Basel: The best European weekend away

What comes to mind when imagining the perfect, quintessentially European weekend away? I tend to image cobblestoned streets, long walks, age old cathedrals, galleries, museums and history galore.  But take a trip in any of the top European cities – think Paris, Prague, Madrid, or Rome – and you’ll find the long, quiet walks and sidewalk coffee drinking can turn into something else all together.  Whether it’s pushing through crowds at the Vatican, navigating the public transport in Madrid, or waiting 2 hours to see the Mona Lisa, you could end up needing a weekend to recover from your weekend!

So what’s the alternative?

My latest weekend away took me to Continue reading

Rome in a weekend

Rome. What can be said. Rome is a feeling. A state of mind. A state of being. It seems hardly appropriate to call in a mere city. On that note, I will try my best to detail one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, without littering the sentiment with cliches and/or saying the word awesome too many times.

Here goes.

I’ll start with my first surreal moment. A quiet walk through the city at 2am after a night out in Trastevere. After seeing the Vatican the next day, along with thousands upon thousands of tourists, I was glad I had seen it the night before, all by myself. Nobody to interrupt the moment of awe; alone with the Vatican. It was amazing. I’d suggest doing the tourist-y thing and going on a tour inside. But I’d also suggest stopping by at 2am in the morning – you’re on vacation anyway, so you can sleep when you’re back home.

rome, italy, vatican, photography

 

Second moment of awe began with Continue reading

Amsterdam: The second time around

While, like most people, visiting the same destination twice seems like a bit of a waste of time, with the exponential amounts of places to visit in the world, I had the chance to visit Amsterdam for a second time and took it.

I can now safely say that visiting a city twice can be an amazing experience.  So often, especially Londoners on weekend trips to Europe, we can go to a city for 2 or 3 days, see the main tourist attractions and come home feeling like we’ve “done” a city.  Have you done Paris? Well, yes, I sat and drank coffee at a cafe on the Seine, I visited the Louvre, I walked the Champs Elysee and saw the Eiffel Tower.  Done.  Well, not quite…

While it’s easy to check these cities off like points on a to-do list, it’s worth it every once in a while to go back to a city, having done all the touristy things and give it another look.  Go to the outer rims of the city, see how the locals live, don’t step foot in a museum and just relax.

That’s what I did on my latest trip to Amsterdam.  Having seen the Continue reading

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster blog award!

Liebster Award

 

A day out in London sponsored by Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Big Bus Tour and Planet Hollywood gathered together a great number of travel bloggers in the London area, some of which I had a chance to chat and network with.

Closer to the end of the night, me, The Dancing Traveller – “exploring the world one leap at a time” met Emily, The Cosy Traveller “exploring the world one cup of tea at a time” – it was fate!

Even better, Emily from The Cosy Traveller has just nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award.

This is an award given to fellow bloggers to show appreciation for new blogs that they’ve enjoyed reading and think deserve a mention.

So nice to be nominated, and even better to answer some great questions about my travels, so thank you Emily!

liebster-award-rules

11 random facts about me

  • I spent a summer working for a white water rafting company, with free trips down the river whenever I liked!
  • I’m left handed
  • I’ve never broken a bone
  • I spent a year living in China as a professional ballet dancer and teacher
  • I love every single type of cheese there is.  End of story.
  • I served a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the mountains of North Carolina
  • I’m addicted to Starbucks
  • I’m about to hit 30 countries travelled to right in time for my 30th birthday!
  • My mom works as a vineyard wedding planner and I’ve grown up (from 21!) loving wine and vineyards
  • Huge fan of bluegrass music, with my favourite band being Avett Brothers.  I loved them before anyone else did!
  • I love to paint

Continue reading

Berlin or Munich? Why not both

I’ve seen tons of blog posts online arguing that either Munich or Berlin is the superior city, one far more tourist worthy than the other. My opinion? You need to see both. Now, I know, a lot of travellers don’t have unlimited time to go everywhere they want on a trip, but both of these cities are equally amazing in their own rights and deserve your time.  And I’ll tell you why…

Berlin

History, history, history.  It is all here.  From the Berlin Wall to Checkpoint Charlie to the Reichstag to the Brandenburg Gate…history is around every corner.

Some key places to visit:

Start your wanderings at the Reichstaga historical building constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933.  Head straight up to the large glass dome at the top, which provides amazing 360-degree views of the surrounding Berlin cityscape.

Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, dome

The Holocaust Memorial is right around the corner and definitely deserves a look.  Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, and engineer Buro Happold, it consists of a 19,000 msite covered with 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.  I could give a million structural details, but really you just need to go and see it and be in it.

Next, head towards Continue reading

Highlights: A weekend in Oxford

What first comes to mind when Oxford is mentioned, is of course Oxford University.  And while the University and it’s history dating back to the 12th century are central to the town, there is so much more to explore.  Just a quick trip away from London and the hustle and bustle of the big city, you’ll find yourself along quiet alleyways, medieval spirals and age old bookshops and pubs.

I’ve highlighted below some of my favourite spots in the city and surrounding areas and hope you’ll take away some key tips.

Getting there & Getting around

As it’s only about an hour outside of London, it is quite easy to travel to.  I tend to use GoEuro just as a brief check to see what will be the quickest way depending on the season/weekend.  The site can be used from any cities throughout the UK, so not just for Londoners.

Once you’re in the city, I’d recommend getting around by bike or by foot – just for the experience.

Things to do

There are tons of museums and colleges you can see just by taking a walk around, so I would highly recommend Continue reading

Ho Chi Minh Highlights

After only two days in Vietnam, I could already tell you where all the action was in the fast paced city of Ho Chi Minh – on the streets. No matter what your itinerary, type of transport, or grand tourist plan, nowhere else are you going to have as much fun as on a street corner. ..ok that sounds wrong but you get my drift. Need to prove it?

Nightlife

At first I thought we had just stumbled upon a rogue bar trying something new, but after Continue reading