London in Spring – when and where to see the top 5 spring flowers

posted in: England, London 5

London in Spring is quite simply, awesome!

London in Spring is quite simply, awesome! I love the mild weather between March to May and the longer daylight hours as we move from winter. We have beautiful days with “summer” sunshine and some spring showers as well which means best to take a small umbrella wherever I go. Typical spring temperature averages between 11° to 15°C (52 to 59°F) and it is a perfect time to visit London. For up to date weather information and forecast on London, check AccuWeather.

Pin on London Spring
  • Save
Pin on London
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

Although spring is a lovely time to visit, London is a perfect destination at any time of the year. There are activities and events planned throughout the year and of significance in 2020 is the UEFA finals scheduled for 12th June to 12th July.

Check here for further information on UEFA Euro 2020

Your experience of London will differ depending on the time of the year you choose to visit. As a popular tourist destination, London has something for everyone throughout the year and you will have memorable experiences to cherish, for sure. For a quick guide to what’s on including free and cheap events in London plus what festivals are on, take a look at the Top 40 London Travel Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020 published by Feedspot where you will have the latest information. MyTimelessFootsteps is also among the Top 40 London Blogs where you can check for the latest or you can sign-up via email so you never miss a post.

London in Spring

For me, spring is a beautiful time of the year as snowdrops rises from the earth and the white and purple delicate colours of the crocuses carpet the damp ground. With the onset of spring, March brings in the beautiful cheerful vibrant yellow and subtle white daffodils to cheer up any dull moment that one may feel. These darling buds of sunshine can be found at almost everywhere in London, especially in London parks. In addition, cherry blossoms are also symbolic flowers of the spring.

Cherry blossoms,are a big thing in Japan. They are affectionately known as “sakura” and is unofficially considered the national flower of the country. Sakura is symbolic to the Japanese because it signifies a time of renewal and the fleeting nature of life. Their beauty peak for about two weeks, after which they start to fall. The somewhat sharp deep pink buds with snow like white petals seems uplifting and make people merry. In Japan, people celebrate this season by meeting-up with family and friends for drinks and meals. They call this tradition, “hanami”. Hanami means “watching blossoms”.

London in Spring at the Royal Parks

There are so many beautiful parks in London for me to enjoy the colours of spring. Besides being one of the world’s largest and busiest metropolises, London is home to large areas of green spaces that is a sanctuary to diverse wildlife. There are eight beautifully manicured, well maintained royal parks that offer a paradise of zen for any visitor to London. Hyde Park in London is no doubt the most popular and every visitor’s favourite but I would suggest that you may change your mind once you visit Regent’s Park. In any case, London’s Royal Parks make a great destination if you want to experience the spring colours.

As the parks and trees burst into life with all manner of colours and pretty petals, there are five spring flowers that top my list. Here, I would like to share them with you and the spots where you can find them.

1 | Daffodils – London in Spring

The Royal Parks is said to plant one million daffodil bulbs across their gardens each year. Come the longer days and the sunshine in March and April, you will see swathes of daffodils raise their trumpets to the sky in a sea of yellow hues.

The best places to see them is St James’ Park, which gets the majority of bulbs. You can find them also in Green Park, Hampton Court PalaceKensington Gardens, and, Kew Gardens.

London in Spring - sea of daffodils i nSt James' Park
  • Save
Sea of daffodils in St James’ Park – Courtesy The Royal Parks FB page

2 | Crocuses – London in Spring

The crocuses are also my favourite. With 5 million bulbs planted each year, the “Crocus carpet” at Kew Gardens holds the largest display of crocuses in the UK They are at their fullest bloom from late February through March.

Kew Gardens

London in Spring - Crocuses at Kew Gardens
  • Save
Crocuses at Kew Gardens. Photo courtesy of Kew Gardens FB page

3 | Cherry blossoms – London in Spring

For beautiful sights of this pink buds, head over to the following places – but remember that they don’t last long! Late April to early May.

Regent’s Park (Chester Road entrance);

St. James’ Park (near Storey’s Gate and around the lake on the Buckingham Palace side);

Holland Park’s Kyoto Garden

Kew Gardens has it’s own cherry walk;

and the most impressive one and my favourite is at Greenwich Park

London in Spring - cherry blossoms at Greenwich Park
  • Save
Greenwich Park by Shadman Chowdhury | timeout.com

4 | Wisteria – London in Spring

I fell in love with Wisterias when I visited Japan. The Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara was surrounded by 200 wisteria trees and they were in full glory when I visited in early May. It was truly a spectacular sight. They bloom between April and June.

Wisteria at Kasuga Taisha, Nara
  • Save
Wisteria at Kasuga Taisha, Nara
The Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara is surrounded by these lovely wisteria trees
  • Save
The Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara is surrounded by these lovely wisteria trees

In London, you can catch the Wisteria hysteria in specific areas in Chelsea, Kensington, and Notting Hill. In particular, check out houses along Kynance MewsAbingdon RoadGordon Place, and Cheyne Walk

London in spring - where to find wisteria.
  • Save
Picture by Shutterstock courtesy of Londonist.

5 | Tulips – London in Spring

Tulips in London are pretty much everywhere you go – the royal parks boasts a hugely varied amount. You can find them at Hampton Court Palace, Buckingham Palace, St James’ Park and Regent’s Park. They bloom late March to mid May. Mid April is said to be at their finest.

Tulips at Buckingham palace
  • Save
@piccoloexplorer | Tulips at Buckingham Palace

If you are in London this spring, do visit one of the Royal Parks. On the other hand, if you want to getaway from the City for a day and experience the splendour of spring colours, enjoy a day at the park, take a walk through a quintessential English town or visit a castle – you can do any or all easily on a short train ride from London.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to London during spring? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

If you are planning a trip to London, you may want to view my 6 step guide to stress free vacation. The guide includes a travel checklist and suggestion to aid your travel plans.

You may also like to read these related articles:

Have a wonderful time exploring London!

Georgina

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

top 5 spring flowers in london
  • Save
  • Save

Come, join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.


  • Save

Kyoto Markets – Ultimate guide to the Best 2 not to be missed

The Unmissable flea markets in Kyoto

Kyoto Markets

Kyoto Markets are a nice addition to an itinerary of temples, shrines and gardens which should not be missed. There are, typically undated information on the best flea markets in Japan, so, here, I have just listed two which are Kyoto’s MUST GO! Must SEE! and A Must BUY! experience. These are Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple and Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

An authentic experience of Kyoto Markets.
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

1 | Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple, Kyoto Markets

You will find one of the popular Kyoto Markets on 21st of each month. This popular one is called Kobo-san flea market which is at one of Kyoto’s most historic of temples, the To-ji Temple (East Temple). Toji Temple is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a five-storey pagoda, 57 metres high (187 feet), which was founded in 796 but due to lightning strike, was rebuilt in the Edo period by Tokugawa Iemitsu (1600).

Kobo-san, one of two Kyoto Markets
  • Save
Kobo-san, one of two Unmissable Kyoto Markets

The market is called ‘Kobo-san’ to honour the Buddhist priest, Kukai, who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan and founded the temple in 796. After his death on 21st March 835, he was honoured with “Kobo-Daishi” title.

1.1 | A bustling Kyoto Market from dawn to dusk

On this one-day each month, the Temple itself becomes a secondary stage. The grounds of the Temple, turns into an enormous and liveliest market area, bustling with tourists and locals in search of antiques and good bargains. There is an incredible variety here and you can find pretty much anything that you might be looking for. The market opens at sunrise and as the sun begins to set, you will note the stalls start to pack-up and prices fall to a dramatic low!

1.2 | Kimonos are a bargain at Kobo-san Market, Kyoto

There are over 1000 stalls where you can find beautiful vintage and cultural products such as second-hand kimonos, shoes, hats, hand-fans, ceramics, chopsticks, books and prints. I bought a few kimonos for 500 Yen each, not just for use but to use the fabric for other creative ideas such as handbags or purses. These kimonos are exquisite vintage fabric and can be used to create modern garments. Modern garments with an exquisite vintage fabric would be lovely, I think. Would you agree?

These kimonos were of top quality fabric and was well worth the money! There were some for even 300 Yen! Just keep looking and you will find the stall 😊.

This is also one of the very few markets where you can negotiate and bargain over the products.

Beautiful handmade second-hand silk kimonos at a bargain at the Kobo-san market
  • Save
Kyoto Markets: Beautiful handmade second-hand silk kimonos at a bargain at the Kobo-san market
A bustling Kobo-san Market that offer a great choice in antiques, vintage garments and street food.
  • Save
A bustling Kobo-san Market that offer a great choice in antiques, vintage garments and street food.
One of Kyoto Markets is Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple.
  • Save
One of Kyoto Markets is Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple., a bustling market from dawn to dusk.
Explore the grounds of Kobo-san Market while shopping and visit the Toji Temple.
  • Save
Kyoto Markets: Explore the grounds of Kobo-san Market while shopping and visit the Toji Temple.

1.3 | Street food at Kobo-san Market, Kyoto Markets

The Kobo-san flea market is not just about bargain-hunting. It is also a great opportunity to experience the variety of Japanese street food on offer here, from yakitori (grilled meat on skewers), takoyaki or the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki

If you are feel like having something substantial, you could try the okonomiyaki. It is a Japanese-style savoury pancake, topped with layers of cabbage, meat, noodles and a choice of octopus or fish, with lots of okonomiyaki sauce (a combination of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, sugar or honey).

You can view the post on Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki on a previous blog I wrote:

Hiroshima’s Soul Food – Okonomiyaki and Oysters

Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack. It is ball-shaped, made of wheat flour batter and cooked in special moulded pan.

These dough balls are filled with pieces of octopus, pickled ginger and onions but you can hardly taste the ginger or the onions. It is topped with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and Japanese mayonnaise, sprinkled with aonori or green laver (an edible green seaweed) and sometimes, shavings of dried bonito.

I must admit that takoyaki is not one of my favourite of Japanese food. People differ in taste, therefore I suggest that you try it at least once!

Takoyaki mould
  • Save
The wheat batter is poured into one of these takoyaki mouls and then the octopus or fish is added into it.

1.4 | Travel tips and Useful information on Kobo-san Market, Kyoto Markets

Give yourself plenty of time to explore.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore. You can easily get lost here, amongst the huge crowd. The enormous market area is like a maze and on occasions navigating around the stalls and re-tracing your steps may be a little challenging. So, give yourself plenty of time to get lost here and experience the authentic market atmosphere.

Mornings are best for choices

Mornings are best if you want choices and are looking for specific items such as antiques or silk kimonos. If you are looking for a bargain, after 3 pm would be best as the sellers will reduce the prices to get rid of their stock. I visited the market at about 10:00 and it was already beginning to pick-up the crowd but was still pleasant. However, by midday, it was really crowded and queues were building up around the food stalls.

Tip: If you are looking for a bargain, try after 3 pm where sellers reduce their prices to at least half so they can reduce their stock.

1.5 | Getting to Kobo-san Market

Kobo-san Market is within the grounds of Toji Temple. Toji Temple is situated in Minami-ku, There are couple of ways to get here.

i) Kobo-san Market is easily accessible via the modern Kyoto Station, a 15-minute walk southwest through the Omiya and Kujo Street intersection. Be warned, this walk is not really that interesting as there is not much to see except busy streets amidst heavy traffic. 15-minutes is quite a long walk, if you think about it.

If you don’t fancy the walk, the nearest station, which I used, is the Toji Station.

Toji Station is on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line. It takes about 5-minutes to reach Toji Temple/Kobo-san Market. You can see the pagoda from the street outside the Toji Station.

1.6 | Access

Entry to the market and the grounds are free but there is a small charge if you are planning on visiting the pagoda and the surrounding buildings.

1.7 | Conclusion on Kobo-san Market, Kyoto Market

Despite the crowd, Kobo-san Market is a place for antiques, trinkets and good value kimonos. There are other selections of traditional garments and hand woven pieces of material which you can purchase too. In addition, there are a great selection of street food for you to taste. For an authentic Japanese traditional market, I would recommend that you visit the Kobo-san market.

My second of  the two Kyoto Markets which you should not miss is the Tenjin-san Market at the Kitano Tenmangu-Shrine.

2. Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto Markets

The Tenjin-san market at the Kitano Tenmangu-shrine is held on 25th of each month. There are well over 1000 stalls, in and around the shrine. There are rare ornaments, silk kimonos and yukatas for a bargain, plants, pottery and antiques.

There is a huge selection of street food stalls for every taste-bud! The aroma of the yakisoba just draws you…which is mouth-wateringly delicious, cooked right in front of you.

The market is open from the break of dawn till late, 9 pm, but has early closing hours in the winter.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto_7
  • Save
The Tenjin-san Market on 25th of each month.

2.1 | Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto

The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built in 947 AD in honour of Sugawara no Michizane, who was unfairly exiled by the political rivals of his time. He was a scholar and a politician during 794 AD to 1185 AD which represents the middle Heian period.

Sugawara no Michizane

Sugawara no Michizane was incredibly talented. He read poems at the age of 5 and wrote Chinese poems at the age of 11. Shrines were built to appease him, and he became known as the “god of academics.” He led the popular “Tenjin faith” throughout Japan. The Kitano Tenmangu is the main shrine and the origin of the faith, and there are 12,000 shrines that are dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane.

The Kitano Tenmangu shrine is popular amongst students during exam time and during school trips.

2.2 | Tenjin-San Market, Kyoto Markets

What makes this flea market unique and will be well-worth your visit is the mixture of stalls within the traditional shrine setting. The grounds are large and there are many buildings such as the main shrine which is situated behind the worship hall (this is where the deity is enshrined). The worship hall is connected by the Ishi-no-Ma-Hall which one can visit.

In addition, there are the Sanko-mon Gate and the Ro-mon Gate. So, when you get tired of the bustling crowd and need some space and quiet, you can just wander off to the calmness of the shrine and the gardens, or to enjoy your meal.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto
  • Save
Kyoto Markets: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is home to beautiful buildings that has architecture going back centuries. It is decorated with hanging lanterns of various colours that just grabs your attention every now and again as you walk through the grounds.
Wander around the grounds of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine while shopping.
  • Save
Kyoto Markets: Wander around the grounds of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine while shopping
Kyoto Markets: Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a popular destination for students.
  • Save
Kyoto Markets: Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a popular destination for students.
Kyoto Markets: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine - Students studying the Shinto faith are preparing for some activities.
  • Save
Kyoto Markets: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine – Students studying the Shinto faith are preparing for some activities.
Kyoto Markets: Tenjin-san market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
  • Save

Tenjin-san market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine sits within a large beautifully landscaped gardens. It is peaceful, quiet – an area of total zen from the bustling crowds just a few hundred feet away.

2.3 | Travel tips and Useful information on Tenjin-san Market, Kyoto Markets

Getting to The Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

The Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu shrine can be accessed directly by Kyoto City Bus numbers 50 and 101 from Kyoto Station. It is about 30 minutes ride and costs 230 Yen.

There is a quicker route – take the Karasuma Subway Line to Imadegawa Station and then take the bus number 102 or 203.

In either case, get off at the Kitano Tenmangumae bus-stop.

Admission is Free.

2.4 | My Conclusion on Tenjin-san Market, Kyoto Markets

Tenjin-san Market is a popular market visited by both tourists and local, especially by students as they pray for wisdom and academic success in observing the Tenjin faith.

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited here. The architectural design was exceptional and the many lanterns just caught my attention. In addition, I watched a show performed by the students of the Shinto faith who sang and danced depicting an ancient story. Unfortunately, I did not understand the story and photography was not allowed. I enjoyed it and it was Free.

If you are considering a visit to a market with a difference, then visit Tenjin-san market, where you will not only what the market offers but also architectural delight and a closer look at Shinto practices.

3 | Ways to experience the cultural city of Kyoto.

If you are looking for some ideas on places to visit, Get Your Guide has some excellent value for money tours. Please click on the link below and have a browse. These ideas can help you plan your next visit to Japan.

You may also like to visit other attractions in Kyoto – here are some suggestions for you:

4 | Are you ready to book your trip?

Here is yout one link to a 6-step guide to an awesome vacation.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Kyoto markets? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Happy adventures!

Georgina

February 2020, Update.

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

Ultimate guide to the best two flea markets in Kyoto, Japan
  • Save
Two Kyoto Markets not to be missed
  • Save
An authentic experience of Kyoto Markets.
  • Save

Join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.

You may also like to read about other experiences in Japan:

  • Save

Guided Tours for Top 10 Experiences in London

posted in: London, Uncategorised 7

London

Guided tours are sometimes necessary to enhance experiences

I am an absolute believer that guided tours are sometimes necessary to maximise my experiences when on vacation. This is especially so when my visits are only for a few days and I want to learn/know as much as I possibly can of my destination. As such, guided tours are totally up my alley because it takes stress off me to plan with regards to that destination.

A rewarding experience of a guided tour that comes to mind at this moment is the day trip to Mont Blanc from Geneva – an unforgettable experience for me. In this respect, I tend to book a couple of guided tours so I do not worry about transport to get there and back. My trip to Geneva was a short weekend break and was able to maximise my experiences through a guided tour to Mont Blanc and the glaciers.

Besides, I do like all the “inside scoop” that only travel guides sometimes know. For these simple reasons then, that I have the following suggestions on London for you to explore the City with:

Pin on Guided Tours in London
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

 

Convenience of Guided Tours

Booking your activities are super easy! Mostly with a couple of clicks, you are done. In some instances, you will have the purchase delivered to you if you wish. Mostly though, you can download it onto your phone.

You can purchase these activities at the time you begin to plan your vacation which may be months, weeks, days ahead or you could purchase them like I did, when I visited Milan Duomo – just a couple of hours before joining the activity!

Read about my experiences in Milan:

if you change your mind about your activities, you can also cancel with a couple of clicks . You are required to do so at least 24 hours before the activity commences.

However, some activities may have different requirements. Please read specific T and Cs pertaining to some activities when you book them.

As always, I am contactable via email – ggdaniel166@gmail.com or via Contact Form if you need any further suggestions or help in designing your itinerary to London.

Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to London? If so please let me know in comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Happy adventures!

Georgina

Join us…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.

I look forward to connecting with each of you.


  • Save

Travel Checklist-25 Top Tips for a Stress-free Vacation

posted in: Resource 51

Know before you go…

Travel | Traveller Wellbeing Resource

Travel checklist is an absolute “must” for me! In my last blog post, 5 Reasons Why Travel Planning is Important, I wrote about how planning helps you to consider your budget, think about priorities, allocate time for attractions and the “must see”. I know how important it is to plan the “must see” attractions before hand because of my own experience in Amsterdam.

My weekend break in Amsterdam was the one time where no travel checklist was used. Although it turned out to be an amazing weekend,  and you can read about Amsterdam in a Nutshell – 18 experiences in 48 hours here, I missed out on one of the most important tourist sights – Anne Frank’s House. Tickets for Anne Frank’s House sold out weeks before I arrived and I was on the waiting list for the limited tickets released each morning. I was disappointed but it did not overshadow the rest of my experiences. Amsterdam is a place I can return to as it is only a little over 4-hours journey on the Eurostar and I will embed Anne Frank’s House into my itinerary.

Amsterdam - Canal Cruise 3
  • Save

Pin me for later!

  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

The importance of a travel checklist

A travel checklist is important because it embodies all the necessary steps that needs to be taken before your vacation to ensure you have a stress-free time. The last thing you need is a bad experience because you have forgotten to obtain the appropriate visa, or you left your passports or you ran out of cash!

In 5 Reason why travel planning is important, I had mentioned that I like “lists”! My travel planning consists of a pretravel, travel and post-travel checklists. So, in this post, I shall share with you what considerations goes into my pretravel checklist. Some of my suggestions may be obvious but I like to include them so that I do not miss it – which is the whole point of having a plan, or a checklist, right? There may be some that I have missed which you may think of. You can add it to the list, and you may want to write and let me know too, so I could update mine.

You can use this Travel Checklist in all situations, scenarios, whether you are family, couple or solo travellers and adapt it to suit. The checklist is useful for overseas travel. Please remember that these are suggestions only and not absolute.

So, here goes…

Travel Checklist – 25 Top Tips for a stress-free vacation

1 | Travel checklist helps to determine a budget & a buffer

Travel involves money and this is a sensitive subject. However, it is an important one. It is best to decide at the outset how much a vacation will cost, put thoughts to paper and see the numbers. Once you have the figures, you can then shop for best deals on airlines, accommodation and an itinerary of activities.

Numbers on paper and shopping for best deals may give you a good idea of your travel budget. However, from my experiences, a vacation sometimes had taken me beyond my budget. This had mainly been due to unexpected expenses and additional costs to what was budgeted for. There were occasions when I added an additional  sightseeing trip to my itinerary, a theatre show or treat ourselves to a lovely dinner in a local cultural setting which we did not previously think of. Sometimes, it can be the costs of transportation from one place to another. For all of these additional expenses, I embed a buffer in my budget.

A budget buffer is the extra cash you set aside for the unexpected expenses whilst on holiday. I suggest a buffer of 30% of total travel expenses minus the cost of flights to be ideal. These are funds which you should have immediate access to if need be. Of course, if you can afford more, all the better 😊

2 | Determine an emergency fund

An emergency fund is not to be confused with a budget buffer. The emergency fund is solely set aside for unforeseen dilemmas beyond your control when you are travelling. It is difficult to come up with a figure here because every situation is different and calls for personal judgement. However, as a guide I would suggest 30% of total travel expenses plus cost of flights. I include the cost of flights because I need a cushion if situations were such that I may need to get out of the country, or get alternate flights due to strike actions etc.

3 | Destination

Decide on your travel destination, whether it is a City break, an adventure in the mountains or sandy beaches and blue skies. It is also important to decide if travel involves one destination or multiple destinations. The place and type of holiday is important as it directly correlates with your budget.

This is also a perfect opportunity to think of your activities and how your itinerary is going to be.

As a guide, I have to come to use Get Your Guide who are competitively priced and one of the trusted sources offering thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions and transfers in destinations worldwide. You can also find theatre and show tickets and city passes to suit.

Click on the link below and find out what you can do on your vacation. If you cannot find what you are looking for, don’t give up. Get in touch with me via Contact Form and we can figure something out.

4 | Duration

It is important to decide on the duration of your vacation because this will dictate how much of the destination you are able to see, how much money you will be needing, what it will cost for the sightseeing trips which you may want to include in your vacation and how many meals you will need to pay for etc.

5 | Book your flights/trains

Look-out for early birds offer or worldwide sale by airlines. Usually early January/April or May will fetch you a good price.

Utilise comparative sites such as Skyscanner for flights. Sometimes, you can get a good deal directly with some airlines.

6 | Travel checklist helps to consider mode of getting around when at destination

Think about transportation and the system. Will you be using the local transport, or will you be walking most of the time? Familiarise yourself with the system and check reviews to see what tourists have to say about your chosen destination.

7 | Accommodation

Consider the following when deciding on accommodations:

  7.1 | When travelling with kids, look for family-friendly sites.

  • Often, you can find adjoining rooms or large rooms where you can have a baby-cot or an additional bed. You can also have twin-beds at no extra cost.
  • Search also on what kids-club activities are available on-site. Sometimes these activities club are included in your stay but most times it is not. I have used them liberally when my kids were young to break the day so they can have time with other kids of their age. This also meant that I can have a bit of me-time while they were having fun in a safe environment.
  • You can look-up recommended best family hotels in the world 2019 by CNTraveller here.

CNTraveller https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/best-family-hotels-world

  • You can look-up the 10 best family resorts in UK 2020 by TripAdvisor here.

TripAdvisor www.tripadvisor.co.uk/‎

Where would you stay

  7.2 | Complimentary shuttle service.

Investigate if the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and/or other sightseeing sights. Places like Orlando comes to mind. We also had a shuttle service when we were in Niagara Falls, from the hotel to the restaurant. It is worth checking.

  7.3 | Pet-friendly

With a boom in pet ownership and if you are one of them, you may want to travel with your fur-babies. If you do, you may want to check for pet-friendly accommodations. Click on the links below to find out more on the best pet-friendly accommodations, offered by skycop and CNN Travel.

  • Skycop

https://www.skycop.com/travel/7-most-pet-friendly-hotels-in-the-world

  • CNN Travel

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/pet-friendly-hotels/index.html

  7.4 | Is breakfast included? Plus, what cuisines are on the menu?

Always go for breakfast included! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when I am travelling, I always make sure I have a good and a healthy start. This is a good habit to get into because your day may be filled with activities and you may only have time for a sandwich or a bag of crisps before your next meal in the evening.

Most hotels offer a great selection for breakfast – lots of fruits in addition to continental breakfast. Some hotels may offer more, for example their local breakfast in addition to continental or English breakfast.

I would have a quick browse through their menu, just to be aware of the choices, pricing and whether it meets any dietary requirements I may have.

8 | Type of accommodation

The type of accommodation you choose must meet your needs. Starting early on your search, say before the peak season, will give you greater choices both in the types of accommodation and its prices. Early search helps in securing better deals. Sometimes, it is a challenge to find a property that is 100% suited and to have a certain degree of comfort that you want. As for me, I need that little luxury when I travel. I am quite relentless at what I want, so I persevere to get the closest to suit. I use various search engines to compare availability and prices but over the years, I have come to rely on booking dot com.

booking.com is a travel search engine for accommodations, that offers you a choice of hotels, homes and apartments and B&B’s in 120,000 destinations worldwide – instant confirmation and no cancellation fees. With such a vast choice, I am certain you will find accommodation to suit your needs, whether you are a solo traveller, couples or family. There is something to suit every budget. You could do a search below and discover what comes up.

Booking.com

9 | Safety

For the most part, the world is a safe place to be. We cannot control everything, no matter how well planned we are because things do happen, and these are sometimes out of our control. At this stage of pretravel plans, I suggest that you check whether the country you are travelling to is safe in relation to its political climate. No-one wants to be caught out!

There are several websites and travel blogs that provide comprehensive travel safety advise which you can check. Below you will find two links, one from the US Bureau of Consular Affairs and the other from UK Government offering most up-to-date travel advise. There is information on which countries are safe to travel to, what to do in situations if you are caught-out and how to stay safe.

You may want to check these when making travel plans.

  • The US Bureau of Consular Affairs click the link below.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html

  • The UK Government click the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

10 | Immigration

Travel Checklist - Passports/visa - know before you go!
  • Save
Travel Checklist – Know before you go!

Ensure:

  • Valid passports with at least 6 months left to expiration.
  • Visa requirements – if travelling to multiple countries, obtaining a valid visa to each of the country before you travel.
  • If you are travelling to the USA, you will need ESTA

ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorisation

ESTA is a mandatory travel authorisation which you need if you are visiting the US either by Sea or Air for under 90 days. Your visit can be for either tourism, business or just visiting friends and family. Most importantly to be aware is that you need ESTA even if you are in transit.  Most travellers are caught out by this because we assume that travelling VIA may not require an entry authorisation, but we do!

Travel Checklist - Ensure you meet the immigration requirements of your destination country
  • Save
Ensure you meet the immigration requirements of your destination country

ESTA is available only for travellers whose nationality is derived from countries covered under the Visa Waiver Program.

You can read more on ESTA by clicking the link below.

ESTA

Failure to obtain an ESTA can lead to denial of entry at the border and a large fine. You are advised to apply as soon as possible.

I have a personal experience in this respect where I was not allowed to board my flight in Tokyo bound for US, which is a whole blog post itself.

However, in other instances, I obtained my ESTA within 72 hours, but apply as soon as you know of your travel plans and don’t leave it till the last minute.

*Have a look at the country’s respective immigration website for information

11 | Vaccinations

Depending on the countries you are travelling to; you may require vaccinations against:

  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Polio

Please check your country’s National Health website for more information.

12 | Travel insurance

Ensure you are fully covered for the duration of your journey including      valuables and equipment. Check whether your home insurance covers your equipment such as your camera.

Travel Checklist - Ensure adequate travel insurance
  • Save
Travel Checklist – Ensure adequate travel insurance

When considering travel insurance, you will also want to consider whether it is flexible – meaning, whether you can make a claim while you are travelling and the speed at which a claim can be resolved – you will want to be paid as soon as possible!

13 | Inform bank/credit card companies

You need to inform the bank and the credit card company that you are travelling abroad and the country you are travelling to.

Travel Checklist - Inform your credit card company that you are travelling abroad.
  • Save
Inform your credit card companies that you are travelling abroad.

This is to ensure that the use of your card abroad is not viewed as suspicious. If viewed as suspicious, there is the possibility that your card will be blocked. You will not be able to use it until the ‘block’ is lifted which can only happen when you get in touch with the Fraud Team of the respective financial institutions. You would not want this stress, I am sure. So, inform your bank/credit card company. It only takes a phone call.

Additionally, you may wish to consider using a cash card, top up as and when you need to. Especially so if you are travelling to remote places and you do not want to risk losing cash or your credit cards. Losing your credit cards runs the risk of it being misused by the thieves.

14 | Foreign currencies

Foreign currencies – it is always good to carry some local currency in cash with you. Keep a look-out on the exchange rates and buy them at a rate when it is favourable to you, even if this means a couple of months before the actual travel date.

Travel Checklist - Buy your currency when it is favourable to you
  • Save
Travel Checklist – Buy your currency when it is favourable to you

It is advised not to use your bank card to withdraw cash at a foreign ATM because you will incur charges for the transactions. In some countries such as China, major credit cards may not be accepted. Only local credit cards are accepted. Best to check before you go.

15 | What to pack?

I am not the best person to advise on what to pack!

Travel Checklist - Pack half the clothes and take twice the money!
  • Save
Travel Checklist – Pack half the clothes and take twice the money!

I shall share with you the following famous quote of Susan Heller which has helped me of late. I say, of late because I was the sort who would take a suitcase for a weekend getaway instead of a hand luggage – why, because I prepare for various weather conditions, different shoes etc. I am better now, much, much better 😊.

These are the wise words of Susan Heller:

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”

16 | Enable mobile roaming

I don’t think this is applicable very much these days and would depend on your carrier and the price plan you have. However, just to be certain, ensure mobile roaming is enabled so that you will be able to use your mobile phone when abroad.

Something you may want to consider when you are travelling for a longer period and unfamiliar countries is to rent a portable mobile wifi device. I found this to be incredibly useful during my stay in Japan

17 | Cancel regular deliveries

This is something that can be easily overlooked – regular deliveries! For example, regular fresh milk delivery. Also, these days, regular grocery orders from local large grocery stores such as Asda/Walmart are more popular. Be sure to cancel these.

18 | Mail delivery

Depending on how long you are away, and if you are away for several weeks, you may want to consider diverting your mail to a P.O. Box. This is helpful to ensure all your mail is in one place, safe and secure and not clogging up your letter box.

19 | Security of your home

Security of your home while you are away on vacation is paramount. You do not want to return to a home that has been ransacked or burgled. A reliable security system in place will give you peace of mind. Alternatively, consider arranging for a trusted person to look into your house every so often while you are away.

20 | Emergency contacts at destination

Ensure you have the phone numbers of your embassy in the country that you are travelling to. You will need this in the event of emergencies

21 | Emergency contacts at home

Ensure you have the contact details of family or friends at home whom you can contact in the event of an emergency.

22 | Hand-luggage restrictions

Hand luggage is the bag you carry through security and keep with you all through your journey. So, please carry only the minimum and what you absolutely need.

Ensure you are fully aware of your hand luggage restrictions.

  • Only One piece of hand luggage. Most airlines allow passengers to carry a handbag too. It is best to check with your airline to make sure.
  • The hand luggage must not exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.
  • Your hand luggage must not contain any prohibited items, and these are listed below:

Prohibited items:

  • Flammable liquids and solids
  • Oxidisers such as bleaching powders
  • Organic peroxides
  • Tear gas devices or any gas cylinders
  • Infectious substances such as live virus materials
  • Wet-cell car batteries
  • Magnetrons
  • Instruments containing mercury – however, thermometers with mercury are permitted in hold luggage (but not hand luggage) only, if they are carried in a protective case
  • Instruments containing magnets
  • Fireworks
  • Toy/replica guns (metal or plastic)
  • Non-safety matches
  • Firelighters, lighter fuel, paints or thinners
  • Poisons, arsenic, cyanide or weedkiller
  • Radioactive materials, acids, corrosives, alkalis or caustic soda
  • Creosote, quicklime or oiled paper
  • Vehicle fuel system parts which have contained fuel
  • Party poppers

You may only carry small amounts of liquids, gels, creams and pastes. These must be in containers marked 100ml or less. These should be placed into one transparent re-sealable bag, measuring 20cm x 20cm which will be screened separately at security.

I would add a comment made by Roz Zito of Not Yet Decrepit Traveler (https://www.notyetdecrepittraveller.net/home-page) of her experiences when travelling:

This is a great list of things to check before travelling, Georgina! I agree that it really pays to do your homework. I would add to the prohibited list for hand baggage water or any liquid over 100 ml, scissors and penknives. I always read the airline information with great care and pack to the ‘weakest link’, i.e. the airline leg of your journey with the least size and weights or both hold and hand baggage. I also recommend checking if you are staying in an airport hotel for a stopover whether you will be allowed to pick up your hold baggage. In most middle-eastern countries you are not. Your hold baggage has to be checked through to your final destination and you need to pack all your needs for an overnight stay into your hand baggage.

R. Zito

UK readers, please click link below:

https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions

23 | Name tags/labels/identifier on suitcases

Ensure all your bags, both hold luggage and hand luggage are identified with suitable Name tags. You are advised to have your name and contact details. This is important so that the luggage can be traced back to you if it goes missing.

[Hope for the best but always be prepared for the worst]

24 | Combination locks/suitcase padlocks

Ensure your hold luggage is secured with either combination locks or suitcase padlocks. You will want to have everything you packed at home to be there for you when you arrive at your destination.

25. DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT 

You know what it means if you do!

In a nutshell

Well, as you can see, my list is comprehensive. 25 considerations may seem a lot but believe me, it is worth it. It is worth doing all the research, the prep and the mental calculations before you board your flight so that your vacation is stress-free. Even if you face certain challenges while on holiday, you will be in a good place to resolve it.


Is this travel checklist valuable to you in planning your vacation? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Have splendid adventures!

Georgina

February 2020, Update.

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

Pin on Travel Checklist
  • Save
Pin on Checklist
  • Save

Join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.


  • Save

How to have the best 3 Days in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls is a majestic wonder! You can have the best 3 days in Niagara Falls by either having a full-on itinerary with guided tours or a flexible one where you can explore to fulfil your wanderlust. In either case, you would want to have the maximum experience possible.

Pin this for later!

Pin on Niagara
  • Save

We opted for a flexible itinerary where we could explore as we wanted to. One advantage to prior planning our visit to Niagara Falls was that we realised all the attractions were within close proximity. We could walk to the Falls itself and the town centre or we could drive to the nearby attractions.

If you do not have a car when visiting Niagara Falls, you could use the City’s public transportation – the bus system is renowned for its service to connect tourist  accommodations to attractions throughout the City.

Click the official Niagara Falls Tourism link to find out more on Ontario public transportation

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

Niagara Falls, Ontario

The majestic Niagara Falls was a magical experience and I am sure it is on everyone’s bucket list! If it is not, get it in – because you will be blown with total wonder and amazement at the six million cubic feet of water which goes over the crest of the falls every minute, at a vertical drop of 50m (165 ft)! You simply have to see it at least once!

Niagara Falls is situated on the New York/Canadian border along the Niagara River which flows between two of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Niagara Falls really refers to three waterfalls – the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls sits on the border of the US and Canada, the American Falls sits entirely on the US side, separated by Goat Island. Also, on the American side is the smaller Bridal Veil falls, separated from the American Falls by Luna Island. The Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America.

Journey to the Falls, Ontario

We began our journey to Niagara Falls from Cincinnati. It was a good and pleasant 7.5 hours’ drive, stopped twice for breaks. Our journey was via I-71N and I-90E, passing Cleveland into Buffalo (see the below map) making our way to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. You will need your passports! 😊

The immigration checks took about half-an-hour or so which gave us the opportunity to stretch our feet. There were no issues. We vacated our car, left all our belongings in. The immigration officials ran through a quick check of our identities and checked the car.

Cincinnati to Niagara Falls_driving route_1
  • Save
Cincinnati to Niagara Falls: Driving route

Three Days at Niagara Falls

3 days at Niagara Falls could be considered a short one, yet we felt we did everything we wanted to do on this occasion. We saved a few activities for our next visit. Although, we had an itinerary of sights we wanted to visit, this was a very loose one. We explored the surroundings as we had our car which made it convenient to do so.

The Horseshoe Falls_view from our hotel room.
  • Save
The Horseshoe Falls_view from our hotel room.

From our hotel room, we also had a clear view of the Rainbow Bridge, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

The view from the hotel: Rainbow Bridge, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Save
The view from the hotel: Rainbow Bridge, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

So, here is an itinerary for a two-night, three-day visit to Niagara Falls. Hope you will enjoy this journey with us and do let us know what you think in comments below.

3-Day Itinerary

1 | Day 1 at Niagara Falls

We arrived late afternoon. After a quick check-in, bags dropped, refreshed and we were ready to explore.

1.1 | Table Rock Welcome Centre

Table Rock Welcome Centre was our first visit. It was right next to the Falls, the heart of Niagara Parks. This is the place that connects you to the Falls and other major attractions such as the Journey behind the Falls and the Hornblower Cruises. The Centre can be accessed in two ways.

Driving:

If you are driving, you can access it via Niagara Parkway. You can drive along Niagara Parkway as there are a number of designated parking available.

If you are not driving:

If you are staying at one of the hotels in the vicinity, you access it via the Falls Incline Railways from the Fallsview Boulevard/tourists area. The Falls Incline Railway is a convenient link to use and gives you a good view of the Horseshoe Falls as it rises and descends along the track.

The Falls Incline Railway is wheelchair accessible.

  • Save
Falls Incline Railway

Once you exit the Falls Incline Railways, walk through the Welcome Centre

Niagara Falls: Table Rock Welcome Centre
  • Save
Niagara Falls: Table Rock Welcome Centre

There are food-courts, gift shops and information centre here. Also access to Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls. There is a candy shop called Pop & Lolly. Elements of the Falls offer a great dining experience with spectacular views of the Falls.

Table Rock Welcome Centre: Pop & Lolly's Candy Shop - famous for its handmade candy.
  • Save
Table Rock Welcome Centre: Pop & Lolly’s Candy Shop – famous for its handmade candy.

At the end of the Welcome Centre, and out of the doors – you will see the Falls.

1.2 | Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls

What you will see as you walk out of the Welcome Centre is the most beautiful, powerful and amazingly extraordinary waterfall on this beautiful planet!

There it was, right before us. I was so close to it that I felt I could almost touch it. Watching so much water gushing over the brink of the fall was an awe moment. We felt the mist on us and it was both refreshing and sticky.

Niagara Falls: The Horseshoe Falls
  • Save
The Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls, Canada.
The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
  • Save
The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls – Views from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

While taking-in the majestic views of the Falls, we took a stroll along the wall and captured some breathtaking moments of the sunset and views of the American Falls, the Rainbow Bridge and the Bridal Veil. No two photos were the same.

I can assure you, you will be totally amazed. When you are here, capture the rainbow! I have so many photos with the rainbow and it is totally amazing to see the little shade of colours.

Further down the Falls along the wall, there is the view of the Skylon Tower, we got the feel of the town and stopped over for coffee and some souvenirs at Queen Victoria Place.

Catch the view of the Skylon Tower and its rotating restaurant at Niagara Falls.
  • Save
Catch the view of the Skylon Tower and its rotating restaurant at Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls: Experience the sunset over the Rainbow Bridge and the American Falls
  • Save
Niagara Falls: Experience the sunset over the Rainbow Bridge and the American Falls
Capture the evening sensation with the mist along the Falls
  • Save
Capture the evening sensation with the mist along the Falls
Niagara Falls: Take a break here at Queen Victoria's Place for some coffee and shop for souvenirs.
  • Save
Niagara Falls: Take a break here at Queen Victoria’s Place for some coffee and shop for souvenirs.

When you visit Niagara Falls, be sure to capture the view when the water is illuminated by bright lights on the backdrop of the night sky.

Most of the evening of our arrival, we spent it at the Horseshoe Falls and just strolling around, taking in its beauty and the atmosphere, reluctantly withdrawing from here because of dinner!

The next day was our first full day and we opted to do 3 activities, dinner at Remingtons and explore a little of the nightlife.

2 | Day 2 at Niagara Falls

On the morning of Day 2 at Niagara Falls, we made our way to the Falls Incline Railway. We walked through the Table Rock Welcome Centre, the double-doors and came face-to-face with the majestic view of the Horseshoe Falls.

There was something about the morning mist and the morning sun reflecting off the thundering water rushing over the brink of the fall that just captures your admiration no matter how many times you look at it. To get up-close and personal to this majestic wonder of the world, we strolled along the stone-wall, making our way to our activities.

The following were on our itinerary for Day 2:

  • Hornblower Niagara Cruise
  • Journey behind the Falls at Niagara Falls
  • The Whirlpool Aero Car
  • Whirlpool State Park
  • Dinner at Remingtons

Off e went to our first activity on our itinerary – the Hornblower Niagara Cruises.

2.1 | Hornblower Niagara Cruises

The Hornblower Cruise takes you on an intimate 20-minute wet and wild boat ride to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls. Yes, you do get wet!

You will be given a red poncho before you board. I would highly recommend that you slip it on. Once you board, get a good spot up-front near the railings for the best experience. You do get close to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil falls, which is a great photo opportunity.

Hornblower Cruise activity at Niagara Falls will take you close to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Save
Hornblower Cruise activity at Niagara Falls will take you close to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

However, the “real” experience is when the boat reaches the very heart of the Horseshoe Falls, at the foot – and its pouring rain – the breath-taking power of the water and the mist makes this experience a magnificent one. The boat stayed in that position for a couple of minutes before making its way back.

The Hornblower Cruise takes you right to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. An incredible experience not to be missed at Niagara Falls
  • Save
The Hornblower Cruise takes you right to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. An incredible experience not to be missed at Niagara Falls
The Hornblower Cruise up-close and personal to the Horseshoe Falls.
  • Save
The Hornblower Cruise up-close and personal to the Horseshoe Falls.

We highly recommend this experience.

Travel tips and practical information on Hornblower Cruise in Niagara Falls:
  • Boat ride is 20 minutes
  • Departs every 15 minutes
  • Best time to visit: April 1st to November 30th
  • Take a waterproof camera

Mist Gear – is a retail shop located in the Lower Landing prior to boarding. Sells souvenirs and other items which you may need for your trip.

Standard Admission Prices:

Adult (13+) – $25.95

Child (6-12) – $15.95

2.2 | Journey behind the Falls at Niagara Falls

Journey Behind the Falls
  • Save

Journey Behind the Falls is a once in a lifetime experience which should not be missed! We had a unique view of the Horseshoe Falls from below and behind, offering an unforgettable experience of seeing one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the foot of the Fall.

To experience this amazing spectacle, you will descend 45.5m (150ft) by elevators, cutting through bedrock to a short tunnel of about 45.5m (150ft), giving you access to two outdoor observation decks and two portals. The observation decks, Upper and Lower decks takes you to the very foot of the Falls.

The Journey behind the Falls.This is how close you get when you are on the viewing deck
  • Save
The Journey behind the Falls.This is how close you get when you are on the viewing deck

At the Lower Deck, you will witness up to 2,800 cubic metres of water gushing over the brink of the Fall every second, at 65km per hour. This is where you need to put on your yellow poncho which is given to you when you exit the elevator.

The Journey behind the Falls also involves experiencing the two portals, Cataract Portal and the Great Falls Portal. Both of these portals are located directly behind the Falls, at one-third of the way behind the massive sheet of water. These viewing portals are cut straight through the rock, giving you a view of the gushing water down to the basin below.

One of the Portals on Journey behind the Falls
  • Save
One of the Portals on Journey behind the Falls

You will feel the thunderous vibration of the Horseshoe Falls as you walk through the 130- year old tunnels cut through the bedrock. There are posters with lots of information regarding the history and evolution of the tunnels as you walk through them.

Travel tips and Practical information on Journey behind the Falls
  • Journey Behind the Falls will take about 30-45 minutes.
  • Year-round attraction
  • The Lower Deck is not wheelchair accessible
  • Free poncho

Standard Admission Prices:

  • Adult (13+) – $19.95
  • Child (6-12) – $13.00

2.3 | The Whirlpool Aero Car

The Whirlpool Aero Car is another natural wonder which should not be missed on your visit to the Niagara Falls. This experience offer a spectacular view of Niagara Whirlpool, just 4.5 km (3 miles) north of the Falls. We drove to this destination.

The best way to see it is aboard an antique cable car called The Whirlpool Aero Car. This antique cable car was designed by a Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo and has been in operation since 1916. The Whirlpool Aero Car is suspended from six sturdy cables, and you will be transported through air, safely between two different points of the Canadian shore of the Niagara River, a little over 1 km.

Whirlpool Aero Car Experience at Niagara Falls: The cable car is suspended with six sturdy cables and transports between two-points of the Canadian shore.
  • Save
Whirlpool Aero Car Experience at Niagara Falls: The cable car is suspended with six sturdy cables and transports between two-points of the Canadian shore.

You will get a spectacular view of the Rapids, the Whirlpool and the Gorge. The Whirlpool is formed at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counter-clockwise, to the northeast and the river escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.

The Whirlpool forms at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counter-clockwise to the northeast.
  • Save
The Whirlpool forms at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counter-clockwise to the northeast.
Niagara Whirlpool where Niagara River escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.
  • Save
Niagara Whirlpool where Niagara River escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.

As you are transported from one end to the other, you will witness, far below, the torrent of water abruptly changing direction and creating a natural phenomenon – the Niagara Whirlpool. It is danger free excitement and a mesmerising experience.

Niagara Whirlpool - A natural phenomenon.
  • Save
Niagara Whirlpool – A natural phenomenon.
Travel tips and Practical information on Whirlpool Aero Car Experience at Niagara Falls
  • Round trip is about 10 minutes
  • Opens April to November
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Capacity is 35 standing passengers

Standard Admission Prices:

Adult (13+) – $15.00

Child (6-12) – $ 9.75

2.4 | Whirlpool State Park

From the Whirlpool Aero car experience, we drove a little further to the State Park to explore the hiking and nature trail. The Whirlpool State Park is a 109 acre state park located in Niagara County, north of Niagara Falls. The park overlooks the Niagara Whirlpool on the Niagara River and the lower Niagara Gorge.

There are ample parking available here.

Find out more on Whirlpool State Park 

2.5 | Dinner at Remingtons

Remingtons is a steak and seafood restaurant and we opted for steak on this occasion. We were pleasantly surprised at the western style décor, upscale yet a casual atmosphere, with singing waitresses/waiter. The food was really good – the steak was made just as we like it and the portioning was just right.

Remingtons

5657 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3L5, Canada

There are a few casinos and clubs you could go to here after dinner and the nightlife continues till early hours of the morning.

3 | Day 3 at Niagara Falls

Day 3 at Niagara Falls meant that it was the day we were returning home. We made a late start, took in the last few moments of the breathtaking views of the Falls before heading on our journey. We planned our return journey through Ontario, via Detroit to Cincinnati. 8 hours! This route took us through the Wine Route in Niagara.

For more information on the Wine Route of Niagara Lake click  wineriesonniagaralake

Niagara Falls: Visit to the Wineries region of Niagara on the Lake
  • Save
Niagara Falls: Visit to the Wineries region of Niagara on the Lake

3.1 | Winery Hopping

Niagara Ontario Canada especially along the shores of Lake Ontario is gaining international popularity as a wine region. The region is home to over 50 wineries. About 25 vineyards are dotted within a landscape of 15 to 20 minutes outside of Niagara Falls. So, following the Wine Route of Ontario through the countryside became a ‘must see’ destination on the morning of our journey home.

Wineries of Niagara on the Lake - just a small part of it on our return journey from Niagara Falls.
  • Save
Wineries of Niagara on the Lake – just a small part of it on our return journey from Niagara Falls.

Driving through the beautiful, quiet and charming countryside was uplifting. There were way-finding signs placed in strategic locations providing easy navigation to vineyards. These vineyards were quite close together which made our journey easy.

Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region
  • Save
Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region
Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region on our return journey from Niagara Falls. The grounds of Peninsula Ridge was one of the best we have seen.
  • Save
Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region on our return journey from Niagara Falls. The grounds of Peninsula Ridge was one of the best we have seen.
Beautifully landscaped and well tended grounds all throughout these properties on the Winery Route.
  • Save
Beautifully landscaped and well tended grounds all throughout these properties on the Winery Route.

One of the two wineries we visited was Peninsula Ridge. It offered a great selection of both red and white wines with a good wine tasting options – selection of 5 for $10! I thought that was a bargain!

We were particularly impressed with the variations to Mead, Honey Wine. We tried the varieties and I found the “Apple Pie” was super sweet. I preferred the good old traditional Mead made of honey!

IMG_9676 (2)
  • Save

History of Mead

Honey Wine, or “Mead”, was the first fermented beverage, and is considered the ancestor of all alcoholic drinks. Its origins date back to 7,000 BC when first discovered in clay pots in Northern China. Mead was noted throughout history as an important ceremonial drink, often drank by Saxon Warriors in traditional “Mead-Halls”. Mead was also reserved for the Royals or Nobility of society.

Mead had an important role in the ceremony in Celtic traditions, where a newly married couple would be given enough Mead for their first month of marriage. The Mead was said to bring success, happiness and fertility. Today, we know this ancient tradition as the “Honeymoon”. Even today, traditional Irish weddings bestow Mead upon newlyweds. In the tradition, honey is also gifted for a “sweet” marriage.

IMG_9723-2.jpg
  • Save

However, the highlight for me was walking through rows and rows of grapes in the vineyards and encountering the different fragrances in an absolutely stunning scenery.

Sharing some photos here, so they speak for themselves.

Conclusion

The 3 days in Niagara Falls was one of the best short getaways we have had. We enjoyed our trip to the Falls, the Whirlpool and the Wineries. We explored a little of the nightlife here but saved on the casinos for our next visit. Though our trip was a brief one, we had a great time. We would highly recommend this destination and look forward to returning.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Niagara Falls, Ontario? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Have a splendid time in Niagara Falls!

Georgina

February 2020, Update

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

  • Save
  • Save

Join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.


“OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO.”
DR. SEUSS.
  • Save

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 10 Reasons to Visit this Ancient Wonder

posted in: North Carolina, USA 4

The Smokies

USA

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of those places where you don’t really need a reason to visit – you just do! It is one of the ancient wonders of the world which will transport you to a whole new world of experiences. For a city girl like me, a visit here has not only been a memorable one but it is one of those places that has earned a spot on the “Return” list.

Come along with me and share my experiences.

Pin this for later!

Pin on The Smokies
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a place where there are no real words can be found to describe it accurately. It was established in 1934 and has been referred to as a living mountain range. It is continuously shaped by the forces of nature – wind, water and erosion. The natural beauty of the mountains, the tranquillity of the woods and the wildlife here makes this, one of the most visited natural parks in America, drawing over 200,000 visitors per year – a Park that continues to ‘live’ in a time capsule of the 1800s.

Where is Great Smoky Mountains located?

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

map of the smokies on USA map
  • Save
The Smokies on USA map – sits on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee

There are major entrances to the Smokies from either of the States. More information is listed below on Useful information.

For now, join me on our journey.

The Foothills Parkway – gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Foothills Parkway gives you easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from a road corridor that is outside the Park, providing you with magnificent views of the mountains and wildflowers.

Foothills Parkway
  • Save
Foothills Parkway – the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains Natural Park

Our visit here was before the New Leg of the Parkway was open, in early autumn. (The New Leg takes you from Townsend, TN, to Wears Valley, with a short ride into Pigeon Forge, TN, and Gatlinburg, TN – from US 129 to US 321 in Walland).

Have a look at the following scenic guide offered by google.my.maps

Crisscrossing of the Ancient Mountains is a sight to behold… 

The beauty of the mountains comes through as you drive up…when you see, as far as you can, ridge upon ridge of endless forest. It was one of the prettiest sights, that I had ever witnessed – the crisscrossing of the mountains in the distance as it blends into the blues of the skies, which makes it particularly picturesque.

The Smokies.
  • Save
The Smokies: The beauty of the mountains comes through as you drive up…when you see, as far as you can, ridge upon ridge of endless forest. It was one of the prettiest sights, that I had ever witnessed – the crisscrossing of the mountains in the distance as it blends into the blues of the skies, which makes it particularly picturesque

No two views are the same…

There are many ‘pull-over’ areas throughout the drive that gives you breath-taking views of the mountains. Stop as many times as you can – we, stopped at every pull-over site, because no two sites were the same and it afforded great photo opportunities.

Capture the sights of the Wildflowers – The Great Smoky Mountains Natural Park is home to approximately 1600 species of flowering plants.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to 1600 species of plants.
  • Save
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to 1600 species of plants.

The Great Smoky Mountains are not just mountains…there is an air of tranquillity here which you must simply experience yourself.

This mountain range is also covered with the ever-present morning fog which gives it the name, “Smokies”.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park: This mountain range is covered with the ever-present morning fog which gives it the name, “Smokies”
  • Save
Great Smoky Mountain National Park: This mountain range is covered with the ever-present morning fog which gives it the name, “Smokies”

The importance of the Great Smoky Mountains was aptly described by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was quoted as saying:

“There are trees here that stood before our forefathers ever came to this continent; there are brooks that still run as clear as on the day the first pioneer cupped his hand and drank from them.”

Activities

This ancient mountains with its ancient wonders provide a myriad of activities for both young and old. There are many reasons why one would visit this ancient wonder and I have listed my top 10 reasons below.

10 Reasons Why you should Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park aka The Smokies

1 | History of Mountain Culture at the Great Smoky Mountains

The Smokies has a long history of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, specifically a community of native Americans called, Cherokee. It is a small community that is preserving its 18th century way of life. 

We visited Oconaluftee Indian Village, in Cherokee, a town on the reservation in western North Carolina. We had a taste of their 18th century lifestyle. A guided tour of Cherokee dwellings, a look at how their ancient jewellery and beads were crafted, their primitive tools – all with live demonstrations. The highlight was the cultural dance that tells the tribal story. 

If you are visiting this part of the world, pay the Cherokee Village a visit, it takes you to a different dimension.

Below is a picture of a Native American, one of the elders of the Cherokee tribe, from the Oconaluftee Indian Village.

Great Smoky Mountains: A visit to the nearby town of Cherokee where the 18th century lifestyle is preserved.
  • Save
Great Smoky Mountains: A visit to the nearby town of Cherokee where the 18th century lifestyle is preserved.

2 | A natural habitat of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains is a natural habitat to a huge diversity of wildflowers, plants and animal life which are not found elsewhere. It was a wonderful experience to see the varieties in various colours, all in one place.

3 | Wildlife of the Great Smoky Mountains

3.1 | The Great Smoky Mountains is home to approximately 1,500 black bears.

We did not see a bear on our visit, however, it is said that the chances of seeing a bear is highly likely in Cades Cove, (on the western side of the park) and Cataloochee Valley, (on the park’s east side).

3.2 | Best time to see black bears

Spring and Summer are the best months to see the bears, especially in the early             morning and at dusk.

3.3 | Federal law requirements

The bears live throughout the Park and federal law requires all visitors to properly      store their food in the trunk of their vehicles and place all garbage and food scraps            in bear-proof trash cans.

3.4 | Elks

An animal associated with the American West. Sightings of these are rare. We were fortunate to see them on our way to Cherokee, North Carolina. 

Great Smoky Mountains: Rare sightings of Elks in Cherokee
  • Save
Great Smoky Mountains: Rare sightings of Elks in Cherokee

4 | Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains is home to approximately 1600 species of flowering                plants.

During the spring months (mid-April to mid-May) and early summer (late May to          mid-July), are the best times to see wildflowers here such as rhododendron and                flame azalea.

The Mountains are also covered with healthy shrub flowers on higher elevation              which we were able to capture on our visit.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to 1600 species of plants.
  • Save
The Smokies is home to 1600 species of plants.
Great Smoky Mountains Wildflowers
  • Save
Wildflower shrubs at the Smokies.

Wet and humid climates, as well as a broad elevation range, are two of the most               important reasons for the park’s renowned diversity.

5 | Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

For the fishing enthusiasts, there is about 700 plus miles of fishable streams in the Park which offers a selection of brook, brown, or rainbow trout.

6 | Waterfalls of the Great Smoky Mountains

There are many waterfalls throughout the Park with larger falls such as Grotto, Laurel and Rainbow which are well worth a visit.

7 | Hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains

For the hiking enthusiasts, there are several hiking trails to explore – part of the Appalachian Trail is here. 

The Great Smoky Mountains is home to many hiking trails such as the Appalachian Trail
  • Save
The Smokies is home to many hiking trails such as the Appalachian Trail

8 | Highest point of elevation of the Appalachian Trail

The Smoky Mountains has the highest point of elevation of the entire Appalachian Trail at 2019 metres (6625 feet) – near Clingman’s Dome.

  • Save
Official Great Smoky Mountains National Park map – courtesy of mysmokymountainpark.com

9 | Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains

There are many camping sites available, from backcountry to horse campgrounds. Backcountry camping requires a permit and reservations in advance. Backcountry campers are also advised to check weather conditions against their itinerary before arrival.

Bear activity, in addition to weather, can cause sites, roads, trails and shelters to close. The park can accommodate large groups of campers (minimum party size of 7) at several sites. Group campers must use tents only and they must reserve a spot in advance. 

10 | Historic buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains

There are about 90 historic buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A collection of log buildings, houses, barns, churches, schools and grist mills have been preserved. Best places to experience these are at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee and along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

My conclusion of the Great Smoky Mountains

Being in the midst of nature, the Smokies was truly an experience for a city girl like me. I enjoyed waking up to the sounds of the birds, the freshness of the morning dew, a walk in the trails looking for the footprints of black bears, and the sighting of elks were experiences that I would never forget. These are also experiences that encourages me to revisit this ancient wonder and is on my “return” list.

Travel tips and Useful information on Great Smoky Mountains

Getting to Great Smoky Mountains

The Park sits on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park,

107 Park Headquarters Road

Gatlinburg, TN

As the Park sits on the borders of two states, it offers various possibilities of access. The most popular entrance to the Park is via Sugarlands, the north side of the Park. I accessed the following from the official website of the mysmokymountain:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance map
  • Save
The entrance via Sugarlands, through Gatlinburg, TN

Access via Foothills Parkway

The Foothills Parkway gives you easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from a road corridor that is outside the Park. The New Leg of the Parkway takes you from Townsend, TN, to Wears Valley, with a short ride into Pigeon Forge, TN, and Gatlinburg, TN – from US 129 to US 321 in Walland.

Visitor Centres

There are four Visitor Centres:

Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Oconaluftee, and Sugarlands

You can check the official website of the visitor centres by clicking: https://www.mysmokymountainpark.com/park/visitor-centers

What you need to know about the Weather in the Great Smoky Mountains

  1. Weather at The Great Smoky Mountains:
  • It has four distinct seasons.
  • March through May – Spring;
  • June through August – Summer;
  • September through November – Fall;
  • Mid-November through February – Winter.

**The weather here includes severe storms—tornadoes, strong winds, and hail—that can occur especially during the spring and summer months with March having the widest temperature swings. You can expect snowfall at any time during this month.

**Great Smoky Mountains National Park weather is also dependent on elevation. The base of a mountain can be 10 – 20 degrees warmer than temperatures at higher elevations, so prepare accordingly.

Safety tips to think about when at Great Smoky Mountains

If you are hiking, riding or camping, it is a good idea for you to have the following considerations in mind:

i) Map of the Great Smoky Mountains

Bring a Great Smoky Mountains National Park Map.  Even better if you can get one that has the hiking trails, and camping sites dotted. You can purchase one from the Visitor Centre.

ii) Park Rangers of the Great Smoky Mountains

Ask Great Smoky Mountains Park Rangers for additional safety tips when hiking or camping.

iii) Compass and network

Ensure you have a compass with you and you have a hand-phone that is fully charged. Take a charging device as a precaution.

More ways to experience The Smokies

In and around the Smokies are attractions and activities which one could explore for experiences that will last a lifetime!

Gatlinburg is one of the busiest towns that has a great selection from accommodation to restaurants and souvenir shops plus loads of attractions to choose from. Visit the Titanic Museum, Anakeesta Theme Park or Dollywood. If you are seeking adventurous activities, you could always do a helicopter tour, a 3-hour jeep tour from Foothills Parkway or a mountain zip lining activity. There are more choices available here for you to peruse and purchase an Adventure Pass giving you money saving options to 30 attractions and more.

If you prefer a quiet getaway, exploring on your own terms, like us, you could do that too. Whichever way you would like your adventure to be, there is always something for everyone seeking a memorable vacation at The Smokies.

Notes:

This is not a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are my own. All photos are my own and are all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce them. All prints are available upon requests.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog and my adventure here will inspire you to travel to this ancient wonder.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to The Smoky Mountains National Park? If so, let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Have a splendid adventure!

Georgina

February 2020, Update.

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

Pin on The Smokies
  • Save
Pin on The Smokies
  • Save

Join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.

[https://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/great-smoky-mountains-national-park]

[https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/historicbuildings.htm]


“There are trees here that stood before our forefathers ever came to this continent; there are brooks that still run as clear as on the day the first pioneer cupped his hand and drank from them.”

Franklin Roosevelt

  • Save

Geneva for a perfect romantic 3-day Itinerary

posted in: Europe, Geneva, Switzerland 22

Geneva – A perfect 3 day itinerary

Europe

A perfect romantic 3-day itinerary in Geneva can be a lot of things because Geneva has it all! From chateaus, vineyards, romantic hotels to high-end Michelin stars cosy dining and mountains to lighthouses! Geneva is a perfect romantic getaway plus a lot more!

Pin this for later!

Pin on Gen
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

Geneva – A City by the Lake

This romantic destination is simply known to the locals here in Geneva as Lac Léman – Lake Geneva. Geneva is indeed a City by the Lake, a huge lake surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains with dramatic views of Mont Blanc. The views are beautiful, mesmerising and wonderfully romantic especially in the evening to watch the sun set over the mountains.

Exploring the left bank of Lake Geneva, on Day 1 of a Perfect Romantic 3-day itinerary in Geneva
  • Save
Exploring the left bank of Lake Geneva, on Day 1 of a Perfect Romantic 3-day itinerary in Geneva

Besides offering a beautiful backdrop to a a romantic destination, Geneva offers a fusion of cultures and this is reflected in the wide varieties of cuisine that are available here. German, French and Italian with the Swiss-French being widespread. So, if your favourite culinary delight is fondue, this is the perfect City for you to master your skills!

In addition to its culinary delights, Geneva is popularly known as the birthplace of Swiss watchmakers. It has become the de facto home for politics and diplomacy, home to one of the four United Nations Headquarters and Red Cross. So, a visit here will fulfil varying interests – history, politics, shopping and much more.

Perfectly Romantic in Geneva

Geneva’s fusion of cultures, fondue, vineyards and cosy dining with the back-drop of the mountains is a ready-made  setting for a perfect romantic getaway. However, my getaway in Geneva may not reflect what many would consider as romantic. My idea of romance, quite simply put, is old-fashioned simplistic enjoyment. A romantic getaway does not always have to be high-end indulgence of fine wine and dining and exquisite hotels which Geneva is popular for.

What counts as ‘romance’ is personal. What inspires you to enjoy each other’s company, laughter and smiles and all is more romantic, than any bottle of champagne! Don’t get me wrong, I DO like my champagne, I DO like my chocolates, I DO like my roses,  and I DO like to be spoilt! The point being, its the moments that count, which makes it special.

Moments that makes one’s experience even more special is when you spend the day walking hand in hand, exploring the markets for something unique and he has all the patience in the world to watch you toy around with dresses which you may never need but encourages you to pick them and pays for it too! 😊

3-Day Itinerary in Geneva

With my beautiful moments so far, you may wonder that this “Perfect Romantic 3-days Itinerary in Geneva” is sounding rather more like “unplanned”, like we did not do much. WE ACTUALLY DID! While we did not rush around ticking off a long do-list, we had a travel plan from the outset. So, read on and join me on these beautiful moments. 

A travel plan is important as it gives structure to your vacation, and in this case our 3-days in Geneva. You can read more on a recent post I published on 5 Reasons Why Travel Planning is Important. 

Our travel plan to Geneva embodied 3-days, 2 nights. It included a full-on 10-hour day-trip to Mont Blanc on Day 2 and a rather flexible itinerary for the rest of the time to explore Geneva, the City by the Lake. To get the best of your time at a City Getaway or a Short-break Getaway, getting an early morning flight is a good idea. 

Day 1 in Geneva

An early morning flight to Geneva from London saw us arriving at mid-morning. With less than 2 hours journey in a very comfortable flight, we were upbeat when we arrived.  The journey from Geneva International Airport to the hotel in city centre was a short one too. With early check-in and a quick drop-off of our bags, we were ready to explore.  

Exploring Geneva meant that we had time for a stroll around the City where we discovered the flea market at Plainpalais, then along the lake, taking-in the impressive sight of Jet d’Eau.

The impressive sight of Jet d'Eau in Lake Geneva, during our Perfect Romantic 3-day Itinerary in Geneva
  • Save
The impressive sight of Jet d’Eau in Lake Geneva, during our Perfect Romantic 3-day Itinerary in Geneva

We hopped onto a taxi-boat for a quick ride to the other side of the shore, from the left bank to the right. Our adventure led us to discover and explore  the labyrinth streets of Geneva’s Old Town, appreciating the history and architecture of the City, stopping every now and again to admire the surroundings and make time for those clicks. I have summarised the highlights below.

Highlights of Day 1 in Geneva

1 | Jet d’Eau in Geneva

The Jet d’Eau is a large fountain in the lake and is a symbol of the city. You can’t miss it! The fountain shoots up 140m high, with over 7000 litres of water in the air at any one time. It lits up at night, with colours changing, giving the lake a beautiful setting and it was indeed a spectacular view.

Another spectacular view of Jet d'Eau in Geneva when we began our stroll along the left-bank of Lake Geneva
  • Save
Another spectacular view of Jet d’Eau in Geneva when we began our stroll along the left-bank of Lake Geneva. The fountain shoots up 140m high with over 7000 litres of water at one time.

2 | Exploring the left-bank of the lake in Geneva

Exploring the left-bank was exciting and interesting, no rush. Had brunch in a nearby cafe and we were eager to get across to the other side of the Lake.

Exploring Lake Geneva on Day 1 of Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva
  • Save
Exploring Lake Geneva on Day 1 of 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva
The most economical way to cruise Lake Geneva is to take one of these Mouette waterbuses which is part of the public transportation in Geneva
  • Save
The most economical way to cruise Lake Geneva is to take one of these Mouette waterbuses which is part of the public transportation in Geneva. Just takes a few minutes to cross from the left to the right bank
Exploring the left-bank of Lake Geneva on Day 1 of our Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva. Geneva Lake is so huge and you can see blue as far as your eyes can see
  • Save
Exploring the left-bank of Lake Geneva on Day 1 of our Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva. Geneva Lake is so huge and you can see blue as far as your eyes can see

3 | Exploring the right-bank of the lake and Geneva’s Old Town

3.1 | Geneva’s Old Town

Geneva’s Old Town was a remarkable experience because this is a place where history, culture and architecture abounds. The fusion of all three was very present and evident!  A leisurely walk through the stone walls and winding streets transports you to the past. There are secrets here behind those old walls which I would love to explore but it will be at another time.

3.2 | St Pierre’s Cathedral, Geneva.

St Pierre’s Cathedral sits up on a hill!. It’s structure dates back to 1160. This Cathedral is significant, both as a historical site and as an archaeological excavation site. It’s neo-classical design and iconic pillars makes it a unique feature which must not be missed by any visitor to this City.

3.3 | The Place du Bourg-de-Four, Geneva

The Place du Bourg-de-Four is the oldest square in Geneva. It was established in the 9th Century as a market. Today, this square is the heart of the Old Town, where there are cafes and bars, terraces where you can just sit and enjoy your coffee or lager. It is a buzzing hub for tourists and the local alike throughout the day and well into the night.

Beside being a buzzing hub for tourists, the Old Town is the heart of historical Geneva.  Given its rich history, it has many secrets which I could not discover on this trip. It was not in our itinerary to explore the historical Geneva deeply on this trip but it is one City which I will return to and is on my bucket-list.

4 | L’horloge fleurie, Geneva

L’horloge fleurie or the Flower Clock is well-known to represent Switzerland’s watchmaking tradition. The Flower Clock was created in 1955 in recognition of this. It is an outdoor flower clock located on the western side of Jardin Anglais Park and is created from about 6,500 flowering plants and shrubs. The clock looks different as the flowers change according to season and it is one of the main attraction of the City.

L'horloge fleurie or the Flower Clock is located at the Jardin Anglais Park, Geneva
  • Save
L’horloge fleurie or the Flower Clock is located at the Jardin Anglais Park, Geneva

Day 1 of 3-Days in Geneva was almost over

It was the evening and almost the end of Day 1 of our 3-Days in Geneva. We wanted to explore the area around the lighthouse which we had noticed earlier. We also had dinner in mind and looked forward to having seafood. Our evening adventure led us to discover a vibrant part to the City! Loud music, beach volleyball and live entertainment!

We watched a couple of games here and made our way to the lighthouse. It was still bright, not dusk yet, busy  and there was a lot of action here.

Evenings at the lake in Geneva

On both days, we spent our evenings at the heart of Geneva, at the lighthouse in Lake Geneva. We sat around on the rocks and dangled our feet in the water. We watched the Jet d’Eau shoot-up amidst the noisy crowd around us. Each one waits for the other to leave so they can catch the quietness of gentle waves against the rocks. The sounds of chatter soon dies-off giving way to another – the nightlife entertainment.

The area around the lake becomes a centre for entertainment with live music and food, for both adults and children.

The lighthouse itself was charmingly delightful when the lights came on. This attracted a different crowd, mainly couples seeking a good photo opportunity with the lighthouse and Jet d’Eau as the backdrop.

This lighthouse in Geneva was charmingly delighful . It was here that we spent our evenings and caught the sunset.
  • Save
This lighthouse in Geneva was charmingly delightful . It was here that we spent our evenings and caught the sunset.

With the crowd slowly disappearing, we watched the sun set behind the fountain and the mountains in the backdrop. The gentle breeze, the coolness  and the waves of the water against our feet was wonderfully perfect for me.  This is an experience you must not miss when you are in this City, Geneva.

We looked forward to each evening of our 3-day so we could be here on the rocks at the lighthouse in Geneva, which made-up our perfect evening
  • Save
We looked forward to each evening of our 3-days so we could be here on the rocks at the lighthouse in Geneva, which made-up our perfect evening
Just another perfect evening on the rocks at the lighthouse in Geneva, of our perfect romantic 3-day itinerary.
  • Save
Just another perfect evening on the rocks at the lighthouse in Geneva, of our perfect romantic 3-day itinerary.

Day 2 in Geneva: Chamonix-Mont Blanc 

Day 2 in Geneva of our  3-Day itinerary was an early start! As mentioned earlier, Day 2 in our Travel Planning included a Day Trip to the mountains, Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

1 |  Chamonix-Mont Blanc 

A day-trip to Chamonix-Mont Blanc from Geneva made perfect sense to us. It was an opportunity to explore a unique area and a ‘must’ for us because we were so close to it. Mont Blanc, also known as “White Mountain” is the highest mountain in the whole of the Alpine system, hence in Europe. Lake Geneva is situated at the foot of this mountain. We were both thrilled to add a little adventure to our 3-Day itinerary in Geneva.

We selected a customised tour of Chamonix and Mont Blanc, allowing ourselves to sit back and relax whilst experiencing it from all angles.

Our itinerary began at 08:00, on-board an air-conditioned coach. The journey was a pleasant ride, taking us through a 90-minute scenic journey to Chamonix.

A 90-minute scenic view from/to Geneva to/from Chamonix Mont Blanc
  • Save
A 90-minute scenic view from/to Geneva to/from Chamonix Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is on the western Alps, located on the border between France and Italy. So, our journey to Chamonix was across the border on the French side.

Point to remember:  You will need your passport or ID card (EU Member countries) with you!

We selected the following activities:

  1. Cable car ride to the summit of Aguille du Midi
  2. Lunch at one of Chamonix’s traditional restaurant and exploring Chamonix Valley
  3. Mer de Glace

1.1 | Aguille du Midi

The Aguille du Midi is the highest point and stands at 3842m directly across from Mont Blanc. It is the gateway to the Alps. To get here,  is a 20-minute ride aboard the Aguille du Midi cable car from Chamonix Valley.

Onboard the cable car heading towards Chamonix Mont Blanc on Day 2 of A Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva
  • Save
Onboard the cable car heading towards Chamonix Mont Blanc on Day 2 of a 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva

It is a two-stage journey to the summit from the valley floor. The first takes you to Plan de l’Aiguille which is at 2317m. Here, you have the option to exit and hike to Montenvers Railways. We did not hike. We went on the second stage of the car ride which took us to the top station, Piton Nord at 3778m. This part of the ride is a steep ascent.

The top station on Piton Nord
  • Save
The top station on Piton Nord

We exited here, at 3778m, onto terraces that offer breath-taking views over the massif. A lift takes you to the summit terrace situated at 3842m, where you will have a clear view of Mont Blanc.

At 3778, the terraces that give breathtaking views of the Alps,
  • Save
At 3778, the terraces that give breathtaking views of the Alps. A day-trip to Mont Blanc from Geneva.

We were totally in awe at what awaited us here, the view was simply breathtaking. We could see the dark-grey peaks peeking through here and there in the distance, in-between clouds, in  an otherwise snow-covered-pyramid shaped massif. Awesome. Beautiful. You need to see it.

Aiguille du Midi. Day 2 of A Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva
  • Save
Aiguille Du Midi. Day 2 of a 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva

Exiting the lift, you can take ‘A step into the Void’ (Le Pas dans le Vide), a 2.5m glass cage out, suspended from the side, at a 1000m above glaciers below. Picture below.

A step into the void
  • Save
Step into the Void_2

Stepping out of the ‘A step into the Void’ area, there is ‘The Pipe’, which offers five-windows to admire the Mont Blanc. It is a safe, 32m long steel gallery, with lots and lots of space below, which allows you to walk all around the pinnacle, offering you a 360-degree view of the Alps.

Views of the massif from The Pipe, Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc
  • Save
Views of the massif from The Pipe, Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc

The 360-degree view of the Alps from ‘The Pipe’ at Aguille du Midi is the closest where one can get to Mont Blanc. It offers breath-taking views over the massif, the glaciers towards Mont Blanc, Chamonix Valley and the Alps as far as you can see across to the surrounding countries. Simply awesome!

This is a popular attraction not just for tourists but also for mountaineers and skiers.

It is difficult to convey what an awesome experience this was! A seamless ride up on a single cable, ears popping more than once, the sun’s reflection off the snow and the windy chill…is an experience you ought to have at least once in your life.

Travel Tips when visiting Aiguille du Midi/Chamonix Mont Blanc: 

  • Wrap up warm as there is a marked drop in temperature from the valley floor due to the wind chill.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses! You will need it, as the sun’s strength is amplified at altitude and reflects off the snow.
  • Just a gentle caution to vertigo sufferers, please consider whether ‘A Step into the Void’ is something for you.
  • The souvenir shop and the cafeteria here is open all year round.
  • The ‘3842m’ restaurant has a unique setting and serves Savoie dishes.
  • Allow at least 2 – 3 hours for your visit

1.2 | Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley

The picturesque alpine town of Chamonix, surrounded by the Alps mountains and glaciers, is the main town in this valley. It is a popular destination for tourists and mountaineers as it is the gateway to the Alps. English is widely spoken here, so ordering our meals was not a problem.

It was a late lunch – freshly baked baguette to accompany the traditional french onion soup, and ham & cheese sandwiches. Not a perfect combination but we liked it.

1.3 | Mer de Glace

The Mer de Glace, also known as ‘Sea of Ice’ is another popular attraction in the Chamonix Valley. At 7km long and 200m thick, the Mer de Glace is the largest glacier in France, and sadly, is also the most visible symbol of climate change.

Mer de Glace. The third in Day 2 of A Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva
  • Save
Mer de Glace. The third in Day 2 of a 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva

To get to Mer de Glace, we boarded the iconic red cog railway (Montenvers train) from Chamonix town centre. The train runs on a single track, with one passing point, about 5km uphill to the top station at 1913m.

The iconic red cog railway, Montenvers train from Chamonix town centre.
  • Save
The iconic red cog railway, Montenvers train from Chamonix town centre.

Exiting at the top station, you will step onto a large viewing platform, offering you a panoramic view across and of the glacier below. You can also see how much the glacier has receded over the years. There is also a small bar here where you can grab a drink and/or a snack.

From the top station, take the gondola lift down to the Ice Cave. There are about 480 steps from the arrival of the gondola lift to the entrance of the Ice Cave, on both the outward and return walk. Walking these steps were literally breath-taking, at times challenging, aching knees and major cardio experience, to say the least! But, it had to be done.

At Mer de Glace, we walked down the metal stairway to the Ice Cave. We came to face the magnitude effects of global warming. Signs of receding glacier are posted at every corner as a reminder.
  • Save
At Mer de Glace, we walked down the metal stairway to the Ice Cave. We came to face the magnitude effects of global warming. Signs of receding glacier are posted at every corner as a reminder.
Day 2 of 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva was a visit to Mer de Glace: Metal steps all the way down to the Ice Cave. A grim reminder of global warming and how fast the glacier is receding.
  • Save
Day 2 of a 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva was a visit to de Glace: Metal steps all the way down to the Ice Cave. A grim reminder of global warming and how fast the glacier is receding.

1.4 | The Ice Cave at Mer de Glace

The Ice Cave is a man-made grotto and it takes you to the very heart of the glacier. Each summer, the grotto had to be carved out of the glacier because the glacier moves, making its way downhill at a rate of 80m per year.

At the entrance to the cave, you will see the old entrance from previous years which are no longer in use. The Ice Cave is 100m long and you can find ice sculptures, coloured lights and mannequins portraying historical life in the mountains, in the early 19th century. The Gallery of Crystals showcased a collection of the finest crystal specimens in the Mont Blanc massif.

Travel Tips when visiting Mer de Glace

  • The bar and the viewing platform at the top station is a good place to relax for a little while over a drink from the bar – you will need one after those steps!
  • Not advisable for people with limited mobility.
  • Opens daily and all year round. Check opening times as it varies to season.
  • Allow yourself 2 – 2.5 hours
  • Access is via the train of the Montenvers from Chamonix town centre.

Heading back to Geneva from Chamonix Mont Blanc

Our return journey was equally swift (90 minutes) and pleasant. This trip to Chamonix proved to be good value for money and we were glad to select this as part of our 3-Day itinerary in Geneva.

Once in Geneva, a short break at our hotel to freshen-up, we headed out again – I think you know where our restless feet took us on this evening.

Day 3 in Geneva

Like all beautiful vacations, it soon ends with beautiful memories. But wait! Our Day 3 in Geneva has not ended yet!

Our flight was scheduled for later in the day as per our Travel Planning itinerary. This was perfect and was an opportunity for us to explore Geneva further.

3.1 | United Nations Offices in Geneva

Exploring further the parts of Geneva took us to United Nations building at Palais des Nations. A visit here was added onto the itinerary at the last minute and I can assure you, it was an interesting morning. There are guided tours available in languages other than English and French, so a visit could be worthwhile.

UN Building in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Save
UN Building in Geneva, Switzerland
The Big Chair & water fountain in front of the UN building in Geneva
  • Save
The Big Chair & water fountain in front of the UN building in Geneva

 3.2 | Testing the public transport in Geneva

We had a few more hours to spare before heading to the airport and we wanted to grab lunch and have a quick walk around the Old Town. So, off we went to grab a quick lunch. A quick hop onto the tram, and 45 minutes later saw us back in the heart of the City. We really only wanted to test the trams which was fun!

Our hotel

Our hotel was a 5-star hotel, rather new and super-clean! Every evening when we returned to our room, we were pampered with bottles of fresh water and chocolates on our pillow. They left the breakfast menu on our bed too, to inspire us to have a lazy morning and order room-service instead of rushing for breakfast before 10:30!

For our accommodation, I booked through booking dot com as they offer a good selection and competitive pricing.  You may want to do a search and find out what is available for you.

The Public Transportation in Geneva

The public transport in Geneva is named UNIRESO. It is one of the better ones which Iwe have experienced and it is good value for money. The system is interconnected and One ticket gets you on the buses, trams, *mouettes and trains within the City.

Mouette – Yellow public transport boats that takes you from the left bank to the right. They have 4 harbour points in the City.

The tickets are timed and commonly only valid for 60 minutes. So, ensure you only buy one ticket at a time – buy what you need.

Tickets can only be purchased from ticket machines located at every tram or bus stops. Unlike most other cities, you cannot purchase them on-board a tram or a bus.

Tickets machines accepts coins only – no credit cards.

FREE Ticket

  • However, if you are staying in a hotel/hostel located in Geneva City (like we did),  you get a FREE transport card for the duration of your stay. You collect this from the Reception at the hotel you are staying at.
  • When you fly into Geneva International Airport, you are entitle to a FREE 80-minute ticket  for Geneva Public Transport. You can obtain this ticket from the ticket machines located in the baggage hall.
  • The train gets you into the City.

Travel Tips on Geneva and Recommendations

I would highly recommend the following to be embedded in your Geneva Itinerary:

Geneva’s Old Town – Exploring the Old Town gives you the real feel of the City’s history. If you are a history geek like me, you may want to explore the secrets behind those stone walls as you walk up the cobbled streets. 

The lighthouse at Lake Geneva – go here at least on one evening to dangle your feet in the water and experience the positive vibes that just ignites everyone to have fun.

Do a day-trip – Consider at least doing one of the many day-trips to Germany and France which are exceptionally good value for money. You may also wish to consider skiing or scuba-diving whilst you are in Geneva.

Experience Geneva’s Public Transportation – even for fun! The City is small and easily walkable! The transportation system here is one of the better ones that I had experienced. You only need One ticket to experience the trams, buses.

Our takeaway of Geneva

Our 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva” was designed to experience the best and fuel our passion – a little luxury, experience the City and an added thrill of an adventure. We achieved this! Geneva was special and one of the highlights in my life. The glittering lake and the bright, wonderful nightlife was quite awesome! Everyone was  friendly and the locals are inviting. Adding an adventure to the Alps was just awesome.

I am sure that you too, whether you spend a week, a weekend or a few days in between in Geneva, filled with romance and inspiring moments, sightseeing or adventuring, you will return home feeling that little bit more special!

Although, Geneva has a lot of places to visit but we did not do them all. We covered what we planned and more. At the end it’s the experiences that creates memories and not the volume of sights we tick-off on a list.

Are you ready to book your trip?

Booking a trip is easier said than done! As a person who travels often, I spend a lot of time researching flights, accommodation and travel insurance plus any activities to fit into our itinerary to make our vacation special to us. Sometimes these prep-time is stressful only to eliminate the stresses that might await us if I dont do the research etc. As a person who travels often, my wellbeing is important to me. So, I designed a 6-step guide to a stress free vacation which includes “who” and “where” to find the best deals for my vacation. I share this with you, hoping it will be your “wellbeing resource” too.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Geneva? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Georgina

February 2020, Update

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

  • Save
  • Save

Join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.

I look forward to connecting with each of you.


“I should like the window to open onto the Lake of Geneva and there Id sit and read all day like the picture of somebody reading”

John Keats, Letter, 1819

  • Save

St Dunstan in the East-8 reasons why you should visit this Serenity amongst Ruins

posted in: England, London 36

St Dunstan in the East

Discover London with Georgina

My latest love of London is an old ruined medieval Gothic church in the heart of London’s financial district, just a stone’s throw away from Tower Hill Station. On a quiet side-street tucked away between Tower Hill and Monument is St Dunstan Hill where you will find one of London’s most beautiful garden, often referred as “London’s secret garden” – St Dunstan in the East.

View post on: Why is Monument important to London?

Pin this for later!

pin
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

St Dunstan in the East, London

There are many reasons to visit this charming little gem where there exists serenity and tranquillity. However, I have listed 8 reasons why St Dunstan in the East should be on your list when visiting London.

Why you should visit St Dunstan in the East, London

The Garden at St Dunstan in the East today is an unusual garden. By “unusual” I mean quirky and charming. The ruins of this church is one of the last of the Blitz’s casualties remaining in the UK. More on its history, below. For now, let us have a look at the reasons why you should visit this garden.

1 | A quirky and charming garden to escape to

The first view of St Dunstan is that it is overgrown with trees, has wall shrubs, ivy and flowers growing amongst its ruins. However, the subtle beauty of this chapel came through as I walked around the ruins.

St Dunstan in the east
  • Save
  • Save

 Its defining characteristics of Gothic architecture was very present. The pointed arches before me were beautiful and the old stone with its cracks showed its age, still retaining its somewhat uniqueness. The large glass-less window frames had stood strong the test of time. One can only imagine how beautiful these stone tracery would have been before it’s destruction when these were ornamented with stained glass illustrating stories from the Bible and the lives of the Saints.

St Dunstan in the East - Serenity amongst ruins
  • Save
St Dunstan in the East – Serenity amongst ruins
Fresh green foliage from the trees growing through the windows.
  • Save
St Dunstan in the East: Fresh green foliage from the trees growing through the windows.

When I visited last summer, the summer setting was charming with fresh green foliage from the trees growing through windows. It was rather enchanting to have vines winding around the walls and wildflowers, popping here and there on the walls while palm trees added a tropical feel to St Dunstan in the East.

A gorgeously green spot in the summer sunshine. Along with this is also a fountain in the middle of what used to be the nave.

2 | Serenity amongst ruins

The fountain in the middle is surrounded by benches. There are many benches dotted around  the ruins to offer a place to sit and where you can enjoy the tranquillity of this garden. One could bring a book to read or a sketch book to capture the settings at St Dunstan in the East, or even have your lunch.

The fountain is located below what used to be the nave of the church, St Dunstan in the East.
  • Save
Grab yourself a seat on one of these benches and read a book, sketch the surroundings, listen to music – pretty much do whatever you want in the serenity of St Dunstan in the East

The tranquillity here is ever so present as it almost seems like a strange peace had descended over the garden. I am sure this tranquillity continues to exist even when there are grey skies which so often dominate London, giving it a moody atmosphere.

3 | The rich history of St Dunstan in the East

According to records held by London’s Gardens & Parks Trust, there had been a church that stood here since ancient times. St Dunstan’s was built around circa 1100 and survived the Great Fire in 1666, sustaining severe damage. The damage was repaired and a tower plus a steeple was designed by Sir Christopher Wren which were added between 1695-1701. The church was rebuilt between 1817 and 1821. However, during London Blitz in 1941, when London was raining bombs, the small church took a direct hit that destroyed the structure, leaving only the north and south walls, the tower and steeple. In 1953, the spire was reconstructed and later, the tower in 1970.

St Dunstan in the East - Wren's tower and steeple survived the Blitz
  • Save
St Dunstan’s in the East – Wren’s tower and steeple survived the Blitz

4 | An officially designated historical site

The site remained in ruins until 1967 when the City of London acquired it and turned it into a garden for public use in 1971. The ruins have been designated Grade 1 Listed building. This means that it is protected from further development and destruction.

5 | How St Dunstan in the East inherited its name

The church, St Dunstan in the East took its name from a 10th century monk. Dunstan (908 – 988) was an English Bishop who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is said to have a colourful past for he survived brushes with black magic, leprosy and the devil himself.

Read more about St Dunstan, here

6 | Designed by Sir Christopher Wren

Sir Christopher Wren is a highly acclaimed English architect in history who had designed about 50 churches in the City of London. The most prominent and regarded as his masterpiece is St Paul’s Cathedral which took 35 years to build. Other designs of Wren include Royal Hospital at Chelsea (1682-1689), Hampton Court Palace (1689-1696) for King William III and Queen Mary, and the Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich (1696-1705).

Read about Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral in a blog I wrote previously: #1 in My City & My Town – Appreciating London Series: What makes St Paul’s Cathedral in London a Special Place to Visit?

Wren died in London on Feb. 25, 1723 and was buried in St. Paul’s. His tomb bears a simple inscription:

“Reader, if you seek his monument, look about you.”

7 | Popularity of St Dunstan in the East

I did a quick research on St Dunstan in the East and discovered that it could be hired as a venue for wedding reception and parties. It is also a popular spot for magazine photoshoot and not forgetting Instagram poses too.

8 | A testament

St Dunstan in the East is not only a popular spot for peace and tranquillity for Londoners to escape to but it also stands as a testament to the resilience of the City of London which survived the Blitz.

My conclusion on St Dunstan in the East

This hidden secluded garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in the City of London. As one of the last Blitz-damaged buildings left in the UK, it stands as a memorial to the horrors of the Blitz and a testament to the resilience of the City of London which survived it.

London inspires me to explore and write compelling thoughts of her even if I had seen something tens-of-times. Somehow exploring London these days are a “discovery” anew of something old. May be because I am a Londoner, I am biased that I love her so but as I travelled also to faraway places, I discover that there is no place quite like London. Not quite. Not anywhere.

How to find St Dunstan in the East

You can reach St Dunstan in the East at:

​St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

or Via phone:

​020 7374 4127

or Email:

parks.gardens@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Accessibility:

Ramped access via the Idol Lane entrance to the north side of the garden only.

Remainder of the garden accessed via steps.

Opening hours:

​​Open all year round from 8am to 7pm or dusk, whichever is earlier.

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Entrances via Idol Lane and St Dunstan’s Hill.

Walking route from Tower Hill Station to St Dunstan in the East.

Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to St Dunstan in the East? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Happy discovering London!

Georgina

February 2020, Update

Share me…

Share me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you may wish – sharing buttons below and floating on left. I appreciate every share.

Pin me on Pinterest!

  • Save
Pin on St Dunstan
  • Save

Join me…

Be sure to join our tribe of adventurers. Sign-up FREE via email to receive fresh news on travel and traveller wellbeing straight to your inbox. I hope my adventures will encourage you to travel and perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Subscribe! Never miss a Post!

I share regular highlights of my adventures with my travel community on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where I would love for you to join me.

I look forward to connecting with each of you.


London inspires me to explore and write compelling thoughts of her even if I had seen something tens-of-times. Somehow exploring London these days are a “discovery” anew of something old. May be because I am a Londoner, I am biased that I love her so but as I travelled also to faraway places, I discover that there is no place quite like London. Not quite. Not anywhere.

  • Save

Amsterdam in a Nutshell – 18 Experiences in 48 Hours

posted in: Europe, Netherlands 20

All about Amsterdam in 48 hours!

Europe

Amsterdam – A Perfect European City Break

Amsterdam is a City that portrays the “anything goes” image – from prostitution that is tolerated openly and the use of cannabis in fashionable coffee shops. Amsterdam is also a seductive City, often referred to as the Venice of the North because of its canals and bridges. It is popular for its fairy-tale landscape which offers so much to see and experience from windmills, gingerbread houses and museums to marijuana, cheese and tulips. It makes a perfect destination for an amazing European City Break.

Pin this for later!

Pin on Ams
  • Save

Disclaimer: This Post and all related posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I am compensated financially or otherwise at no cost to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Access full disclaimer here

Where is Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands, a country in northwestern Europe. The country is more popularly known as Holland.

Amsterdam can be found at:

52° 22′ 12.7776” N and 4° 53′ 42.6048” E.

Map of Ams.
  • Save
Amsterdam

With only a weekend, 48 hours ahead of us, it was a little overwhelming to figure out what experiences that should not be missed and how to fit all of these into the time frame we had. Our weekend started on a Friday. We travelled from London to Amsterdam onboard the Eurostar, arriving at the Central Station, Amsterdam.  From here, we opted for a taxi to our hotel, which was just a 10-minute ride.

Our wellbeing as adventurers/travellers

This may sound silly, but travel can be hard work sometimes, with the planning and the must-see list etc. So, after a long week at work, we decided to “take it easy” on this trip, give ourselves the much needed respite for our wellbeing.

This is our first time in Amsterdam, we were fully aware that excitement can take over when one is visiting a City such as Amsterdam for the first time. We decided not to have a “do-list” as such, to see all the touristic places. We decided to be flexible, be kind to ourselves, enjoy our 5-star hotel and make-up the visits as we go with the few ideas we already had. Whatever we could not visit this time, we will do so on our next.

In retrospect, our visit to Amsterdam on the “wellbeing” side was an incredible experience. There are still places which we could have experienced but we are contented with all that we did without any stress or pressure of time. Listed here are 18 experiences which we hope that will help you plan your visit to Amsterdam.

Here is a little background to Amsterdam.

Background to Amsterdam

Amsterdam – Venice of the North

Amsterdam, often referred to as “Venice of the North” is the capital of Netherlands. It originated from its growth as a city around a dam in the river Amstel. It is a progressive City which boasts an elaborate canal system that extends over 100 kilometres, 90 islands and has 1500 bridges. The are three main canals here which are Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht that forms a concentric belt around the city, known as the Amsterdam Canal Ring – for the locals, it is known as the grachtengordel. The Canal Ring is basically an intersection of waterways which were dug during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.

Amsterdam in a Nutshell - Central Amsterdam
  • Save
Amsterdam in a Nutshell – Central Amsterdam

There are 1550 monumental buildings alongside the main canals.  The City is unique in that it offers a beautiful sight of gabled houses which line the streets on both sides of the canal and a unique experience (depends how you look at it) of witnessing little red neon lights, emanating from the infamous ‘Red Light District’ when the sun sets down.

Amsterdam – A City of Art, Bicycles and Beer

The City has a rich artistic history and is home to the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum. The modern art is displayed at the Stedelijk.  Outside of these, there are museums about cats, collection of handbags and photography, as well as archaeology. Amsterdam has dedicated cycle paths as cycling is key to the City’s character. We learnt that the number of bicycles in the City, of approximately one million outnumber the City’s approximately 750,000 residents, which seems incredible for a City that is quite small. Alongside all of these, the City’s long tradition of beer is being revolutionised by craft brewers, tulips flood the market streets and the Dutch cheese shops appear at every corner of the City.

Amsterdam – Getting Around the City

The City Centre itself is small and it is easy to walk to many of the attractions if you do not want to hop onto the trams or buses. I list two choices here for your perusal.

  • It is worthwhile purchasing The I Amsterdam Card for the duration of your stay, for example for 24, 48 or 72 hours. The Card offers you unlimited rides on all public transport within the City and free entry to almost all the museums.
  • You can purchase a value for money public transport pass for the duration of your stay, anything from 1 to 7 days. This public transport pass affords you the space and time to explore Amsterdam at your leisure, at your own pace during your stay. The pass gives you unlimited rides on all trams, buses, ferries and the metro (day and night) for the number of days that best suit your schedule – allowing you to hop and off with ease.

We purchased ours from the hotel, ready to explore the delightful City of Amsterdam, without a list!