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A Guide to Parisian Wine and Food Bars

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in Travel Lifestyle | 0 comments

The City of Love is well-known for its world-class wine and spectacular food. Ordering a Parisian meal without a glass of wine is almost sacrilegious, and the experience is no different in these wine bars that we have chosen below. Wine bars, in general, are popular in Paris, but there is a new trend of upcoming chefs pairing their food with excellent French wine. Check out our top choices for these new wine bars around Paris, France.

 

Frenchie Bar à Vins

 

This French bistro added a wine bar for those looking to sample the chef’s cooking without having to order entire plates. Small plates of creatively crafted food are expertly paired with some of the best wines. The on-site sommelier is known to have one of the most interesting lists of wine in Paris these days.

 

Conveniently located a short walk away from the Seine River, the area is a great place to find some of the best hotels in Paris close to many of the city’s famous attractions. You won’t need to travel far to have the best Parisian experience possible.

 

Juveniles

 

Travelers seeking a more relaxed and friendly wine and food bar should head to Juveniles. Typically filled with expats from across the globe, this bar offers wines and cuisines from around the world too. Owned by a Scotsman, you’ll always see haggis on the menu plus other traditional UK fares. Make sure you ask the server what wine will go best with whatever delightful dish you have chosen.

 

Verjus Wine Bar

 

Even Americans are getting in on this wine and food bar trend. Open only in the evenings, this wine bar offers traditional American food with a European twist.

 

Travelers who have a sweet tooth can pair one of the many sweet dishes with their delicious dessert wines. After consuming such wonderfully decadent food, you can head across the street to the Palais-Royal and walk around to work off some calories.

 

Les Fines Gueules

 

If you fancy a meal and a drink in a more traditional setting, head over to Les Fines Gueules. Set in a classic 18th-century stone house, the chef here sources food from the best local producers in and around the city. Once you take a sip of the tasty wine, you’ll feel like you are in the French countryside, not in the middle of a large capital city. Don’t worry: You still have all the modern conveniences you could wish for here.

 

Right in the heart of downtown, this spot is an excellent place to catch many of the festivals and events that are held in Paris each year.

 

Willi’s Wine Bar

 

Even after being in business for more than 30 years, this Englishman-owned establishment is still producing some of the best wine and food pairings in the city. The seasonally changing dishes showcase the chef’s preference for the freshest food available. This internationally known wine bar should not be missed during your trip to Paris.

 

Have you been to Paris and had a favorite wine spot? Are there any that you feel should be added to this list? If so, please let us know in the comments.

 

Orlando Theme Parks You Shouldn’t Miss

Posted by on Apr 3, 2015 in Site Seeing | 0 comments

If you are visiting the city known as the Capital of Theme Parks, you should probably make it a priority to visit a few of them. With over a dozen amusement parks alone, it can be daunting to pick which ones to explore. We have done the research and picked the best parks for you to visit. Take a look at our list below of the Orlando theme parks you shouldn’t miss.

Wet ‘n Wild

If you are visiting Orlando during the hot season, which is most of the year in the Sunshine State, cooling off is definitely a priority. Family’s, couples, and solo travelers will all find entertainment while swimming around this gigantic water park. From lazy rivers to adrenaline pumping high-speed tunnels to free fall slides, your desired energy level will be matched at the Wet ‘n Wild water park.

Seaworld Orlando

If exploring marine life and pretending to swim like one are on your agenda, look no farther than Seaworld Orlando. This multi-park complex has entertainment for days, if you have the time to explore it all. Marine animals of all sizes, from tiny sea turtles to gigantic killer whales, have been rescued and now call this park home. You will be surprised at all the attractions housed here, including the Cirque du Soleil-esque shows at The Nautilus Theatre. Just remember, you are in tropical Orlando, not arid Las Vegas.

The park is in a central part of the city, surrounded by many of the best hotels in Orlando. This is a great place to start your search for a place to rest your head while visiting Orlando.

Magic Kingdom

What trip to Orlando wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Magic Kingdom, the original Walt Disney World theme park. The worlds most popular theme park, Magic Kingdom is truly a living fairy tale for all who get to see the iconic Cinderella Castle. Children will meet their heroes from their favorite stories and movies. Parents might even transported back to their childhoods when they finally get to meet their favorite cartoon character in person.

Islands of Adventure

If adrenaline is your game, head over to this action packed theme park which is full of adventures for all ages. Marvel Super Hero Island will feed you need for speed with the Incredible Hulk high-speed roller coaster while dinosaur lovers can walk through scene recreations from Jurassic Park. Even a wizard want-to-be will find adventure when they head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It doesn’t matter what island you explore, you’ll be begging to stay past your bedtime.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

While not a theme park, per se, this thoroughly entertaining facility should not be missed. Featuring exhibits, historical spacecraft’s and memorabilia, you’ll be in awe of the sheer scientific and mechanical mind power needed to successfully achieve the feats you see as you walk around. If your children want to be like the hero’s they saw in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame here, please don’t blame us.

What to do in Orlando Besides the Theme Parks

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Site Seeing | 0 comments

Being the theme park capital of the world, it can be hard to imagine a visit to Orlando that doesn’t revolve around its multitude of parks. However, there is so much more to experience in this sunny city and we have a list of the top experiences you shouldn’t miss. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling solo, as a couple, with a group, on or your own: there are many fun activities for any type of traveler. Check out our list below of the top five activities to do in Orlando besides visiting the theme parks.

Kayaking Eco-Tour

Since Orlando is so close to the water, there are many choices for aquatic activities. Our number-one choice would be a more authentic trip through the Shingles Creek. Make sure you bring your waterproof camera with you as you might see alligators, bald eagles and more.

Alternatively, if you’re not looking to work up a sweat powering your own boat, Boggy Creek has air-boat rides that will zoom you past the same types of animals and plant life. Hold on to your hat though!

Catch a Game

Orlando is home to a few different professional and semi-professional sporting teams. With the nice weather this Sunshine State city gets almost all year round, a sporting event is a great way to interact with the locals and have fun at the same time. If you catch a game at Amway Center, home of the NBA Orlando Magic, you’ll be right in downtown where all the best hotels in Orlando are.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Calling all future astronauts and space explorers! If you want to see where history has been made head to the Kennedy Space Center. The Shuttle Launch Experience is a great learning experience for kids who want to know what it feels like to be in a shuttle leaving Earth’s orbit. Space science fans can walk among recreations of many modules of the International Space Station. Don’t be surprised if you are left guessing what planet you’re on after experiencing all the Kennedy Space Center has to offer.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

If relaxing surrounded by beautiful gardens is what you’re looking for during your Orlando vacation, head on over to the Harry P. Leu Gardens. This tropical botanical garden is overlooked by many tourists to Orlando which means less crowds for your viewing pleasure. Historians will find the Leu House Museum, built-in the 19th century, filled with preserved furnishings of well to do Florida families. Don’t blame us if you don’t want to go home after visiting this garden oasis. If you have time, sign up for one of the many horticulture, landscaping, or fine arts classes.

K1 Speed Orlando

This high speed kart racing experience is a must for adrenaline junkies of all ages. With speeds up to 50 miles per hour, it is the closest experience to race car driving most adults can have. Don’t blame us if you, or your kids, want to change their career aspirations after an experience at K1 Speed Orlando.

Title: Calgary Adventures: What to Do

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Travel Lifestyle | 0 comments

Planning what to do in any new city is hard but when you’re talking about Calgary, it can be overwhelming. The Gateway to the Rockies is filled with many adventures for every type of traveler. From world-class ski resorts to boutique shopping centers, you could spend weeks in Calgary and not see it all. We have compiled a list of the best activities in and around the city, no matter what the weather is like.

Heritage Park Historical Village

You will truly step back in time when you walk through this historical village. Actors will guide you through various scenes that are set in the early settlement day of Canada. Children, and brave adults, can make artwork in the Gasoline Alley Museum. Travelers wanting to take a piece of history home can head to the mercantile and pick up some homemade food and other trinkets. Only 10-15 minutes from the hotels in downtown Calgary, this is an ideal adventure for any traveler looking to learn about history or just have a bit of fun.

Calgary’s Pathways

For travelers that want to get a holistic view of the city, you should venture out to explore the multitude of Calgary’s pathways. With over 125 km of pathways, you could walk for hours and still not see them all. The truly active can rent bicycles and speed through the Bow River part of the path. This section features almost 50 km of beautiful bridges and views of the cities, while winding by the scenic river.

For those travelers wanting to explore the city’s parks, a variety of choices are at your disposal. Family friendly parks are available within walking distance of downtown. With all the amenities in Calgary, don’t be surprised if you are tempted to call this place home.

Calaway Park

Who said theme parks were just for kids? Obviously no one that has visited Calaway Park! Western Canada’s largest theme park is fun for all ages, whether you’re on a family trip, a girl’s weekend, or a solo vacation. Relive your teenage years and ride roller coasters and speed demon rides until you puke. Even adult couples can experience a good time, walking around and sampling food from the variety of food stands.

Banff National Park

Head up to Banff National Park for a variety of adventures. Wildlife lovers will see an abundance of creatures. Skiing buffs can head here during the winter to partake in some of the best snow in country. Hiking enthusiasts will be able to dominate a few peaks during the summer months in the Banff area. If you are looking for physical activity, Banff is the place the smart travelers head.

Restaurant Zone

Foodie travelers will have no problem finding a variety of restaurants to choose from in the downtown district in Calgary. The restaurant zone of downtown has enough options to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Travelers looking to spend the night dancing and consuming a few cocktails won’t be disappointed either. Calgary’s nightlife is well established and will entertain all types of visitors.

This article is part of the #hipmunklove project. I would never recommend a site I didn’t use myself. I recently booked a trip to India and after looking at several providers, they were actually the cheapest.

Bangkok: Outside the Party Zone

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 in Travel Lifestyle | 0 comments

Bangkok is a city filled with culture, crazy drivers, fun people and partying. While the cheap drinks and all night galavanting may be tempting, there are many adventures that you can go on and still retain your memory of the trip. In a city that is over 600 square miles, there is something for everyone.

The Golden Buddha

Located inside Wat Traimit, The Golden Buddha is the largest golden Buddha statue in the world. Over 700 years old, The Golden Buddha was ‘rediscovered’ in the 1950’s after being covered in plaster for over 200 years. Visitors stand in awe when looking at this monument, especially when reminded that it is 250 million dollars’ worth of gold.

You can visit the Golden Buddha for an entry fee of 40 Bhat ($1.25). If you have extra time, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is in the same complex and tickets are 100 Bhat ($3).

Take a Tuk Tuk Tour

Tuk Tuk’s are a main form of transportation for visitors to Bangkok. One of these three-wheeled rickshaws, notoriously heavy traffic and a healthy appreciation for adrenaline equal a recipe for a great time if anyone is looking to get a motorized tour of the gigantic city. Flagging down a tuk-tuk is an art, in and of itself! Khaosan Road is a good place to find drivers that speak moderate English and know of many good sites to explore.

A word to the wise traveler, make sure you negotiate the price of the ride before you get into the tuk tuk. A general rule is to cut in half the drivers’ first offer and work up from there.

This article is written as part of the #hipmunklove project. All opinions are my own, and I would never recommend anything I didn’t believe in or use myself.

Try REAL Thai Food

Bangkok holds many culinary delights ranging from the traditional noodle dishes, meat kebab, and exotic fruits to the non-traditional Angry Bird fish balls, various roasted bugs and even grilled scorpion. The best way to sample the local fare is to walk down main roads and try different street food that you come across.

If you’re looking for an authentic meal with a great view, try taking one of the river dinner cruises that lazily floats along the Chao Phraya River.

Shopping. For Days!

Whether you want electronics, clothing, luggage, souvenirs or artwork, Bangkok has anything and everything you’re looking for. Those that are looking for typical ‘take home’ trinkets should wander to Khaosan Road. This street is not just filled with all the cheap hotels in Bangkok; it is also home to hundreds of street vendors ready to barter to the last Bhat for a fair price.

High-end shoppers can head to Central Pinklao, a mall that’s a few miles outside of central Bangkok.

Muay Thai Boxing Match

For those that are looking for some adrenaline, head to the local Muay Thai boxing rings. While some matches can be a bit gruesome, most are shear displays of human strength and agility. Ask a Tuk Tuk driver to take you to a local Muay Thai ring if you want a chance to interact with the local people. It is an authentic Thai experience.

This article is written as part of the #hipmunklove project. All opinions are my own and I would never recommend anything I didn’t believe in or use myself.

From Casablanca To The Sahara And Back: A Moroccan Road Trip

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Morocco | 0 comments

Many visitors to Morocco never venture outside the main tourist centres and they only get a fleeting glimpse of what this North African country is about. Make the most of your visit by travelling into the interior, to small Berber villages and vast, open landscapes. A Moroccan road trip is just the way to and get under the country’s skin.

Casablanca to Marrakech

 

One of the most popular points of entry into Morocco is bustling and vibrant Casablanca, the seaside city made famous in the eponymous movie classic and home to the stunning King Hassan II Mosque.

 

Marrakech is only about 240km away. It’s located in the High Atlas Mountains and has a much more ‘Moroccan’ atmosphere than cosmopolitan Casablanca. Explore the Medina with its souks, winding alleys, historic mosques and palaces and hammams.

 

Travellers often recommend that you take public transport from Casablanca to Marrakech to help you to prepare for the notoriously chaotic way of driving in the country. However, the highway is relatively quiet. In both cities you’ll find branches of major car hire companies such as Europcar, Avis and National Car Hire, so get a vehicle of your choice and then follow some simple driving tips.

 

Marrakech to Ouarzazate

 

From Marrakech, it’s a little over 200km to Ouarzazate on the edge of the Sahara. You’ll be travelling along mountain roads, so drive slowly and carefully. Enjoy the spectacular scenery from the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, which is about halfway between the two cities, and remember to bring some warm clothing if you visit in winter because snow is quite common here. About 30km before you reach Ouarzazate, turn off the highway and make a small side trip to Aït-Ben-Haddou. This beautiful mud-brick town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Quiet Ouarzazate makes for a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. Here you’ll also find both Atlas Studios and CLA Studios where several blockbusters were shot.

 

Ouarzazate to Erfoud

 

The next leg of the journey stretches over about 300km. You can cover the distance to Erfoud in about 4 hours but don’t rush it. Instead, stop and take in the views of the Dadès Gorge or take a closer look at some of the many kasbahs in the Dadès Valley. Near Tinghir with its palm trees, explore the dramatic Todra Gorge. At Errachidia, turn south to Erfoud, where Morocco’s only royal palace in the Sahara is located. Make this lovely town your base for exploring the Martian landscape, fossil deposits, little desert villages and the breath-taking Erg Chebbi Dunes. You’ll recognize the area from movies like The Mummy and Prince of Persia.

 

Erfoud back to Casablanca

 

To get back to Casablanca, you have several options. Take the sae route back or cut through the Middle Atlas region via more modern cities like Beni Mellal and Khouribga. If you have time, though, take the long way round via Fez and Rabat in the north for even more of Morocco’s treasures.

 

About David M

It's a big world and I want to sell all of it!