In January 2020, not long before the crisis caused by the Corona virus began, we had a dream vacation in Las Palmas, the capital of the island of Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands archipelago, along with Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro. The Canary Islands, although geographically located in Africa, are part of Spain and the EU, so you don’t have to worry about travel documents.
I chose this tropical destination in winter to escape from the cold in Europe. The canaries have been blessed with an excellent climate, protected by currents that ensure ideal temperatures all year round: not lower than 20 degrees in winter and not higher than 29 degrees during summer. Gran Canaria also gets an average of 320 sunny days out of 365 per year.
Malta, a small and beautiful island in the middle of the Mediterranean. It is a destination known to every sailor around the world. Due to it’s central location, today it is an International hub for container transshipment, and also a major financial hub. Although I had the opportunity to visit the port many times, due to the short stay in the port (usually 12 to 18 hours), I never had time to really enjoy the island.
That is until the summer of 2016 when due to an unexpected engine problem, we were instructed by the shipowner to go to the Palumbo shipyard in Malta. When I started to plot the route, to my surprise I saw that the site is located straight in the heart of Valletta harbour, the capital of Malta.
The entrance to the bay was very narrow, the pilot carefully maneuvering our 300 meters ship through the walls and medieval fortifications of the entrance to the port of Valletta. But at the same time, this does offer some very nice views, being the same views as the tourists on the cruise ships enjoy when they come here.
I heard great things about Krakow and thought we give it a try. This medieval city, which was voted the most beautiful city in Poland and in the region did not disappoint us at all. I can say that it was a very good holiday choice.
Poland is very similar to my home country Romania, and the feeling here is remarkably similar at first sight. Appearances fade away quickly from the moment you land on John Paul II airport (named after Polish Pope). The modern airport is very organized and clean. From here we easily found our way to the bus station.
A single ticket from the airport to the city center costs 9 Polish Zloty (2.1 EUR) or 16 Zloty (3.8 EUR) for a return ticket. You can buy tickets at the airport but also inside the bus at the dispenser, where you can pay cash or by card. Beautiful isn’t it? I look forward to seeing something like this in my country Romania.
After visiting a large part of Europe, I present you my top 10 of the most beautiful cities that have left a memorable impression. The top is composed only of the cities I visited, I’m sure there are other beautiful cities out there that I have not yet had the chance to visit. For these I’m waiting for your suggestions in the comments section. We have included only the cities that have preserved their character and authentic beauty, not including those who have sacrificed their personality just for the sake of tourism (I can give Venice as an example of this)
I wasn’t sure if this city deserves to be included in the top because it can also easily be included in the list of the most overrated cities to visit and depending on the area you stay, it can also be included in the list of the most dangerous cities to visit. In principle, the French capital lives on the laurels of the past, but although the city of lights doesn’t shine so bright as it used to, it is still quite bright and appealing. The central area that you see as a tourist is still very beautiful and an example of urban planning to be looked up to. Also, the city offers a very large concentration of attractions that will keep you busy for at least a week, so it’s always a safe bet for a successful holiday. Protests, strikes and locals who do not speak English and who do not stand criticism towards their city or their country, all make sure you get a really authentic experience. (see London vs Paris article HERE.)
Probably the last of the great capitals that I have not been able to visit until now. It was in my plan to visit for a long time and I even had the plane ticket to London bought in the past but due to unfavorable circumstances I could not go. We left from Marseille, where we are now, and with Ryanair, we paid for 2 people return tickets just 97 EUR! Long Live Ryanair! The plane drops you at Stansted Airport which has a direct train connection to London. The train journey takes about 40 minutes and cost us 30 pounds (2 people). We arrived in London at Liverpool Street Station, one of the many giant train stations of this 10 million-strong metropolis. Getting out of the train and crossing the central corridor of the train station at rush hour, the atmosphere is simply overwhelming. Thousands of commuters traverse in a hurry between the subway and the numerous platforms that serve the suburban trains. But fortunately, the many signs, screens and information points make your life easy. We found our way to the subway entrance, we only had to find the platform of our line, which is not easy considering the fact that there are 4 subway lines serving this station.
The use the public transport, you will need an Oyster card, which is a universal card that is valid on the subway, train and bus, and prices for it may be shocking. The city is divided into 9 zones, and rates vary according to the number of zones you will cross. Avoid as much as you can buying one-time use tickets, they are the most expensive with rates starting from 5 pounds per trip. Better buy daily or weekly passes. To reach our hotel located in zone 4, we bought 2 weekly passes with unlimited trips valid in areas 1 to 4 for which we paid “only” 108 pounds (54 pounds per person). Fortunately, this is the only big expense you will encounter, during the rest of the holiday I had the pleasant surprise to discover that everything is cheaper here than in the South of France.
To reach our hotel near the Wembley Stadium, we used the Metropolitan Line, which is one of the newest line. It has large spacious trains lines and runs in express mode with few stations along the way. But even so, to get from center to area 4 to Wembley, we rode the train about 40 minutes across 20 kilometers (and just think the city has 9 areas just to make an idea of how big it is). All trains in the London underground are clean, have air conditioning through which fragrant air circulates and come with upholstered seats, small details that make other underground subways networks such as Marseille Metro look like buses in Africa.
The summer is fast approaching and a small holiday was the perfect opportunity to take a road trip on the Cote d’Azur towards Saint Tropez. After visiting all of Marseille’s sights and surroundings, we wanted to go with our guest on a Côte d’Azur train trip, but unfortunately the unpredictable running schedule sprinkled with spontaneous strikes organised by the French SNCF lazy workers deprived us of this option. Another inconvenience would be that the train does not go all the way up to Saint Tropez, but only to Toulon or Nice, from where you have to take a local coach the rest of the way.
From Marseille to Saint Tropez there are only 150 km, but even for this distance, the train can be quite expensive if you do not buy the tickets well in advance. If you get a ticket today for tomorrow you can also spend around € 50 per person on such a train ride, so we’ve considered renting a car to make the trip.
It was the summer of 2017 and the weather was perfect for a Romania road trip. We decided to take advantage of our last vacation days and the available accommodation vouchers, so we jumped in the car and went roaming across Romania for a week. Our tour started at the “Danube Boilers”, stopping along the way at Orsova, Dubova, Timisoara, Deva, Hunedoara, Alba Iulia, Sovata, Praid, Sighisoara, Brasov and via Transfagarasan back to Constanta. As usual, the trip was planned on short notice and the accommodation was chosen from what was available through a travel agency.
Prague, a city that I always wanted to see and experience. I was always looking at the pictures of others and it seemed to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. After seeing it, I can say with all my heart that it is. The city offers beautiful landscapes, architecture, great old pedestrian squares, world class beer and bars where you can still smoke inside, and all this for prices almost identical to those in Romania.
From Romania there is no low cost direct flight to Prague, but the ticket on Czech Airlines is not too expensive, around 150 EUR per person bought a month in advance. Our 3-star hotel taken with TUI agency cost us only 121 EUR for 7 nights and not only it was very decent it also had breakfast included in the price.
From Václav Havel Airport to Prague city center take the AE (Airport Express) bus, the trip takes about 40 minutes and the ticket is bought directly from the airport counter and costs 60 Czech crowns (CZK) or about 2.3 EUR per person. I would advise to bring with you some Czech currency in order to buy the tickets, otherwise you have to deal with the currency exchange offices in the airport that offer rip off exchange rates. You will get of at the “Hlavní nádraží” central railway station, which is a huge underground hub where you can access the buses, the subway, the S trains and especially the trams. I underline the trams because these are the main and easiest way of transportation in the city. The Czech capital is covered everywhere by tramlines, and they come every three minutes. The trams have dedicated stations and dedicated lanes, and around half of them are of the latest generation of Skoda trains. Tram tickets are found at any cigarette or food kiosk and are divided according to the length of time. A 30-minute ticket costs 24 CZK (1 EUR), and one 24-hour ticket costs 110 CZK (4.3 EUR) and can be used from the moment of validation on any line and any time you want until the expiration date.
Bienvenidos a San Juan , orasul capitala cel mai mare de pe insula Puerto Rico. Intemeiat de spanioli in secolul 16 orasul si-a pastrat foarte bine centrul istoric , impreuna cu zidurile si forturile de protectie aferente , fiind un magnet pentru turisti , in special pentru stapanii insulei SUA. Desi este oarecum o natie independenta , modul de viata american este vizibil pe insula , autostrazi cu multe benzi , hoteluri turn in partea noua a orasului , multe malluri , multe masini SUV mari care stau blocate in trafic pe Continue reading “San Juan – Puerto Rico review”→