St. Patrick’s – Porteño -style
Ireland may be half a world away from Buenos Aires, but every March 17th you’ll start to doubt it. Why March 17? Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day! In Argentina, it’s a chance for porteños descended from the country’s 50,000 Irish immigrants to celebrate their heritage, and for everyone else to dress in green, enjoy some traditional music, and drink fantastic beer.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Ireland’s most famous patron saint, who — according to thе legend — freed the island from an infestation of snakes. You won’t find any reptiles in Buenos Aires; instead, a festive parade will slither its way across the neighborhood of Retiro from 7-8pm, beginning at Suipacha and Arroyo Str and ending in Plaza San Martin.
From there, the fun moves on to Guinness-soaked Reconquista Str, home to many of the city’s traditional Irish pubs. It’s a rollicking way to pay homage to two of everyone’s favorite figures — San Patricio and Santa Cerveza!
Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in some places like the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Montserrat. In other countries where there’s relatively big Irish Diaspora people also celebrate the holiday – Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Some people even claim that St. Patrick’s Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.
Let’s be honest… Who doesn’t like FREE stuff, especially when we are traveling? Tight budgets, thousands already spent on transportation and almost nothing left to spend in the travel destination. It could be rather frustrating… That is why our friends at Free Sofia Tour decided to put together a list of all Free Tours that they could find around the world, from Vilnius to Sydney to Mumbai. It’s truly amazing.
So here you go, sorted by city name (if you know any other tours, please email us and we’ll add it here):
- Amsterdam, Netherlands – New Amsterdam Tours
- Athens, Greece – Athens Free Walking Tour
- Barcelona, Spain – Runner Bean Tours
- Barcelona, Spain – B Side Free Tour Barcelona
- Bath, UK – The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides
- Belgrade, Serbia – Belgrade Walking Tours
- Berlin, Germany – Alternative Berlin Tours
- Berlin, Germany – Brewer’s Berlin Tours Free Express Tour
- Berlin, Germany – New Berlin Free Tours
- Brasov, Romania – Guided Brasov Free City Tour
- Bratislava, Slovakia – Be Free Tours
- Brussels, Belgium – Brussels Greeters
- Brussels, Belgium – New Brussels Free Tour
- Bucharest, Romania – Guided Bucharest
- Budapest, Hungary – Free Budapest Walking Tours
- Budapest, Hungary – Free Budapest Tours
- Buenos Aires, Argentina – BA Free Tour
- Copenhagen, Denmark – New Copenhagen Tours
- Cusco, Peru – Free Walking Tour Peru
- Dublin, Ireland – Pat Liddy’s Walking Tours
- Dublin, Ireland – New Dublin Tours
- Edinburgh, Scotland – New Edinburgh Tours
- Florence, Italy – New Florence Free Tour
- Hamburg, Germany – New Hamburg Tours
- Istanbul, Turkey – Istanbul Free Tour
- Istanbul, Turkey – Free Walking Tours Istanbul
- Jerusalem, Israel – New Jerusalem Tours
- Krakow, Poland – Free Walking Tour
- Lima, Peru – Lucid Lima
- Lisbon, Portugal – Lisbon Free Tour
- Ljubljana, Slovenia – Ljubljana Free Tour
- London, UK – New London Tours
- London, UK – Alternative London Free Tour
- Madrid, Spain – My Madrid Free Tour
- Madrid, Spain – New Madrid Tours
- Melbourne, Australia – Melbourne Free Tour
- Melbourne, Australia – Meltours
- Milan, Italy – New Milan Free Tour
- Moscow, Russia – Free Moscow Tour
- Mumbai, India – Let’s Walk Mumbai
- Munich, Germany – New Munich Free Tour
- New Orleans, United States – Free Walking Tours of New Orleans
- New York, United States – NY By Foot
- Odessa, Ukraine – Free Tours Odessa
- Paris, France – City Free Tour
- Paris, France – New Paris Tours
- Paris, France – Paris Walks
- Philadelphia, United States – Free Walking Tours of Philadelphia
- Pisa, Italy – Free Pisa Tour
- Plovdiv, Bulgaria – Free Plovdiv Tour
- Porto, Portugal – Porto Free Tour
- Prague, Czech Republic – Prague Extravaganza Free Tour
- Prague, Czech Republic – New Prague Free Tour
- Prague, Czech Republic – Royal Walk Free Tour
- Riga, Latvia – Yellow Free Tours
- Reykjavik, Iceland – Reykjavik Free Walking Tour
- Rome, Italy – New Rome Free Tour
- Rome, Italy – Rome Free Tour
- Saint Petersburg, Russia – Saint Petersburg Free Tour
- San Francisco, US – San Francisco City Guides
- Santiago, Chile – Free Tour Santiago
- Santiago, Chile – Spicy Chile
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Free Sarajevo Walking Tours
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo Insider Free Tour
- Sevilla, Spain – Sevilla Free Tour
- Sofia, Bulgaria – Free Sofia Tour
- Stockholm, Sweden – Free Tour Stockholm
- Sydney, Australia – I’m Free
- Sydney, Australia – Peek Tours
- Tallinn, Estonia – Yellow Free Tours
- Tampere, Finland – Tampere Free Tour
- Tel Aviv, Israel – New Tel Aviv Tour
- Tokyo, Japan – Free Tokyo Tour
- Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo Free Guide
- Toronto, Canada – Tour Guys
- Utrecht, Netherlands – Utrecht Free Tours
- Vancouver, Canada – Tour Guys
- Venice, Italy – New Venice Free Tour
- Vilnius, Lithuania – Yellow Free Tours
- Washington, US – DC By Foot
After flying across three continents, two oceans, and exploring much of Eastern Europe in just a month, it seemed fitting that my Ultimate Triptrotting Adventure end where it started just a few short months before: in LA. City of angels, of beaches, of aspiring actors and actresses from around the globe. Far more relevant to my time there, however, was LA as base for the Triptrotting office! This is where it had all began, the idea for the contest, the launch, the votes, the decision to send me abroad as am ambassador-of-sorts for the company. Here is where the founders live, work, and lay the foundations for travelers around the world to connect and to gain the ‘local’ experience. How truly symbolic that my ‘local’ experience in LA happened to be with the very people who inspired it all!
And boy did they hook me up! From staying in a typical LA apartment, complete with pool and access to shopping and celebrities at the nearby Grove, to invites to excusive guest-listed clubs and afterparties, to wine-tasting of some fabulous California wine, to night time drives up the hills to see LA spread out below, and beyond. I’m talking Michael Jackson tributes, the grand opening of an ice-cream parlour, Mexican restaurant hopping, Korean BBqs, lounging on Santa Monica Beach, partying with some of LA’s finest at the exclusive birthday party of a well-known event planner, and a day spent at Walt Disney studios (normally off limits to members of the public). Not to mention tours of the Triptrotting office, where so much magic happens! Photo shoots with the team, time spent giving interviews in the studio, the chance to see an album being recorded by an up-and-coming Seattle hip-hop duo Striking Back. Oh, and in case you’re not convinced that my time in LA was suitably awesome, Triptrotting also invited me to the very first TRIPup event in LA. There, I had the chance to meet up with other locals and travelers at the beautiful W Hotel in Hollywood. All-in-all, not a bad introduction to the city of LA!
You don’t wanna hear it from me though, check out video evidence on Triptrotting TV instead!
By: Aigerim Duis
What do Milan and Sofia have in common? They have hundreds of Triptrotters who got together this month for an amazing night out in town with locals and travelers! Great food, drinks and awesome new friends… What else can you ask for?
On October 17, 2011 Triptrotters together with the Free Sofia Tour rocked Sofia’s Club Culture Beat! Thanks to an amazing Location Adviser Boyko, who has put the event together! According to Sofia Tonight “Culture beat is not just a nightclub or boutique- café, not just a bar or a place, where you can eat something tasty. It’s all taken together and before that- it is the new home and cultural center for artists and people who feel such as them. Culture beat is a crazy strong mix of styles. Sofia’s industrial, street vintage and socialism in contrast of elegant and aristocratic elements which have been sited in one great culture chic. Moreover, the entry in Culture beat, the first thing that you can feel is the flowing sense of comfort and coziness” It was a perfect venue for Triptrotting event! Locals, young professionals and students from Sofia and Tilburg Universities came to hang out with travelers and expats in the city.
On October 14 another Location Adviser, Anna, hosted TRIPup in Milan at a local Mag Cafe in the heart of the city. The beautiful photography and art design of the Mag Cafe were perfect reflections of the eclectic culture of Milano! TRIPup Milan brought together locals and travelers – Students from University of Milan and Bocconi, young professionals from local companies and backpackers got to make new friends and enjoy awesome Aperitifs from the Mag Cafe. We are definitely hosting more events in Milan soon!
To see all of Triptrotting’s past TRIPups and even apply to host one in your city, visit our new Triptrotting Events page!
Join us for more fun ways to meet interesting people and make new friends!
Viator introduce their website by stating that their goal is wanting each customer to “have an unforgettable experience” every time they travel. This certainly applied to me!
Viator is a company that generously agreed to sponsor the Ultimate Triptrotting adventures, meaning that I was able to choose a Viator tour in each city that I traveled where they were available. The toughest part was narrowing it down to one tour in each city. After that all I had to do was enjoy! (In fact, sometimes they even picked me up and dropped me off after the tours!)
It’s hard to choose highlights from my Viator tours. All of them taught me something new and showed me ways to have fun in the cities I visited. I started out by segwaying in Budapest (a bit silly but actually heaps of fun!). In Prague when torrential rain forced the cancellation of my bike tour, the tour guide came with me to an art exhibit and picnic instead. My Belgrade tour was meant to last just four hours, but turned into a 16 hour extravaganza wherein we crisscrossed the important historical and cultural parts of the city and delved deep into the underground café and bar scene. Through Jelena (my guide aboce), I discovered some of my favourite spaces to date! Sofia, in Belgrade, was an entirely different sort of tour. A lot of focus was put on the Eastern Orthodox religion—we visited numerous iconic churches as well as a 13th century chapel with some of the world’s best-preserved frescoes! Finally, my tours in Istanbul and Athens were a bit more light-hearted—in Istanbul I was treated to a five course meal and a display of typical Turkish dancing, and in Athens I went on a cruise of three islands. They even let me wear the captain’s hat and steer the ship on the way back! (Pity the other passengers when I was in control).
All in all, I had an absolutely fabulous time with Viator! Definitely a great addition to my Triptrotting adventures.
Do you ever feel like sometimes you travel around the world and end up somewhere that feels like home? Greece had that effect on me, and it wasn’t because they had the same language, lifestyle, food, or any other indicator of familiarity. Instead, it was ‘just a feeling’ (as cliché as that can possibly be)… a sense of belonging and of identification with the way the Greeks live and think.
It probably helped that a dear Greek friend of mine and Triptrotter, Sofia, hosted me in Athens. Thanks to her I got the true ‘Triptrotting’ experience, being able to live life as the Greeks do. I stayed with her and her family in their house in the suburbs, which was a great base both to explore the city and to get to know a Greek family. They even invited me to a family lunch and swim at their grandparent’s house in the country, complete with Greek salad and octopus!
Through Sofia I experienced Greek hospitality, friendliness, and open-mindedness. Her and her friends took me gallivanting about the city, educated me about the recent riots, showed me the best place to get a piercing, explored art exhibits and funky courtyard bars, even visited some of the hostels to meet up with other travelers (by the way, I’d totally recommend Student Universe to find hostels in Athens).
Together we convinced sailors to let us on a cruise, talked our way into the captain’s control room, and even into wearing his hat! We took road trips down the coast, traipsed around tiny Greek towns, discovered secluded beaches. We visited her friend’s island summer retreat, went on boat rides with them, saw horses swimming in the water and a man who was Jesus reincarnate in bathing trunks. We ate and ate and ate, from traditional souvlaki to picnics by temples to fresh market produce and restaurants in public squares. We enjoyed an awesome Urban Adventures tour of the Markets and Ruins in Ancient Athens. They took me to graffiti-lined alleyways, activists squatting in a park-turned-vegetable garden, on walks around the Parthenon. They even taught me that water-bottle prices were regulated by the government, so that hot, thirsty Greeks always had access to hydration. (Clever, n’est-ce pas? But I wonder what the IMF has to say about it!)
All in all, I had an absolutely wonderful three days in Greece. In many ways, Athens felt like a secret Montreal/Brooklyn/Melbourne, just with fresher food, friendlier people, and fantastic weather (sunshine!). I could not recommend it more highly, and hope that no one is dissuaded by sensationalist media reports of riots and random violence…I know that I’ll be back!
Check out more of my Ultimate Adventures through Europe on Triptrotting TV!
I’m in Istanbul, which means that my long journey by Interrail has come to an end. I’ve travelled from Budapest through Bratislava and Krakow to Warsaw and Prague, Belgrade, Sofia, and finally, Istanbul. Thousands of kilometres, hundreds of villages, and many new friendships later, it seems fitting that the end of my journey be in the same city in which the Orient Express ends. It serves as a reminder of the magic associated with riding on a train; while cheaper tickets and modern conveniences may have removed some of the glamour and mystery from trains, they will never remove the allure.
My 22 day Interrail pass allowed me the freedom to travel throughout Europe and to experience all the best that traveling by train has to offer. I became addicted, not just to watching the countryside flash by, but also to waking up in the morning to a completely different landscape. Trains give you a far more scenic trip than planes and a far more intimate trip than a drive down a highway. Instead, they wind and carve through farmland, over rivers, through the centers of towns. From the train window I saw rainbows, peasants, fields of sunflowers, small countryside villages and more.
And inside, I formed friendships that will last a lifetime. Sharing a compartment with other travelers naturally fosters new friendships. I shared tea with my Turkish train conductor, found out about a Serbian festival from an old German man, explored Istanbul with a newfound Portuguese friend, and met a 17 year old Serbian graphic designer who invited me back to his small hamlet to experience life in rural Serbia:
Frankly, for backpackers, it is also the most practical way of travel. Not only do you save time by traveling overnight, but booking a bed is cheaper than in a hostel. That, and you have the clickety-clack of the tracks and the rocking of the train to lull you to sleep (and the ocassional snorer, but nothing you wouldn’t get in a hostel right?). In Europe you could use Eurail or Interrail (if you are European citizen) passes to get around. Usually its pretty cheap!
All in all, a fantastic experience which has left me eager for more train action! Trans-Siberian anyone?
See more Ultimate Adventures of Yolanda on Triptrotting TV.
By Triptrotting Team
The best souvenirs from all of our travel adventures are the friendships we’ve created along the way. They’ve given us perspective and even inspired us to join the Local Travel Movement and create a community of people who share the same passion for traveling and connecting with like-minded locals – Triptrotting (www.triptrotting.com). Here is a collection of travel memories where knowing local friends really made our travel experience extraordinary.
I’ve been to over 25 different countries, but the experiences below specifically taught me two key lessons: one is that hanging with locals completely changes your travel experiences and two, hanging out with your peers you realize how similar we all are, despite the fact that we come from so many different corners of the world.
Tunis, Tunisia — As I write this, Tunisia is a newly democratic country with new Presidential elections coming up soon, but when I visited I took a picture of the Presidential palace and my Tunisian friend Rola freaked out! She yelled at me that I should put my camera away if I don’t want the cops to take it away! I learned so much on that trip about Tunisia, its culture and its people. I got to stay with Rola’s family in Tunis for 3 nights and one night with her younger sister, husband and her 8 month daughter. We visited Rola’s high school, went horseback riding on a professional ranch and hung out with her high school friends. I could tell back then the growing frustration among the young people about the autocratic government, but at the same time feeling of hopelessness of the situation. Without knowing Rola in Tunisia, I would’ve probably never gone there! This was the first time I realized how knowing locals could actually drive people to take trips to places they would never go.
New Zealand (all over) — In December of 2009 I set off on my very first solo trip, but it was solo only on the flight there! Unlike most other student travelers, I didn’t choose a kiwi bus. Once I arrived to Auckland my local friend, Brendon Potter, with his whole family met me in the airport and we set off for a 5 day Christmas road trip from Auckland all the way to Wanaka in South Island. I listened to amazing stories about their lives, learned random local facts as we passed through vast green fields and herds of sheep, ate fresh caught fish in local Kaikoura cafe, stayed with their friend in Christchurch by the beach and stopped by to take pictures with seals. I got to see how real kiwis live, unlike any other traveler, even backpacker, gets to see. Brendon’s family was the warmest and nicest family ever! They truly showed me Kiwi hospitality.
Eurotrip (Bordeaux, Lisbon, Barcelona) — After my New Zealand solo trip, I realized that traveling “solo” is actually fun because you get to meet way more locals when you are alone. So in summer 2010 I went on my first backpacking/business trip through Europe. On this trip I decided to meet up with my peers.
First I went to Lisbon, where I met up with Joao, local Medical school student, who took me on a walking tour of Lisbon and then drove us to a local beach outside of Lisbon. I had such a blast learning from Joao, native born Portuguese, about the history and current life in Portugal, about the things that they do as students, concerns they have… It was really funny to learn quickly that they have exactly same concerns as we do in the States: what do I do with my life? Do I really want to be doctor or lawyer, like my parents encourage me? When and where do I want to settle down? How do I plan into my life at least a year of round the world travels?
After spending only 2 days in Lisbon (definitely going back:) I took an overnight train to Barcelona, where I was met by my local host Maria Florit, student at ESADE Business School. I met her when she was studying abroad in the states the previous year. Maria lived in the residential area of Barcelona and for some time I felt like there were 2 Barcelonas: one with overcrowded streets, full of tourists, pick-pocketers and overpriced restaurants and another one with cute little cafes, open air evening movies and small bars where most local students hang out. I got to chat there with local Catalans, who were supporting Holland for the World Cup 2010 final, and learn about the historical tensions between Catalans and Spaniards.
Off from Barcelona I took off to Bordeaux where I met up with my old friend from small town around Bordeaux. For my birthday he took me to St. Emilion, where I had the best wine and cheese in my life! He also worked for Societe Generale and I used to work at UBS, so we had a lot to chat about during the 2 hour ride:)
It’s difficult for me to look back on my travel experiences without seeing the faces that have inspired me to think outside of the box and have really enriched my life. Think back to all the times a travel memory is brought up in conversation. Are you just talking about the lovely statue you photographed? For me, the stories I rave about over and over again and get all the laughs and “wow’s” all involve the great friendships I’ve made and experiences I’ve shared. In each place I visit, the best souvenir for me is a new friendship and a brand new perspective.
Bangkok, Thailand – My trip to Bangkok, Thailand was eye opening and so very intriguing. Aside from the elephant rides, the jungle safari, the floating market and being bit by a monkey while feeding it bananas, I remember all the hospitable faces and helpful locals. The locals were extraordinarily friendly. One of the girls on our trip had a local friend who invited us to her home for an afternoon pool party. Little did I know, I had entered into a home with maids, guest houses and infinity pools. Our host was friendly and even took us to experience a different side of Thailand only the more privileged frequented.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Before going to Dubai, I didn’t know too much about the city except for what was in the news. At that time, Dubai was in the news for being the place where everything was possible. The biggest, the tallest, and the fastest anything can be found there. I had no clue what to expect and my imagination of the Middle East had images of Aladdin and camels. It wasn’t until I had the chance to meet a few locals who brought us out to a local restaurant did we get a chance to learn more about Dubai. Underneath the glamour of what we saw to be a Vegas–like tourism destination, there was the local view of the changes to their city. It seemed that in a place of tradition, there is an ever increasing gap between what is “traditional” and what is “modern” and “westernized.” To hear a local’s perspective is incredibly valuable. In exchange, our new friends had even more questions for us. They seemed even more excited to learn about the United States, what it’s really like and not just what they see on TV.
Hong Kong, China – Although I am originally from mainland China, Hong Kong was a world of difference from the northern China I knew in early 1990s. When I had a chance to live in Hong Kong for 6 months during college, I specifically requested to share a room with a local student and determined to close the gap on the differences between what so little I knew about Hong Kong only from watching television shows. I tried to learn Cantonese – failed miserably. I tried to grasp Cantonese comedy – I pretended to understand. I sat in on my local friends’ Mahjong session – I got it! Let’s just say, some things are universal. We partied at night and she even helped me get local rates on cell phones! Later on, she even became one of the first Triptrotters in Hong Kong!