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Top 10 Best Things to See and Do in Paris

Top 10 Best Things to See and Do in Paris

Just in case you are ‘all excited’ about learning THE 10 best things in Paris, I have to warn you that there really isn’t an agreed up ‘top 10’ of best things to visit in Paris.

What constitutes ‘best’ depends on who you are and what excites you. However, most of the ‘Top 10’ destinations within Paris that I’m highlighting here should be included in the itinerary of any visit to Paris, as they are of international fame and universal interest.


Paris has always been a place for kings, royal prestige, art and romance. So, in this context then, let me offer …


Top 10 Best Things To See & Do In Paris, France

1.  Eiffel Tower  (La Tour Eiffel)


Photo by Thalamus

The Eiffel tower is the icon that stands for ‘Paris, France’.

Possibly the most visited paid monument around the world.  It’s one of those great –all-around places: wonderful to picnic under and great to take photos from the top, and delightful to walk.

This building, which is the tallest in Paris, was constructed in 1889 for the World Fair.  Currently also used as radio broadcasting tower.



On to the 2nd Best Thing To See & Do in Paris ….

Top 10 Attractions In London

Top 10 Attractions In London

Oh, London — That centre of everybody’s travel dreams. London is has a huge variety of attractions, historical, contemporary, fashion, literature, music, theatre, business, and last but not least, tourist attractions. Choosing the Top 10 Attractions In London is bound to leave out a few excellent alternatives, but at least you’ll know that you can’t go wrong with the 10 I picked for you now.

Starting with tourist attractions, most surprisingly for London being a world city and one of the best tourist destinations for all budgets, luxury … down to budget tourist accommodation available,…. many of the London’s best tourist attractions are FREE for visitors.


London’s Top 10
tourist attractions

British Museum 

This museum hosts just the best range of objects that will fascinate and tickle the imagination of young and old. You can find arti-facts from around the world from prehistoric to modern times.   Does that mean there are dinosaurs there on display??? Take a look and find out… It’s free.tate-modern-museum-london

Tate Museum

One of the world’s most important museums. It is Britain’s national museum of modern art and hold very important expositions of world famous contemporary artists.  It is located in an iconic former power station. Unique. Worthy of a visit. And best of all, your visit to the permanent collection will be free. 

National Gallery

The London National Gallery holds one of the world’s greatest collection of European paintings from 1250 to 1900.

Natural History Museum 

Ah,… you guessed it right!  THIS is the museum where you can find the infamous dinosaurs in London.  The museum houses the collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world.  And yes, it is FREE!

EDF Energy, The London Eye

This is still the world’s highest observatory wheel with spectacular views over London. Yes, there’s an entry fee, but it’s worth it for most of us!

Science Museum

Another free museum with over 40 galleries and 2000 hands-on objects.  Must go with the kids. So fun!

Victoria & Albert Museum

This museum could be called a celebration of art and design, with collections of ceramics, furniture, fashion, sculpture and a lot more.  This museum also has free entry.

Madame Tussauds

Paid, but world famous. Madame Tussauds London houses famous faces from the worlds of showbiz, sport, politics and royalty.  A fun visit for a rainy day.

National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory

The last of the free tourist attractions I have here for you is this museum which lets you discover seafaring and stargazing. It’s in Greenwich.

Tower of London

Tower Of London

This tower represents more than 900 years of history and includes the Crown Jewels! It’s on the list of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites.


(Note: this selection of London’s top tourist sites is based on actual visitors in 2010, as recorded by the UK TFL government)

Barcelona Spain: a perfect place to visit in Spring with family

Outside of summer — when it’s the most typical time of the year to traveling in Spain — Spring is a simply wonderful time to go visit. Compared to the countries in Northern Europe, summer temperatures in Spain are fabulous, giving rise to delightful aromatic orange blossom smells, and the opportunity of trying a first “Tinto de Verano” on its many idyllic terraces. Or, to take your favourite young niece for a vacation.

This is what she has to say about Barcelona:

I just visited Barcelona, Spain with my aunt, and I can vouch: it’s a great place to visit for a vacation and offers entertainment for everyone at any age.

So, what did I like about it? First, there are the people. The locals are very nice. Besides Spanish, they speak English. Or Italian. Or both. This makes your visit way more enjoyable; you don’t have to try and understand what they are saying in Spanish. Locals are very nice as well, as in: if you ask them for directions, some of them will take you there directly.

Barcelona has live music everywhere. All sorts of music is performed on the street, from opera singing to beat-boxing. The musicians put lots of passion and love into their music. Having music everywhere – this adds so much to your trip; feels like a public party everywhere.

Gorgeous Sites in Barcelona Spain


Then there are the tourist sites. Barcelona also has splendid landmarks to visit. Start with the world-famous Sagrata Família, the Gaudi houses, Park Güell, La Rambla, the Picasso museum, and then make some time for the many other famous churches.

Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona Spain

Casa Batlló

I went to one of the most beautiful Gaudi houses, Casa Batlló. It is awesome. The architecture and interior design of Casa Batlló is based on the underwater world. The splendid mosaics from Gaudi are amazing. The tiles are all handmade and beautifully arranged. The mosaic on the outside of the house is to represent a sea-worthy dragon or scales of a fish. Visiting the house isn’t exactly free, but it is totally worth it. The visiting ticket comes with an audio guide for every room that explains everything and is interactive. I totally recommend that you go there.



Other Gaudi Houses in Barcelona Spain

If you don’t have time for a visit to Casa Batlló, at least have a look at the so-uniquely facades of some of the other Gaudi houses.


The food in Barcelona is amazing. They have delicious tapas – My favorites are the croquettes which are small, deep fried balls of potatoes with meat and cheese. Second on my list of favorites are patates bravas. These are roasted potatoes that are served with a special chilli mayonnaise. Another great tapas is the simple bread and tomatoes, which is self explanatory but is surprisingly good for an appetiser. And then there are the chicken bits, guacemole dips, etc, etc. What’s nice for parents, is that even with an array of different tapas on the table, dinners still turn out to be inexpensive.


Other than the amazing food in Barcelona, their drinks are wonderful. Personally, I love the fresh lemonade that you can get everywhere – yummm. And, the wines are to die for (, so mom says). The best ones are Priorat and Penedes, both Catalan specials. Locals always know what wines are best – so ask them. We did and discover these two that are from the region around Barcelona.

Sant Sebastiàn Beach in Barcelona Spain

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona Beach

The weather in Barcelona is usually very hot during the summer. But if you go in April like we did, the temperature is just perfect. The sun is warm and the slight breeze makes the experience so much better. On the last day, it was even warm enough for us to go to the beach. It was such a treat to put our feet in the sea after all the walking from the week.

Overall, Barcelona is a wonderful place, and I recommend everyone to stay there for a vacation. It is great for young and old, at any time, and isn’t too expensive.

Malta in Winter – Best Things to Do

Malta in Winter – Best Things to Do

It’s obvious. 10 months of the year, Malta is scuba divers and swimmers’ haven. Then, the temperature really drops in January and February, and we’re all ashore. Now what?!! While there is plenty of boozing up to do in places like Valletta, in truth, there are a few way-more cultural things to do as well. In fact, some are simply out of this world. Like to be entertained and ensure that the kids won’t go crazy but learn something new that they can’t get in school?

Here’s our top 5 Best Things to do in Malta in Winter (that are great things to do, year-round).

1) Visit the Elephants!

Did you know that in prehistoric times Malta did have dwarf elephants walking around? Yep, they did. The prehistoric ‘Ghar Dalam Cave’ in the South of Malta holds an interesting museum with remains of a dwarf elephant from 500,000 years ago. Think: Ice Age!

Prehistoric Malta - Mammuthus falconeri dwarf elephant
Prehistoric Malta – Mammuthus Falconeri aka dwarf elephant

2) Visit the oldest calendar in the world.

No comparison to what your grandma has hanging in the kitchen, this calendar has monolithic proportions and consists of gigantic stones. Think of sizes like 1 x 1x 3 m.

I am not going to show you how the calendar works — suspense — but you can find it in the beautiful megalithic temple, Mnajdra, next to the Ħaġar Qim temple.

3) Visit Ħaġar Qim, next to the calendar temple, dedicated to Mother Earth.

Ħaġar Qim is a megalithic temple complex in Il-Qrendi. It stems from the Ġgantija phase. That is 3600 – 3200 BC. Now, that’s old. It is among the most ancient religious sites on Earth.

4) Visit Valletta’s Dockyard.

Surrounded by water and sited on the most strategic location in all of Europe when it comes to international water ways, Valletta once upon a time was all about ships.

Malta Harbor

The Knights of Malta created the dockyard in the Grand Harbour for their fleet of galleys in Medieval times. Up from Valletta’s high points along its walls, and on ferries between Vittoriosa /Senglea and Valleta you can have magnificent views of the dockyards.

Medieval history is followed by a wealth of British and other navy battles and boats. Even if you have no interest in the history of boats, still go for a walk along the city walls or the water’s edge as the harbour and dockyard in the evening offers very pretty views.

5) ‘Wine and Dine’ by waters’s edge.

Or wine and lunch, for that matter. This has been a most enjoyable past time in places as far ranging as ‘Otters’ overlooking the sea at Marsarlforn Bay in Gozo to ‘Enchante’ in Senglea (overlooking the harbour of Vittoriosa on Malta). Both incredibly good value places. Excellent food and service with reasonable prices.

Those are my top 5 things to do in Malta in Winter. Hope you and your family enjoy them too.

5 Top Tips to Travel well in Italy

Enjoying la dolce vita in Italy is easy for the Italians. They know just how their system works, what to do, where to go and how to go about things.


1.  Behave like a good guest.

Even if you speak a few words of Italian, rest assured, everyone will instantly know that you are not Italian.  To travel well in Italy, you don’t need to desperately try to look and be Italian, it just means you should be yourself, as a good guest. Being a good guest means playing things by the Italian rules.  One of these would be to not touch things in stores like you normally would in North America.  It’s not done.


2.  Adapt to local circumstances.

Expect to experience Italy in Italy and not North America in an Italian setting.  There is no two ways about it: the Italians do things in their own peculiar ways.  E.g. You have to go to this counter to pay and to that counter to pick up your meat or bakery goods. One handles the money, the other the food.

Just when you think they are extremely good with hygiene, don’t be surprised if you find no toilet paper, soap, nor a toilet seat in many public places, cafes and restaurants.  Don’t bother complaining about it. Just bring your own gear along.

These two examples might be easy to fit in with. Much harder on the American mind is the fact that shops and restaurants have their own set hours. Shops open in the morning and close at 1 pm for lunch. Restaurants start lunch at 1 pm till 3 pm, and are close till 8 pm when they open again for dinner. Set an alarm clock to wake up early so you can get things done and bring a few snacks along to help you manage this rather rigid restaurant schedule.

Overall, enjoy rather than get annoyed when things are arranged differently than they are at home. After all, this is why you are in Italy. To experience something new.  Relax, and enjoy some more gelato as you find something else to do because whatever you planned is closed, and none knows when they will open again because someone is on strike.


3.  Be polite.

Italians are generally courteous and polite and certain manners will open doors for you.  Italians say ‘buon giorno’ when they walk into the shop, and not only the shop keeper but also the other clients greet them back. Just participate in this by saying ‘buon giorno’ when you walk into a store.  Observe local politeness and follow suit.


bracciano_viterbo_italy4. Practice walking before your trip and bring sensible shoes. 

I always advice guests to take their smaller children for long walks for a few weeks prior to coming for a visit to Italy.  Italy means walking.  And bring and wear comfortable, flat shoes while here. 

Between uneven cobble stones outside(see photo) and slippery marble floors inside, Italian flooring is a challenge.

While you will see young Italian fashionistas wearing super high heels,  realize that they usually are not walking very far, i.e. just from their little scooter to the coffee shop.   They are certainly not going on a 5 mile sight-seeing tour through Rome like you may be.  So, be like an Italian grandmother instead: wear flat, comfortable shoes and you’ll be so happy that you did.


5.  Relax.

Italia is best experienced rather than raced through. Yes, it’s true: Italia is one big giant outdoor museum and there is just soo much to be seen.  However, to get the best out of your Italian trip, you have to actually slow down, have fewer plans and go with the flow. In practical terms that mean that you should spend at least 3-4 days in each location and do a lot fewer sights than are on offer. Just pick a top 3 and add if you have time.  Remember that the best thing about visiting Italy is simply being there.

Enjoy Lago di Bracciano’s Calm Presence

To best enjoy Bracciano lake (Lago di Bracciano, in Italian), visit the lakeside town of Trevignano Romano, just 1 hour North of Rome, Italy.

I love my walks along the recently upgraded and beautifully refined waterside at Trevignano, where gigantic pine trees filter the sun above your head as you stroll along. Under the trees are park-like patches with flower beds and benches, alongside the path of beautiful pavers keeping you right along the water’s edge.

The views of Lago di Bracciano are expansive and unobstructed. It is a calm lake where, more often than not, the other side disappears, being shrouded in a mist just above the water surface. Making you more aware of the swans which swim together right in front of you.

It is that sense of calm and softness of color which transport me back to the Boardwalk in West Vancouver, Canada, where I went in prior years. There, the view of the water is of an ocean instead of a lake the size of a volcanic crater. But it does not matter, as both waters are equally misty and shine with the same amazing color scheme of blues and harmonious calm hues. They ooze tranquility.

Bracciano Lake

And there, where the serenity and the beauty of the lake captures you, often, rainbows or cloud-rays remind you of the omnipresence of the Divine.

What a miracle place we live in.