, a quick bite, sweet treat, or coffee break. This is definitely a hidden gem in the Niagara Falls area and great option for someone looking for something local over the Starbucks 2 blocks away. I love coming here and I look forward to coming back!

** So I am making a slight amendment. Since the time of me writing this and me posting this I have returned to Power City Eatery for coffee around lunch time and I just wanted to add in here that the line was literally to the door to order for lunch. SO if you are looking for a quick bite in Niagara Falls for lunch, Power City Eatery may be the place to go… a line like that says they are surely doing something right!

Hope you have a marvelous day!

05.25.17 Village Bake Shoppe vs. DiCamillo Bakery, Lewiston, NY

This blog pertains to a hard-hitting, potentially controversial issue. If you are a fellow pastry enthusiast like me, read on. For the sake of the general public and journalism I made it my mission today to do a little Lewiston, NY pastry taste test.

I sampled two bake shops I have never tried: DiCamillo Bakery and Village Bake Shoppe. My goal today was to pick a winner and help give some insight as to which shop you may prefer.

So here we go.

I started off at Village Bake Shoppe (no particular reason, it was just closer to where I parked). As soon as you walk in you notice an extensive counter and a variety of seating. I was a little surprised, but at the same time happy to find out that not only do they have pastries, but they also serve lunch, breakfast, PIES, and other sweet treats.

Initially I my thought process was to get items that I thought I would easily be able to compare to the other. Ultimately that didn’t go as planned, but oh well. From each place I picked two things, so yes I will indeed be hitting the gym later.

From Village Bake Shoppe I chose a cherry turnover and a cannoli. The selection of goodies here definitely seemed to be more geared to sweet treats rather that the typical pastry items I was sort of expecting (not complaining though).

I’ll start with the cherry turnover.IMG_2873

To be honest, I would not get this again and I really wouldn’t recommend it. It took a couple of bites to get to the cherry filling, and in my opinion, they went a little too skimpy on the cherry. This was very doughy and the pastry part was neither flakey nor had a lot of flavor, unfortunately. In the shop I was immediately drawn to this because it reminded me of pastries I tried while I was backpacking through Europe. Lets just say it wasn’t anything near comparable. The only reason I continued to eat it was because I was trying to convince myself I would like it.

IMG_2872On to the cannoli.

This was great! I don’t know why I decided to buy a cannoli in the first place because I usually don’t like them. I think I just continue trying them because they look so stinking pretty and that makes me want to like it. This one was actually delicious! The filling had a really tasty flavor and the filling to shell ratio was perfect, in my opinion. You could taste the gentle sweetness as well as the subtle flavor influences from the ricotta and a slight cinnamon/nutmeg flavor, but in a way that none overpowered the other. 10/10 would recommend.

I paid a total of 6.48 for both goodies, but I am guessing the cannoli was what upped my total a bit. Personally I think this is a tad pricey but not horrible.

I walked a quick two blocks to DiCamillo Bakery and was once again a little surprised when I walked in. This was what you would imagine when you think up a small town bake shop. Here they feature more breads and a couple of sweet treats. The selection was a little bit smaller but they still had plenty to choose from. As well, there did not appear to be any seating in here.

I decided to go with a snickerdoodle cookie and a cheese Danish. Both of these items are some of my favorites when I enter a bake shop so unfortunately my expectations were a little bit high. As well, the snickerdoodle cookie from orange cat (about a block away) is one of my favorites so I was doing another test there.

I’ll start with the snickerdoodle cookie.IMG_2871

Similar to the cherry turnover, I was not impressed… at all. The cookie was rather hard, and not in a good was. I literally took one bit and put it back in the bag to eat later (yes I am still going to eat it). Too be honest I don’t have much more to say about that cookie other than it tasted like sadness.

Finally, the cheese Danish.

IMG_2870I’ll just cut to the chase, this was INCREDIBLE, seriously. I don’t really mess around when it comes to Danishes so I would like to think I am a rather reliable source on this judgment. The pastry part was super tasty and the perfect combination of flaky yet doughy consistency (I am by no means a baker so sorry for my funky lingo). The filling is what really sold me though. Holy moly. It was the perfect sweetness mixed with just the right amount of savory for more umami in the mouth. The best part was this sucker was huge and I have no shame in saying I ate the whole thing without thinking twice. I would 100% be going back there to get it again, my only hesitation is that there was no place to really sit in there. Next time I would probably get one and then walk down to the waterfront.

The best part about this place was for both things it only cost be 3.29, which I thought was very reasonable.

All in all I would say if you are looking for something more tradional, go for DiCamillo Bakery, if you are looking to treat yourself a bit more head to Village Bake Shoppe. The overall pastry winner for me was hand down the Danish. I would say the cannoli was just as good, I am just extremely biased toward Danishes.

As far as shops go I would vote Village Bake Shoppe because I really liked how you could sit there and enjoy whatever you got if you wanted to.

I think I may have to try this experiment again and instead as the worker what they recommend and do a comparison that way.

Four pastries later, I think it’s time for me to hit the gym!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Hannah

11.26.2016 Four hours in Graz, Austria

Where do I begin, while I was in the planning process of this trip I was messing around like crazy with how I could see as many places as possible for cheap and ultimately stumbled upon the website buscroatia, because I was initially looking to see a town or two on the coast.

Ultimately, I realized that this bus company would not only take you to places in Croatia, but also towns in countries near by. After more searching I found the Graz, Austria was basically a 3 ish hour bus ride AND, the round trip ticket was in my opinion cheap. So I went for it kind of having this idea of what to expect but also at the same time having no clue.

The morning of the 26th I walked myself to the bus station to catch my bus that left between 8:30 and 9:30. Like I said, it was around a 3 ish hour ride, which I thought was very reasonable.

The bus first cut the corner through Slovenia, and then crossed the border again into Austria. Almost immediately after crossing the border, our bus made a little pit stop where we could use the bathroom and get a snack if needed. I noticed that in order to use the bathroom you needed to pay 50 cents, which I wasn’t about, so I just figured I’d hold it.

Well I guess I jinxed myself because I went upstairs to buy a little snack. While I was eating my soft pretzel I ate a little bit of mayo (mind you I am still really not used to dairy) and within five minutes I found myself sick to my stomach. In that moment I knew I was going to throw up and needed to get to a toilet basically as fast as possible. So here I am trying to not to make a scene speed walking down the stairs, to the restroom and trying to get the pocket change out as soon as possible. I’m still not really sure why this happened now, because I had been eating dairy in bigger quantities previously on the trip but oh well. Here I was, somewhere in Austria throwing up in a rest stop bathroom… sorry if that is too much information.

The rest of the trip I was absolutely fine but for some reason that mayo just wanted to do me dirty.

Alright so once we finally arrived I had a really good idea of where I was going, but I had the same problem with the fact that the screenshots of maps I had on my phone didn’t exactly have the street names on them.

Basically as I walked out of the bus station, I proceeded straight to where I had saw there was supposed to be a river, as well as the old city. This was a good frame of reference because I knew if I was walking in this direction for more than 15-20 minutes and didn’t hit water I would have to turn around.

After walking for probably 15 minutes I noticed the steeples of a church peeking through the tops of building, so I headed in that direction. Another tip for you, if you ever feel like you may be lost in a city just look for tall churches or landmarks and they will probably help bring you to the right direction. This literally could have worked in every single city I visited this trip and in fact was how I went about my walking tour or Riga, I just followed buildings that looked interesting… but you can read about that later.

Okay. So once I got to these steeples I saw a little bridge to cross the river and Voila! I had reached the old city.

Immediately, I noticed this staircase going up a huge hill/mountain, which appeared to have some sort of castle on top of it. As I got closer and closer I knew I wanted to go up, I just didn’t know exactly how to go about it. For example, was it free, did I need to pay, if I needed to pay where did I pay, what ACTUALLY was at the top, etc. I ended up noticing the entrance to the staircase and just decided to go for it.

This climb was definitely far more stairs than it appeared because I didn’t really realize the sort of winded left and right up the mountain. The good thing about this is now I had absolutely no shame in eating two pastries for breakfast that morning. As well, as you can probably image the view was outstanding the entire time.

As I was walking up I became very oriented with where I would later walk around, as well as which direction I had come from. I noticed all the brightly colored building topped with rusty orange colored roofs and the many steeples of huge churches. I noticed the somewhat hilly landscape, which was well accompanied with just the perfect amount of fog kissing the tops of the hills. There was something oddly mesmerizing yet so dizzying at the same time in regards to the way all the rust colored roofs lined up and created shapes that could only be seen from the air.

When you reach the top the first thing you will see is a little bell tower and then signs pointing out where the couple of restaurants were, as well as a couple other landmarks atop the hill. I took a little walk around appreciating the variety of views and the architecture of the different buildings up here. After a bit I headed down because I wanted to see the main square area, and also make sure I would have plenty of time to get back to the bus.

I walked back down the stairs and proceeded left, if your back is facing the steps you just came from. This is another instance where following the metro tracks, or just the people at this point, will take you to where you want to go, also it kind of helped that I could see the square from here. I took a lap around looking for a place to maybe grab a coffee, but also admired not only the architecture, but also the way building were decorated.

Buildings were brightly colored, but some of them were also finished with intricate designs on them, which I found extremely beautiful, as well as interesting. It is interesting to see how place to place the architecture seems generally similar, yet each place has their own unique take in regards to color choice as well as subtle design differences.

I wound up at this cute little coffee shop called AUER where I treated myself to a cappuccino and small sandwich, which I had the luxury of eating outside facing the square, so I could people watch a bit.

After taking my time eating and enjoying watching the hustle and bustle of square, I started back for the bus station, because my biggest fear was missing my bus.

Well, typical Hannah fashion I was there was too early. The only really cool part was the bus station happened to have a little grocery store in it so I took a little walk around and ended up buying a juice. I am very proud to say that I successfully used a self-checkout that was not in English. I carried my juice and receipt out like one of those trophies you get after a soccer season as a child that you don’t realize until years later your parents paid for. Needless to say, imagine the five-year-old smiling ear to ear holding up this new trophy as their newest prized possession, that was me with a two euro juice.

I took a quick walk over to where the bus was supposed to pick me up from and got on shortly after. The one really nice thing about this bus station was that it was super easy to navigate, as well as be able to tell where you needed to go with only a little bit of the necessary self doubt.

I have to say it was a great day spent in Graz, Austria. I would 100% recommend coming here for a day or weekend trip!

Anyways, have a great day!

Xx Hannah

11.26.2016 Zagreb Croatia

Okay, so I have taken yet another hiatus from finishing these posts. To be honest I didn’t really realize how fast this semester was flying by until right about now, as I have less than a week of classes less this semester. That doesn’t really excuse my lack of writing but I think I just kept telling myself I had more time and well, now here I am.

So let me take you back nearly six months to the time I spent in Zagreb, Croatia.

This one is a slightly more complicated because I really only was in Croatia for evening time, so unlike the others, there was no daytime exploring happening and I can’t say I ventured too far but I absolutely LOVED my time there. Seriously, I have completely fallen in love with this little city!

So back to the start.

I arrived in Croatia a little bit before dinnertime. First off, I had sort of forgotten that they do not use the Euro here so I made sure to stop at an ATM in the airport and get a little bit of the local currency.

I had read online that my best bet to getting into the city was to take this shuttle to the main bus station, which was only a short walk or metro ride to where I needed to go.

There wasn’t really any place to pay before hand so I approached the bus sort of looked at the man and made sure this would take me where I needed to go, which he responded yes. At this point I had still yet to pay for the transit, nor did I know how much it would cost. But, I continued on the bus and plopped myself down in a chair. After everyone who would fit on the bus for the given departure time was loaded on, the driver started towards the back of the bus appearing as though he was checking tickets and I sort of had a little panic because there wasn’t one other English person on the bus, everyone seemed to be speaking Croatian, so I really wasn’t sure what the driver was checking until he had got to me. I had then found out that this was when I was supposed to pay. Unfortunately I don’t really remember how much it exactly cost me but I want to say it was between 20 and 40 Kuna each way.

So as the bus is going it makes its first stop and I start to realize that I am actually not 100% sure what my stop exactly is. I knew it was the main bus station area but I didn’t really know after how many stops this would occur and I seem to always have this persistent sense of self-doubt in me.

Eventually I got to the station, which was pretty obviously identifiable. As I am typing this I am trying to look for some sort of picture so I can better describe it to you but I really can’t find one. All I can say is just trust your instinct, you’ll know.

Once I got off the bus I technically had these screenshots of maps of Zagreb, as well as directions. However, as soon as I got out of the station I had this gut feeling that the directions were leading me in the wrong direction. So I followed my gut and honestly prayed that my instinct was going to take me in take me to the correct place (spoiler alert for my worried mom probably reading this: it worked out).

Basically when you get out of the bus station you walk towards the underpass and cross the metro tracks. And make a left. Once you make a left you will be sort of on a road where the metro acts as the boulevard in the middle of the road, you’ll want to follow this until you reach a cute little series of green areas. At this point I was following my screenshots of the maps on my phone; however, the screenshots were too zoomed out to include what the street names were so I was just kind of following I guess you could say ‘regionally’ where it seemed like I needed to go.

Basically once I got to the green area between buildings I made a right and followed it what I think was three or four blocks, or however many was till you reached the end of it. After I made a left and walked for about another block and then a right which took me right to the main, old city square (this was where my hostel was located).

A little mid way disclaimer, I am sorry if there directions don’t really make sense. I sort of needed to make a game time decision and I sort of memorized my location based on visual references rather that streets. So don’t necessarily take my word if you are trying to use these directions. But a quick tidbit of advice that is if you are lost follow a metro line because those are usually the main areas where people will go and or will lead you to where people go.

So once I got to the main square, I had this idea of where my hostel (main square Zagreb) was based on where it was located on my map screenshot. However, little did I know was that some of the buildings had two floors, SO I did not conveniently run into it like I thought I would. Fortunately I looked up in the air at the right time and saw ‘Main Square Zagreb’ on a glass window about 2 or 3 stories up. This led me to a sign where I was which brought me to a staircase that took me straight to my hostel.

Oh my gosh was this hostel absolutely perfect and I would 100% recommend staying here! The staff was extremely accommodating and helpful to me, and also spoke great English, which was nice after a long day of travel and I guess what you could technically consider lost (but I didn’t feel lost). The man at the front desk gave me a map and marked some recommendations for food and also helped orient me to where the bus station was, which allowed me to visibly see what path I took, which was comforting because it was actually rather simple. As well, he also pointed out where everything was in the hostel.

My dorm room was super cool. All the beds were aligned on the wall opposite to the door and were situated in a way, which made each bed its individual cubby. As well everyone had his or her own locker, which was nice. I just really enjoyed how I could have my own little space with whatever I wanted right next to me, and didn’t have to feel like I was bothering others.

After I situated my stuff and took some deep breaths, I followed the front deskman’s advice for dinner. As I walked out of the hostel (to the outside) I took a left and basically followed it to where I found my restaurant for dinner. Along this road there are plenty of options for dinner I just sort of kept walking until I built enough courage to finally enter one of the restaurants.

I eventually found myself in a place called Village Tavern and was able to sit in a little covered, seated area outside, which had a heat lamp near by. This was nice because I was in a place where I could also people watch as I enjoyed my meal. I decided to try a soup (I think it was mushroom) to start, followed by a risotto as my main. The food was really great and the menu was in English, which was nice because sometimes after a long day of travel having something that is arguably convenient is really nice. After my meal I decided I would walk around a bit and explore. As I walked back the way I came I decided to explore other little streets that seemed interesting because I figured if I realize there is nothing interesting that way it is easy enough to just turn around and go back the way you could say I now know.

I got to see the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and take a quick peak inside. What an impressive cathedral! This thing is huge and the closer you get the more and more intricate detail you continue to notice. The archway over the main door you enter is absolutely breathtaking, there are so many tiny little carving, and it truly is absolutely incredible! I then continued left if you are looking at the road from the church which conveniently brought me into the actual main square area.

To try to give you a better idea of where I was in relation to where my hostel was, basically this main square is surrounded by buildings, my hostel is on an upper floor on one of the sides of the square, to get to dinner I went left through the underpass and followed the road, the square is on the opposite side. So basically from my hostel you can have a view of either the area I was for dinner on one side, and the other view is the main square.

I took a lap around the main square, enjoying everything it had to offer and eventually made my way back inside because now, it was safe to say I was pretty tired.

The next day I had planned to take a morning bus trip to Graz, Austria, which departed from the same main bus station I had arrived at and was already familiar with. So it kind of worked out that I was forced to figure it out the day before because I knew exactly where I was going this time.

I made sure I got there early enough so I could find my terminal and also have enough time to get a pastry and cappuccino. Everyone at the station was extremely helpful because instead of guessing where I needed to go, I straight up just walked to a ticket counter and asked which terminal my bus would leave from. I was not going to push my luck with this one.

I’ll write more about my time in Austria in another post but now I’ll bring you back to my final evening in Zagreb. I got home, once again, around dinner time and chose to walk around a bit before calling it a day, as it was a pretty tiring, long day of walking. I walked around the same streets as I did the night before taking in any little details I had missed the first time, truly. For dinner I just went to a simple walk up place that sold pizza basically right across from the cathedral right on the corner to the road that brought me back to my hostel.

The next morning I had planned a decently early morning bus ride to Ljubljana, Slovenia before I left for Poland. Although this had me up around 5:30 in the morning to catch a 7am bus ride I am so thankful I did it. Who would have thought walking around a town between 6 and 7 in the morning would seal the deal and literally cause me to fall in love with it.

Let me bring you into my world for a second.

There is something special about this time of day because only a few people’s days have started. The sky was still dark so all the lights set up for winter happened to still be illuminated. In fact, the park that I follow to get to the bus station had all of its trees and pathways covered in white lights which at this time of day with so few people out felt like a fairy tale. This feeling was very similar to my magical Eiffel tour feeling because indeed, the lights surrounding the pathway I was taking were glittering. I actually could have seriously cried in this moment, everything was so perfect.

After coming back form Ljubljana I stayed at the bus station and caught the next bus back to the airport, which was extremely easy to find because there terminal to get to the airport is in its own little area.

So that was my time untraditional time spent in Zagreb! Yes it was a little on the unconventional side but I tried my best to make it work and make the most of it and I am more than satisfied with my takeaway from the experience. My heart will always remember the magic of this beautiful little city.

Have a great day!

xxHannah