Anyone who hears the word "Budapest" will most likely immediately think of their iconic Parliament Building. The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most recognisable images of Hungary and a symbol of the country's talented artists who helped achieve this vision of architectural magnificence. Standing on the banks of the Danube, it flanks the city and greets visitors floating down the river with its bright white columns and staggering silhouette.
Exploring Harajuku is more than just walking down the famed Takeshita Dori Street. There are so many side alleys and hidden shops you need to explore to get a real sense of what Harajuku is all about and not just the touristy side of things. I’ve tried to make this list an easy to follow walking path from the station so you don’t have to backtrack too much!
Japan has the reputation of being unique, quirky and sometimes even flat out weird. But not weird in a bad, but weird in a good way. These unique experiences which are synonymous with Tokyo are the reason some people make the trip out there. While I would always advise you pair your adventures in Japan with some traditional experiences as well, I do completely understand those who want to find all the most bizarre activities this country has to offer. Here are my favourite weird and wonderful places and adventures to can find in Tokyo!
Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges is a medieval paradise replete with sweeping canals, quaint cobblestones alleyways, unique Gothic architecture and an utterly enchanting atmosphere. Bruges is truly one of my favourite cities to visit. It feels like you could walk endless along the streets and continuously find new discoveries. It’s a fairy-tale like village and I think far too many people just breeze through it on a day-trip from Brussels. I think to truly experience the city at it’s best you need to spend the night and dedicate a good 48 hours to explore every nook and cranny of the city.
As much as we might feel young at heart forever, there are apparent differences between travelling in your 20s and travelling in your 30s. While many of these changes aren't necessarily bad ones, if anything I've met travellers in the 60s who endlessly inspired and excite me, everyone grows old. And how your travelling experiences change are interesting to document and think about as you grow. I love learning from other travellers, especially those who are older than me. When I turned 30, it was a like a switch got flicked. Things took me longer, I was more tired and suddenly didn't feel like I could do everything. Other travellers who went through a similar change were super helpful to me in setting clear new goals and changing my expectations. So I wanted to document this for myself here so others can learn from me and my experiences with travel as I got older.
Travelling to Japan as a first timer is a daunting experience. Going to a city where they don't use the Roman alphabet, let alone speak the language, is just one more hurdle which can make those first few hours in the city all that more confusing and intimidating. But trust me, Japan is one of the most incredible cities in the world and the kind people you'll find there are always more than happy to help you out with any pickle you might find yourself in. That being said, after many "first times" in Japan, I've plotted my top tips to ensure your first few hours there go as smoothly as possible, and you've set yourself up for success for the rest of your trip to Japan!
Visiting one of Budapest's thermal baths is a right of passage for anyone's first time in this historic city. Budapest's thermal baths are as crucial to the culture and the city as anything else you'll see and do. Although the concept might seem strange to foreigners, once you get over the first time jitters, you're bound to find the experience something you'll want to do over and over again.
If you're trying to pick a city to visit based on the food alone, Barcelona is no doubt on the top of that list! Catalonian cuisine combines the very best elements of Spanish and French cooking with that uniquely Catalan flare that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Knowing which items you NEED to eat when you're there will help you weed out the authentic recipes from the tourist traps.
Downtown Las Vegas is the historic centre of Las Vegas, where the entire idea of "Las Vegas" was born. And yet, this part of town is oft forgotten in place of the glitz and glamour of it's southern, younger more popular sister. But in recent years Downtown Las Vegas has seen a boom of popularity, and people are more and more choosing to venture up to DTLV (as it is now conveniently called) to seek out the origins of the city and the alternative scene found out there.
Ærø or 'Aero' is one of those destinations in Denmark that doesn't get a lot of attention but is a hidden gem that any traveller who is anxious to find something a little bit different should try their best to visit. Ærø is a tiny island surrounded by the Danish Baltic Sea - only 30 km in length and 8 km wide. But it being so small makes it the perfect place for travellers to visit and explore either on foot or by bike.
Fraser Island is one of the magical places you can only find in Australia. It's one of the most unique landscapes in the world and a must-see for any traveller visiting Australia. Located on the southeast coast of Queensland, stretching over 120km, you'll discover towering rainforest trees hundreds of years old, deep pools of crystal clear water in the middle of a sandy dune stretching hundreds of yards, breathtaking wildlife and, if you're lucky, you might even spot one of the island's most camera-shy residents, the infamous dingo.
On my last trip to France, we visited the scenic southwestern area of Provence, famous for its lavender fields, stunning landscape and unbelievable food. Provence has several famous towns you can stay in while travelling, places like Arles, Avignon or Marseille are all very popular with attracting tourists. And while these incredible towns were a joy for us to visit, we decided to make our mainstay in the almost unheard of town of Merindol. But why stay in a small town, that is farther away from all the big sights and doesn't immediately appear to cater to foreign tourists? Well, I'll tell you why and hopefully at the end of this you'll be convinced that a small, unknown town is just right for your next trip to Provence.
When visiting the famed area of Asakusa and the Sensoji shrine you're bound to work up an appetite! Luckily, Nakamise Shopping Street and the side streets around it, have a plethora of amazing street foods to choose from. I decided to make a day of this the last time I visited. Come HUNGRY because there are so many different things you NEED to try! This one area offers up so many traditional Japanese street foods, each one costing only a dollar or so. You can easily spend under $15 for an entire 10-course meal! There are plenty of food tours of this area, but it's so easy to do it yourself. While having a guide is a great way to ask questions and find out more from a local's perspective about the area, doing it on your own means it's up to you to find your way around and interact with the locals yourself.
When you think of visiting Japan, no doubt one of the first things you'll imagine is walking into an ancient temple, painted bright vermillion, the smells of incense wafting the air. One of the most iconic of these temples is Sensoji in Asakusa, Tokyo. Perhaps the most visited temple in Tokyo, Sensoji is also the oldest temple in the city with over half millennia of stories to tell.
In the cosy, seaside village of Yokohama, you'll find the fabled Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. Although it's dubbed a "museum", the experience you'll have is more in line with a trip to Epcot. The museum is almost like visiting a food-themed amusement park which sends you back in time in tastes and visuals.
About an hour from Tokyo lies the seaside town of Yokohama. It is the second largest city in Japan with a population of 3.7 million. Despite being such a big city it still keeps the small town feel that it once had when it was first established. Yokohama makes for an easy day-trip from Tokyo. It’s a scenic escape with a myriad of peaceful gardens and exciting activities.
The Festa Major de Gràcia is Barcelona's biggest, most colourful and most popular neighbourhood, street festival. Every year, the Gràcia neighbourhood is transformed with fantastical scenes made out of recycled materials and bright papier-mâché . The decorations and all the events are organised by local residents with their aim being to bring together the community and invite others from all over the world to experience their outlandish creations. The festival is also replete with activities and events for all the family so throughout the week-long festival there is always something to do.
On our last trip to Mexico, we were lucky enough to get a reservation at Pujol, in the Polanco neighbourhood of Mexico City. Pujol is one of the best restaurants in the world, as of 2019 it's rated as #13 so getting a reservation at this place is a bit of a challenge but never give up! When we first booked our trip almost everything was booked for months and months but a few weeks before departure, one reservation at 6:30 for the Omakase tasting menu opened up and we grabbed it.
Mexico City is a place whose history is rooted within the heart and soul of the people who live there. Despite being a short flight away from most major US and Canadian cities, it feels like travelling across the ocean. With a vibrant art scene and a foodie culture that rivals the best in the world, Mexico City has quickly become one of the most sought after travel destinations. Set between tall mountains and volcanoes, you are nestled into this little valley where the weather is almost always warm, but not too hot and a sweet escape from those bitter cold winter days we're more than experiencing where in the north of the country.
Shopping in Mexico City was one of my favourite activities when I visited this city! I found so many incredible things; textiles, interior decor items, sugar skulls, vintage clothing and more! I loved bartering in the markets and scouring the antique stores for lost treasures. Souvenir shopping in Mexico City is so affordable that you’ll want to get something for everyone so I’ve complied a list of my ‘must-buy’ and places places to shop for your friends and family, and most of all - for yourself!