I know, it sounds impossibly romantic. What could be better than strolling down Paris’ most famous boulevard while browsing quaint little holiday shops for the perfect handmade gift?
Well until January 5th that’s exactly what you can do at the Village de Noël in the heart of Paris! There’s also a few cheesy fairground rides, a ton of german sausages and an endless supply of hot wine and Christmas beer. (I’m not sure if I just made it sound better or worse.)
All over the Musée d’Orsay are signs forbidding photography. Which is a damn shame because this train-station-turned-museum is absolutely loaded with gorgeous architectural details just begging to be captured on camera.
One of the few exceptions to this silly rule seems to be the highest possible viewing platform. You can practically touch the flowered ceiling from here, making it the perfect spot to admire the detailed craftsmanship of the 100-year-old design. While the collection houses many great Impressionist masterpieces along with countless statues and objets d’art, the building itself is the main attraction to me.
I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year: heli-hiking in New Zealand, eating at the world’s cheapest Michelin restaurant in Hong Kong, having a close encounter with a wild baby seal, making new best friends in Berlin, and of course spending time with my extended family visiting our ancestral hometown in Ireland!
2013 has been a whirlwind of awesome.
Fellow Potterheads, you may recall that last year I visited the wonderful Harry Potter Studio Tour outside London. It’s a glorious place made for the truest of nerds. I spent hours examining every prop, set and costume, completely in awe of the craftsmanship that went in to bringing Harry and the wizarding world to life on the big screen.
So it is with unrestrained glee that I tell you I was able to visit the studios again last week, only this time with 100% more holiday cheer involved!
Some good friends of mine just landed in Barcelona while I’m enjoying a very chilly November in the UK. While I’m loving my current Doctor Who themed adventures, I’m slightly jealous of the warmer weather in Spain, and fully jealous of the views they’ll get to experience.
Take this one from Park Güell, for instance. From this magnificent viewpoint you can see the entirety of the city laid out before you, all the way to the Mediterranean. Palm trees, sunshine and gorgeous Gaudí architecture. Spectacular.
Walking into the mammoth BBC studio that contains the TARDIS – the real, honest-to-goodness bigger-on-the-inside TARDIS – was like walking into Santa’s workshop.
This is where they’ve filmed everything! Right here is where Matt Smith pretended to be floating on a cloud. And back there was where they filmed the city streets in the The Rings of Akhaten. And just up here is where they walk into the most magical box in all of time and space!
Now go inside.
There’s so much to see when you’re exploring the Scottish Highlands. From Inverness to John O’Groats there are seemingly endless beautiful vistas: mountains, lakes, beaches (yes, really!) and windswept cliffs. With all this natural beauty it’s easy to forget that there are many manmade treasures to behold.
During our five-day Highland adventure we managed to tour three Scottish castles and drive by many, many more. There are so many up here you can practically throw a stone from one castle to another. Alas we couldn’t see them all (three is pretty much my limit in one week, anyway), but I was very pleased that the ones we did enjoy were so varied.
That’s the question for many travelers to Scotland. The infamous dish has a bad reputation outside the country, but is beloved within its borders.
In the last month in this beautiful country I’ve seen haggis pizza, haggis tacos, haggis nuggets, haggis burgers, canned haggis, fresh haggis and even vegetarian haggis. I kid you not.
Yes, you read that headline correctly. 3-D. Blacklight. Miniature golf.
I’m usually pretty snooty about mini-golf. Growing up in suburban America I was spoiled with turning windmills, loop-de-loops and plenty of dragons along whose backs you had to curve your ball to try to make a hole in one.
In the rest of the world, mini-golf is sadly… just miniature golf. Small putting greens with the occasional lump or bump, put there to “amuse” children while their parents have a beer. So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we heard that Berlin had an underground mini-golf course that’s covered in 3D paint!
You may be thinking “It’s too early for this.” But I’m currently freezing my butt off in the Scottish Highlands, and I disagree. As I explore ancient castles, magical mountains and Loch Ness wearing my winter coat, hat, gloves and a scarf, I’m starting to feel the need for fall food. Apple cider, corn mazes and pumpkin are all on my mind! So GET EXCITED people. Even if you’re currently melting, fall is just around the corner! (Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case you can get excited because warmer weather is coming your way.) Continue reading