Paris Destinations: Discovering the darker side of the city

When you think of Paris, you can always associate it with culture, art, and fashion but did you know that the City of Lights also has some macabre sights. Explore Paris beyond all the glitter and look into the city’s grisly history and underground wonders.

Les Catacombes

The Catacombs paris
Beneath the streets of Paris is one of the most popular dark destinations in France, The Catacombs. This is not for the faint of heart. The stairs leading to the underground tunnels can easily trigger claustrophobia. During the late 18th century, the underground tunnels were used to house exhumed bodies from the cemeteries of Paris. The bones of the dead were arranged after several decades so they will look more organized. If you want to explore this, be ready for the really long lines.

Musee Dupuytren

Musee Dupuytren

This museum gives you an insight to the most frightening illnesses known to our species. The wax models of human anatomy and other specimens can be traced back as early the 1800s. You can see brains in big jars or tumors that are very detailed that even you cannot imagine how can they even grow there.

La Conciergerie

La Conciergerie

You might be amazed by the beautiful arches of this old palace but remember that beneath the floor you are walking on are the dungeons that witnessed the bloodiest history of France. It was a blood-soaked part of the country’s history. Thousands were executed during the French Revolution and those who awaited their death sentence were imprisoned at the La Conciergerie.


Parisian cemeteries
You might be surprised with how many travelers flock to Parisian cemeteries. Amid the crowd you will also find artists, lovers, and other curious souls. Do some research and you will find where Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Samuel Beckett, Charles Baudelaire, or Oscar Wilde are resting.

Why Travel Insurance is a Must

Many people avoid buying travel insurance, either because they can’t be bothered or they see it as a waste of money. However, insurance for your travels can end up saving you loads of money, and if you shop around carefully, you could find yourself getting annual cover for around £1 per month.

  1. You’re covered if anything happens

Although it’s not likely that anything will happen to you if you take the necessary precautions, you are never in control of your flight getting cancelled, your belongings getting stolen or that horrible feeling when you realise that your luggage isn’t going to make it off the plane. You should never think that you won’t encounter any problems while on your holiday. If nothing happens to you, then you can thank you lucky stars. If it does, you’ve been sensible enough to get insurance and cover yourself against mishaps.

Travel Insurance

  1. You’ll have peace of mind

Who wants to go on holiday with the worry of losing hundreds of pounds if something goes wrong? With the right travel insurance, you can rest assured that even if something does happen, you’re covered and will be reimbursed for the money that you’ve lost out on. This will allow you to enjoy your holiday and quality time with loved ones, without having that niggling voice in the back of your mind.

  1. You can’t predict illness or accidents

If something terrible happens while you’re in another country and you have to get rushed off to hospital, you could find yourself paying thousands of pounds just to get treated for your injuries or illnesses. To think that you could have saved yourself all that trouble by taking out an insurance policy will haunt you for the rest of your life, and you’ll never travel without it again!

  1. You don’t have to pay a lot and get the best insurance

While many people are tempted to go for the ‘best’ policies, which covers medical insurance up to £10 million and lost baggage up to £2 million, these aren’t necessarily the most ideal options. Medical insurance is pretty much never going to cost you that much in any case, and your lost baggage is unlikely to be worth more than a few hundred pounds. Go for a cheaper policy which covers everything you need rather than opting for a more expensive policy just for the sake of it.

South Africa is a Great Idea for an Early Fall Holiday

Out of travel ideas? Wondering where you should take your next holiday? If you’re online looking for ideas, you really can’t go wrong with a holiday to South Africa. It’s a great country that has a rich history, and there’s plenty for you to do. Let’s take a look at why South Africa is so interesting.

South Africa

Right now, South Africa is experiencing a nice spring/summer type of season, where there’s a bit of rain but still plenty of sun. For holidaymakers in the UK, this would be an excellent time to view South Africa. The weather is mild and you’ll be able to wear plenty of loose, light clothing. Want to go swimming in September? South Africa should definitely be on your list.

Did you know that the country has 11 official languages? This is a diverse place where many groups all home. If you think that Italy is the only place in the world that can do wine aside from Greece, you might be pleasantly surprised by South Africa’s native wine selections.

There are direct flights from the UK to South Africa, and there are usually good deals around this time of year for travel to the African country. Worried that this is a poor country with no infrastructure? That’s not true at all. If you’re traveling to Cape Town or Johannesburg, you’ll find that you’ll see many of the same amenities that you’d enjoy back in your hometown, if not a few more.

Cape Town
South Africa is a country divided into 9 different provinces, much the way Canada is divided into different regions. If you’re going to Johannesburg, you’ll be going to the Gauteng province. If you’re going to Cape Town, you’ll head to the Western Cape province. By the way, Cape Town is where the South African Parliament is located. Continue reading “South Africa is a Great Idea for an Early Fall Holiday”

Top Destinations: New York City, New York

One of the most popular destinations in the United States is New York City. Our family will be making its first trip to the Big Apple in August 2015, and we have plenty of information to share if you plan on going soon. We have spent almost 30 hours researching what each of the 5 burrows has to offer. However, part of this research was finding the best hotel and car rental deals, as well as building an itinerary designed pack everything into the 3 days we will be in NYC.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway

The Roosevelt Island Tramway
This is something the Mrs. just found a couple nights ago, and it’s definitely on our list of things to do in New York City. Since our hotel is situated in the upper east side of Manhattan, we are not far away from this little tourist attraction. Our research revealed that the cost for this aerial trip to Roosevelt Island is $2.75 per person. Once you are on the island, you can hop on the bus (for free) and see everything the island has to offer.

Based on what we’ve read, the ride is all of about 5 minutes, but it’s the perfect amount of time to see New York City from the air, without spending an excessive amount of money renting a 30 minute helicopter tour.

Yankees vs. Red Sox

Yankees vs. Red Sox
When sports fans are asked about the biggest rivalries in any sport, the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox matchup is always at the top of the list. Since our son is a huge Yankees fan and hasn’t ever seen them play, the time we took our trip to New York City depended on when the Red Sox came to town.

Since we will all be experiencing Yankees Stadium for the first time, there is no sense in purchasing $500 worth of tickets. It’s going to be an exciting event regardless, so we purchased some bleacher seats for $150 all-in. Keep in mind; we purchased them 4 months in advance, which helped with the cost.

Patsies Italian Restaurant

Patsies Italian Restaurant
We all have to eat, and even if you are not a big fan of Italian food, this is a must see restaurant. Our research told us that it’s the place Frank Sinatra used to go for several decades. Apparently at one point, Patsies renovated the restaurant back to what it looked like in those days, so you can experience what he experienced.

The Normal Appeal

Those are just a few things that caught our attention, outside of everything else we will be seeing. We are seriously considering the helicopter tour, just because the experience of flying around the Statue of Liberty has to be breath-taking. Add in other places like; Central Park, the High Line (a walkway 30 feet above street level), trying to get tickets to the Jimmy Fallon Show, the Nike Store, little Italy, the Empire State Building, and the 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial; we are going to be busy, but the experience will be one for the ages.

Thailand: The Land of Smiles

Being one of the most popular countries to visit in Southeast Asia, Thailand draws in more than 26 million visitors each year just in the capital alone. From the picturesque beaches in the south to the lush green mountains in north and everything in between, Thailand truly has something to offer any type of traveler.

Where should you go?

Thailand has three major regions that tend to draw in the most crowds, each one extremely different than the other. Depending on your interests and the amount of time you have in the country will draw you to certain areas. Just be careful though, Thailand has been known to turn two-week vacations into yearlong stays.



With the majority of people flying in through Bangkok, chances are you will end up there for at least a few days, if not the entire trip. Filled with clubs, rooftop bars, floating markets and high-class malls, your time here is sure to be anything but boring. With an excellent transportation system it makes it extremely easy to get around the city either by sky train, bus or taxi. If you’re planning to visit Bangkok, get ready for a city that never sleeps and something to offer for everyone!



Phuket is a beach lover’s paradise as well as a party animals paradise. Whether you want to stay in the very crowded Patong and hit the famous Bangla Road to see some ladyboys or take a day trip to another island, the choices are truly endless. With zoos, shooting ranges, water parks and Jet Ski rentals at nearly every beach, Phuket is also a great destination for a family vacation.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

If Bangkok and Phuket were just a little too much for you, you may want to head up north to Chiang Mai. With a much slower pace and relaxed atmosphere, it’s a great place to simply relax and see what the city has to offer. Rent a motorbike and explore the magnificent temples during the day and then head to the night markets and pick up a pair of samurai pants that you’ll guaranteed never want to take off. Chiang Mai is also known for their great elephant nature camps where you can swim and bathe with elephants for two days!

As you can see, the wide range of things to do and places to see in Thailand is something that makes it so incredible. Anywhere you end up is sure to not only be your new favorite spot but somewhere you will want to keep coming back to for years to come.

Paris – for better and for worse

The City of Light, Paris, is not always easy to handle. You may fall in love with it in an instant but it takes you a good while to learn loving it. It is like any relationship, after the ecstatic first weeks comes the everyday life and its cons.

City of Light ParisThe first seven days in Paris are a feast for all senses: baguettes, garçons, boulevards, Notre Dame, Tour Eiffel, Palais Royal, croissants, cinéma, hôtels particuliers, crêpes, Camembert, jardins, Renoir, bateaux-mouches, Edith Piaf. And all this crusted with the posh French nasal sounds which makes you think you are in heaven.

After the honeymoon

It is like a fairytale till the moment you start to live here. Then you have to get serious, to settle down as they say. You start getting attached: you open a bank account, you get all those cards for metro, libraries and museums, you find your favourite supermarket and the staff start to recognise you. Now you discover all those small things that drive you crazy: The thing is, in Paris you don’t just go and buy a monthly metro ticket or open a bank account. You honestly need at least half a dozen of certificates about your identity, logging, student status etc. Then you fill out a form and post it to some excluded office with a zip code you cannot locate in the outskirts of Ile de France. Then you wait for a month because nothing is as long and wearing as French bureaucracy, well, except for the Italian.

French bureaucracy

On the second stage you realise your habits are not at all like those of your newly-wedded metropolis. It does not understand the sanctity of rye bread and keeps providing you with baguettes naively believing that there is nothing better. It provides you with baguettes not only for breakfast but also for lunch and for dinner which makes you seriously doubt the supposed variety of French cuisine. Continue reading “Paris – for better and for worse”

Cracking Krakow

Mysterious corridors, delicious cheese cake in Kazimierz and green bike routes. Having visited all the must sees in Krakow, it’s time to taste this very European city from within.

We can get all necessary information about Krakow’s traditional top places to see from the information points. Here you have some tips for visiting interesting places in that southern Polish city that are rarely mentioned in guides. “Incredible in Krakow are some paths in the centre of the city overgrown with grass. Lots of people, even those living in Krakow, have no bloody idea about them. There is one, totally overgrown and green. It’s got a green bump made of stones in the middle.” says Piotr Lewicki, architect.

First of all: Kazimierz

kazimierz krakow
No matter if you are either Erasmus student in Krakow or three-day visitor, Kazimierz – the old Jewish district – is a must see. Beginning the day with perfect latte and delicious cheesecake at Alchemia, would be a good start to the scratched and gloomy, but extremely fashionable, artistic and vibrant district. It is here where Krakow’s bohemia meets. Nearby Alchemia you’ll find an incredible café called Les Coloures, wallpapered with posters from French movies and musicals. But the best time to go to Nowy Square is on Saturday morning. You will be amused by a market smelling of fresh fruits, vegetables and old books. From there it’s not far to the picturesque Podgórze, another interesting district, with an architectonic ally intriguing church and a mysterious mound. It’s here to say that in Kraków there are four peculiar hills, mainly prehistoric and artificially made, some of them even by the Celts. If you want to have a perfect overview of Krakow – those are the best places.

Sacrum meets profanum

Kraków is a typical medieval city, with streets situated perpendicularly and parallel to the biggest and most beautiful market square in Europe. As a city left untouched during World War II, Kraków is now full of monuments. Thus the city is a great monument of European culture. Not only the medieval history is evident: in Nowa Huta, a district built in socrealistic style you can have a back-to-communism trip, visiting places, clubs and even the typical flats of those times. The really interesting fact is that in Krakow sacrum meets profanum in a very special way. There are about 120 churches with great history and about 500 clubs and pubs in the neighbourhood. It is lively and crowded with thousands of students. As we are in the old centre, it’s worth dropping in to Café Camelot for excellent cherry liquor and to go and see fabulous Camelot Cabaret on St. Thomas’ Street afterwards. If you are lucky enough you may also be allowed to see Krakow from the St.Mary’s Church tower. Going around the market square, you should go for another liquor in Bunkier Sztuki. But there is one place that shouldn’t be missed in any case: Massolit Books, a marvellous library-café, where you can sink into reading books all day long. Bored with English-language books? Then just go around the corner and find PUNKT. You will love those old cinema chairs you can buy there! Continue reading “Cracking Krakow”

Discover Seville through tapas

It was time to move. I mean, everything was fine with my university, with Padua, with Italy, with my friends. But sometimes you feel that something is missing.

I missed Europe. Of course there was news about the European Union on TV and politicians gave big speeches on European citizenship, editorials on the role of the EU in Italy’s economy. We knew that Brussels offered us economical agreements, but aside from that, what does the average Italian student know about Europe? Europe is missing in their fixed paths: doing exams, getting a bachelor and then looking for a job (preferably nearby home). This was not enough for me. I had to take my chance.


I landed in Seville, southern Spain, full of expectations. One has to have big expectations when he is 23 years old, no? And I was going to have the best trip of my life, a trip with the Erasmus space shuttle.

A shuttle that offers you the possibility to get lost. Getting lost geographically and getting lost mentally. To rethink the goals you have set for your life, what you think is important, to open your mind. Briefly: the best way to grow up.

The first words I learned in Andalusia were corridor, apartment, rent, classroom and of course beer. Beer is the bond between students all over the world, it makes you feel at ease and friendly with mates. And beer was cheap in Spain, so we did a lot of bonding.

I walked a lot the first days through lovely Seville. The weather is great and the city centre is not too big to walk through. But still big enough to allow you some ‘breaks’ to devour a tapa (A tapa is a tiny dish, a little snack), a beer and send a text message to your jealous friends at home. Especially those who live in the northern part of Europe: “Hey, it’s October and I’m still wearing a T-shirt!”

Seville Cathedral

Walking through Seville there are some ‘must-have-seen’ locations: the cathedral, built on a mosque (peculiar architectural mix!) and La Giralda, the tower, originally a minaret. Then visit the Alcazar (the old Moorish palace) and its wonderful gardens. Have a walk along the river Guadalquivir and stop by La Torre del Oro, built by the Almohad dynasty as watchtower. Have a relaxing terrace at Plaza de España.

The best parts of being an Erasmus student are not those things a local tourist office can inform you about. I mean, I loved, for example, the sun. It was like being closer to the sun in Seville than in northern Italy. The light is brighter, and this lives up your whole day, even when you are walking in a hurry to the bus stop. That is probably the reason why a lot of people stay outside, por la calle (by the street), walking from bar to bar, having tapas. They even have a word for it! Tapear, which means hanging out and getting tapas in different bars. I just loved this way of life. Being Italian, it’s in my genes to have special attention to food. And we know food is not only nutritional, it also nourishes your soul. Continue reading “Discover Seville through tapas”

Stroll in ‘Da Vinci Code’ scenery in Lincoln

Unknown Lincoln has much to offer: the Cathedral of the Da Vinci Code movie, a copy of the Magna Carta, a first class journalism university and it has been voted one of the cheapest cities to live in England. Pack your bags!


Traditionally Lincoln is seen as a historical city, quiet but full of the quaint English charms tourists seem to love. We have a magnificent Cathedral, one that has been used in many films – including the Da Vinci Code. Lincoln Castle, although now much of a ruin has another talking point, it houses one of the rare copies of the Magna Carta.

With a City as old as Lincoln (you can find it in the Doomsday book) there’s bound to be talks of ghosts and ghouls, indeed, we have three ghosts walking every week around the historical quarter.

To bring the City up to date we have some fabulous shops and restaurants amongst all the gorgeous architecture. My place of study also makes use of the older buildings, the University of Lincoln has won design awards for its use of restoring and modernising dated pieces.

University of Lincoln

The University itself is very young, it was built in 1996 after locals decided to raise some of the sponsorship. They felt that their city was lacking something. In fact, when the famous Oxford University was conceived, the monks couldn’t decide where to put their new place of study – Lincoln or Oxford? Of course it was Oxford that was chosen but you could say that Lincoln had been without a University for thousands of years.

The population of Lincolnshire is considered quite diverse. Since the EU paved the way thousands of Polish, Lithuanians and Romanians have flocked to the region because of its high agriculture. For some it was difficult to integrate but over the last three years societies and clubs have been set up to make the process of moving in to Lincoln as smooth as possible. At my radio station we have been working with the Polish for over a year and they now have their own monthly show. Broadcasting in English and Polish it reaches far into the community and is considered a success.

But what of the nightlife I hear you ask? Well Lincoln is populated with many bars, it would take you a good weekend to get round them all, and we have the Engine Shed when we want a club night out. The venue is also famous for the bands it brings to the City, in the last year we have had The Zutons, Babyshambles, Dirty Pretty Things, Stereophonics, Ian Brown and the Deftones to name a few.

But don’t worry if your pockets feel a little light, Lincoln was voted the second cheapest city to live in England. So if you ever find yourself in the East Midlands, make sure you give Lincoln a visit.

From “city near the factory” to “the city of one thousand taverns”

For more than twenty years, the destiny of Călăraşi has inevitably been connected to the Siderurgical enterprises, its evolution was entirely connected to the evolution of the factory. But then disaster struck Călăraşi: the factory went bankrupt.

At the end of the ’70s, Ceauşescu wanted to build a big factory near Bucharest. His idea was to bring iron ore down the Danube (because this was the cheapest method) and produce steel. The real construction began in 1978 and eight years later the first section (the coke and chemical one) was ready for production. A few years later other sections were ready too: the electric steel factory, the rolling mill for medium profiles, the deposit for raw material and the section for enriching the iron ore. Many specialists from the most important factories (from Reşiţa, Galaţi and Hunedoara) and diligent workers from Moldavo came to visit Călăraşi, in those days. All of them got a house in the most prosperous neighbourhood in town, which was named (as if there was no alternative) “2 Moldavians”. The older teachers remember that students from the Industrial School who worked at the Siderurgical Enterprises had higher salaries than the teaching staff and that “nobody would breathe a word in front of them”.


In the ’80s, the city was living its glory days. It also won a prize as “the cleanest city in the Socialist Republic of Romania”. Moreover, the Zoo from Călăraşi was the largest in the country and was an important animal provider for the other zoos in the country. But out of the blue the revolution came along. As the factory was not entirely finished, the change was not a good one for the people from Călăraşi and in 1998, the Siderurgical Enterprises closed down. In 2001 it went bankrupt and in 2005 it was cut into pieces and sold as scrap iron. Continue reading “From “city near the factory” to “the city of one thousand taverns””