San Francisco is a city known for the Golden Gate Bridge, beautifully painted Victorians, historic cable cars rumbling down its streets, and so much more.…
No one does Christmas quite like Germany.
From traditional handicrafts and quirky ornaments to local delicacies and sweet-scented mulled wine, there’s absolutely nothing you can’t find in a German Christmas market, whether you choose to wander the most popular ones or visit those hidden in some quaint medieval villages. Here are the 10 best German Christmas markets not to be missed in Germany.
1. Rothenburg ob de Tauber Christmas Market
Why we love it: Home to the Christmas Museum, Rothenburg is a magical place to spend the festive season. Surrounded by imposing town walls, steep-roofed gable houses line narrow cobbled streets, creating a romantic and festive atmosphere.
When: 30th November – 23rd December 2018
Read more about Rothenburg ob de Tauber
2. Berlin WeihnachtsZauber
Why we love it: Berlin is the capital city of the German Christmas Markets. With more than 60 Christmas markets dotted throughout the city.
When: 26th November – 31st December 2018
3. Munich Christmas Market
Why we love it: Munich’s Christmas Market – whose roots go back to the 14th century – offers traditional Bavarian and unique Christmas gifts, including wood carvings from Oberammergau, gingerbread (Lebkuchen) from Nuremberg and notably some exquisite glassware from the Bavarian Forest.
When: 27th November – 24th December 2018
4. Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
Why we love it: the city that gave birth to the delicious mulled wine. There are 7 markets around the city, the most impressive one being the Christmas Market at the Cologne Cathedral. Every year these wonderful four Christmas Markets attract almost 2 million visitors.
When: 26th November – 23rd December 2018
5. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt
Why we love it: The Nuremberg Kinderweihnacht is the children’s market and has an old-fashioned carousel, a Ferris wheel and a steam train. The Nativity scene trail runs between the two markets.
When: 30th November – 24th December 2018
6. Dresden Striezelmarkt
Why we love it: Dresden’s Christmas Market is Germany’s oldest Christmas Market with a very long history dating back to 1434.
Most traditional Christmas gifts, toys and decorations have been invented hundreds of years ago in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), when the supply of ore run out. The Erzgebirge is located only a few kilometres outside Dresden, near the Czech border. Today most of the Christmas Markets in Germany are still being supplied from this region – Germany Christmas Market
When: 29th November – 24th December 2018
7. Dusseldorf Christmas Market
Why we love it: As with all the larger German cities, there are several markets, many concentrated around the Königsallee (Kö), a designer-store-packed boulevard that shines beautifully under its Christmas illuminations. Schadowplatz is particularly family-friendly with a merry-go-round and special activities for children.
When: 22nd November – 30th December 2018
8. Frankfurt Christmas Market
Why we love it: There has been a Christmas market in Frankfurt for over 600 years. The Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of Germany’s oldest and most popular Christmas markets in Europe.
When: 26th November – 22nd December 2018
Why we love it: With 280 stalls, Stuttgart Christmas Market is one of the oldest and the largest Christmas markets in the whole of Europe.
When: 28th November – 23rd December 2018
Why we love it: The historic market square with its Gothic Chapel of St Mary and its abundance of Baroque architecture provide a scenic backdrop for almost 120 wooden stalls.
When: 30th November – 23rd December 2018
What’s your favourite Christmas Market in Germany?
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Many will tell you why you should take that gap year and travel before retirement, least youth be wasted on the young. Quit your job and see the world while you still can. Today, we are doing the opposite. Showcasing all the reasons why quitting your job before retirement to travel the world is a bad idea.
Seeing your kids for only an hour or so at night, busy weekends, always tired, bills to pay, this sounds like the perfect reason to pack it all in and leave it behind. To travel the world while everyone is still young enough to enjoy it. Until the time comes when we can work part-time and earn a living, or take a few years off without harming our career prospectives and financial security, we need to learn how to travel as much as possible while still working full time.
“Millenials” have been getting a bad rap lately for quitting their jobs after only a few years and leading a nomadic lifestyle. Baby boomers just don’t seem to understand why anyone would put their families in that kind of position. According to them, these are the many reasons why you should not quit your job to travel the world before retirement.
1 – Jeopardize your earning potential.
Your job level and years of service will be placed on hold during your sabbatical, while your peers continue to climb the corporate ladder. If you don’t take a sabbatical and simply quit your job, your seniority is history. Maybe the new job will acknowledge your work history, but that is up to them.
By taking a year off, you not only lose actual earnings but your growth momentum. How easy will it be to find a new job at the same rate of pay?
2 – Family responsibilities
The children still need to be in school. Yes, homeschooling is possible but it is not legal in all countries, so you will need to either visit during the summer months (peak season) or enroll them in the local school while you are staying there. This seems a little counterproductive.
With a family, there are now that many more people to take care of. It isn’t just you or your partner to feed, house and cloth. It’s the kids too. This makes everything that much more expensive and they can’t exactly earn their keep – you are now saving for 4 people to travel, not just yourself.
Yes, you are saving money from mortgage payments, car costs, schools fees and extracurricular activities, but insurance, short-term emergencies, accommodations, clothes and food still be to be paid
Finding a way to travel while working full time teaches the children about a proper home/work balance and shows them they can do it too when they are older and start a family. Tapped Out Travellers absolutely advocates for traveling as a family, and the importance of world knowledge outside of the classroom, but on a part-time, during school holidays level.
3 – Won’t be able to retire on time (or early)
We all have that one friend, the guy that retires before he’s 50 because he’s put in 25 years of service. Or hear about the worlds youngest CEO. They didn’t get that way by taking a few years off. Since many pension programs require X number of years of paying into the system, you are either stuck paying into it while traveling or making up for lost time after you get back. This can add years to your retirement age. I don’t know about you, but I have zero intention of working a day longer than I need to.
Sure, there is more to this world than working until retirement, but there is also something to be said about retiring early and getting the best of both worlds.
4 – Loose vacation day benefits momentum
In many countries, and for many employers, you gain more vacation days the longer you work for the same company. This means a 10th-year worker will get X more weeks off than the new guy. Do you want to constantly be the new guy or bank your holidays and get a free month off, while still being paid?
5 – The world isn’t going anywhere
There are a handful of locations that are being closed due to over-tourism, but that is mostly during the peak season. Never travel during peak season.
On the other hand, the rest of the world isn’t going anywhere. If you are afraid that a major destination will quickly be ruined by over-tourism, you can take the week off and visit now or wait until the country has sorted its tourism out and try to visit it in a few years. As far as we know, the world isn’t going anywhere. You can afford to wait a few years.
6 – You honestly cannot afford to
Yes, you can technically afford that plane ticket and hostel stay, and get around your destination just fine. But wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t have to work 80 hours per week, loose contact with all of your friends, and be stuck in a dorm room with 10 other people just to go on vacation.
My idea of a vacation is being free and relaxed and not worrying about the money. Have a budget, yes, but not strapped for cash. Make sure you enjoy it the first time you visit, properly, and without regrets. Do what you want.
The main reason you can’t afford it is because that’s not the way life works. That’s not reality.
Travelling functions as a break, not a way to live your life
The thrill of travel is that it is a unique experience. The reason why people love doing it so much is because it functions as a means of escape. Yet if travelling itself becomes a daily chore, then it is unlikely that it will retain its magic.
7 – More enjoyable when you plan ahead
Planning ahead is much more enjoyable than flying by the seat of your pants. We like to research the crap out of each location and know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. What restaurants are there available for our family, the operating hours of our desired attractions, the best time of year to visit and which ones to avoid. This is a little difficult to do while already on holiday, and working from home, and raising children and and and… you get my point.
8 – Can’t legally live anywhere you choose
There are only about 172 countries that Canadians and Americans (166) can visit without a visa. This leaves 65 that requires you to apply for visas. But visiting isn’t living or working in that destination. For digital nomads, those that work from home while traveling the world (mostly bloggers but other types of employment that simply require an internet connection), sponsorships and advertisements make up a large part of their income. If you can’t legally work in a country, can you still receive compensation for your work from a local company?
The number of days you can remain in each country varies. It is important to know how long you are allowed to stay, what you are allowed to do (and not do) while visiting and when you need to leave before being arrested or banned for life. Schengen Zone is a particular headache for many since you are only allowed for 90 days, before taking a 90-day break in order to return. Not all European countries are Schengen. Knowing which countries to hit up, and which ones to visit while your clock resets is key to traveling legally within Europe.
Remember, visa-free travel is for leisure. It is against the law to overstay or to work (on the economy). With normal vacation travel, you’ll rarely have to worry about visas or the risk of being denied permission to remain in any one country for a reasonable period. You shouldn’t confuse traveling and vacationing: Just because you went on a vacation and enjoyed it does not mean that you will enjoy traveling.
9 – Personal and Family health
It can be very costly to seek treatment abroad or fly home to seek treatment for yourself or a family member, so global health insurance is essential if you ever quit your job to travel the world. It’s 100% possible, as expats, tourists and locals have to get medical attention somewhere, but it could cost a small fortune and your insurance premiums will eventually go up.
As a Canadian, our health insurance is “free”, but going through a private travel insurance provider and you start to pay monthly premiums, deductibles and some stuff just plain isn’t covered. Moving around all the time leaves little room for a family doctor to get to know you and your family, have regular check-ups and access to a proper dentist. Again, all possible, but is it worth the stress?
There are many travel bloggers out there that have lead a nomadic lifestyle for a few years, only to call it quits and set up roots. Their bodies aren’t able to handle the time zone changes, food changes, quality of water changes. Everything takes a toll on the body and there comes a day when enough is enough. Taking health care aside and just looking at your health, traveling full time is hard on the body. It’s hard on the mind. It’s hard on the family unit. For health reasons, it may not be prudent to be traveling non-stop. You may have your own medical condition that requires doctors’ visits and regular follow-on care.
10 – You already have more time off to travel than you think
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If Québec is La Belle Province, then Québec City must take the title of “La Plus Belle Ville” in addition to being known as “La Vieille Capitale”.
Those who long for a taste of Europe, and bemoan Canada’s general lack of venerable history, will be delighted with the sights and sounds of this gem of a city. While the number of attractions extends far beyond this list, I’m sharing some of the top things to do in Quebec City:
The ferry running between Québec City and Lévis has more to it than meets the eye. The 12-minute crossing not only provides stunning views of Château Frontenac and Cap-Diamant, but it is also a convenient way to avoid parking in the City! Park instead in Lévis and get your sightseeing off to a great start by taking the ferry across the river.
Rue du Trésor
Blink and you might easily miss this hidden attraction. This narrow alley is the spot to be for exceptionally high quality, local art. Open year-round, the Rue du Trésor is located between the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral and the Notre-Dame Basilica. The open-air art gallery was started by 2 art students, and is still going strong today!
This list would not be complete without including the anchor of Québec City – Château Frontenac. You don’t need to be a guest at the Fairmont to enjoy everything that the Château has to offer. You can join a guided tour, or simply browse the lobby and the artifacts housed there – some over 400 years old! In the summertime, you can visit the archeological site underneath and learn more about the Château’s history.
At the foot of the towering Château, you’ll find the picturesque neighbourhood of Petit-Champlain. The history of this area goes back as far as the city does – dating from 1608. Walk the cobblestone streets to discover unique shopping and tasty eats. Much of the original housing and architecture is still intact, transporting visitors to old-world Europe without ever leaving Canadian soil.
If, like myself, you are unfamiliar with the term funicular, allow me to enlighten you. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a special type of railway that travels up and down steep slopes, with the carriages being pulled by a strong metal rope”
The Funicular in Québec City runs 210 feet from Rue de la Champlain in the Petit-Champlain district, up to the Dufferin Boardwalk in front of the Château Frontenac. Originally built in 1879, the current Funicular is open year round, offering visitors spectacular views while saving them the hike up the escarpment.
Check out some great, unforgettable winter activities to enjoy in Quebec City as well.
This National Historic Site might seem like an activity only history buffs will enjoy, but you’d be surprised how much fun it is for the whole family! From musket demonstrations to the mystery of the talking walls, kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy the Fortifications. Take a guided tour, or explore on your own to learn how all of the walls, gates, cannons, and towers protected the original colony.
It would be impossible to name every single amazing place to eat in Québec City, it really is an article unto itself. Suffice to say, whether you’re looking for an amazing patio with a view, a unique historical local, or simply a taste extravaganza, you will find what you are looking for. Some favorites include Pub L’Oncle Antoine, Le Cochon Dingue, and Le Petit Château.
Just outside of the city is where you’ll find the Montmorency Falls. Higher than Niagara Falls, this stunning natural wonder is open year-round. Not only can you enjoy the scenery by cable car, but there is also a via ferrata (a cliffside hiking path), and a zip-line for the more adventurous visitors. Go at night to see it all lit up!
Learn all about military history at Citadelle de Quebec and les Plaines d’Abraham. 30 years in the making, the Citadelle de Québec is the largest British fortress in North America. Finally opened in 1850, it is still an active garrison, home to the Royal 22 Regiment. Visitors can experience the changing of the guard, the beating of the retreat, take a guided tour of the Citadelle and Museum, and even take a nighttime lantern tour!
This is where it all began. Now a restored 1700’s public square, Place-Royale is where Samuel de Champlain built his first settlement in 1608. Amazingly, you can still see the outlines of the original structure on the ground! The Nôtre-Dame-des-Victoires church is the oldest stone church in North America, dating from 1688. Visitors can also take in the Fresque des Québécois, which shows the amazing history of Québec. If you only do one thing in Québec, make sure Place-Royale is it!
Whether for a girl’s weekend away, a family vacation or a trip with your special someone, a visit to Québec City will impress young and old, artists, history buffs and gastronomists alike!
This post was written by…
Heather van Mil from Life, Love and the Pursuit of Play
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Why is sustainable travel important
Travellers have more places to go and more ways to get there than ever before, and with that comes an even greater responsibility to safeguard the world’s cultural and natural treasures for future generations. The environment is obviously important to tourism. Both the natural environment (such as beaches, forests, waterways) and the built environment (such as historic buildings and ruins) must be preserved for an area to be environmentally sustainable.
Being a sustainable traveller doesn’t have to cost more.
- Be sure to purchase items with less packaging. This can be for travel prep items, grocery store items or everything in between. The first step to going green is our everyday purchases
- No straws. It may seem small but eliminating straws from our restaurant orders can go a long way. If one is required, ask for paper straws, bring your own metal straw (though it needs to be washed after every use) or drink straight from the cup. There are alternatives for the little ones as well; bring a silicone lid with built-in straw that covers a regular glass cup, or transfer the drinks to a child-friendly cup that you have brought with you. Asking for alternatives or refusing plastic straws shows management that you are serious about the environment. If enough clients start to show an interest, the restaurant may start to make changes.
- Bring your own bag for shopping. Whether it be grocery shopping, at the farmers market or shopping center, bringing your own bag can greatly reduce the impact that your shopping has on the environment.
- Get your food from the grocery store instead of fast food or packaged meals. Both create a lot of waste and neither are particularly healthy either. Visiting a grocery store or farmers market and self-catering while on vacation will also save you a ton of cash.
- Purchase fruit and veggies instead of packaged snacks. When making snack packs for theme parks or day trips, purchase them from the store and pack them into reusable containers. This is both better for the environment and your health vs prepared snack packs that contain a lot of sugar and preservatives. Many of these packaged items are being banned from schools due to allergies and possible nut contamination.
Eco-friendly ways to travel
- Book direct flights. Just like starting and stopping a car burns gas, take off and landing burn unnecessary fuel on airlines. Booking direct flights saves time, energy and fossil fuels. They may be more expensive but they are worth it. If your nearest airport doesn’t have a direct flight to your destination of choice, try looking around at alternatives; can you get to another airport for a better deal and a direct flight?
- The vehicle or mode of transportation is important. Are you using a car to get from one city to the next or train? How are you exploring the city itself? All of these little details start to add up. Walking is the best mode of transportation per person. Public transport is the second best way to travel. Road trips are not out of the question yet; the type of vehicle you own vs the type of public transit and how it is powered is also important when making this calculation
- Bring water bottles. It doesn’t really matter what kind you bring, bring a reusable water bottle and fill up at public fountains, restaurants and your hotel room. Doing this can save you hundreds of dollars per year and keep countless plastic bottles out of the oceans and landfills. But reusable water bottles are made of plastic… some are. But they are made of different kinds and are BPA FREE. What does BPA free mean? It means particles of plastic won’t leak into the drinking water and poison your body. This is why plastic water bottles have an expiry date and are not suggested to be used more than once. Single-use plastics are the number one producer of waste around the world.
- Take a shower, not a bath. Unless you are the type of person to take a 2-hour shower, most tend to get in and out fairly quickly. Having a proper and clean shower head can also help reduce water waste (though this isn’t in your control while on holiday), having a bath uses much more water than showering. If the little ones weren’t rolling in mud, have them share a bath or save the bath water for the next child. If they are completely filthy, have them shower with mum or dad and save on water that way.
- Avoid hotel laundry service. While this is obvious for anyone wishing to save a few bucks or travel on a budget, it does need to be said. Hotel laundry service will wash all colours separately, just like mum taught us, but they won’t mix items from separate guests – clearly. So they could end up using an entire load just for your one white bra. Not a proper use of water or energy. Wash that bra by hand and head to the laundromat for all of your laundry needs.
- Reuse hotel towels. I don’t know what it is about hotels that make people carefree but the amount of towel waste is crazy. You have just washed your body, then dried it with a towel. It is safe to say that this towel is fairly dirt free, as long as we all know how to shower properly. Hang that towel to dry and use it again tomorrow.
- Don’t take too many maps and brochures. It can be easy to just grab a bunch and think about it later but what are you doing with them afterward? In the bin? And now they need to make that much more product because so many people are taking a handful Willy nilly. Take what you need and bring the rest back, or just don’t take them in the first place.
- Use public transit or bike/walk to your destination. Once you have landed at your destination city, use public transit to get around. There is no need to cause more traffic or air pollution by using your own car. Many hotels are helping by offering free or discounted transit tickets with your reservation as well as a charge for each time your car leaves the parking garage, on top of the nightly rate.
- Your leftover toiletries. You may not have thought of this one. After you have opened a bottle of hotel shampoo, take the bottle with your at the end of your stay. It will be thrown away once housekeeping comes along. This can be used for your next vacation. If you want to take a sealed pack of shampoo, the local homeless shelters and women’s shelters are always seeking donations and this has been one for the easiest ways to contribute.
- Adapt to local culinary staples. When ordering from a restaurant or shopping at a grocery store, there are bound to be a handful of foods that are native to your part of the whole. Try purchasing something from this part of the globe instead; not only are you sampling the local cuisine and getting to know the area you are travelling to, you will be showing the stores that you are not interested in imported foods. These foods create a large carbon footprint just to get to the market, in order to serve tourists and their own specific tastes.
- Leave no trace’. We have all heard that saying “take only photographs, leave only footprints”. There is a reason for this; souvenirs cost a lot of money and they create a lot of waste. There is no reason to purchase half of the souvenirs most of us purchase and we would be just as happy without them.
- Eco-friendly hotels. There is a growing trend of eco-friendly hotels. Check out their websites, make sure they are compliant and choose these hotels over their (cheaper) chain alternatives. Again, this starts to show major brands and city council where tourists prefer to spend their money and will eventually make changes accordingly.
- Pack light. This doesn’t seem much of a sustainability problem, luggage is reusable. But, with fewer pieces, you can move around easier and avoid taking a taxi to and from the airport.
- Pick your products carefully. When getting ready for vacation, everyone makes their necessary purchases. Choosing one brand over another, one style over another can have a huge impact on the environment, and the bottom line of brands we don’t agree with.
- Reduce wasteful water use. This goes back to my limited shower time tip, but also when brushing your teeth, cooking, flushing the toilets… reduce the amount of water you waste.
- Carbon offsets. If you can’t reduce your waste, think about purchasing carbon offsets. The money earned from these purchases goes to funding research to eliminate the pollution already in the atmosphere, as well as reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and other polluting agents. It doesn’t keep the environment clean, but it is a step in the right direction to making a better tomorrow.
- Stay longer at each destination. The less you travel around, the less pollution you are creating, period. This will ultimately mean you are visiting fewer places during your limited vacation time but you will be able to see more of each destination and invest more of your hard-earned dollars into the local economy.
- Eat local. Visit farmers markets, co-ops, local restaurants… anything to stay out of fast food chains.
In the end, the destination is the biggest way to reduce your energy footprint. Research the energy generation mix of that destination and find out how you can minimize your impact on the environment.
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It’s been 4 long years that we have lived in Germany, and while I will miss my new home incredibly, there is nothing like being back on Canadian soil. I didn’t even realize how much I missed Canada until we were visiting in April, to find a house at our new location. There are a handful of quirks, foods, cultural nuances, and experiences, that just can’t be replicated across the pond. As an expat, these are the top things that I miss about Canada.
1 – Bagged Milk
What is bagged milk, you may ask? It is the single greatest invention since sliced bread. Gone are the days of shlepping 3 cartons of milk home every other day. Bags of milk hold 4 litres between 3 bags, which store nicely in the fridge. But how do you pour milk from a bag? With a milk jug of course. And every family has at least a dozen of those little milk bag opener magnets somewhere around the house…and never where they are supposed to be; on the side of the jug, or stuck to the fridge.
The only thing that could top this, is daily milk delivery in a glass jar. Check out the history of bagged milk for more info. And by the way, 3% milk, is called Homo milk, because it’s homogenized. Don’t ask questions, just go with it.
2 – Turning right on the red
So many Germans, and British, gasp with disbelief when I tell them how we drive back home. What do you mean you turn right on the red? Why would you do that? Because we don’t have nearly as many cars on the road as you Europeans do and clearly we only do it when there is no on-coming traffic. We aren’t a bunch of hooligans, plowing down pedestrians at every turn…Well, not in Ontario anyway.
3 – Vachon Treats
Seriously, I love my Canadian snacks. Not only is our version of Smarties and Hershey Kisses better than the UK or American version, we have our own line of “specialty” snacks that are not exported outside of the country. Of course, I didn’t know this when we left Canada all those years ago. As I skurry the isles looking for something, anything, that I recognize, I come to the quick realization that I am forever at the mercy of the German bakery. Not a horrible trade, mind you, but a devastating blow to my road trip snack packs.
4 – Tim Hortons.
Thought this would be higher on the list, didn’t you? While I do miss Timmies tremendously, I technically got my fix while we were in Scotland last summer and Coffee can be ordered on Amazon. Tim bits aren’t easily replaced but the Quarkinis available at most German bakeries come in close second.
I even have the kids calling them Tim Bits (it’s the English word for Quarkinis, of course), in order to make the transition a little easier come moving day.
5 – Poutine
In Germany, you get what you get. Your menu says your meal comes with fries (Pommes), then that’s what it comes with. I love being able to switch my fries to a Caesar salad, but mostly I love switching it for a poutine. I don’t want a poutine for a meal, cause that’s huge, but as a side; perfect!
There are plenty of places to get your fix without finding a poutinery; A&W (in Canada), St Hubert (only in Quebec) and New York Fries (surprisingly, a Canadian company) all serve amazing poutine.
Until then, we will have to settle for St Hubert packaged poutine sauce and make it ourselves; it’s not the same but it’s pretty darn close.
6 – Screens on windows
While I love the German pull-out windows, I am currently surrounded by flies, impatiently waiting for the moment to strike at my glass of wine. We don’t generally leave our doors open for longer than needed so they are clearly coming in from the windows. And they are relentless. Many times, they hover near a window, it’s like they have no idea how to get out now that they are in.
7- Mr Bubble
Yeah, yeah, I know. I can get a myriad of brands here, but I just LOVE Mr Bubble. And so do the kids. It is rather expensive to buy online so we have gone without for 4 years unless we find ourselves near an American shop, which isn’t often, then we stock up.
8 – Moose sightings
Ok, Moose sightings do mean an increase in traffic due to all the tourists stopping to take their picture, and others driving super slow to avoid hitting a Moose (because only the Moose walks away from a car accident involving a Moose), I do love the looks on Europeans’ faces when I describe a Moose.
The German word for Moose is also the same word for Deer, so using Google Translate isn’t an option. A drawing works, but then you need to get the scale right. Imagine this conversation; it’s bigger than a deer (the largest animal in Europe, if you don’t count Nessy), has giant horns, will destroy your car if you run into it, and is roughly the size of a bear. But don’t worry, its an herbivore.
9 – Camping
I’m not sure if it’s a German thing or a European thing, but the locals don’t camp. It is certainly not in a tent. They campervan. Not the same thing, sorry. I absolutely love the smell of a wood stove/campfire, roasting marshmallows, and garlic bread. We camped a few times in Canada, and Munchkin got a real liking for it. Now that we are moving back near Algoniquin Park, I think we will have to take them camping more often.
10 – White Christmas
I don’t like shoveling, I definitely don’t like shoveling minutes before the snow plow comes and clears the road in front of our house (an hour of work, wasted), and I especially don’t like slipping on ice, but there is something to be said for having a white Christmas. I understand there are plenty of places on this Earth where it is traditionally Green for the Christmas season, but up here in Canada, it snows from October to April, if you’re lucky (Looking at you Calgary). I have grown accustomed to seeing snow in December and it has become part of the Christmas spirit. Experiencing 4 green winters has become a little depressing.
Just visit a part of Europe that snows for Christmas? Not as easy as it sounds! 3 years in a row, we have ventured to Switzerland and Eastern Europe for Christmas holidays and do you know what we found? Green! Prague wasn’t even cold, it was raining for crying out loud.
I know there are plenty of expats that would disagree with a good portion of these, mostly snow and moose sightings, and that’s fair. Life really is simpler when you only have to dress for 3 seasons, instead of 4, and screens can technically be added to most windows with velcro but it just isn’t the same.
I’m a Canadian at heart, and you can move me halfway across the world, but Canadian news will always be at the top of my BBC feed, I call my parents house ‘back home’. I miss having small talk with random seniors that stop to chat about the kids. As frivolous and nonsensical that this list may be (seriously, I miss milk bags and traffic lights?), it’s the little things that all add up over time that make up a country and a culture, not just the physical ground I am standing on.
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Dubai has transformed into one of the most family-friendly holiday destinations in the last decade. Several places in Dubai are brimming with activity zones for kids; Adventure parks, water parks, indoor play areas, gaming zones, and much more. These are just some of the areas that have seen tremendous growth in the last decade or so. ‘Family friendly’ is the new strategy for Dubai as a city to attract holiday goers. Many places are open to family fun in the summer, some may be a little heavy on the pocket, and some offer unbelievable deals. We have listed some of the best places in Dubai to cool off your heels and relax.
– Shivam Khandelwal from Dhow Cruise in Dubai
Water Parks – Beat the heat
Water parks are a hot favourite in the hot summer season. Some of the popular ones are Aquaventure and Wild Wadi. Admission to Aquaventure and Wild Wadi feature in holiday budgets combo package across several hotels in Dubai. Aquaventure, spread across 40 acres, boasts of an incredible variety of rides and slides that includes the 100ft-high Ziggurat along with the recently opened Tower of Poseidon zip-line circuit. Atlantis the Palm has the most spectacular range of activities for kids, besides the Aquaventure, leading into The Lost chambers that has more than 65,000 aquatic creatures permitting visitors to feed fishes. On the other hand, Wild Wadi has 30 rides, including Flow Rider surf simulators and Jumeirah Sceirah fast rides located near the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and Burj Al Arab, operated by Jumeirah International.
The Legoland Water Park
This Park features more than 40 fantastic rides, several attractions for family, and interactive play areas for kids. If your kids love LEGOS, they will surely enjoy this park featuring a giant Legos. A lego version of the iconic Burj Khalifa, where you can witness the gorgeous Dubai skyline. Open to both adults and kids, parents can inspire their kids with the magic of Legos; this will be the perfect gift for your little ones next Christmas.
World-class Malls – A complete family destination
The Dubai Mall houses an indoor aquarium featuring several exotic sea creatures. It offers an excellent opportunity to walk through the glass tunnel with giant sharks, sea turtles, and other marine life swimming in your neighborhood. Once in a lifetime experience for all kinds of visitors and tourists. The Sega Republic at the mall is a computer-game theme park with more than 170 rides and games. There are several world-class malls in Dubai offering a classic experience like never before. Be it shopping or a family holiday, the malls in Dubai are equipped with everything you would ever need.
This famous attraction has been around for a while at the Mall of the Emirates. They have a quite a few fun things to experience like the snow bullet, ski slope, snowboarding, and chairlift, Avalanche Café for some hot chocolate, the ski school, and a close encounter with the snow residing penguins. It’s a great way to cool down in the sweltering heat for the entire family.
The Theme Parks – An entertainment powerhouse
The Kid Zania at Dubai Mall is a great way to put your kid’s exploration and creative skills to test. A Miniature version of the professional world where kids get to choose their profession and enact their roles. From doctors to construction workers or chefs to engineers & so on, giving their parents a break for a few hours to aimlessly stroll around.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
An Extravagant Marvel theme park, currently the biggest one in the World, is placed near the Global Village (A must-visit entertainment hub during the shopping festival). Explore the four themed zones named IMG boulevard, Zones Marvel, Cartoon Network, and the Lost Valley. Spread lavishly over 1.5 million square feet and temperature-controlled, it takes an entire day to explore every corner of the park. The food court is somewhat pricey and outside food is not allowed so make sure you are prepared to shell out a little more for food. Some of must-try rides and attractions include The Haunted Hotel for the strong headed ones only; Ben 10 Hero time with a 10 min 5D cinema experience; Mojo Jojo’s Robot Rampage the Powerpuff girls inspired ride loops and spins; Predator a rollercoaster through the dinosaur valleys with a 90 degree drop, Velociraptor Rollercoaster 0-100km in 2.5 seconds with a T-Rex chasing after you, etc.
Green Planet the indoor Bio-dome
A replica of the Tropical forest that attracts visitors with the incredible beauty of the tropical forest. The Bio-dome boasts plenty of the flora and fauna inhabiting the tropical forest. The beauty of this site lies in its enclosed ecosystem. The most massive indoor and life-sustaining model ever created by man in the world. More than 3,000 plants and animals inhabit the Green Planet. Unique to this recreation is the educational centre adapted to raise awareness of how incredible nature is and how important it is to maintain the balance in ecosystems. Definitely an excellent way to educate the entire family about the consequences of upsetting the natural balance of our planet.
The latest addition to Dubai’s fun-filled adventure site list. The centre is a vast indoor fun place embedded with trampolines all across from wall to wall, ensured safe to bounce around with extra padding. Indulge in games like dodgeball, slam dunk, free jump and the big bag. Parents have a dedicated zone to sit back and relax while kids take their time to explore the place.
Modhesh is the summer mascot of Dubai. World trade centre hosts a family-centric event called the Modhesh World with loads of entertainment, games and rides, educational activities to keep the little ones busy. This event stretches across eight weeks to allow residents and summer visitors to enjoy new experiences every year. One of the key highlight of Dubai Summer Surprises. You can leave your little ones in the monitored enclosure and explore the rest of the site with your older kids and friends. The venues also feature many dining outlets and food trucks serving a variety of cuisines and have dedicated lounges for families to relax.
Dubai has its ways of entertaining visitors and residents through the winters & also excels at embracing its summers and have myriad of options to enjoy their time otherwise. Families can engage in fun-filled, educational and entertaining activities any time of the year with plenty to see and plenty to do.
Dhow Cruise Dubai Dinner with Family
Dubai is amongst one of the best places to visit as your holiday destination. After visiting different fabulous places in Dubai, one could hardly resist going to Dhow cruise marina dinner with your family. If you have never had the experience of Dhow cruise creek dinner and your gut feeling is that it’s just a floating restaurant, it is for sure you are on the wrong track.
Dinner at Dhow Cruise Marina is not just a casual dinner which you will be provided at any other restaurant. It would be an evening that you will remember throughout your life. As you enter a traditional wooden Arabian boat, you could see the beauty of Arabian culture. At Dhow Cruise creek dinner you can not only enjoy the delicious food of international standard but also music, belly dancing and a great view of Dubai.
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Milan is one of the most famous tourist attractions while you are traveling to Italy. It is the most populated and metropolitan location which is well known for the business bustle, banking, and fashion. This city has some alluring sights which are must to visit once in a lifetime. Milan offers a lot of things to do here during your whole trip to Milan. Let us find a few of the top things to do in Milan.
– Martin from Yo! Innovation
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- City Survey from Duomo Roof
Duomo Roof is the center of attraction for the tourists of this city. This is the best place to explore in Milan city. You can observe the city very closely from the top in case you don’t have plenty of time to stay in this city. Whenever you visit this beautiful business-centric city, don’t forget to visit the rooftop of Duomo, a place where you can easily spend an hour to look at the city from a topmost position under the open sky.
- Explore Milan’s Culture at Pinacoteca di Brera
This city is not only popular for business, but it’s a place where you get to see few of the world’s most amazing art museums. One of them is Pinacoteca di Brera. In this museum, you can see few of the most adorable and beautiful collection of Italian paintings. Also, after the tour of this beautiful museum, you can enjoy some window shopping and delicious food in the nearby restaurants.
- The Last Supper
Don’t miss to visit the Milan’s Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous work “The Last Supper”. This painting of Vinci’s is very immense. It was once been destroy during World War 2. But thankfully, the painting has been restored. However, the painting is continuously decayed due to the skills used by Vinci.
- Taste the Delicious Street Food at Chinatown
Chinatown is a small but a significant place in Milan. The markets and the restaurants are well settled and famous among the visitors and tourists. The place is especially popular for its street food, which includes Steamed buns with vegetable dumpling, wine bar, and the must-have food gelato at Chateau Dufan. A visit to China town is fulfilling to your taste buds.
- Bike Ride down the canals
If you are a bike lover and also are on the tour to Milan, then must go for an amazing bike ride. Just rent a bike and go out for a ride under the canals and most scenic routes of Milan on the Naviglio Della Martesana at the northeast center which passes by Meadows and farms and then reaches Gorgonzola, which is a famous place for its buttery soft Italian blue cheese.
Check us out at Viator for bike tours and day trip suggestions.
- Window shopping at Quadrilatero d’ Oro
Along with a business-centric city, Milan is also known as the fashion capital of Italy. Without shopping at the streets of Milan your trip might feel incomplete. However, these fashionable brands are not so affordable. That’s why window shopping is the best idea. You may comfortably go for a sidewalk in this street to elaborate the high rated brands such as Armani, Prada, Versace, D&G, Valentino, etc. These brands are difficult to find in other Countries.
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