Coyoacán is one of the most colourful and yet quiet neighbourhoods in Mexico City. Coyoacán is the place I come to escape the crowds and relax in some of the most beautiful parks and meander down the most vibrant streets. Coyoacán was the home of Frida Kahlo throughout her entire life. It's no surprise why she chose to stick around this bohemian community rather than move into the bustling city centre. Every park, house and street corner is busting with energy and natural artistry.
Frida Kahlo is Mexico City. Not only did she live there, grow up there and die there, but she also embodied everything I have come to love from this vibrant city. One of the greatest ways of exploring a city, especially if it's your second visit, is to explore it through the eyes of someone you admire. It's like being able to step back in time or imagine yourself as that very person you might be so curious to learn about. Even the smallest detail (or street corner) sometimes can reveal so much.
Coyoacán was once a sleepy neighbourhood outside the centre of the city where no tourists would ever think of entering. But since the Frida Kahlo craze and her rise to fame, this neighbourhood which was once her home, has since become and a must-see destination for anyone visiting Mexico City. Many people visit Coyoacán on a bus tour simply to see the Casa Azul and leave shortly after. I implore you to block off an entire day to wander these streets! Take some time to discover the hidden secrets of the oldest neighbourhood in Mexico City.
If you're anything like me, your house is one of the best little peaks into your personality. In each and every corner of my house, I have curated little galleries dedicated to the things which inspired me, which tell stories of my past and keyholes in my future. A home is the most private place in a person's world, a place where they can feel whole and safe. For Frida Kahlo, this could not be truer. Her home, La Casa Azul or "the blue house", was the place where she was born, grew up, learned to be an artist, lived with her husband, got divorced and remarried, and where she eventually died. It was her sanctuary but also her cage since for most of her life she was bedridden from injury and sickness. She spent more years of her life inside these cerulean walls than perhaps anywhere else in the world and as such, it is one of the most intimate looks into her life you can experience.
Sintra is one of those destinations which seems too magical to believe it’s real. It’s a charming town, full of fairytale castles, historic battlements and a rich tapestry of cutesy stores and gourmet cafes.
The Gion district is one of Kyoto’s oldest neighbourhoods. The streets seem to surge with history but what makes this area so unique is because it is one of the last remaining places where you can see real Geishas in Japan. Up and down these streets you can keep your eyes open and see if you can catch a glimpse of a Geisha on her way to a tea houses where exclusive guests enjoy an evening of traditional Japanese entertainment.
La Sagrada Familia is THE MOST important sight to see when visiting Barcelona. Its history, design and the feeling you get upon stepping inside in unparalleled. The church feels like a summation of what Barcelona is all about and understanding it before visiting or while you tour it is so essential to better enjoying this fantastic monument.
Hakone is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Tokyo. It’s only a short 2-hour train ride away and transports you from the out of the metal metropolis of the city, into the lush green landscape of the Japanese countryside. Hakone is famous for their hot spring onsens, stunning view of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashinoko and unparalleled natural scenery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Xochimilco is the Venice of Mexico. It’s an enormous network of canals which spread across this southern district of Mexico City. There are over 170 km of canals which spread out in all different directions. Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico City, the indigenous people of Mexico had created an incredible network of canals which they used as both a means of transport and as a way to ensure there was a constant supply of water throughout the country. Xochimilco means “Floating Gardens" and stands today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it preserves ancient Aztecs technology.
We just returned from our trip to Mexico City and let me just say upfront, this was one of my favourite places I've ever visited. The city wove a spell around me, unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Mexico City is on the top of almost all the 'Best Places to Visit in 2019' lists and we wanted to get out there to see it for ourselves! There was SO much I learned after spending a week in Mexico's capital and I wanted to share with you the most helpful tips I learned so you can plan your trip to visit this incredible place ASAP!
The Keukenhof is known as the "Garden of Europe", and if you've ever had the chance to walk through their green fields, you will truly understand why. For two months every year, from March to mid-May, millions of rainbow coloured flowers (4.5 million to be exact) bloom over the 32 hectares of gardens inside the Keukenhof. They create what can only be described as a blanket of fantastical aromas and ethereal colours which cover the Dutch countryside.
Inside the bamboo forest, you'll come across Tenryuji temple. The temple grounds are known as being one of the most beautiful in Japan and their famous garden, and its zen-like atmosphere was just the thing we were looking for as an to escape from the throngs of people who were started to filter into the bamboo grove.
One of the most iconic images of Japan has to be the bright, vermillion coloured torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. Many people come to Fushimi Inari Taisha not knowing the scope of it. They see the images online and think it's just a few small alleyways - this is far from the whole picture. The main shrine sits at the base of the Inari mountains, but a path of thousands of torii gates behind the building leads visitors up 233 meters above sea level to visit 4 kilometres of sub-shrines finally ending at the magnificent mountain top shrine.
Many people underestimate how much there is to do while visiting Arashiyama. We were lucky enough to book off an entire day here to explore, but I think if we could have done it all over again, we would have booked a hotel to extend our time there ever more. One of the attractions that often gets overlooked is the Iwatayama Monkey Park. Many people are dissuaded when they see it's a 30-minute + hike, uphill, to where you'll see the monkeys. They either can't spare the time or can't spare the energy. But let me tell you right now - it's worth it...well worth it.
If you’re looking for the busiest, liveliest, brightest, craziest area to stay while visiting Tokyo, there is no other option for you other than Shinjuku. Shinjuku is home to the world’s biggest railways station, where more than two million passengers flow through their hallways each day. Just a taste of the immensity of this mini-city.
When I first visited Washington D.C. I thought it would be nothing more than plain white political powerhouses and generic American architecture. Boy was I wrong! I was shocked to see what a beautiful city this was. The central sightseeing portion of this city is extremely walkable so its easy to just wander around from place to place taking snapshots of the bright, bold and brilliant art and architecture which makes Washington such an incredible place to visit.
I might just be a snowbird to this city in the sun but it is my beloved surrogate city. It has been my home away from home, my shelter from emotional storms, my warm blanket from the bitter Canadian winters and overall just the coolest place in the USA, in mu humble opinion. Maybe I'm biased towards this place but Phoenix is so often overlooked for those exploring travel to the US and I wanted to make this list to show off all the amazing things that this city has to offer for locals and visitors alike!
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is one of, if not the best, party held in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. While Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is warm and cosy, the Halloween Party is dark, mysterious and down right villainous! Plus you're encouraged to dress up and wear costumes which makes it all the more enjoyable. The Halloween Party can be an overwhelming experience for first-timers. There's so much to see and do, even if you arrive as early as possible, it's still tough to do it all. But with this guide, you'll be able to create a reasonable itinerary which allows you to earmark what's most important to you and how to use your time wisely.
The Grand Canal or Canalazzo is the heart of Venice. Ever since the founding days of the Venetian empire, this canal served as the major thoroughfare for the Venetian people. The most important historical palaces and famous Venetian buildings wrap around the edges of the canal. Once upon a time, the Grand Canal was the like the Rodeo Drive for Venetian aristocrats. The who's who of Europe could be seen relaxing in gondolas, wearing the newest and most extravagant fashions, cruising up and down the river.