Bus from Managua to Granada and Masaya Volcano

 Spending good few days in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, I just could not skip seeing places around. The landscape is way too beautiful to just stay in the city. Lakes, volcanoes and mountains create a very interesting environment that stun you straight away, especially when coming from tropical and green Costa Rica, like myself. I would definitely recommend to see two places that are close by: stunning Masaya Volcano, along with surrounded national park, and a cute little town called Granada. Second mentioned one is a very touristic place, so you can find there loads of restaurants, hostel and hotels to stay in. Please note that half of the day is more than enough to enjoy this town. The volcano, however, is definitely a must see attraction while in capital. It can become as an amazing one day trip, you will never forget. The bad news is that its not always open, especially when its too active, but once is available to public…no excuses for not seeing it! So how to get there?

Managua offers loads of tours to take you to both places, but why to pay more when catching a minibus could not be easier. The place to find them is same for both directions, so are the minivans. They do have a sing on the front saying Granada, where they terminate, and the volcano is on the way to mentioned town. Just please tell the driver to stop in front of the entrance to the park. For your way back from the Masaya, there is a bus stop on another side of the motorway where you can wait and wave when you will spot the bus. I am afraid they are usually full, so you may even wait for the third one that will let you in. Luckily, they run very often, every 15-30 mins. You can get a taxi too, if you prefer, for around 40$ one way (so not so cheap, but option as well).

The bus stop for the mini vans towards Granada, in Managua, is located at UCA terminal (University of Central America on Pista de la Resistencia street), and the ticket cost around  24-44 NIO (1$). Another bus stop can be found at Mercado Huembes, but its a bit further south from the city center (please see the attached map). It will take about 1 hour to rich Granada and around 40 minutes to rich Masaya. UCA terminal is a bit chaotic, but just look for the minibus with Granada sign on it. Vans run from 05:00 till 22:00.

I did walk to UCA terminal from city center, was safe for me, but police stopped me twice to ask why do I walk alone, and that I should take a taxi there. You can catch a bus there from the city center too. Once there, vans run very often and depart once almost full. You pay in the bus, usually on the way towards your destination. Ticket cost around 1$ one way, so its extremely cheap. In Granada bus stops right in the city center, the return one departs from different stop, see map attached below. There is no timetable again, as it leaves very often (every 15-30 mins) once van is full. img_4799

One more thing to add at the end. If you have just one spare day please do pick volcano over Granada! 

Bosnia, Herzegovina and something else

 Fact that I visited nine countries during my backpacking trip trough stunning Balkans definitely do allow me to make up my mine on the most magnificent one, I was fortunate to discover. Though, clearly when it comes to judgments like that, we are all aware about strong subjective side of it. Going even further, I wanted to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina for a very long time, especially because I wrote one chapter in my master thesis about the war there. Starting my journey just from knowledge of the spilled blood and history, though still young and fresh, I went trough creation of an image in my head from all kind of sources as documentaries, photos, information, to finally finish seeing, visiting, discovering, meeting people and just simply feel this country myself. I knew before planning my trip that it is going to be my favorite country in Europe. And yet again(!), I wasn’t mistaken. Same like with Bolivia and Nepal…I just felt the chemistry before even visiting. Perhaps difficult to explain, or probably my senses are already directed towards one side and my mind sabotaging my opinion, since I am making one in advance. More or less, here we are in Bosnia and Herzegovina…..the most amazing, at least for me, country in Europe with warm people, absolutely stunning and unique rivers, diverse architecture, rich culture and beautiful mountain range all around. Spearing to write more and just adding my recommendation to visiting this absolutely unique European country, I just want to share some photos I took.

Getting to Kościeliska Valle in Tatra Mountains by public bus from Zakopane with timetable

  Kościeliska Valle is one of the most beautiful valleys in Poland. Located around Tatra Mountains on a Polish side of the range creates an absolutely amazing and breath-taking trial. It is one of the most popular family walk while visiting close by Zakopane, as the whole path up to Ornak Hall (Hala Ornak-Schronisko) is flat and easy done even by a small children. Walk from the entrance right up to hall, even with breaks, wont take longer than 2 hours one way. There are also 4 caves on the way to add, but you have to allow extra time for it, as some of them are located 1h of walk away from the main road of the valley, some just 25 mins. This place is definitely a must see and can be extended to a proper hike trial, if you will carry on after Ornak Hall. More or less, even that the entrance to the park is located 20 mins ride from the center of Zakopane, you do not need to take a taxi. Bus is the best and cheapest option. Some can also get to Kiry, for Kasprowy Wierch cable card, with one of the numerous mini buses operating in the area or a public PKS bus. The ticket cost just 3zl (less than 1$) each way, and is paid to the bus driver only by cash. There are two main bus stops in Zakopane. One is at the main Bus Station and the other one at the beginning of Krupowki Street, main street in Zakopane. Both places got a signs pointing the bus stop, in polish called Dolina Kościeliska or Kościelisko. Please see the map attached for bus stop near Krupowki street.


Zakopane – Kościeliska Valle

And here is a timetable, but please be at the stop 10-15 mins before, as the bus is always early and never waits!! Welcome to Poland 🙂IMG_4534

  • Bus line 110 (Zakopane – Dolina Chocholowska) stops at the bus stop marked on the map on the right, at the beginning of Krupowki street at: 7.08 (this service runs only between 01.07-30.09); 7.21 (this service runs only between 25.04-31.10); 8.36; 8;53 (this service runs only between 01.07-30.09); 10.03; 11.21; 13.24; 15.09; 16.29 (this service runs only between 25.04-31.10); 17.42 (this service runs only between 25.04-31.10). Just ask anyone in the bus where to get of for Koscieliska Valley (most tourists will get off there probably anyway).
  • Bus 70 Zakopane – Kościelisko (Koscieliska Valley). This bus-stop is by the FIS Bar, see map on the right, or from bus stop nr 2 at Aleje 3-ego Maja. This timetable is from center, so from FIS Bar please be 15 mins earlier.
    8:00k, 9:10, 10:08, 12:31, 13:42, 14:58, 16:00, 18:05, 19:10, 20:15, 21:15, 22:15b
  • Bus 72 Zakopane (Aleje 3-ego Maja bus stop nr 02) – Dolina Kościeliskiej (Koscieliska Valley):
    7:30k, 8:49, 9:55, 10:59, 12:15, 14:00, 15:06, 16:09, 17:09

legend:

b – only in summer and winter season
k – Monday till Friday only
BUS do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas  01.11 and 15.06

  • Bus “JJAS”near Zakopane main bus station, departing from Bar FIS (see map on IMG_4748the right) towards Dolina Kościeliska (Koscieliska Valley): 6.50, 7.50, 9.00, 10.25, 12.20, 13.20, 14.30, 15.30, 16.25, 17.35, 18.15, 19.20, 20.15
  • Bus “BolBus”near Zakopane main bus station, departing from Bar FIS (see map on the right) via Dolina Kościeliska (Koscieliska Valley) towards Dolina Chochołowska (Chocholowska Valley): 8.15L, 8.50A, 9.15L, 9.50A, 10.15L, 10.40A, 11.05L, 11.30A, 13.00L, 14.00A, 14.30L, 15.00A, 15.30L, 15.55, 16.30L, 16.50A, 17.30L, 18.30L, 19.30L 

legend:
A – Except Sunday, 1 and 2 day of Easter and Christmas 01.11 and 15.06
L- Do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas, 01.11, and New Year and 15.06


Kościeliska Valle-Zakopane

Return bus stop from Kościeliska Valley offers loads of options towards Zakopane, almost every 15-20 minutes in high season time. Just please don’t be later than 18.00 – 19.00 to be sure to catch one. Thought, they run till 21.00, I suggest to take earlier one anyway. Here, I will just write few examples. They all stop in few places in Zakopane (near main street Krupowki, finishing usually near main bus station). The bus stop is located just outside of the entrance to the park (to the left, when leaving the valley)

  • Bus 105 towards Zakopane: 8.40; 9.02; 9.41; 10.27; 11.25; 11.38; 12.32; 13.02; 13.37; 14.15; 14.38; 15.30; 15.52; 16.47; 17.25; 18.02; 18.28 (this last service runs only between 1.07-30.09)
  • Bus 70 Lider Bus towards Zakopane (Kościelisko – Zakopane)
    7:27k, 8:20, 9:32,11:57, 13:00, 14:00, 15:25, 18:25, 19:28, 20:45, 21:35b

legend:
k – Monday till Friday only 
BUS do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas  01.11 and 15.06

  • Bus 72 towards Kuźnice trough Zakopane (Dol. Kościeliska – Zakopane – Kuźnice)
    6:50k, 8:00, 9:20, 10:22, 11:30, 13:20, 14:25 15:30, 16:28

legend:
k – Monday till Friday only 
BUS do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas  01.11 and 15.06

  • Another bus line towards Zakopane that runs from Mon till Fr: 6.20, 7.30, 8.30, 9.35, 11.30, 14.30, 15.30, 16.35, 18.30. Sat-Sun: 6.20, 8.30, 11.30, 14.30, 16.35, 18.30
  • Another bus line towards Zakopane main bus station (Zakopane PKP) that runs from Mon till Fr: 6.02, 6.37, 7.02, 7.32, 8.22, 9.12, 9.52, 11.07, 12.32, 13.02, 14.02, 14.52, 16.02, 16.52, 17.22, 18.12, 19.42, 20.42, 21.52. Sat-Sun: 6.37, 7.02, 8.42, 9.52, 11.07, 13.02, 14.52, 16.02, 16.52, 18.02, 18.52, 19.42, 21.52.

Best and cheapest restaurants in Wrocław-culinary heaven for backpackers

 We all, as backpackers, know way to well what daily budget means to us, and how essential is to stuck to it! We have to fallow the plan on accommodation prices, food, other pleasures and transport. I can not say you will find the cheapest hostel and, especially, hotels in Wrocław, city in Poland, but when it comes to meals…luckily we do offer few very good and very affordable restaurants. You can have a breakfast there from 1$ with a coffee, a soup for 0.40$ and a lunch/dinner starting at as little as 2$. And do not think it compares the quality of the food, because it really doesn’t. Food is home-made, traditional and simply delicious!! Those restaurants are also very popular for students, that usually have a limited budged themselves. The only minus, I am afraid, is that the staff do not speak any English and that might be hard for travelers, but there is always someone around to help. Once you will master the task of getting an order, you just wont be disappointed. Here, I will write about top ten best and cheapest restaurants and some milk bars, as we call them, you can find in the city center in Wroclaw, so lets start!

Miś Milk Bar (Bar Mleczny Miś)

Definitely my number one and all time favorite. I always dine there when possible and when in the city center area, and not because is very cheap. Students favorite too and well popular in general in Wroclaw, offering anything from breakfast, lunch and dinner at lowest possible price with and old school vibe present all around. And, most importantly, all is well made, and taste very good. Location is just perfect, right next to University of Wroclaw and very close to the main square and town hall. Please trust me and pop in for a lunch! The only minus is that some dishes, like pierogi, go fast and after 14.00 its difficult to order them. Opening hours also may be a problem for travelers who like to eat late, otherwise nothing is stopping you!

Address: ul. Kuźnicza 48, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 8.00–18.00, Sat: 8.00–17.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings with meat (250g) – 2$/Pierogi z mięsem (250g) – 6.20 zł
  • Traditional Polish dumplings with white cheese and potatoes (250g) – 1.5$/Pierogi ruskie (250g) – 4.50 zł
  • Scrambled eggs – (2 eggs) – 0.40$/Jajecznica (2 jajka) – 1.50 zł
  • Traditional Polish rice and mince meat wrapped in cabbage with tomatoe sauce (350g) – 1.80$/Gołabki z sosem (350g) – 4.93 zł
  • Meat balls (100g) – 1.20$/Kotlet mielony (100g) – 3.70 zł
  • Beef stake in bread crumbs (100g) – 2$/Kotlet schabowy (100g) – 6.50 zł
  • Pork liver (100g) – 1.5$/Wątróbka wieprzowa (100g) – 4.80 zł
  • Goulash from pork meat (200g) – 2.20$/Gulasz wieprzowy (200g) – 7.60 zł
  • Sweet rice with strawberries – 1.40$/Ryż z truskawkami – 4,20 zł
  • Pancakes with white cheese and sugar (220ge) – 0.90$/naleśniki z serem i cukrem (220g) – 3,09 zł
  • Dumplings with meat (300g) – 1.80$/ Pyzy z mięsem (300g) – 5 zł
  • Traditional salad from cucumber and sour cream (100g) – 0.50$/Mizeria (100g) – 1.50 zł
  • Chicken breast in bread crumbs (120g) – 2$/Filet z kurczaka (120g) – 6.50 zł
  • Pasta with four different cheeses and broccoli (300g) – 0.70$/Makaron 4 sery z brokułami (300g) – 2.35 zł
  • Krokets with yellow cheese and mushrooms (2 pieces) – 2$/Krokiety z serem i pieczarkami (2 sztuki) – 5.50 zł
  • Potatoes in oil (200g) – 0.30$/Ziemniaki z tłuszczem (200g) – 1.03 zł
  • Rice (200g) – 0.25$/Ryż (200g)- 0.73 zł
  • All soups from 0.40 to 1$/Zupy od 1.50 do 3.15 zł
  • All the salads on the side (100-200g) from 0.20$ to 0.80$/Surówki i sałatki  (100-200g) od 0.66 do 2.60 zł
  • Custard with cream and sugar (200g) – 0.40$/Budyń ze śmietana i cukrem – 1.40 zlMis.jpg

     Mewa Milk Bar (Bar Mleczny Mewa)

Another milk bar very similar to Miś Milk Bar. Also in the city center area, just a bit further north. Prices and menu are very similar to Miś, so you can have a tasty, homemade, delicious meal at a very affordable price. The big plus is that this place seems less busy than Miś, but also very popular. Pierogi are served from 13.00 and are the most popular dish, so you need to pop in earlier to have a chance to get them.

Address: ul. Drobnera 4, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 9.00–18.00, Sat: 9.00–16.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

All dishes and prices are very similar to Miś Bar (see above).


Jacek i Agatka Milk Bar (Bar Mleczny Jacek i Agatka)

Located in the city center makes a perfect place for a delicious, homemade breakfast, lunch or dinner. Another very popular one, but less busy than Mewa and Miś. This milk bar offers more than 100 positions to choose from, so every mouth would be satisfied.

Address: pl. Nowy Targ 27, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 8.00–18.00, Sat: 9.00–17.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

All dishes and prices are very similar to Miś Bar (see above).


MiszMasz Restaurant (Restauracja MiszMasz)

MiszMasz is one of the cheapest restaurants in Wroclaw. It is very close to University of Wroclaw, so it is a very popular place to eat for students. Apart from typical traditional Polish food, like pierogi or kartacze, you can also find a sweet and sour chicken or Mexican tortilla.

Address: Nożownicza 14-16 Street, 50-119 Wrocław
Opening hours: Everyday: 11.00–20.30

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings filled with potato and white cheese (8 pieces) – 3$/Pierogi ruskie (8 szt) – 9,60 zł

  • Vegetarian risotto – 3$/Wegeteriańskie Risotto – 9.60 zł
  • Chips, chicken tight, salad, drink – 3$/Udko z kurczaka, frytki, surowka, napoj – 9.90 zł
  • Chicken breast in dill sauce, potatoes, salad, drink – 3.80$/Filet drobiowy w sosie koperkowym, ziemniaki, surówka, napój – 11.90 zł
  • Steak in bread crumbs, potatoes, salad, drink – 4$/Schabowy, ziemniaki, surówka, napój – 12,50 zł

  • Sweet and sour chicken, rice, salad, drink – 3.70$/Kurczak słodko-kwaśny, ryż, surówka, napój – 12,90 zł

Promotions

Happy Hour. After 20:00 every meal is 50% cheaper.

Free large beer at order above 9.90 zl (3$)…… ulalalalalalal, Homer say yes!


Witek Bar (Bar Witek)

This bar offers a great traditional range of our old school PRL toasts – a typical Polish fast food during the communism time. It has been opened in 1979 and still serve one of the best and very cheesy toasts with mushrooms. Portions are very big and very filling.

Address: ul. Wita Stwosza 40/1a, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 9.30-19.00, Sat: 10.30-18.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional toast with cheese and mushrooms – 2.5$/Tost tradycyjny z pieczarkami i serem – 8 zł
  • Village style toast with mushrooms, cheese, sausage and onion – 3$/Tost wiejski – pieczarki, ser, kiełbasa wiejska, cebula – 9,70 zł
  • Salad with feta (600g) served with bread – 3.20$/Sałatka z serem feta (600g) podawana z pieczywem – 11 zł
  • Open-faced toasted cheese sandwich with mushrooms – 2$/Zapiekanka tradycyjna z pieczarkami i serem – 7 zł

    Bar Mały (Mały Bar)

Another amazing milk bar near the city center. This one is open a bit longer. You can find loads of tourists here, as its very close to the main train and bus station. Food is homemade and very traditional, however a bit more expensive than other milk bars like Miś or Mewa.

Address: ul. Kołłątaja 27/28, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Sat: 10.00–19.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings – 2.80$/Pierogi ruskie – 9 zł
  • Pancakes with cheese or apples or spinach – 2.80$/Naleśniki z serem, jabłkami lub szpinakiem – 9 zł

     Bazylia Restaurant (Restauracja Bazylia)

There is no way I will not think about Bazylia without remembering my time at university. This buffet style restaurant is located inside one of the law department buildings, where I studied. I cant say the food is top mach, but I love the fact that its cheap, you can fill your plate with everything you like, and you pay same price of 0.80$ (2.79 zł) per 100g. I used to eat there after my lectures, exams, alone, with friends or family. The other thing about this place is location and surrounded stunning architecture you can enjoy while eating.

Address: ul. Kuźnicza 42, Wrocław 
Opening hours: Mon–Sun: 10.00–19.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

This is a buffet style restaurant where you add to the plate anything you like and pay for 100g. You will find there anything from traditional dumplings, salads, fish, chicken, goulash to chinese chicken with bamboo. Price is 2.79 zł, that’s 0.80$, for 100g.

Promotions

After 17.00  all 15% cheaper, after 17.30 all 25% cheaper and after 18.00 all cheaper by 50%.


Karmazyn Bar (Bar Karmazyn)

This amazing bar is located in one of the biggest indoor markets in Wroclaw, called Hala Targowa, so after a very tasty traditional, homemade meal you can have a look around.

Address: ul. Piaskowa 17, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 9.00–18.30, Sat: 9.00–15.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

All dishes and prices are very similar to Miś Bar (see above).


Sunny Bar (Bar Słoneczny)

One of my earliest discovery of amazing homemade food at very low price. However, this bar is special for me for another reason. Staff keeps some unused food to share later with homeless people and that is a huge plus for me!

Address: ul. Komandorska 147, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr 10.00–18.00, Sat: 10.00–17.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings – 2$/Pierogi ruskie – 6 zł
  • Greek fish (100g) – 1.5$/ Ryba po grecku (100g) – 4.20 zł
  • Fish filet in bread crumbs (100g) – 2$/Filet z ryby (100g) – 6.90 zł
  • Pork liver (100g) – 1.5$/Wątróbka wieprzowa (100g) – 4.80 zł
  • Goulash from pork meat (200g) – 2$/Gulasz wieprzowy (200g) – 6.90 zł
  • Sweet rice with strowberrys – 1.40$/Ryż z truskawkami – 4,20 zł
  • Pancakes with white cheese and strawberries (1 pancake) – 1$/naleśniki z serem i truskawkami (sztuka) – 3,20 zł
  • Dumplings with meat (300g) – 2.80$/ Pyzy z mięsem (300g) – 8.50 zł
  • Traditional salad from cucumber and sour cream (100g) – 0.90$/Mizeria (100g) – 2.90 zł
  • Chicken breast in bread crumbs (120g) – 2.5$/Filet z kurczaka (120g) – 8.80 zł
  • Ribbs (100g) – 1$/Żeberka (100g) – 3.60 zł
  • Lasagne (100g) – 1.20$/Lasagne (100g) – 4 zł
  • Potatoes (200g) – 0.80$/Ziemniaki (200g) – 2.40 zł
  • Chips (120g) – 1$/Frytki (120)g – 3.50 zł
  • All soups from 0.80 to 1.5$/Zupy od 2.50 do 4.20 zł