Niagara falls

Beauty

Niagara falls is as magical as expected. Whilst I was staying in Toronto for 10 days, I took the opportunity  to visit Niagara falls for a day trip.  A highlight of my visit to Canada. The views are breathtaking. Niagara falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that serve as the international border between Canada and the United States of America. These three water falls are named Horseshoe falls (The largest), American falls and Bridal viel falls (the smallest of the three).  These waterfalls are located on the Niagara river. Niagara falls formed, when the glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation about 10,000 years ago (the last ice age).  It is well worth the trip to visit this magnificent place.

 

Highlights and must sees

Canada side: 

  • Maid of mist: Breathtaking, close up views of the falls. This 20 minute tour departs every 15 minutes.
  • Niagara falls history museum.
  •  Skylon tower: Provides indoor and outdoor observation of the falls.
  • Niagara IMAX theatre: Showcasing true stories about Niagara.
  • Bird kingdom: The worlds largest free-flying indoor aviary.
  • Niagara parks butterfly conservatory.
  • Niagara skywheel.
  • Niagara parks botanical gardens.
  • Rainbow bridge: Stunning views of Niagara falls.
  • Floral clock.
  • Journey behind the falls. Close up view behind the horseshoe falls.

USA side:

  • Maid of mist tour.
  • Cave of the winds. Takes you close to the falls via the hurricane deck.
  • Niagara falls state park. Visit the discovery center. Take a hike along the trails through the Niagara gorge.
  • Old fort Niagara.
  • Aquarium of Niagara.

As I was based in Toronto, I took a day trip tour from the city to Niagara falls. The bus ride is about one and half hours. The first stop is Niagara falls. Here  we where given a few hours to explore the falls and town. From the Canadian side, you can see panoramic views of the three falls, which are amazingly beautiful. I was also able to get close to the horseshoe falls. After visiting Niagara falls, we traveled to the historic town of Niagara on the lake. A very pretty town to walk through, with its boutique shops, historic streets and victorian era charm. The final stop on the tour was visiting a vineyard with free wine samples. We had a tour walking through the beautiful vineyard. Here was my first time tasting ‘ice wine’ which was delicious! Ice wine is a dessert wine that is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the wine. I Would recommend a day trip (or longer) to Niagara falls!

 

greenwaterThe fallsGreenBeautyBoth fallswowBridgeStreet viewTown viewwineIce wine

Toronto Islands

Escape the city for a relaxing and care free experience at the Toronto Islands. Only a 15 minute ferry ride, the gem of the Islands is must do. The Toronto Islands consists of a small chain of small islands located on the stunning Lake Ontario, south of mainland Toronto. The largest Island is Centre Island. Algonquin (Sunfish Island) and Olympic Island are the other major Islands. The Islands attractions are open from May to October, with the summer months being the most popular. The ferry leaves approximately  every 15 minutes during the summer months and less frequently during winter.  A round trip (for adults) costs $7 and is a perfect day trip from mainland Toronto.

Where to stay:

Looking for somewhere to stay in Toronto? All The Rooms have various accommodation for all budgets and traveling parties from families to solo travelers! Visit this link to view the range of accommodation options: Toronto accommodation  

Highlights and must sees 

  • I would recommend biking around the Islands to get the most out of the day. You can either bring your own bike on the ferry, or rent a bike once you arrive on the Islands. You can go from each Island by bike (or by walking).
  • A visit to the 200 year old lighthouse is a must see! Gibraltar point lighthouse is the oldest landmark in Toronto!
  • The centerville amusement park.
  • Far enough farm. A petting zoo on Centre Island.
  • Franklins children’s garden. This park is inspired by the popular children’s book.
  • Have fun on the water, with opportunities to canoe, kayak and paddle board on the lake!
  • BBQ or picnic either on one of the beaches or the lawns.
  • Explore the beaches across the Islands. Hanlan’s point beach. Ward’s Island beach and the Centre Island beach.
  • Photograph the Toronto skyline from the ferry.

I spent one summers day exploring the Toronto Islands. It was a cloudy day with periods of light rain. I left mainland Toronto around 9am to make the most of my time on the Islands. I took the ferry to the Centre Island ferry dock and walked the Islands, departing from the Hanlan’s point ferry dock around 6pm.  Centre Island is the most crowded and buzzing of the Islands. After exploring Centre Island I started my journey towards Ward’s Island. I made my way back through Center Island towards Hanlan’s point beach, spending the afternoon here. Stopping to see the Gibraltar point lighthouse. The atmosphere of the Islands is very calm and relaxing, a must see if you are in Toronto for a few days.  A highlight for me was the views of mainland Toronto from the ferry. Also, a fun fact; the Islands are car free making the Islands very pedestrian, cyclist and eco friendly!!

 

LighthousePierBoatDistanceOceanRocksLake viewlakeView2ViewsCity view

 

 

Venice

amazing

Venetian lagoon

Dreamy vibes, magical views and spectacular architecture, Venice is a poetic location.

Venice is the capital city of the veneto region in Italy’s north. The city is built on more than 118 islands, in a lagoon located in the Adriatic sea. This enclosed bay lies between the mouths of the Po and Piave rivers.  These islands are separated by canal’s and are linked via bridges. Venice looks like a city out of a fairytale. It is no wonder that the lagoon and part of the city is listed as a world heritage site.

From the romantic canals, the renaissance,  gothic palaces and dreamy vibes Venice is a very unique and breathtaking place to visit.

beautybeauty

An island city

We had just spent a week exploring the charming Rome and found a cheap domestic flight to Venice. This was my second visit to this magical city (I came here once before, as a teenager on a school tour). The second time around was just as charming. We stayed at a hotel in the San Marco neighborhood. The central and the most popular district on the Venice island.

buildings

Highlights and must sees

  • Saint Mark’s Basilica: A beautiful church, with a mixture of eastern and western architecture. It sits on the very popular pizza San Marco.
  • Torre dell’ Orologio – The gorgeous clock tower that was built between 1496 and 1506! Which also sits on the popular piazza San Marco.
  • Doge’s palace: With stunning gothic architecture, this place was once the political and judicial hub of Venice.
  • Grand canal: This 2 mile long canal is considered to be the main ‘street’ of venice.
  • Rialto bridge: Described as the heart of Venice, this beautiful bridge was once the only way to cross the grand canal!
  • Campanile di San Marco: The tallest structure in venice. Note this is the reconstructed version, as the original collapsed in 1902.
  • Bridge of Sighs: An iconic bridge connecting the Prigioni to Doge’s palace.
  • Basilica di Santa Maria: Another beautiful church, with stunning architecture.
  • Murano Island: Take a trip to the Murano island to view an impressive glass-blowing demonstration!
  • Rialto Market: This one is for the foodies! A market rich in culture and food.

 

canal-viewcanal-views

Get lost

My favorite thing to do in any location that I visit is to get lost, by just wandering around and taking in all the sights. I find this the best way to absorb the place! And venice, is one of my favorites cities to get lost in, wandering the beautiful streets and viewing the canals is so beautiful. For a couple of days on our trip, the city was covered in dense fog, this added an extra charm to the city!

canaldusklightslion

Two day trip from Venice

While we were in Venice, we took the opportunity to explore a small village located in a mountain region located 70 km northwest of Venice. You can read about our adventures to Seren del Grappa  here.

night-marketsold-photo

Wanderlust

With it’s charming atmosphere, gothic architecture and dreamy canals Venice is one of the most beautiful cities that I have explored. It is definitely wanderlust material.

peopleshoppingsquaresunsetvenicewaterwater-frontwinterx

Oktoberfest

welcome

Volksfeast

This sixteen day festival is the world’s largest Volksfeast – a beer festival and traveling fun fair. The festival is located in the city of  Munich, in the state of Bavaria, Germany.

History of oktoberfest

The origins of this festival goes back to 1810! When the then, Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony- Hildurghausen. The people of Munich were invited to celebrate the festivities in the fields in front the city gates. The festival occurred the next year and has continued on ever since! This year will mark the 185th year of the festival, very impressive. Today, oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, bringing in an average of six million visitors each year, from all over the world.

beerfestivalcrowd

Celebrating Oktoberfest

I had always wanted to visit the famous oktoberfest, and we were able to go..by accident! We had found cheap flights to Munich and just brought them without realizing that the festival would be occurring at this time! Our cheap tickets to Munich allowed us to enjoy the vibrant and spectacular festival. We were based in the city center of Munich and attended the festival on most of the days of our trip, in amongst exploring the sights and beauty of Munich.

after-partycafeice-cream-maninsidenight-viewpartycrowds

Copenhagen

street-view

Kobenhavn

Charming waterfront, colorful buildings, stunning decor and a cosmopolitian atmosphere, Copenhagen (Kobenhavn in Danish) is a great introduction to Denmark and an insight into Scandinavia.

Copenhagen is located on the eastern coast of the island Zealand, and a smaller section of the city is located on Amager. Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark, and also the cultural and geographic link between Scandinavia and mainland Europe. The city was founded in the 10th century and was once a small viking fishing village. Now the city represents a strong  urban and cultural modern city. Copenhagen has the buzz of a city and is still small enough to give you an intimate atmosphere. You can easily explore the city by foot or bicycle.

sunsetmarkets

A weekend in Denmark

As were based in the UK we were always on the lookout for cheap deals to travel more of Europe. We found a cheap flight (around $15 usd) to Copenhagen. So we jumped at the chance to visit the capital of Denmark.

The flight was only two hours from London. We arrived around 6pm and checked into our hostel. Generator hostel is located in the city center, just steps away from the Kongen’s Nytrov square. This hostel was so comfortable and the decor was gorgeous, the on site bar made is easier to meet other travelers. This was a standout backpackers hostel from all of my travels. We had two full days and a half day to explore this beautiful city.

 

parkgreen-water

Highlights and must sees

  • Nyhavn: A beautiful neighborhood to walk around. Colorful buildings line the canal of this 17th century waterfront. A great place for a meal and drinks, with many options for bars, cafes and restaurants.
  • Frederiksberg Palace: A pretty palace that is located on Frederiksberg hill and overlooks the stunning Frederiksberg garden.
  • The Little Mermaid: A statue of the little mermaid is located on the Langelinje pier. The statue is over 100 years old!
  • Kronborg castle: A beautiful 16th century castle.
  • Amalienborg palace: The home of the Danish royal family.
  • Stroget: One of Europes longest pedestrian streets and the largest shopping district in Copenhagen.
  • The national museum: A look into Danish history, from the stone age, viking age, middle age to modern day Denmark.
  • Glyptoteket: A beautiful art museum.
  • Botanical garden: Walk around the gorgeous gardens located in the city center.

CopenhagenCopenhagen water frontDenmarkMe in copenhagen

From seeing the major sights of the city, wandering the streets and experiencing the Danish nightlife, our time in Copenhagen was well spent and very enjoyable. I would love to visit Denmark again to explore more of the country.

Our next stop is Malmo, Sweden, only a 40 minute train ride away!

 

 

sunsettivoli

Brunei

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei is a tiny country located on the northern shore of the Island of Borneo. This small nation is surrounded by Malaysia’s Sarawak state and the south China sea. Brunei is one of the smallest nations on earth! It is also one of the richest, due to the countries natural gas and petroleum resources.

water

24 hours in Bandar Seri Begawan

We had two months off from University. We made a rough plan to visit Bangkok and then to travel from the North to the South of Vietnam, first arriving in Hanoi. There were four of us going on this backpacking adventure in South East Asia. Next step, we needed flights. Trying to find a good deal with stumbled upon Royal Brunei airways – who were offering a great deal from Melbourne to Bangkok! Perfect. This flight deal came with the option of a stop over in Brunei….I had never heard of this country until this moment. We quickly looked it up and saw that we could also visit other parts of the magical island of Borneo, so we decided to book with this airline, and add Borneo to our travel plans.

We departed Melbourne and flew about six hours to arrive in Brunei. Flying with Royal Brunei airlines was a great experience overall. When we fist arrived, we took a connecting flight to Kota Kinabalu located in the Malaysian part of Borneo. We spent four days in Kota Kinabalu, before heading to Bandar Seri Begawan. We had 24 hours to explore the capital of Brunei before flying to Bangkok.

pier

We spent the day wandering around the capital of Brunei. We found the Royal Regalia Museum and looked around the museum for a good portion of the morning. A nice relief from the heat. The museum is a tribute to the Sultan, it was an interesting museum to explore.

The afternoon was spent exploring the markets and the pretty water front. The Tamu Kianggeh market was a highlight, so vibrant and filled with energy.  Strolling the promenade was nice,  I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Late afternoon, we were all quite hot and bothered…due to carrying our luggage around all day, and from being hangover. So we tried to find accommodation for the night. Being so late in the afternoon and having no internet access. This didn’t work out so well. In the end we decided to have dinner and then visit the impressive Sultan Abdul Samad building. This is a must see and looks so spectacular during the night with the city lights. After this we heading to the airport and spent the night there before flying to Bangkok early the next morning.

water-frontwater-viewparkmarketroyal