Visit Salisbury Cathedral in England – 7 Reasons To Go Now

visit salisbury cathedral

visit salisbury cathedral

Lovers of history should plan to visit Salisbury Cathedral in England at least once.  Embodying 759 years of history, mechanical genius, and one of the most important documents of medieval England makes it one of the best cathedrals in the UK.  It boasts the tallest spire in Britain, the world’s oldest working clock, and the best preserved original copy of the Magna Carta of 1215.  It’s also recognized as having the largest cathedral cloisters as well as the largest cathedral close in all of Britain. As an active place of worship, services are still conducted, but it also hosts concerts, workshops, and various art exhibits.  There are some amazing things to do in Salisbury, and a visit to Salisbury Cathedral is definitely one of them.

 

 

History of Salisbury Cathedral

After the Battle of Hastings, King William I (William the Conqueror) used the existing church of Old Sarum in Salisbury as his base of operations.  Situated on a hill and surrounded by an almost impenetrable wall, William felt it was the most fortified place to be at the time. (Image courtesy of Flikr.)

visit salisbury cathedral

Ruins of Old Sarum


Through the years, military and religious disagreements led to the royal decree of relocating the church. In 1220, Old Sarum was dismantled and reassembled on its current location in Salisbury. 

After only 38 years, reconstruction of the main body of Salisbury Cathedral was completed by 1258.

visit salisbury cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England, UK

The cloisters, chapter house, tower, and spire were built later but maintained the Gothic style of building.

Since most cathedrals took lifetimes to finish, Salisbury Cathedral holds the record for being completed in record time.

The cost of building Salisbury Cathedral was absorbed by vicars, canons, Bishops, and other wealthy patrons including King Henry III.

 

 

It has the World’s Oldest Working Clock

visit salisbury cathedral

World’s oldest working clock in Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England, UK

Built around 1386, this mechanical wonder has been dubbed as the world’s oldest working clock. 

The original creators of the clock are unknown. It’s highly suspected (yet unproven) that it may be the product of three horologists: Johannes and Williemus Vriemand, and Johannes Jietuijt.  It’s believed they ventured to England at the personal invitation of King Edward III.

Having been built for the sole purpose of chiming every hour to alert the Bishops of prayer times, the clock has no face. 

The gears are housed in a wrought iron frame with no other coverings. It requires to be wound by hand once a day and will run for just over 24 hours before stopping. 

When Colonel Edmund Ludlow took control of the tower in 1645, it was attacked by Royalists trying to oust Ludlow by setting fire to the tower.  Ludlow eventually chose to surrender rather than go up in flames with the tower.  All that remained was a burnt shell.

The charred tower was later pulled down in 1792.  The original clock was taken to the Cathedral tower and remained in use there until 1884.  At that time, it was removed and a new clock installed.

The original clock was forgotten until 1929. Soon after, it was relocated to the North Transept in 1931. Covered in dust and rust, it no longer functioned.  But in 1956, it was brought to life again.  It was painstakingly restored to its original luster by John Smith & Co, T. R. Robinson, and R.P. Howgrave-Graham.

Today, it’s on permanent display and ticks away the hours much as it did over 600 years ago. (Image courtesy of Flikr)

 

I see no advantage in these new clocks. They run no faster than the ones made 100 years ago – Henry Ford.

 

See the Tallest Spire in Britain

visit salisbury cathedral

Tallest spire in England and Britain – Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England, UK

Fifty years after the Cathedral was completed, the spire was added. In addition to having the world’s oldest working clock as a claim to fame, it also boasts the tallest spire in England. .

Combining the height of the tower and spire, it measures 404 feet, making it the tallest spire in Britain (not just England). Piercing the skyline, it’s instantly recognizable from afar and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Booking a Tower Tour takes visitors on an adventure of climbing the 332 steps of the winding spiral staircase that leads to the base of the iconic Salisbury spire.

The original medieval interior then leads guests to four balconies with a vantage point 225 feet above ground.  The views of the city of Salisbury, Old Sarum, and the breathtaking countryside are amazing.

Entrance into Salisbury Cathedral is free, but there is a fee if you’d like to book a tour of the tower.  Tours last for 1.5 hours, children are welcome, and usually take place once a day.

 

An instinctive taste teaches me to build their churches with spire steeples which point as with a silent finger to the sky and stars – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

 

See the Font of Living Water

visit salisbury cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral Font by William Pyre

British water sculptor William Pye creates fascinating pieces of art such as the famous Salisbury Cathedral Font.  

Installed in 2008, the cruciform sculpture was created to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Cathedral’s consecration. 

It’s the largest working font in all of Britain’s cathedrals, and it’s the only one that contains flowing water.

A symbol of baptism, the “living water” pools serenely in a cross-shaped vessel and gently flows out of each of the four sides.

The beauty of the stained glass windows and high medieval arches are reflected in the mirror-like surface. Pye blends the stillness of the water’s surface with the movement of the underlying water as it cascades through the four spouts into inconspicuous grating embedded in the floor. 

On the side is an etching that says, “I have called you by name, you are mine.”

 

See a Piece of the Virgin Mary

Rumor has it that among the many relics stored in the Cathedral is a piece of fabric believed to have once been part of the cloak belonging to the Virgin Mary. 

 

It’s Home to the Magna Carta

visit salisbury cathedral

Magna Carta on Display in Salisbury Cathedral

The Magna Carta became the most important document in the history of England because it put an end to the unlimited power held by the British monarch.

The Magna Carta has been used as an example for many countries constitutions, including America. 

The Fifth Amendment states, “Nor shall any persons be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

Sound familiar?  This idea was taken from Clause 39 of the Magna Carta.

Written in June of 1215 and signed by King John (brother to Richard the Lionheart and son of Eleanor of Aquitaine), it became Europe’s first written constitution.

It provided a set of boundaries regarding the King’s rule of his people. It outlines the protection of church rights, illegal imprisonment, and the promise of swift justice.

Four copies were made, and Salisbury Cathedral serves as the home to the best preserved copy. 

Visitors can see it on display in the Chapter House inside the Cathedral.  The British Library houses two copies, and the Lincoln Cathedral displays the other copy.

Unfortunately, it cannot be photographed, only viewed.  

 

Famous Burials in Salisbury Cathedral

Well-known historical figures remain immortal when their burial sites are visited year after year.  Their decorative and extraordinary marble tombs provide a glimpse into the occupant’s lifestyle in a bygone era. 

The oldest tomb in Salisbury Cathedral belongs to Bishop Osmund of Old Sarum.  Buried at the original church, Old Sarum, his tomb was moved when the Cathedral relocated to its current location.

While mainly used for the Bishops of Salisbury,

visit salisbury cathedral

William Longespee, first person entombed in Salisbury Cathedral in 1250

tombs of other famous figures reside here, such as:

  • Lady Catherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, sister of Lady Jane Grey
  • William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, illegitimate son of King Henry II making him half-brother to Richard the Lionheart and King John (he was first person to be interred in Salisbury Cathedral in 1250) (Photo courtesy of Flikr)
  • Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, first Englishwoman recognized as a poet
  • Sir Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the UK (1970 – 1974), the most recent burial
  • Sir John De Comtacute
  • Sir Edward Seymour 

 

Things to Do In Salisbury, the Town

After you enjoy a visit Salisbury Cathedral, check out the town attractions.  History is around every corner. 

visit salisbury cathedral

Execution site of the Duke of Buckingham in 1483

In the lane facing the Cathedral green, stop for a view of a forgotten graveyard where victims of the Black Plague were entered in a mass burial spot called a plague pit.

Market Square witnessed the execution of the Duke of Buckingham in 1483. Accused of treason for rebelling against King Richard III, he was also a suspect in the disappearance of the two young princes in the Tower.

A plague outside of Debehams Department Store commemorates the site. (Image courtesy of Flikr.)

The River Avon is one of four rivers that run through Salisbury.  Trees, flowers, pigeons, and flowing water provide a serene place for tourists to stretch their legs.  Or relax on a bench and enjoy a snack.

 

Bodies were left in empty houses, and there was no one to give them a Christian burial – Samuel Pepys.

 

visit salisbury cathedral

Fisherton Street Clock Tower n Salisbury, England

If time permits, explore a few of these places:

  • United Reformed Church (est. 1879)
  • Old Mill Hotel and Restaurant (Wiltshire’s first paper mill and dates back to the year 1500)
  • Fisherton Street Clock Tower (built using masonry from a prison that previously occupied the area in 1492) (image courtesy of Flikr)
  • Sarum College (once the Bishop’s Palace)
  • Thomas Church of Canterbury (has the largest chancel painting in England entitled “Doom”)
  • Open Air Market (every Tuesday and Saturday)

 

 Nearby Things to Do In Salisbury

Shopping, boutiques, book stores, and restaurants abound in Salisbury. But if want to see more of the surrounding countryside, there is plenty.

Eight miles north of the town of Salisbury, the massive upright rocks of Stonehenge stand their ground and have bewildered archeologists for thousands of years.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this spectacular monument. It’s only a 20 minute drive.

visit salisbury cathedral

There are no accidents, only unsolved mysteries – Sandra Kring

Other nearby ancient monuments are Avebury, King’s Barrow, and Woodhenge. 

Bring a camera, some comfortable shoes, and enjoy exploring the area.

 

Why Should I Visit Salisbury Cathedral?

Known as the best cathedral in the UK, tourists from around the globe stand in awe of this place. The world’s oldest working clock.  The Magna Carta. The tallest spire in Britain.  The Salisbury Cathedral font.  These are just a few reasons to visit Salisbury Cathedral.  

But even if amazing antiquated medieval churches aren’t your forte, you’ll find tons of other things to do in Salisbury. Famous burial sites.  A plague pit.  Nearby Stonehenge. Execution sites. And shopping. Lots of shopping.

The town of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, is bursting with history and beauty.  Stop by this charming city in the countryside for a few hours or, better yet a day or two.  It’s brimming with British culture, mystery, and charm that you may not find anywhere else.

 

Have you been able to visit Salisbury Cathedral? Post a comment below and tell us about it.

 

Ditch the hotel and live like royalty on your next vacation.  Here are 5 Best Castle Hotels in Scotland that you’ll love to check out.

 

Best Things to do on an Alaskan cruise – Planning Your Alaska Vacation

Things to do on an alaskan cruise

Things to do on an alaskan cruise

Finding the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise for singles, couples, and the whole family.

 

When you’re planning an Alaskan vacation, the first thing you have to decide is your means of travel.  Car? Bus? Train? Boat?  A few of the best towns to visit in Alaska are reachable by boat. Cruise ships are floating cities with plenty to do.  And some of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise will be the most memorable things you’ll ever experience.

 As my first cruise, it opened a door to a whole new way of traveling.  It was one of the best Alaska vacation ideas I could think of that would let me relax plus find adventure.  Cruises don’t mean you stare out the window all day and watch the ocean pass by.  There’s a ton of stuff to do!  I also discovered that the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise aren’t actually on the ship. 
 

Planning an Alaskan Vacation

Planning an Alaskan vacation can be done several different ways.  Traveling by car takes longer, but you’re in control of where you go and how fast you get there. A train is just a really fast bus that makes pit stops.  A cruise is water bound. 
 
things to do on an alaskan cruiseAlaska is one of the most beautiful places in the world because so much of it hasn’t been spoiled yet.  There isn’t a wrong way to experience it.  Road trips are wonderful if you enjoy driving at your own pace.  Trains cover more ground at faster speeds.  But a cruise offers a bit more – it combines land and sea.  No driving, no scheduled bathroom breaks, no stress. 
 
It’s not all winter and heavy coats in Alaska.  On my cruise, I packed a hoodie, jeans, tank tops, and t-shirts. My cruise departed from Seattle in the beginning of May.  Some places were chilly, yes, but in others I left my hoodie behind.  The best things to do on an Alaskan cruise are exploring the different ports.  The weather varies in each port, so varying your wardrobe is important.
  
Some of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise happen during the land excursions. This is an important part of planning an Alaskan vacation if you’re taking a cruise.  I booked the ones that I knew I’d probably never have a chance to do again.  Because room is limited, I booked them at the same time I booked the cruise.  You can book during the cruise, but it may be full by then. They’re refundable up to 24 hours beforehand.  If you decide you want to raid the buffet all day instead of leave the boat, just ask for a refund.
 
 

Best Things To Do On an Alaskan Cruise

 I found some of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise are to relax, sleep, and eat.  There are scheduled meal times, but the buffet is available 24 hours a day.  So are tea, coffee, and the dessert bar.  But there’s more to life on a cruise than eating. When you’re planning an Alaskan vacation, be adventurous and take advantage of the port calls.  You never know what you may find.
 
Deciding to book the whale watching tour was the absolute best Alaska vacation idea imaginable. Seeing humpback whales and killer whales swim next to you in the open ocean is a beautiful experience.  This is, by far, the absolute best thing to do on an Alaskan cruise. If you do nothing else, go whale watching in Juneau.  There’s nothing else like it.
 
We docked and took a shuttle boat to the mainland.  Our guides were waiting for us and piled us into a comfortable mini-bus. Fifteen minutes later, we boarded what I thought of as a larger version of a speedboat. 
 
A few minutes out to sea in Auke Bay, the captain slowed the engines and we stopped. A pod of four Orcas was nearby. As we floated, they came up to the boat to investigate.  With a camcorder in one hand and my digital camera in the other, I captured every second of that encounter.
 
The captain explained the logistics, but I was engrossed in watching the mamma and baby orca play.  Their dorsal fins slice through the water. They blew water out of their blowholes. They crisscrossed one anothers path and always stayed watchful of the baby. This was so much better than watching them swim in circles at Sea World.
 
 

Kayaking in Eagle Island in Ketchikan

Another port visit was to the northern town of Ketchikan. It drizzled rain the entire time, but a drizzle won’t kill you.  We docked, got to land, met our tour guides, and climbed into a comfy mini-van.  A quick drive out of town, and we were at the visitor center of Southeast Exposure.
 
Ketchikan Things to do on an alaskan cruise
Our guide was one of the coolest guys I’ve met.  He knew everything about the Alaskan outdoors.  We got in our rain ponchos and vests and headed to the docks.  Sharing a kayak with him, I didn’t have to do much paddling. So I had the camcorder and camera going full speed.
 
Things to do on an alaskan cruise
Eagle Island is the home to a mass of bald eagles that nest there. They flew all around and paid no attention to us.  The air was so free of noise pollution that we could hear the flapping of their wings as they soared above us. 
 
We didn’t explore the island – I think that’s illegal – but we circled it to get the full view.  A family of minks came to shore and chased one another.  As they played hide and seek, they’d stop and stare at us every now and again before going back to their antics. 
 
As I slacked in my paddling duties, I was able to really focus on my surroundings.  I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  Sometimes whales come into the bay, and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some more Orcas. But the movement kept disappearing until I thought I’d imagined it.
 
Watching an eagle glide across the water and snatch a fish out of the water on my left, something bumped the right side near my legs.  I just about peed my pants when I turned and looked straight into the eyes of a baby seal.
 
Stunned, I didn’t move.  He balanced halfway out of the water, leaning casually on my boat as he checked me out.  His nose twitched and I desperately wanted to rub his little whiskers.  I slowly reached my hand towards him and came within centimeters of touching him.  But he pushed off and disappeared into the black water. He stayed near us the rest of the time, staying just out of my reach.  Splashing, swimming, and I swear he was smiling; he just had a fun time following along on our tour.
 
 

Glaciers, glaciers, and more glaciers

Hubbard Glacier

Ketchikan Things to do on an alaskan cruiseSome of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise are free.  Like sipping complimentary hot cocoa as your ship parks directly in front of a world-famous glacier. 
 
This is the only time I actually needed my hoodie.  The change in temperature was drastic as we neared Hubbard Glacier.  We went from enjoying the sun on the Lido deck in the open air to huddling around cups of hot cocoa as we slowly entered the bay.
 
Feeling like I was having a Titanic moment, I stood on the bow of the ship and braved the cold.  Moving only inches at a time, our view of the glacier was amazing.  I took photos of it and the iceberg children bobbing past us from every angle imaginable.  Things to do on an alaskan cruiseThere was also plenty of time to pose with the glacier behind us for a few family pictures.
 
A slow rumbling began and as we searched the horizon. A giant piece of the glacier broke off and splashed into the ocean.  Known as “calving”, it’s how the smaller icebergs are created. The current carries them along as the blue of the water reflects off of them. 
 
 

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau

 When you’re planning an Alaskan vacation, make sure you include visiting the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Juneau Tours picks up passengers at the docks and shuttles you to a Visitor’s Center.  The Center sits on the edge of the Mendenhall Glacier. From the road, you can see it.  It looks like a raging river suddenly froze and stayed that way.
 
Ketchikan Things to do on an alaskan cruise
The Center is full of information and pamphlets about the glacier’s history, but I bypassed that. I headed straight down the long wooden walkway that leads to the glacier.  As it melts, the ice creates a lake of sorts with a shoreline.  We walked right up to the lake and got closer to the Mendenhall Glacier than we did to the Hubbard Glacier.  I scooped up some water and drank it.  It was sparkling clean, refreshing, and probably the best water I’ve ever had. 
 
There’s also a spectacular waterfall near the glacier.  It sprouts from the rock and feeds into the lake of melted ice.  No matter the weather, this was a truly beautiful sight to behold.
 
If you’re planning an Alaskan vacation that gives you more flexibility and freedom, hop on a helicopter and head to Canada.  Mendenhall Glacier is only about 40 miles away from British Columbia. Or hike the numerous trails encircling the glacier.
  

Best Towns to Visit in Alaska

 Cruises to Alaska incorporate port calls to coastal towns that thrive and cater to tourists.  Most cruise lines research the best towns to visit in Alaska and include it in their itinerary.  You can shop, eat, explore, and pick up those coveted trinkets and souvenir from each town.
 
There’s a scavenger hunt we played, courtesy of the cruise line.  At each town, we visited the specified store and received a free gift.  Each port had the next part of that gift.  By the end of the cruise, I had collected a four-piece set of porcelain coasters and a set of crystal Christmas ornaments.
 
 

Ketchikan

KKetchikan Things to do on an alaskan cruiseayaking to Eagles Island and whale watching were the best Alaska vacation ideas I could have had. Ever.  There are other things to do if you don’t want to purchase the kayak tour in Ketchikan.  It rains a lot, but that doesn’t dampen the outdoor adventures.
 
Ketchikan has the largest number of totem poles in Alaska! Explore some of the native culture that pops up everywhere.  Art galleries and museums house carvings, weavings, sculptures and lots more. We saw some ancient totems that were true works of art.
 
Off-roading, zip lines, helicopter and floatplane tours are everywhere.  Use your vacation as an excuse to do something you thought you never would. The next time I go, I’ll be zip lining through the wilds of Alaska.
 
Since wildlife outnumbers humans, just walk around or take a hike to see an abundance of forest friends.  Other cruise tours are available in town that involves seeing porpoises, sea lions, whales, otters, and more. 
 

Sitka

things to do on an alaskan cruiseWhile some of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise involve experiencing the beauty and wilderness, we can’t forget shopping and eating. I did lots of both in Sitka.
 
The mildest weather we had during the cruise was here.  With jeans and t-shirts, we soaked up the warm sunny weather.  Shops abound on the strip. Every souvenir you can think of is sold here. I bought a few things made by local natives rather than cheapy trinkets.
 
Once owned by Russia, you’ll find lots of Russian history and heritage proudly displayed in Sitka.  I found a fabulous set of nesting dolls (made locally) for only a few dollars. It’s been the topic for famous novels including one written by Louis L’Amour as well as the setting for many classic films.
 
After hitting every single shop on the strip, we needed food.  Grabbing an outdoor patio table at The Dock Shack, I ordered fish ‘n chips. The food, service, and view of the bay were incomparable to any other seaside town I’ve been to.   Sitka has to be one of the best towns to visit in Alaska simply because of its amazing history, outstanding shopping, and limitless locally made items.
 
 

Juneau

I think that two of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise are whale watching in Auke Bay and tasting water from the Mendenhall Glacier.  Riding a catamaran through Auke Bay and witnessing a pod of Orcas playing was amazing.  Add tasting water directly from a melting glacier, and there’s no topping that. 
I recommend stopping by the Red Dog Saloon for a beer and a bite to eat.   A relic of Alaska’s mining heyday, it brings you back to the days of the gold rush.

things to do on an alaskan cruise

History buffs will remember the old song by Johnny Horton called “Springtime in Alaska.” 
So I took a little stroll to the Red Dog sea-loon.
As I walked in the door, the music was clear.
The purtiest voice I had heard in two years.
The song she was singin’ made a man’s blood run cold.
When its springtime in Alaska it’s forty below.
Pizza, salads, burgers populate the menu while hats, sweatshirts, and other unique souvenirs can be found for sale.  It’s like the Alaskan version of the Hard Rock Café but more affordable.
 

Victoria, BC

 The final stop for us was in Victoria, British Columbia. A tiny island off the western coast of Canada, it’s caters to tourists and cruises.  T-shirt shops, souvenir shops, food on the go, you name it and it was there.Things to do on an alaskan cruise
 
The main attraction for me was the Empress Hotel.  Facing the Inner Harbor, it’s the first thing we saw pulling into port. It’s one of the oldest hotels in Victoria and looks more like a palace than a hotel. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and even Shirley Temple paid a visit to the chateau.  Victoria may be one of the best towns to visit in Alaska if you love history and old world charm.
 
I ventured inside (for free) and gave myself a self-guided tour.  It was too late for the infamous Afternoon Tea service, but I still wanted to explore this world heritage site.  My entire home town could have fit inside the Empress. It was like stepping back in time. The ornate carvings, wood work, furniture, high ceilings – all made me feel like I was a member of the royals.
 
As the sun set, the entire town lit up like a Christmas tree even though it was only May. The Empress was outlined with white lights that made it the center of attention.  Running short on time, we hopped in a pedicab and were pedaled back to the dock.  We only had a few hours in Victoria but it was an amazing visit.
 
 

Finding the best Alaska vacation ideas for your budget

Planning an Alaskan vacation can include as much or as little as you want.  Choose from seeing wildlife, skiing, helicopter rides, shopping, and tons more.  But if figuring out what the best Alaska vacation ideas are is too hard, don’t worry.  These things – and more – can all be enjoyed during a cruise to Alaska.
 
Once on board, you’ll find that the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise are at your fingertips.  Food, shopping, raffles, gambling, dancing, sunbathing, dinner shows, and hot tubs are just a few things you can do onboard. 
 
The cruise line will find the best towns to visit in Alaska so you don’t have to.  Whale watching, glacier viewing, iceberg hunting, dolphin sightings, seal encounters, kayaking, shopping, restaurant diving, bargain hunting, and beer tasting are all on your Alaskan agenda. 
 
 
 
 
Have you visited Alaska? Or been on a cruise?  Leave a comment and share what you think are the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise.
 
 
If icebergs aren’t your thing, how about a beach getaway?  Read my article about Guam.
 
 
 
 
#Alaska #cruise #whalewatching #alaskavacation

Ireland Hiking At Its Finest – Top 3 Ireland Hiking Trails

Ireland Hiking Trails That Will Make You Fall in Love This Wonderful Country

Exploring Ireland’s hiking trails  can help you reconnect with nature, your inner self, or your significant other.  Solo, family vacations, or trekking Ireland with a tour group all have the same purpose – to hike Ireland and experience its natural beauty.  Get away from the city, leave the stress behind, and focus on what’s important.  You.  Ireland hiking trails can show you a world of which you could never dream.  Hiking and walking tours of Ireland range from gentle to strenuous.  But they all have one thing in common; they give you a glimpse into the hidden beauty of Ireland that has withstood the test of time. Grab a back pack and water bottle (this one can double as a beer growler!) and get on your way to exploring a world you’ll fall in love with. 
 

Hiking on the Dingle Way

Ireland Hiking Tralee Bay

Tralee Bay, Ireland

Dubbed the most beautiful place on Earth in 2006 by National Geographic, this gentle Ireland hiking path encircles the entire Dingle Peninsula. Following the official Dingle Way trail, the scenery changes with every turn. 
 
Nature is the art of God
                           ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Start in the capital city of Tralee and enjoy the 112 miles of golden beaches, snow-covered mountains, standing stones, and pastoral farmland.  This one of the more gentle Ireland hiking trails since it sticks to mostly low-laying land. You won’t find any strenuous mountain climbing here. 
 
This Irish hiking trail consists mainly of field paths, quiet roads, and lots of beach walking. Trekking Ireland by hiking on the Dingle Way gives you a peaceful and relaxing way to explore a part of this wondrous island that you may not see otherwise.  
Movie lovers will want to explore the Dingle Way hiking trail and find those brilliant scenes from the 1992 movie “Far and Away.”  The striking landscape was the perfect background as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman filmed here.
 

Hiking on the Beara Way Trail

The Beara Peninsula is more untamed than Dingle Way. But if you’re looking for a hiking vacation in Ireland, this 95-mile adventure may perfect.   Walking tours of Ireland takes the guess work out of navigating, but people often brave it alone.  The trails are marked well, and there are plenty of towns to stop in along the way. 
 
Hiking Ireland Atlanta Ocean

View of the Atlantic

 

Begin (and end) hiking the Beara Way in Glengarriff, County Cork.  Your walk encompasses the outer rim of the peninsula in loop fashion.  Like hiking on the Dingle Way, you’ll have spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Mountains, lakes, standing stones, and burial monuments from prehistoric times remain unchanged throughout the centuries.   

 

In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.
~~ Sir John Pentland Mahaffy

 
Forest trails, mountain paths, and village roads rise up to meet you and show you the unspoiled majesty of Irish nature.  Hop a ferry to the outlying Bere Island for a mini Ireland hiking adventure.  Get back to the mainland back on track towards open moorlands, mountain trails, bog roads, and forest trails that our ancestors traveled for thousands of years.
 

Hiking on the Kerry Way

Kilarney, Ireland

Why would you choose to tackle a 132-mile Ireland hiking trail when you could just drive around the Ring of Kerry? Because this Ireland hiking trail takes you to some of the most remote places on the island that are unreachable by car.
 
Since it’s Ireland’s longest hiking trail, this is Ireland hiking at its finest.  It’s probably the most popular Ireland hiking trails because it closely follows the Ring of Kerry driving route.  Start and finish in Kilarney as you loop around the Iveragh Peninsula.  You’ll see some of the most dramatic and sublime scenery that Ireland has to offer.
 
The man with the boots does not mind where he places his foot.
 
You’ll find yourself trekking Ireland’s low coastal lands and ascending to isolated mountain moorlands.  Get a good pair of hiking boots because you’ll be traversing over mountain summits, forest paths, circling bays, and descending back to the lowland coastal areas.  Admire the Ireland’s highest mountains (Carrauntoohil and Caher Mountains) as they gaze over Black Valley. Hit the coast to enjoy Ireland’s rare palm trees.
 
While this is a more popular walking tour of Ireland, it offers more because it covers more ground.  It’s a top–rated hiking vacation in Ireland for a reason.  There’s no other place on Earth like it.
 

Ireland hiking trails are an escape as well as a destination

Beginner or pro, hiking Ireland trails will transport you to another world.  A world that is unlike anything in the “real world.”  The natural landscape complements and contrasts itself in ways that cannot be described.  From mountains to beaches, from forests to palm trees, a hiking vacation in Ireland will take your breath away. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find that perfect four-leaf clover.


 
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

Have you been hiking in Ireland?  Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

Read my next article about five amazing castle hotels in Scotland that you can book on your next vacation.  
 

5 Best Castle Hotels in Scotland You’ll Love


 best castle hotels in scotland
 
The best places to visit in Scotland are the castles. One of the best things to do in Scotland is stay in a castle.  Scotland is bursting with castle hotels that are ready to treat the common folk like royalty.  These beautiful creations beckon tourists to sample their history, architecture, and romance.  Scotland castle hotels offer guests the opportunity to vacation like kings while staying on a hotel budget. Let’s take a look at some of the best castle hotels in Scotland that will take your breath away. 
 

Dalhousie Castle Hotel

Seven miles south of Edinburgh on the River Esk, this 13th century fortress transports guests to a time of intrigue and mystery.  It’s the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland.  Themed bedrooms are in keeping with the Scottish Highland history of Robert the Bruce, William Wallace (Braveheart), and more.  The dining area is in an ancient barrel-vaulted dungeon aptly named The Dungeon Restaurant. Or enjoy pristine panoramic views with your royal afternoon tea from the topside bistro. The hidden Library Bar offers Scottish whiskey and French Champagne.  You’ll be surrounded by history while enjoying the modern luxury of a pool, hydro spa, sauna, steam bath, and Wi-Fi. Bring your bathing suit and prepare to indulge.  As if dungeons and hidden rooms weren’t enough, guests at this castle hotel can also try their hands at Falconry.
 
 

Melville Castle Hotelbest castle hotels in scotland

This lovely castle hotel in Scotland is swimming in romantic and tragic history.  Only six miles outside of Edinburgh, it offers a charming alternative to a stoic hotel in the city. 
 
Queen Mary of Scotland, Queen Victoria, and King George IV (among others) visited while on holiday.   The 32 bedroom suites boast 18th century elegance with its high ceilings and period furniture. Wake up hungry, and enjoy a full Scottish continental breakfast each morning.
 
Keep a camera handy to capture the stunning views from this castle hotel that force you to relax and enjoy your Scottish holiday.  Weddings, birthdays, and other venues can be booked as well. Get married and sprint to the classic grand four-poster suite for a honeymoon to remember. 
 

Greywalls Castle Hotel

Pack your golf bag and enjoy a golfer’s holiday. Built in 1901, this is one of the top castle hotels in Scotland that caters to golfers.  Designed as a holiday home for the golf-loving Hon. Alfred Lyttleton, it rests on the outer edges of Muirfield, one of Scotland’s most famous golf courses. Most of the 23 bedrooms overlook the Firth of Forth, Muirfield, or Lammermuir Hills.
 
While it’s not a self-catering castle, you can book a stay in the Colonel’s House – a lovely four-bedroom cottage set just beyond the castle gates.  If you stay in a castle hotel in Scotland like Greywalls, you’ll enjoy fully orchestrated meals in the formal dining room. Chez Roux gives you a taste of fine dining but a lighter alternative is the all-day dining in The Lounges for more informal meals.  Located only 30 minutes outside the capital, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Edinburgh in case golf isn’t your forte.  Edinburgh Castle (open all year), shopping on Princes Street, a picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden, and HMY Britannia (the Queen’s yacht) beckon visitors to experience the heart of Scotland.   
 

Stobo Castle Hotelbest castle hotels in scotland

Located about an hour south of Edinburgh, this could be one of the best castle hotels in Scotland.  Tranquility, miles of countryside, and a calming loch give you a chance to recharge and enjoy the beauty of Scotland.  
 
At Stobo, you can stay in a historical castle hotel while enjoying modern spa treatments, a fitness room, and hair studio.  Men and women can indulge in the steam room, Swedish sauna, hot tubs, swimming pool, and hydro spa.  Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit.  The Ladies Health Suite caters to the female well-being including expectant mothers.  
 
Bedrooms range from ultra-luxurious to a more standard décor.  The complimentary slippers are a sweet perk of staying here.  Put on your sneakers or boots and hike one of the many trails, enjoy a walk by the loch, refill your Zen at the Japanese Water Gardens, tackle the tennis courts, or go mountain biking in the surrounding Highland hills.  Explore the history of this stunning castle hotel and its wild countryside in the day; enjoy modern amenities of a relaxing spa in the evening.
 

 The Witchery by the Castlebest castle hotels in scotland

For the truly decadent Scottish holiday, this castle hotel is one of the best places to visit in Scotland.  Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, its name is derived from the multitudes of women who were burned at the stake as witches during the 16th and 17th centuries.
 
It was built in 1595 and looks like much the same as it did then.  The nine lavish bedrooms scream opulence and old-world taste with their gilded ceilings and tapestries.  Antique candlesticks, gilded leather screens, and rich red upholstery take you back to the reign of James VI.  Did I mention that each room comes with a complimentary bottle of Champagne?  A full Scottish breakfast awaits each morning in the castle’s original dining room.  Put on your tux or little black dress and descend the stone staircase to The Secret Garden where fine dining is mixed with a touch of mystery.  French windows, painted ceiling, ancient oak paneling, and colorful tapestries add to the aura of mystic. 
 
A Scotland castle hotel like this one may be a bit pricey, but if you want to stay in a castle then this is definitely worth it.
 
 
 
 
 
The best places to visit in Scotland are the castles.  History, tragedy, romance, and intrigue fester in their stone walls.  There’s no better way to be part of it all than being able to stay in a castle hotel.  Whether you’re searching for simplicity or decadent luxury, Scotland castle hotels won’t disappoint.  Forego the stuffy and boring hotel rooms.  For the same price, or a bit more, you can live like royalty in one of the many full service or self-catering castle hotels in Scotland.  I know I’ll be adding the Witchery by the Castle to my travel bucket list.
 
 
Have you stayed in a castle hotel in Scotland?  Leave a comment and share your experience below.
Read my article about What to do in London for two days and see how much fun you can have in one short weekend in England!

What to do in London for two days – Things to Do in London, England

what to do in london for two days

what to do in london for two days

Discover what to do in London for two days that will make you fall in love with the city, culture, and people.

 

As one of the top-ranking cities visited by tourists, there are thousands of things to do in London, England.  Experiencing them all would probably take years.  The typical traveler needs a more compact agenda.  Tourists don’t know what to do in London in two days or less.  With hundreds of years of history, it’s impossible not to appreciate the grandeur and excitement London offers.  But what if you’re pressed for time or only have a weekend in London before heading out? If you’re wondering about what to do in London for two days, here are my top suggestions.

 

 

Big Ben, House of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey

As the top places to visit in London, England, these landmarks reside almost side by side.  Visiting them is convenient without being time consuming.  Of all the things to do in London, these three iconic landmarks are the most visited because they’re easy to find and in the heart of the city.

 

 

Count the Minutes with Big Ben and ToBig Ben what to do in London for two daysur the House of Parliament

We’re all familiar with Big Ben, the giant clock on the top of Elizabeth Tower next door to the House of Parliament.  Originally named The Great Bell (referring to the giant bell inside the clock tower), the nickname of Big Ben was given based on its makers: Sir Benjamin Hall and Ben Caunt.  Nowadays, we refer to the entire tower and clock as Big Ben.

 

Taking a tour of the House of Parliament involves climbing 334 steps to the top of Big Ben where you get a behind-the-scenes look at the clock mechanism. While there, you’ll hear this massive clock strike the hour. Since Big Ben is the third largest clock in the entire world, it’s quite the experience.

 

If you have an agenda of what to do in London for two days, add this to the top of the list.  It’s a quick stop and a perfect photo opportunity.

 

Weddings and Funerals at Westminster Abbey

what to do in london for two days westminster abbeyWest Minster Abbey is around the corner from the House of Parliament and Big Ben.   Steeped in more than a thousand years of history and intrigue, it’s considered one of the most beautiful churches in the world. This was one of my favorite places to visit in London because I adore Queen Mary of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry VIII).

Queen Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen) is buried here.  So is her cousin and rival, Queen Mary of Scotland, and Queen Victoria.  Princess Diana’s funeral service was held here in 1997.

Since the year 1066, every royal of England has had their coronation here including William the Conqueror, Anne Boleyn, and the current Queen Elizabeth II.

Sixteen royal weddings have taken place here including the current Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, and Prince William and Kate Middleton.

I was fortunate enough to attend mass here while I was on vacation.  I only had one weekend in London, but I made visiting Westminster Abbey a priority.  Unable to get there before closing time, I was able to attend the last mass of the day.  It was free admission, and I soaked up everything that I saw.

Out of all the touristy things to do in London, this was my favorite. Not just because it was free, but because it was steeped in hundreds of years of history.  And I was able – for a short while – to be part of it.

 

 

London Eye

Across the bridge from Big Ben is the London Eye.  On the South Bank of the River Thames sits this gigantic ferris wheel.  The tallest in Europe, passengers enjoy the 360-degree views of the city from a comfy air-conditioned capsule.  Get your camera and a selfie stick ready.

London Eye what to do in London for two days

Take a seat and enjoy the view through the crystal clear walls, or feel free to walk around.  It moves 26cm every 10 seconds. The entire trip will last about 30 minutes and pricing starts off at $50 per person. If you only have a weekend in London, it’s an ideal way to see the entire city in less than an hour.  It doesn’t stop and go like regular ferris wheels. Once boarded, it makes a smooth continuous rotation.

Night rides offer a stunning view.  Seeing the city lit up at night from 443 feet in the air is a view you can’t get anywhere else. Getting a bird’s eye view of all the wonderful places to visit in London is a great way to go sightseeing while standing still.

 

 

Buckingham Palace

The childhood home of Queen Victoria is a short distance away from Big Ben and West Minster Abbey.  Buy a ticket and live like a royal for an hour or two.  Buckingham Palace is a sight to behold with its beauty and grandeur which is why it’s one of the highly rated things to do in London, England.

buckingham palace what to do in London for two days

Tour the State Rooms that glitter with gold, pick up a souvenir at the Palace Gift Shop, and have tea and crumpets at the Garden Café.  The history of this magnificent palace is illuminated by a professional guide.  You can also get up close and personal with the treasures in the Royal Collection.

If you’re there on the right day, be sure to watch the Changing of the Guard.  I was flabbergasted during these 45 minutes of orchestrated British pageantry. Five infantry regiments have the sole purpose of protecting the Sovereign, and they are truly a sight to see.  The ceremony runs all year, so be sure to work it into your weekend in London.

 

 

 St. Paul’s Cathedralwhat to do in London for two days st. pauls cathedral

Dedicated to the apostle Paul, this church has seen its share of history.  It has hosted a slew of services including the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Queen Victoria’s jubilee, funerals for Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

 

This was on my list of things to do in London because I am a die-hard fan of Princess Diana.  It’s an amazing experience to walk down the same aisle that she did when she was a bride.  The intricate details and incredible architectural design is nothing like I’ve seen before.  It’s still an operating church, holding mass, so it’s free to enter.  After service, walk around and see the stunning artwork and statues.  Photos can be taken but only after the service.

 

 

 

Tours, Tours, and More Walking Tours of London!

With tourists comes the need for guided tours.  I took several while I was in this wonderful city because I was pressed for time and didn’t want to bother trying to find things myself. Not knowing what to do in London for two days is frustrating, but a well-versed tour guide makes enjoying yourself much easier.

Jack the Ripper terrorized Whitechapel district in 1888.  The town has changed since then but not much.  The Jack the Ripper tour takes you on a two-hour walking journey to investigate the crime scenes as you follow an expert guide.  Wear comfortable shoes, grab a hot drink, and enjoy playing detective in London’s East End. I took this tour with my mom.  It was interesting, fun, and we all had a drink at a local pub afterward to share our theories of Jack’s true identity. This book is a great way to prep for your adventure.

Can the world get enough of Harry Potter and his magic?  If not, you may enjoy this walking tour of London from Harry’s point of view.  It’s geared towards muggles and their obsession with the books, movie sites, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of England’s greatest wizard.   The Tour of Muggles is 2.5 hours and includes a ride on the subway (tube).  Grab your wand (this one is awesome!) and practice your spells as you head out to discover a hidden world of enchantment.  Lots of photo opps along the way so get your phone or camera ready.

With so many places to visit in London, England, a walking tour is sometimes the best way to go.  They last an hour or two and take you to places you probably couldn’t find on your own. For more walking tours of London, try www.walks.com for an array of city, ghost, food, royal, pub, castle, and photo walks.  There’s even a Beatles walk for music lovers.

 

See a Show in London’s West End

The West End is to London what Broadway is to Manhattan.  All the best musicals and plays are held here.  Top names in Hollywood perform here including Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Matthew Perry, and Kenneth Branagn. Dinner and show packages make for a perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing.

If you want to see a show in London, visit one of these theatres:

  • Adelphi Theatre
  • Playhouse Theatre
  • Trafalgar Studios
  • Cambridge Theatre
  • Apollo Theatre
  • Noel Coward Theatre
  • Dominion Theatre
  • Kings Cross Theatre

 

London Bridge Is Falling Down, So Go See the Tower Bridge

Completed in 1894, it connects the north and south banks of the river Thames.  Its name is derived from its proximity to the Tower of London.  If walking across it seems boring, take a guided tour to explore one of the Victorian era’s magnificent creations.

what to do in london for two days

It lights up at night and becomes a spectacular image over the evening river waters.   Use the high level walkways to see fascinating panoramic views of the city.  Glass floor panels allow pedestrians to see London life below them from 137 feet (42 meters) above the Thames.

 

 

See a Play in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Of all the things to do in London, going to the Globe should be one of them.  While the West End has modern entertainment, the Globe transports you back to the days of wooden playhouses and open seating.  Across from the Tower Bridge, it’s too close to pass up the opportunity to see Shakespeare in action.

If your weekend in London is getting too full and catching a show at the Globe can’t happen, discovery tours are available.  Tour the theatre and see where the magic happens.  You can still discover the history of the world’s most famous playwright without staying for the show.

 

 

Trafalgar Square Photo Opp with Lionstrafalgar square what to do in london for two days

No trip is complete without taking a photo of yourself with these iconic bronze lions at Trafalgar Square.  Everyone loves their picture taken with these immense statues.  Climb aboard and smile!  Whitehall (and its Jack the Ripper Tours) is not far from here and can be seen in the distance.

Similar to Times Square in NYC, you’ll find galleries, museums, cafes, and more.  The National Gallery museum, Nelson’s Column (protected by the lions), and the Café on the Square are nestled in the folds of this beautiful pedestrian-friendly area.  There are even public restrooms.

Memorial statues date back to the early 1800s to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  Several fountains house mermaids, dolphins, and King Triton. An enormous Christmas tree is lit in the center of the Square, similar to that in Rockefeller Center.

 

Best Way to Travel in London is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Buses, taxis, and the tube are great ways to travel in London.  London sightseeing bus tours are even better.  They offer a 24- and 48-hour unlimited hop-on and hop-off options.  It takes you to all the important places to visit in London as you enjoy the ride.

With 80 stops and several walking tours of London included in the ticket price, you can’t run out of things to do in London.  Cheaper than a taxi.  Easier than the subway.

Even if you don’t have a plan, taking a bus tour means you won’t run out of ideas of what to do in London for two days.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Thinking of what to do in London for two days can be mind boggling.  With so many things to do in London, they can’t all be done in one visit.  Having a good plan in place makes seeing your top interests doable.

I highly recommend purchasing a ticket for the London Tour Bus. It makes enjoying the city sights much easier.  Experience the culture and see a show in London.  Better yet, grab a seat at the Globe for a night of true Shakespearean entertainment.

If you only have a weekend in London, make the most of it.  Purchase tickets online as early as possible. Take advantage of the walking tours of London to give you a more personalized and intimate encounter with one of the most beautiful and historical cities in Great Britain.

Do you have any suggestions on what to do in London for two days or less?  What are your favorite things to do in London?  Leave a comment below!

 

Want to know more about London vacation? Read 5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London.

<what to do in London for two days>

12 Things to Put on a Bucket List | Cool Things to Do Before You Die

things to put on a bucket list

 things to put on a bucket list

Twelve Things To Put On A Bucket List Because They Are Totally Cool Things To Do Before You Die

 

How do you make a bucket list if you don’t know what it is?  Let’s discover the simplest bucket list definition: interesting, fun, and cool things to do before you die.  Anything you’d like to do sometime in your life that you wouldn’t normally do makes perfect bucket list ideas.  Think of things that are out of reach of your daily life, things that you say, “I wish I had time and money to do that.”  Those are the things to put on a bucket list.   If time, money, or fear prevents you from doing something, add it to your list.  Then make the effort to figure out a way to meet that goal.   No matter how old you are, how much you have/have not accomplished, economic status, or limitations you have, if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, get it on the list.

 

Lost time is never found again. –Ben Franklin

 

What’s the point of having things to put on a bucket list?

When I was in my twenties, someone who was very dear to me died.  What made that situation so difficult for me was that there were so many things that person talked about doing, but never did.  No time, no money, etc. Someday, I’m gonna do that.

 

A few months later, I realized I have no idea of how many somedays I have left.  I started making a list of things I wanted to do before my death. I was a single parent making minimum wage. Can we say “difficult”?  Since extra money was non-existent, I came up with some bucket list ideas that are free.  I began with things that were cheap, then inexpensive, then on to things that cost a bit more, and so one.  A scrap of paper on the fridge was my elegant list. But it reminded me every time I went in the kitchen that I had a goal I should be working on.

 

The top 12 things to put on your bucket list.

 

1. Play with baby lions, tigers, and wolves – oh, my!things to put on a bucket list

Simba doesn’t have to be out of reach.  At the T.I.G.E.R.S. safari in Myrtle Beach, you can fully interact with these little fur balls under the watchful eyes of their trainers. They are full of energy and ready to play.  Feed an elephant, play ball with a monkey, and learn how animals are an integral part of our existence.  Snacks and drinks are provided throughout the tour.  Following close behind are several photographers snapping photos of you.  Photos CDs are sold separately. It was one of the more expensive things to put on a bucket list, but it’s an experience that can never be replicated.

 

2. Swim with sharks and stingrays

things to put on a bucket listAfter watching the movie “Jaws” as a child, I was terrified of sharks.  Getting over a fear was one of my bucket list ideas for a long time.  Earlier this year, I discovered the Stingray Experience at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Start out with a behind-the-scene tour, put on your bathing suit, change into your wet suit (provided by Ripley’s), climb in the stingray pool with your tour guide, and enjoy! Don your mask and snorkel (also provided, or bring your own) and swim with these magnificent docile creature! A photographer stands nearby taking lots of professional photos (included in the ticket price). Notice the shark in the background of the picture here?

 

 

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  [Mark Twain]

 

 

3. Visit Niagara Falls

things to put on a bucket list

Niagara Falls facing the Rainbow Bridge leading into Canada

Last year I was finally able to check this off my bucket list.  I went in June when it was warm and sunny while missing the peak tourist season. The Falls were amazing.  Photo opportunities abound so keep your camera (or phone with camera like mine) close by. The Maid of the Mist boat tour takes you into the bay for a close up look at this beautiful site.  Restaurants, shopping, and a year round haunted house are within walking distance.  A trolley took us around the grounds for a look at the entire area which is well worth the couple bucks I spent for the tickets.

 

 

 

4. Eat fish and chips in England.

things to put on a bucket listTo Americans, this is a fried fish (usually cod) and French fries.  I tried it when I was in London, and it was super tasty.  Maybe it was the atmosphere and all the Brits walking around.  Maybe it was the astonishing view of downtown London.  Maybe it was the sexy accent of our waiter.  Whatever it was, it was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. The best places to eat fish and chips in London are Poppy’s Fish and Chips, The Golden Hind, or the North Sea Fish Restaurant.

 

 

5. Rent a rowboat in Central Park

Movie buff? This is a great bucket list idea for you.  How many movies have you seen where the actors on rowing romantically around a lake in the middle of NYC? That’s the Ramble and Lake in Central Park where you can rent a boat or ice skate.  It’s not free, but not too expensive, either. It’s a peaceful escape in the heart of Manhattan.  I recommend rowing to the middle of the Lake, stand up, and serenade your wife/husband.

 

 6. Go to Shakespeare’s grave

The greatest playwright in history was baptized and buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England. The author of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, and countless others, his resting place is quite beautiful.  His wife, Anne Hathaway, is buried next to him. This is one of the best things to put on a bucket list if you love literature, plays, poems, or romantic tragedies.

 

GOOD FRIEND FOR JESUS SAKE FOREBEAR,
TO DIGG THE DVST ENCLOSED HERE.
BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THESE STONES,
AND CURSED BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES. – Shakespeare’s epitaph

 

 

7. Tour the Louvre

things to put on a bucket listAnother astounding bucket list idea for history lovers, the Louvre is the place to see at least once in your life.  Smile at the Mona Lisa, gaze at Rembrandt’s and Leonardo Da Vinci’s art, and admire Napoleon III’s apartment.  I recommend a selfie stick in order to get decent photos of yourself with all of these magnificent treasures.  Get a selfie with the Venus Di Milo, the most famous classical sculpture in the world.  Stand between the Winged Bulls of Mesopotamia. The Louvre was a palace before it was a museum. Walk the halls and pretend you’re King for a day. There’s a lot more to the Louvre than you’d think.

 

 

8. Meet a real life Scottish hunk in Scotland

things to put on a bucket listGoing to Scotland is one of the coolest things to do before you die.   I found a great deal online, packed my bag, grabbed my camera, and headed to Europe.  I ate haggis, watched Scottish dancers twirl in their kilts, and got kissed by a Scotsman on the cheek.  The Scots are wonderful people! And did I mention that they’re oh-so-handsome? The ones I met sure were.  Edinburgh is the city to see in Scotland and the castle of Queen Mary of Scots is unbelievable.  We took an evening tour of the city and the underground of Edinburgh.  It’s creepy, historically interesting, and so cool to do with a local Scottish guide. A great romance novel book with a sexy  Scottish Highlander that I really enjoyed after my trip to Scotland is A Highlander’s Home. 

 

 

9. Kiss your lover (or someone else) in front of the Eiffel Towerthings to put on a bucket list

(then have a real Parisian brunch)

Preferably it should be someone you know and who wants to kiss you back.  Or, just stand in front of it and have your picture taken which is what I did.  The Tower is the most notable landmark in Paris. Have brunch at the 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant located inside the Tower itself.  It’s pricey, but so very worth the experience.  This is a bucket list idea, right? If you’re going to Paris, do it right.

 

 

 

10. Ski in Lake Tahoe

There’s a reason the Olympics were held in Squaw Valley.  The skiing is outstanding.  The views, the scenery, the snow, the atmosphere is unequaled anywhere else.  You can rent all of your gear at the shops at the base of the mountains. I suggest wearing thermal underwear.  Take a cable car to the top, hop off, have your photo taken by a friend (like I did), and zoom down the slope.  You’ll never forget the wind in your face, the slick feeling of snow under your feet, or the world whizzing past you as you glide down some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.

 

 

Every man dies, but not every man really lives.  [Sir William Wallace]

 

 

11. Volunteer at a farm sanctuary like this one in New York Statethings to put on a bucket list

If saving wildlife is your passion or you just adore animals, this is a great thing to put on a bucket list. It’s free, fun, and you’re showing love to an animal that probably lived a pretty horrible life before being rescued.  You can even stay on the grounds in a tiny house or cottage for a very modest price. While the traveling to get here may not be free, the sanctuary is.  This is one of those bucket list ideas that are free to do for the entire family, and a great way to connect with nature.

 

12. Kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland

things to put on a bucket list

Blarney Castle, Ireland

Kissing this Stone of Eloquence, as it’s sometimes called, is still on my list.  It’s a great thing to put on your bucket list because: (1) it gets you to Ireland, and (2) you’re touching a piece of history that’s been around for hundreds of years.  The block of stone is an actual piece of the wall in Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland.  The myth says that the person who kisses the stone will be given the “gift of gab”, meaning you’ll become a master wordsmith and can charm the pants off of anyone you choose.  The location of the stone requires you to hold the iron railings as you bend over backwards.  It takes some effort to position yourself in order to do this, but your companions will love watching.  Pucker up, and kiss the stone.

 

 Final Thoughts

Life only comes around once.  Live it to the fullest instead of wishing you had when it’s too late.  There are so many cool things to do before you die.  With an endless amount of different things to put on a bucket list, you could have more adventures than you ever thought possible.  If money is an issue, start off with bucket list ideas that are free.  Ask you friends and family for funny bucket list ideas that they’d like to participate in.  Whatever type of bucket list you make, just make it.  Start doing things that you’ve always wanted to do.

 

Do you have more things to put on a bucket list? Leave a comment below and share your ideas!

 

Adding Europe as one of the things to put on your bucket list? Read my article on 5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Paris. 

Or, if you enjoy the more macabre and unusual, read 5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London, England.

5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London

London England Westminster

Indulge in these five strange and unusual things to do in London, England, to make your vacation unforgettable.

 

You’ve made it to London!  As one of the most recognized cities in the world, London has a lot to offer travelers.  So many sights to see and experiences to have, it can be overwhelming. Let’s forget about the standard sightseeing for a moment.  For my holiday, I wanted a more unique vacation. That meant finding strange and unusual things to do in London, England.  No gory super scary stuff.   I just wanted to find some strange and unusual things to do in London rather than stand in front of Big Ben like everyone else.

So I did my research and decided exactly what to do in London for a day that’s totally off the beaten path.

 

Strange and unusual things to do in London

Watch naked boys read

Books and birthday suits come together in a titillating combination when you Watch Naked Boys Read.  This could be the best thing to see in London on your vacation. Literature is read aloud by – you guessed it – real live naked men.

Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Photo by Zbigniew Tomasz Kotkiewicz

Literature meets lovers of the male physique.  Hear passages of your favorite text read by live men standing on stage wearing nothing but a smile.  The audience is required to be fully dressed as you admire the variety of male flesh on display for all to see.

It’s a touring event that hosts in different areas.  There are no rehearsals.  It’s an honest-to-goodness on-the-spot reading of poems, monologues, and other curated texts.  Check their events calendar for dates and locations to visit this sexy library of talent.

 

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes Museum

When I traveled to London a few years ago, I searched the area around my hotel and found this. I had to put it on my list of cool and unusual things to do in London.   Everyone knows about the great Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson.

But did you know that at 221b Baker Street, you can step back in time and visit the house where Sherlock and Watson solved their greatest mysteries?  It’s quaint, charming, and so cool to turn back the clock and imagine yourself examining clues and solving those unsolvable mysteries.

It’s probably the world’s most famous address, and showcases the recreated living area that Sherlock and Watson occupied.  Sherlock’s famous violin and book collection of beekeeping are delicately placed near Watson’s notes he jotted down before dashing out to gather more clues.

A welcoming gift shop is next door for souvenir purchases.  The museum is open every day except Christmas.  Don’t forget your camera.  Posted at the front door is a police detective who gladly stands tall if you’d like to snap a photo with him.   Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

 After the museum, enjoy a drink at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Ave.  The upstairs has been converted to a life-size replica of the rooms that Sherlock and Holmes shared around 1894.  The details are amazing and go into more depth than the museum.

If you’re wondering what to do in London in a day and feel like playing detective, I recommend combining the two to get the true Sherlock Holmes experience.

 

Weird and unusual things to do in London

Made from the Dead Taxidermy Workshop

Try your hand in a taxidermy workshop and stuff your dead animal under the guidance of Tonja Grung.  Choose a course you’d like to take – Mouse anthropomorphic, Black Plague, Corvidae family bird head, or bird taxidermy course.  Bring some friends (six or more) and get a 10% discount.

While it seems strange, it’s also a truly unique thing to do in London.  The Mouse anthropomorphic course, for example, is four hours long and takes you through the entire process.  strange and unusual things to do in london

Start with a complimentary dead mouse, learn how to skin it, tan it, and mount it.  Props such as miniature clothing and accessories are available to bring your mouse to life, so to say.

Refreshments are served as you work.  You leave with your very own mounted Stuart Little and a complimentary beginners taxidermy kit.

If you enjoy it, add to your taxidermy kit.

 

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

It’s scary. It’s creepy.  It’s one of the most fun things to do in London at night. You’re locked in a room with a group of 11 people and a zombie who’s chained to a wall.  Your job is to find the key to unlock the door and escape before the zombie gets free.  Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Through a series of clues and riddles, you have to perform under pressure to gain your freedom and protect your brain from the hungry zombie.  As time ticks by, the chain restraining the zombie loosens.

You have only 60 short minutes to locate clues, solve riddles, and obtain the key that unlocks the door standing between you and survival before the undead zombie reaches you.

 

Take the Muggles Tour (Harry Potter)

I mentioned this tour in one of my other blog posts, but it deserves another because it’s getting five-star ratings as one of the best London attractions for families. This tour brings the books to life and throws muggles into the heart of the world of wizardry.

Only 20 muggles per tour, so grab your wand,(amazon link)  and book early.  A 2.5 hour tour, you blast your way through the Harry Potter series to visit the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley, the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic, No. 12 Grimmauld Place, and multiple locations where death eaters terrorized, well, everyone.  This tour wasn’t around when I visited London, but it is definitely on my to-do list.Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Another Harry Potter tour you can check into in case the Muggles Tour is sold out is the Harry Potter London Landmarks Tour .  While it goes to a few of the same locations that the Muggle Tour does, it takes you to a few places the Muggle’s misses. Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

During the 2.5 hour adventure, you’ll board the “Hogwart’s Express” at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. Thus begins your journey to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Stop at Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and Leadenhall market to name a few.

Brush up on all the Harry Potter facts, adventures, and important places so you’re prepared for the tour.  Find the complete book set here.

 

 

 

No matter how much time you have, there’s always a variety of unusual things to do in London.  Leave the standard tourist spots behind.  Grab your camera and SD card.  Find the strange and unusual things to do in London that set your vacation apart from the rest.  Play detective for a day, stuff a dead animal, or trying to regulate your breathing as you watch a hunk read Little Women.  Throw normality to the wind and enjoy some strange and unusual things to do in London that make you smile for years to come.

 

Have you been to London and done weird stuff? Share your comments below and tell us all about it!

Need more of the unusual?  Read 5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London, England.

 

 

5 Best Things To Do In Guam That Are Totally Awesome

Atlantis Submarine Things to do in Guam

What are the best things to do in Guam that will make your vacation even better?

Often called the most beautiful island you’ve never heard of, Guam offers more to tourists than other larger vacation spots.  Where is Guam? Guam is part of the U.S., residing in the Mariana’s Trench and bathing in the warm waves of the Pacific Ocean.  The year-round summer weather and ample beaches are amazing.  You’ll never run out of things to do in Guam.  I lived in Guam for over 10 years.  Here’s the inside scoop of the best beaches in Guam to discover, totally awesome attractions in Guam, the top five best things to do in Guam, the inside scoop of Cocos Island Guam Resort, and other unknown treasures that will make your vacation the best one yet.

If you’d like to read some fun and interesting facts about Guam, read my article Interesting Facts About Guam.

 

Places to Visit in Guam

Two Lovers Point Things to do in Guam

Two Lover’s Point Overlooking Tumon Bay

Major Landmark of Guam to See

Off all the places to visit in Guam, this is the one you cannot miss.  The legend of Two Lover’s Point in Guam is the island-style reflection of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.  Two young star-crossed lovers were kept apart by their forbidding parents.  When the girl was told she would be forced to marry a Spanish captain, she and her handsome lover met at the peak of a cliff towering over Tumon Bay.  They tied their waist-long hair together, kissed their final goodbye, and jumped into the roaring depths of the sea 400 feet below.

The cliff juts raggedly into the skyline and can be seen from miles away.  Visitors can follow the path of these wayward lovers to the tip of the Point.  The unobstructed views of the island from this viewpoint are breathtaking.  If you want more, telescopes are available as well.  Safety railing, paved sideways, parking, and handicap accessibility are all well maintained. Picnic areas, restrooms, pavilions, and souvenirs are located nearby to make this excursion one of the best things to do in Guam for couples, families, and groups. 

 

Shopping in Guam

Shopping is a must-do on vacation, but tourist traps can break the bank.  Don’t forgo those memorable souvenirs, extra flip flops, or sun dress.  The Micronesia Mall in Dededo is one of the main attractions in Guam for visitors and tourists.  It’s hailed Guam’s largest American-style shopping venue.  It has major stores like Macy’s, Payless, Gap, Foot Locker, and so on.  ATMs are everywhere, and the Fiesta Food Court has everything from burgers to kimchi.  There’s even an indoor amusement park with bumper cars, a carousel, and The Creature (a roller coaster-like ride that twists and turns and dashes behind a real waterfall).

For a taste of the local life, the Chamorro Village outdoor mall in Agana is a wonderful attraction in Guam that you won’t want to miss. Inexpensive souvenirs await, made most by hand from local artists, and food that can only be found in Guam abound.  One of the best things to do in Guam is to eat the local cuisine and here’s your chance.  Forget McDonalds and Arby’s.  Chicken and pork shish kabob sticks are freshly cooked and cost about a dollar.  Lumpia (Guam-style egg rolls but better) and banana lumpia (egg rolls stuffed with banana slices, fried, and drizzled in honey) are large and mouthwatering and go for around two dollars each.  Buy a full plate of food for $5 – 9, respectively.  Pick and choose to fill up your plate, and cop a squat at a nearby table to dig in.

 

Aquatic Attractions in Guam – Outside Adventures

Now let’s get to some wet and wild attractions in Guam.  It’s surrounded by the ocean, right?  So let’s talk water.

Atlantis Submarine Things to do in Guam

View from window on Atlantis Submarine

Unless you’ve been in the navy, you probably won’t ever get to ride in a real submarine.  As luck would have it, the Atlantis Submarine Expedition gives you that chance.  I enjoyed this spectacular attraction in Guam with some local friends of mine. It was an adventure of a lifetime.  A 15-minute shuttle boat ride takes you to the submarine waiting for you offshore.  The body of the sub is lined with windows for optimal viewing so all 48 occupants get a full view of the scenery.  Benches line the air-conditioned interior, so pick a seat and get comfortable.  It dives 20 – 40 meters as you watch trained divers feed the fish native to the natural coral reef for approximately 35 minutes.  If you have a digital camera, pictures are welcome.

 

 

Or get down and dirty with Tropical Tours GuamAn all-inclusive tour company, they offer a variety of different tours:

  • Waterfall/snorkeling tour (4 – 6 hours)
  • Cave exploring/snorkeling tour (4 – 6 hours)
  • Hiking along the coast and through the boonies (3 – 4 hours)
  • Half-day Island Tour to admire historical sites (Two Lovers Point included), scenic overlooks, and of course beaches
  • Afternoon cave exploring tour where you snorkel in fresh water (2 – 3 hours)

Transportation, safety gear, and lunch are provided. Children are welcome.

 

Aquatic Attractions in Guam – Inside Adventures

If you want more aquatic attractions in Guam but want to stay in the A/C, visit the UnderWater World Guam in Tumon.  It’s the longest tunnel aquariums on the world, measuring 319 feet long and meanders under 800,000 gallons of water.  Housing over 2,000 species, you’ll get a unique look at aquatic life native to Guam and the surrounding Marianas Islands.  Sharks, spider crabs, coral, stingrays, eels, and more swim freely as you watch.  Move to the petting tanks where you can touch and feel live star fish, fish, and some sharks.  All this for about $23 per adult.

 

Best Beaches in Guam for Swimming, Diving, and Relaxing

One of the main things to do in Guam is to hit the beach and relax.  Grab a towel and get your chillaxin’ on.  There are tons of beaches in Guam.  But some are better than others.  Don’t stick to the tourist-packed beaches where you’re elbow to elbow with strangers.

Ypao Beach (pronounced ee-pow)

Ypao Beach things to do in guam

Ypao Beach

  • Swim and snorkel
  • Adjacent to a large public park
  • Lots of public parking
  • Covered seating available
  • Walking paths (great for strolls or romantic walks as you gaze out at the surf)
  • Outdoor shower

 

 

 

Tumon (Bay) Beach (pronounced two-mun)

Tumon Bay things to do in guam

View of Tumon Bay from Two Lover’s Point

 

  • Swimmable and snorkel-friendly
  • Caters to the hotel district
  • No big waves and perfect for kids who want to frolic in the shallow)
  • Public parking

 

Inarajan Pool (pronounced in-a-rah-hun)

Inarajan Pool things to do in guam

Jumping into Inarajan Pool

  • Created by lava overflow so it’s geology is amazing
  • Pavilions with tables and benches for public use
  • Parking is free
  • Coral outcropping create a natural barrier to the “pools” for deep or shallow swimming
  • Only feet away from the reef
  • Climb to the top of the cliff and jump off into the large main pool

Gun Beach

  • Wonderful diving and snorkeling due to deeper depths
  • Sandy beaches and clean
  • Secluded with less tourists

 

Agana Bay Beach

  •  Free access to any part you feel like stopping
  • Coffee shops, restaurants, and war memorials line the coast
  • Easy access and ample parking.  

Swimming at my choices above of the best beaches in Guam isn’t the only place to have fun in the water.  There are also lots of caves to explore that offer fresh water adventures.  The water is a nice reprieve from the salty ocean water.  It’s crystal clear, a cool 72 degrees year round, and wonderful place to swim and relax.  Check out Marlboro Cave, Pagat Caves, and Asiga Caves.  They may be a bit out of the way, so be prepared to do a bit of hiking to get there.

 

Visit Cocos Island Guam Resort

cocos island things to do in guam

View of Cocos Island from boat

Perhaps one of the main attractions in Guam is to visit Cocos Island Resort.  It’s not just a hotel on a strip of beach.  It’s an uninhabited island located one mile off the southern coast of Guam.  It’s 95 acres of pure tourist adventure which makes it the one of the more unusual things to do in Guam.

A ferry bustles visitors across the trench, about $40 per person, and includes admission to a basic cafeteria serving salad, noodles, meat, and your choice of ice tea or water.  The resort boasts a pool, volleyball court, ice cream parlor, café, alcoholic bar, and water equipment rentals.

The beaches are clean, warm, and sandy.  The emerald water is perfect for diving, snorkeling, swimming, and building sand castles.  Not enough? Go enjoy some kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, and dolphin watching.

Day packages are available for purchase, but there are no overnight accommodations.  When I lived there, we used to camp on Cocos Island, sleep on the beach, and catch fish for dinner.  Now it’s designed for tourism and for safety reasons, you can only visit during daylight hours.

The views are the best. It’s rather fun to say that you looked at the island of Guam from another island’s beach.  Venture into the woods and search for lizards, birds, skinks, and Guam rails.  Just don’t bring them home.  You’ll also find some old WWII relics in the woods since it was part of the defense of Guam during the war.

Bring as much of your own things as you can (Towels, food, water, snorkel gear) since there’s a small charge for everything at the Cocos Island Guam Resort.

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Guam

Since Guam is part of the U.S., English and the American dollar are used.  Along with the American military bases, a large portion of the tourists in Guam are American.  No language barrier, and no currency exchange necessary.  All the makings of a foreign vacation without the hassle of being a foreigner. 

Pack a bag, grab your camera, put on your sexy bathing suit, and get on the plane.  With such a large variety of things to do in Guam, you may want to make a travel itinerary Or you may want to chuck responsibility out the window, grab a pina colada, and fall asleep in the sand.  Share your experiences on the best beaches in Guam, your trek to Cocos Island Guam Resort, and what may be the best vacation you’ve ever had. 

 

Have you been to Guam? Do you have suggestions of other cool things to do in Guam that you’d like to share?  Post your comments below!

 

 

 

5 Things To Know Before Traveling To Paris

things to know before traveling to paris

things to know before traveling to paris

 

These five important things to know before traveling to Paris could save you time and money while making your vacation stress free. 

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, ranking at #3 by Forbes magazine.  The lights, culture, food, and designer clothing are everywhere.  It’s the perfect blend of old world romance with new world progress.  What to know about Paris before you go is that some things differ greatly compared to America. For my vacation, I took an escorted tour that allowed me to focus on being a tourist. While they gave me some good advice, no one told me the simple yet important things to know before traveling to Paris.  I’m sharing these five tips that I learned about the hard way.  Hopefully, they will make your time in France much more enjoyable.

1. Before traveling to Paris, bring a power converter with you (aka, travel adapter)

 Laptops, cell phones, iPods, blow dryers, curling irons all require the same thing.  Electricity.  The outlets in Europe don’t support 110v appliances.  France runs on 220 volts, so your American electronics will fry if you plug them in.  Thus, the need for a voltage converter. adapter for European vacations.things to know before traveling to paris

 They’re relatively small, easy to pack, and are a necessity if you plan on using anything that requires power.  They are less expensive if you buy them in the U.S.  They can a bit difficult to find on vacation and always cost more.

My blow dryer spit sparks and shot a small series of flames at me before it died on my first day in Paris.  I was left with partially wet hair in my hotel room with no idea of how to finish doing my hair.

Eventually, I found a tiny store that sold them to unprepared tourists such as myself for a copious amount.  I couldn’t let my vacation turn into one long bad hair day, so of course I bought it.

Tip: This is probably the most important of all the things to do before going to Paris. Before heading to the land of wine and cheese, purchase a converter.  Your hair will thank you.

 

2. Walking around Paris Travel tip

There are a million things to do in Paris at night.  The city comes alive at night and astounds you with its beauty.  Strolling through the city taking in the sights and sounds can be mesmerizing.  Walking around a foreign city late at night can be dangerous.

A cheap way to travel in Paris is to use the Metro (train).  You can print a free map, or download the app.  It’s cheap, convenient, and a fast way to travel.

It doesn’t run 24/7 like it does in the U.S.  The Metro closes at night. The Paris Metro hours of service are roughly between 5:30 a.m. and shuts down shortly after midnight.  Don’t get stuck at the station after closing hours.

The alternative is to take a cab.  Taxi’s always cost a bit more regardless of which city you’re in.  In Paris, the taxi rates have a daytime cost, then increase at night.

Here’s my only walking around Paris travel tip for you: Plan ahead of time to catch the Metro before it closes, or bring extra money for an evening cab.

Read my other article 6 Must Know Phrases for Tourists in Paris to prepare yourself to blend with the locals.

 

3. What is the legal drinking age in Paris?

Wine is to France what apple pie is to America.  The French drink wine to enjoy themselves, not to get drunk.  For that reason, having a regular glass of wine is normal, even for the very young. things to know before traveling to paris

What to know about Paris before you go is that the legal drinking age in France is 16 years old for beer and wine.  To purchase and drink liquor, you must be 18 years old.

If your teen makes some friends on your family vacation, don’t be surprised if they order a glass a wine or offer your daughter a beer.  This is commonplace for French teens, so don’t be offended.

 

 

4. Public restrooms are not always free 

Public restrooms are something that we take for granted.  They’re free and come equipped with the basics (paper, soap, hand dryers).  But in Europe, things are slightly different.  While there are some free public restrooms, I encountered a slew of them that were not.

On a vacation with my mother, she commented to our tour guide that French people must things to know before traveling to parisnever pee.  She couldn’t find one public restroom sign. That’s because they are called water closets, not restrooms.

So look for a sign that says “WC”.  Add this to your list of things to know before traveling to Paris.  French people do indeed use the restroom.

Bring money with you.  You’ll need to buy a restroom admission ticket.  I purchased my ticket at a gas station/diner/souvenir shop we stopped at.  It cost me about one American dollar.

It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  When I flushed, the toilet came alive!  They are automated to wash, rinse, and clean themselves after every use.  It was amazing to me.  I’d love to have one of those at home.

 

5. August in Paris is prime vacation time for Parisians

Parisians go on vacation, too.  August in Paris finds the city empty.  It’s great for tourists because it means shorter lines and less traffic.  It also means that a lot of businesses are closed.

Vacationing during August in Paris may limit your tourist activities.   If you’re planning on a low-key restful time to do a lot of nothing, this is the perfect time to go. things to know before traveling to paris

With fewer people in the city, you’ll be able to take some stunning photos.  This camera is easy to use and produces some brilliant pictures. It’s nothing too expensive, but I have one and I love my pictures.

There are certain things to know before traveling to Paris that can make your holiday so much fun.  Prepare to be exposed to a different way of life.  That includes food, transport, clothes, manners, lifestyles, everything!

 

It’s a magnificent city jam-packed with things to do for couples, families, and singles.  There is a plethora of things to do in Paris at night or during the day.  Grab your VISA, travel adapter, and go have fun.

 

Have you been to Paris and have some advice?  Post your comments below and share your experience!

 


 

 

Interesting Facts About Guam You Should Know – Guam Fun Facts

Fun Facts About Guam

Interesting Facts about Guam Every Tourist Should Know

When I tell people I lived in Guam for 10 years, they always have the same reaction.  They give me the predictably confused face and the question, “Guam?  Where is Guam?” If you’re wondering the same thing, read on.  I’ll give you the insider’s look on all the interesting facts about Guam that can make your vacation so much better.  

 

Where is Guam?Interesting Facts About Guam guam map

To travel to Guam from the U.S., head west.  Guam is in the Pacific Ocean.  It’s located in the heart of the Mariana Islands.  It’s above Australia and below Japan.  Hawaii is the right of it, and China is to the left.

 

How big is the island of Guam?

It’s 212 square miles.  It’s a bit on the tiny side compared to other popular islands like Hawaii.

Interesting Facts About Guam guam mapBut it makes for a fun day trip.  We used to pack up some food and drinks, grab a towel, and pile in the car.  We’d start after breakfast, drive around the entire island, and be home by dinner.

When the locals say they’re going to drive around the island, they really do.  In an eight-hour time span, we can fully encircle the entire island.

 

 

 

Who does Guam belong to?

The United States owns Guam.  It’s a U.S. territory. This is an interesting fact about Guam that most people don’t know about.  It’s part of the U.S. and has been since WWII.

Originally discovered by Ferdinand Magellan, a Spanish explorer, Spain claimed the island.  Then the U.S. claimed it in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

During WWII, the Japanese invaded in 1941 shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  They renamed it to Omiya Jima.   The US invaded again and liberated the people from Japanese rule.

If you’d like more interesting facts about Guam,  read this.

To travel to Guam from the U.S., no VISA is required because the island belongs to America.

 

What nationality are people from Guam?

Interesting Facts About Guam

Image: Pacific Daily News

Another interesting fact about Guam is that the people from Guam are officially Americans.  They are called by two different names.  Since they originate from Guam, they are known to Americans as Guamanian (pronounced gwahm ay nee ens). That’s how they know right away that you’re a tourist.

The locals refer to themselves as Chamorro (pronounced cham or oh).  Chamorro can refer to both men and women.

A wonderful part of the culture is to watch the women don grass skirts and coconut bras (similar to Hawaiian’s) and dance as they did in the olden days.  These women are called Chamorittas.  The men wear their traditional garb as well, but the main attraction are these dark-skinned, hip swinging, beautiful Chamorittas.

 

What language does Guam speak?

This is an interesting fact about Guam that people always ask me about.  What language is spoken in Guam?

English is the primary language on Guam.  The local language is secondary.  Going back to their nationality, the official language is referred to as Guamanian while the locals call their language Chamorro.   They both have the same meaning, and are used interchangeably.

The local language has a strong similarity to Spanish, thanks to Magellan and his friends intermarrying with the Chamorros.  A friend of mine, who spoke Spanish, was able to converse with my local friend quite well in Chamorro.  I stood silently by since I don’t understand Spanish or Chamorro.  Lucky for me they both spoke English.

 

What currency does Guam use?

Guam uses the good old-fashioned American dollar.

interesting facts about guamNo other forms of currency are used or accepted.

There are money exchange machines in the more heavily populated areas in case you need one.

 

 

 

Does Guam have a lot of tourists?

The majority of tourists are Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans.  But you’ll see a large blend of other cultures like Filipinos, Palau, Hawaiian, and Americans.

A large air force base takes up a chunk of the northern tip of the island while a navy base occupies the southern tip.  Because of these installations, when I lived here most of the American tourists were military.  But tourism has expanded significantly and Americans visit all the time.

 

Is Guam expensive to visit?

Yes, and no.

Vacation packages may be the cheapest way to take a vacation in Guam.  Purchasing air fare, hotel, and meals separately can be way too expensive.

Military discounts, student discounts, and AARP are honored.  For the regular visitor, it can be a bit expensive to visit Guam.  Since they export nothing, and import everything, prices tend to be higher.  But the good thing is, you’ll find lots of things from a myriad of cultures that you can find on every shelf in almost every store.

My article 5 Things to Do in Guam That are Totally Awesome goes into more detail of beaches, shopping, and things to do on vacation in Guam.

 

How much does it cost to fly to Guam?

Round trip first class fares from L.A. can range from $1,000 to $2,500 roughly.  Economy fares range from $800 to $1,000 per person.  (Costs based on fares listed at United.com)

 

Is shopping in Guam Expensive?

Interesting Facts About Guam

Tumon Bay, Guam USA

True to any tourist attraction, prices are always more expensive than normal.  Most places offer a military discount due to the high influx of military and retired veterans who travel to Guam.   For the average traveler, there are some discounts available for hotels and dinner.

A huge portion of Guam’s income is tourism. The interesting fact about Guam in this regard is that Guam does not export anything. Tourism is it’s main income staple.

There are several malls you can visit, the main being the Micronesia Mall.  Be prepared to drop a lot of money at the malls and the duty free shops.  Guam Premium Outlets is a great mall, but less expensive than the Micronesia Mall.  But it’s still pricier than U.S. malls.

Get away from the populated tourist traps and seek out the smaller stores.  These convenience stores sell tons of stuff for much less.  Snacks, Hello Kitty stationary, flip-flops, and more are usually sold in these smaller stores.  They resemble something out of China Town in NYC.  They have lots of stuff crammed into a small space but you can get some totally awesome souvenirs (and necessities) from these little places without spending a fortune.

 

How many miles is Guam from the U.S. ?

From Los Angeles, it’s approximately 6, 000 miles to Guam.  The good news is that although it’s a super long flight, you can relax until you reach Honolulu for a layover while the plane refuels.   Another few hours, and you’re there.

 

How long does it take to fly to Guam?interesting facts about Guam

Airfare is probably the most expensive part if you travel to Guam from the U.S.  There’s only one major airport, so you won’t find any special discounts by searching alternate airports in the area.

Flying from the U.S, you’ll have to stop in Los Angeles.  All major flights to Guam leave from LA.  Then it’s a 17 hour flight.

 

What kind of food can I find in Guam? 

While American food is available at typical places like Denny’s, McDonald’s, and such, do something different.  In Guam, food to go is everywhere. Get out of your comfort zone!

Try something new.  My ultimate favorite of all these fun facts about Guam is that it offers a diverse mix of many cultures and that includes the food.

Try some Japanese seaweed ====>Interesting Facts About Guam

or some Filipino pancit (like stir fry noodles but better!)

Interesting Facts About Guam

Pancit (Image: PanlasangPinoy.com)

My favorite place to get food is the Chamorro Village.  We ate here consistently when I lived in Guam. Authentic Chamorro food cooked by native Chamorro’s is the best.   Wednesday and Friday evenings come to life to showcase stores, shops, and vendor, but mainly food.

It’s cheap, it’s filling, and it’s just too darn good to pass up.  I’ve learned to make a few of the recipes at home.  Traditional Chamorro food is one of my favorite foods of all time.  I use this cookbook to bring the taste of Guam back into my kitchen.

 

 

What is the weather like in Guam?Interesting Facts About Guam

Hot. Hot. And hot.  Being in the Pacific Ocean, Guam has two seasons – rainy and dry.  The rainy season, between October and December, is when the typhoons come through.  Avoid visiting during that time.

The dry season, between January and May, is when the sun cooks fair-skinned tourists to a crisp.  For the rest of the year, it’s like springish/summerish time in Florida.  The sun shines, rain comes, but dries in a matter of hours.

No winter. No autumn. Just year round summer time.  Prepare to pack for evenings in the high 70 degree range, and days that range between 85 – 95 degrees. Summer dresses, comfy sandals, and sunscreen are all you need.

 

 And those are some interesting facts about Guam.

Sun, sand, and food can all be found on the tiny boot-shaped isle of Guam.  It’s a hodgepodge of cultures and diversity.  English is spoken and American dollars are used everywhere.  There are so many places to see in Guam, you’ll never be bored.  These are just a few interesting facts about Guam I put together to whet your appetite.  Grab a pair of sandals, a bathing suit, and a super cute beach towel.  Hit the warm sandy beach, and enjoy yourself.

Have you been to Guam?  What was your experience?  Do you have any interesting facts about Guam to add?  Post your thoughts in the comments below!