Monthly Archives: September 2012

Paris, France

Standard
Paris, France

With its grand monuments, elegant cathedrals and exquisite cuisine, it’s no wonder the fetching city of Paris is one of the most visited destinations in the world.

Meander yourself up the spiralling staircase of the Eiffel Tower or, if you prefer, use the aid of the elevator.   Either way, you will ultimately find yourself soaring above the sprawling city of Paris, the capital of France.  Sublime sceneries render your jaw to drop and your eyes to widen.   Famous for its flawless panoramas and colossal height, the Eiffel Tower is one of Paris’s most visited attractions.

Only a short stroll away is a remarkable restaurant titled ‘Relais de La Tour’, meaning Relay of the Tower, in English.  Its cuisine is mouth-watering and its service pleasurable.   Two flamboyant waiters, Patrick and Rafik, portray the characteristics of typical French men.  Their persistent smiles and enjoyable conversations make for a superb dining experience.

When travelling with children in Paris, Euro Disney is a much anticipated location.   With its entertaining rides, remarkable parades and groovy cafés and restaurants, Euro Disney is a satisfying site to keep both children and parents content.  From exploring Tarzan’s Tree house to screaming on a rollercoaster, Euro Disney has something suited for everyone.   Make a memory by witnessing the illustrious Disney Parade, where beloved Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Mary Poppins and Ariel can be spotted singing and dancing to their favourite music.  While making your way to the next ride, you may notice Disney characters roaming around the amusement park.  Be sure to ask for an autograph or photo with them.

Wander up to Sacré Coeur, a church dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus, to view the city from towering heights.  The impeccable landscape seen from this historic structure is just a little taste of this minor basilica.  Travelling on, you’ll find various souvenir shops, art studios and cafés.  Sacré Coeur is also well known for its blissful crêpes.   Artists frequently plead to sketch a portrait of you whilst you sit outside a charming café, sipping coffee. 

 May the Travel – Bug be with you…….

Things to do and Places to visit:

The Eiffel Tower = http://www.eiffel-tower.com/
Euro Disney = http://international.disneylandparis.com/index.xhtml
Sacré Coeur = http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/us/index.html
The Louvre = http://www.louvre.fr/en
Relais de La Tour = 27 Avenue de la Bourdonnais

Advertisements

London, England

Standard
London, England

Perhaps it was just because of the upcoming 2012 Olympics that the city of London was bustling with tourists. But something tells me it’s a little bit more…..

Portobello Road, Portobello Road,
street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload,
is sold off the barrow at Portobello Road.
You’ll find what you want at the Portobello Road.

You may recognise these lyrics from the popular film ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’. The lyrics speak for themselves. Keen bargain hunters, both locals and tourists, lurk around Portobello Road. Anything from earrings to antique sewing machines is available for purchase at Portobello Road!

If you’re looking for a more tasteful experience, visit a rather unique store in Leicester Square. Everyone’s heard of M&Ms, but what about a whole store dedicated to them? London’s Leicester Square has done just that! In London’s 4-story M&M World, there’s more than just candy. You’ll find merchandise such as chess sets, kitchenware, clothing, jewellery, clothes and glassware. Located at the back of the building is a humungous wall of chocolate where you are able to create your own M&Ms selection from over 100 choices!

For a more historical feel, I would recommend visiting the Tower of London. In the early 1080s, William the Conqueror began building a stone tower at the centre of his London fortress at Tower Hill. Through the centuries, other monarchs have added to the reinforcement of the tower and left us with a wonderful historical precinct. The Crown Jewels can be viewed here. It is also said that the ghost of Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife) loiters around the Tower of London, as she was executed in this fine structure.

Finding a restaurant in London isn’t testing, as there is a multitude of restaurants to suit everyone’s taste around every corner. One restaurant I would recommend is Garfunkel’s. It was at this restaurant that my parents shared their first date when they lived in London, in 1994. Seventeen years later (2011), they accompanied my sister and I to that same place. Garfunkel’s menu includes something for everyone. Not only do they include London classics on their menu, but fabulous cuisine from all over the world. A Garfunkel’s Banana Split is a ‘must-have dessert’!

For something a little fancier, visit Fortnum & Masons. I adore this place as it consists of several different restaurants of such diversity. These are, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, The Fountain, The Gallery, The Parlour and 1707. What is now known as The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was undergoing renovations when I visited, however, on 1 March 2012, the restaurant was opened by Her Majesty the Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge. The Parlour, located on the first floor, is a favourite of mine. It allows you to indulge in sublime sorbets and incredible ice-cream. Their well-known hot chocolate is a winner in many eyes. Made by one of the greatest chocolatiers in the world, it sure makes for a mouth-watering experience. For customers that prefer savoury over sweet, The Parlour’s special sandwich is always available.

For the vast majority of travellers that visit London, Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard is on their list of things to do. This was the same for my family and I. We found this ceremony anything but great. My family and I arrived 30-40 minutes early, yet we still barely caught a glimpse of any of it. As you would most likely have your back pack with you carrying valuables like cameras, it’s quite risky due to the large amount of pickpockets lurking about. I would certainly recommend rubbing this off your to-do list!

There are lots of things that London is famous for: films, celebrities, history, shopping etc. But sitting quite high on that list would be musicals. For a great bargain, head straight to the Half-Price Ticket Booth in Leicester Square. You may have to line up for a while but it’s well worth it. The two musicals I viewed were ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Jersey Boys’. The Phantom was remarkable. The singing was fantastic as well as the instrumentals and acting – certainly my favourite musical of all time! Jersey Boys was impressive; however, I wouldn’t recommend it to children due to numerous scenes with coarse language. The songs were lively though and got the audience pumped.

The laughter of both children and parents rings through your ears as you enter Hamleys, the finest toy store in the world. From stuffed toys to magic tricks, Hamleys features everything you want. Staff are willing to do your nails with their special nail polish or let you paint just to lure you into buying their merchandise. With several floors of fun, hours can be spent looking at everything in Hamleys!

The iconic London double-decker bus is a great way to see the city. Who could come to London and not ride one? These buses stop at many of the sites I have been writing about, and often give you some tips on what to do and see at your location.

So, I guess there is something more to the reason London is bustling, not just the coming of the Olympics…. after all, who wouldn’t want to visit such a magnificent city?

May the Travel – Bug be with you…….

Things to do and Places to visit:

Westminster Abbey = http://www.westminster-abbey.org/
Garfunkel’s = http://www.garfunkels.co.uk/
Harrods = http://www.harrods.com/
M&Ms World = http://www.mymms.com/merchandise/
Hamleys = http://www.hamleys.com/
Fortnum & Masons = http://www.fortnumandmason.com/
London Eye = http://www.londoneye.com/
Half-Price Ticket Booth = http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/buy-tickets/tkts/

Las Vegas, America

Standard
Las Vegas, America

Abnormal is one word that completely sums up the city of Las Vegas.  It’s asif you’re in a whole new world!

This is unless you believe that rollercoasters towering on top of buildings, canals complete with gondolas, or exploding volcanoes every 30 minutes are normal. This is just everyday life for the locals of Las Vegas and it has also been described as a “Disneyland for Adults” by others. This unique city has been crowned with the name “Sin City” for one very obvious reason – gambling. I am almost certain that there is no building in Las Vegas without a casino. In fact, I was stunned that McDonald’s was completed without one!!!

Perhaps the main reason tourists “hit the strip” is to explore its many hotels. I have never seen hotels used as attractions but once again, everything about Las Vegas is abnormal. The Venetian includes two running canals complete with gondolas and accompanying gondoliers to serenade you throughout your ride. The Luxor is home to an incredible IMAX theatre. The Bellagio boasts the world’s largest chocolate fountain. The Mirage holds the key to the Secret Garden (complete with dolphins, lions, leopards and tigers) as well as an exploding volcano. The hotel, Paris, showcases an Eiffel Tower a third of the size of the actual monument.

I’m sure that anyone who has visited Las Vegas will agree with me when I say that you have not taken advantage of the city until you have seen the Grand Canyon. The vast majority of tourists who visit the Grand Canyon do it by car or bus. Why not fly? Papillon Helicopter Tours have a lot to offer, and is what I personally recommend. The tour I completed included a free limousine ride. It picks you up at your hotel then drops you off at the terminal facility for check-in. This is followed by a safety talk before boarding the aircraft. Flying over the Hoover Dam is magical, but is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon itself. The helicopter dives in for a 4,000 foot descent and before you know it, you are safely standing on the bottom of the Canyon. It really is like the saying ‘flying into a postcard’! Here, a light picnic (a basket for each passenger), is awaiting you. Whilst nibbling on these refreshments, cute chipmunks surround you as well as blossoming cacti. This is also the time when you are able to explore the Canyon by foot. On the flight back, you will travel over the world famous strip and be treated to fantastic photo opportunities. Once again, the limo will return you back to your hotel. This is an outstanding opportunity to make a memory. Flying into the bed of the Grand Canyon was certainly the highlight of my visit to Las Vegas.

May the Travel-Bug be with you…

Places to visit and things to do:

Hotels

The Venetian = http://www.venetian.com
The Luxor = http://www.luxor.com
Bellagio = http://www.bellagio.com
The Mirage = http://www.mirage.com
Paris. = http://www.parislasvegas.com/casinos/paris-las-vegas/hotel-casino/property-home.shtml

Papillon Helicopter (+ limo) tour = http://www.papillon.com/popris/show_package.aspx?package_id=125&lang=en-US