30 April 2016

Places of Interest in Marienplatz in Munich

Munich is a lovely place to visit. There are plenty of interesting places to see and you can all do that using the Hop-On and Hop-Off bus plying the routes famous for tourist attractions.

Marienplatz is the town centre in Munich. We booked our Hop-On and Hop-Off bus tour from the Travel information centre in the plaza. And riding the Hop-on, Hop-off bus was a great way to see most of the sights without having to worry on finding our way around town and using the public transportation.

Munich has plenty of points of interests which were covered in our Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour. I am very glad we booked it because I don't know if we'd have enough time to cover much if we had decided to take the public transportation. There are plenty of eateries, food stalls and souvenir shops.

Marienplatz is an old town square in Munich, Germany.  Marienplatz stands for Our Lady's Square or St. Mary's Square in the town square which is a main square since 1158 in the city centre of Munich.

Attractions to find in Marienplatz:

Teddy Bear / Toy Museum

This is one of the places that we wished we visited earlier. It was closed already when we tried to visit. We were just few minutes late when the museum closed. Anyway, the Teddy Bear Museum houses plenty of collection of toys from some prominent countries. You can find more information about this place here:


The Rathaus

The New Town hall is a very famous gothic-inspired building in the northern part of Marienplatz. The Rathaus is the seat of the mayor’s office, the city council, and the headquarters of the city administration in Munich.


The Glockenspiel in the tower balcony of the Neues Rathaus is also world famous and worth seeing. Since 1908, figurines representing stories from Munich’s history twirl on two levels daily at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (the 5:00 p.m. show is omitted from November through February). In addition to the well-known coopers dancers, the Münchner Kindl (symbol of the city’s coat of arms), and the angel of peace also make an appearance in the almost 12-minute-long spectacle. (Source: http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/sights/attractions/new-town-hall-neues-rathaus.html)

Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt)

Munich is home to many Christmas market stalls during the holiday season. Marienplatz is one of the famous Christmas Markets in the world.

(Photo credit: timesofmalta.com)

Mariensäule (Marian Column) in the square

The Marian column was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years' War. Atop the column is a golden statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon as the Queen of Heaven.

Fischbrunnen (Fish Fountain)

One of the famous meeting points in Marienplatz. It is found in the eastern side of the town square near the Rathaus.

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27 April 2016

Cherry Blossoms In New York's Central Park

I love New York and I already sound like a broken record saying that. Everybody who knows me too well know for a fact that I am quite fussy when it comes to traveling and I have my set criteria for me to like a certain place. And New York has that charm that draws me to it like moth to a fire.

We've been to New York a number of times already. Most of our travels are during autumn and spring and never on winter. Why not winter? It is because, you'll never know when you'll get stuck because of a blizzard. We have had the misfortune of getting stuck in New York during Hurricane Sandy and we wouldn't re-live the fear by exposing ourselves to inclement weather system during winter. It can be brutal. So, we prefer the not-so-cold seasons of Spring and Autumn.

We spent few days last April 2012 in New York City. It was only 3 nights and 4 days but I made sure to check another bucket item in my bucket list - to see Cherry Blossoms regardless of country or city. And April was the perfect time to view the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom.

We went straight to Central Park because they have lovely Cherry Blossoms there. We had fun with the photo op under the Cherry Tree branches filled with lovely pink blooms. I feel bad though that our daughter couldn't come because her passport was being renewed. So, I took these lovely snaps for her to view and enjoy virtually.

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This is my favorite photo, the jump shot! :)

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Seeing these pretty flowers in the flesh is a dream come true! Next goal is to see them in their country of origin - Japan!

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26 April 2016

Secrets To Buying Caribbean Real Estate

The Caribbean is considered one of the most beautiful regions in the world. So it’s not hard to believe that many of the tourists who visit the islands, choose to relocate here. If they live in overcrowded, bustling cities, the ideas of private beaches and island living sounds appealing. Buying property in the Caribbean doesn’t come without it’s challenges. So you need to be 100% sure that relocating is right for you and your family. Remember living here will not be the same as a Caribbean holiday. Here are some secrets you need to know that will help you find your little piece of paradise.

Research the islands

Before you do anything else, you need to pinpoint which island you would like to live on. To do this, you need a detailed map of the Caribbean and a laptop. Refer to the map and Google the names of each of the islands to find out more. Some might have more tourist attractions and beaches whereas others might be more secluded. In addition to this, you should also start researching what kind of real estate might be available and at what price. Search for Nevis real estate for sale, for example, to get you started. This should give you a strong indication of whether there are available properties that suit your needs and budget. Narrow your search down by discussing the pros and cons of each with your family.

Visit the island

Once you have decided upon a potential island, it’s beneficial for you to spend some time here. This will help you determine whether it has the schools, jobs and real estate that you require when you move. It also allows you to view properties, meet estate agents and talk to people about their relocation experience. If you are moving to an island where they speak Spanish or Dutch, you should also see how well you can communicate. You may find that you need to brush up on your language skills beforehand. Think of this as an educational trip rather than a holiday. While it will be tempting to lounge around on the beach all day, you’ll find it more beneficial to do more research.

Consider varying types of property

While you probably have ideas of a beach front property, these are usually the most expensive. Plus there are many disadvantages to living on the beach from corrosion to lack of privacy. So don’t rule out viewing the different types of properties available. You might prefer a townhouse or apartment instead. While the weather is a contributing factor to why you want to move, there will be times when you need shade and a breeze. If you think you have found your perfect home, visit it multiple times. You may find that it’s positioning prevents you from gaining any shade or protection from the sun. Or you may find that the properties in your price range are not up to standard.

These secrets will make buying your first Caribbean property and relocating a smooth transition. Island life can be a refreshing change to what you and your family are used to. Give it time and you’re bound to settle in wonderfully.

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25 April 2016

New Perspectives: Amazing Ways To See A Country


Seeing a country on foot, from the ground, is a fantastic way to take in the sights. But what about something a little less conventional? Get a new perspective on a place by seeing it from the sky, the road or the sea. Read on to be inspired...


From The Sky
When it comes to seeing a place from a brand new perspective, surely there isn’t one more dramatic and breathtaking than this! Seeing a country from up above allows you to see things that you might not have noticed before. Or, indeed, things that you simply can’t see from the ground.
But how to get up there in the first place? One great option is via helicopter ride. There are some cities that are designed in such a way that this is a must. Take New York City, for example. With all of those skyscrapers, and huge Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, it’s incredible to see them from above.

For something more whimsical, how about a hot air balloon ride? It’s a venture on many people’s bucket lists. With it being quite expensive, though, many of us never quite get around to ticking it off. But there are some places in Europe where it is more affordable. Take Turkey. Cappadocia’s incredible rock formations are amazing from the ground. But they’re even better amongst other colourful hot air balloons.


From The Road
There are dozens of benefits to seeing a country via a road trip. When you choose to see the country with a car or a travel trailer, you get far closer to the authentic country at hand. You’ll be passing through real towns that you would miss if you were taking internal flights. You might find some of your best adventures here, or a surprisingly beautiful beach or forest not mentioned in the guide books. On the topic of internal flights, you don’t have to deal with airports at all if you see the country in this way. This means no baggage limits, no long queues and no annoying fellow passengers! It also puts you back in the driving seat, quite literally, as to when you go and when you stay. As long as you get rental back when it’s due, you can change up your itinerary as and when you please!  Or, even better, if you own the transport yourself, you can carry on indefinitely!


From The Sea
Obviously, you can only see a place from the sea if it’s not landlocked! But if it isn’t, it’s truly incredible. The Italian Riviera coastline is an idyllic example of a place that is not just nice from the water but at its most beautiful. Sail to villages like Portofino, a popular place for the rich and famous. Contrast it with a trip to the small cove of San Fruttuoso, which is home to a Catholic church and a tiny, quiet beach. Plus, if you head here, you’re not far for the iconic Cinque Terre. Consisting of five small Italian villages, you can travel to each via boat, or hop on land and take the train.

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The UK’s Best City Breaks

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

Plenty of towns and cities around the UK have been investing in their tourist attractions, meaning even towns like Bolton and Wakefield have become great day-time destinations. For something that lasts a little longer, check out these cities for a really great long weekend or full week away.

Our glorious capital: London

It might sound like stating the obvious, but London is a much-overlook destination for vacation time. There’s a reason people flock from all over the world to visit it: London has become one of the world’s great cities with enough to keep you entertained for weeks on end.

There are the historical sights to visit if you’ve never been before, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, but if you want to discover something a little less tourist-focussed, be sure to check out the various art galleries that are dotted throughout the city along with the world-class food available on almost every street.

Northern soul: Manchester

The well-worn saying “It’s grim up north” is no longer applicable to the fantastic city of Manchester. The birth-place of alternative culture, there’s a reason why some of the world’s greatest musicians hail from this inspirational and endlessly entertaining city.

A great spot for a shopping trip with friends (with a great range of mixed-price shops for all wallets) to romantic getaways, Manchester offers the kind of cultural experiences you’ll find in London but on a much more relaxed scale in a way that only the Northerners of this country can produce.

Breezy shores: Whitby

If you think it’s impossible to have a great seaside holiday in the UK, you obviously have never visited
Whitby. Ideal for those who their seaside resorts to be less about two-penny slot machines and more about great gothic scenery and fantastic food, Whitby is a fantastic break location.

Great at all times of years, you might not want to go dipping in the sea outside of the depths of summer, but there’s much more to Whitby than sea and sand. Victorian and gothic culture lines the streets making it a mecca for those of an alternative leaning.

If you’re still not sure about the quality of British mini-breaks, there are plenty of others out there that are hoping to convince you of otherwise. Reviews on the likes of OntheBeach are there to persuade you – so what are you waiting for?

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21 April 2016

Don’t Restrict Yourself To LA or NY When You Explore The USA

America is one of the biggest countries on the planet. Yet many visitors to this nation choose to visit New York or Los Angeles. It’s easy to see why these cities are so popular. They are the homes of the movies, Broadway and music entertainment. If you’re a celebrity watcher, chances are these are the cities where you’ll find them. New York and Los Angeles are also incredible tourist destinations. And both are historically important to the country.

But if you want to see more of America, you need to branch out. These two cities are incredible places to enjoy an entire vacation, but if you want to see more, you need to travel. Renting a charter bus in Los Angeles can be one fun way to spread your wings and see places like Vegas, Dallas, or even Miami. You can go anywhere from LA or NY, and share the experience with your whole family and all your friends.

Some people go to America to experience the Road Trip. This can be done in a big RV, on a motorbike, or even in a convertible car. It is an incredible experience, but it’s tough to be the driver. You will probably need to make more stops this way than on a charter bus. However, if you’re keen to maximize your time in the country, this is a great way to see more. You can meander through the small times, and see a little more of the countryside too.

So what destinations should you be checking out in the USA? There are thousands to choose from. The Redwood Forest is an amazing place that millions of Americans adore. Yet very few tourists know about it. You can camp, enjoy adventure trails, and take on dozens of great activities. Most importantly, it’s simply a beautiful place to see. It really is a west coast gem worth seeing. Don’t forget to look out for Bigfoot!

If you enjoyed the historic Ellis Island while in New York, then why not head out to Mount Rushmore to see the Presidents? This iconic site is a wonderful place to spend a day, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the area too. South Dakota is a truly stunning place. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, be sure not to miss the action at the Grand Canyon. The distractions of Vegas can be hard to tear yourself away from but this incredible spectacle is worth it.

New Orleans has suffered and triumphed in many ways over the centuries. But there truly is no place like it anywhere else in the world. It has a very stirring atmosphere, and the music here gets into your bones. Food is quite something too! You can sample lots of incredible dishes while enjoying the sounds of jazz and blues, and that New Orleans rhythm.

Don’t restrict yourself to LA or NY when you’re in the USA. Take those extra few days to see more of what this incredible place has to offer visitors. You’ll experience nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

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20 April 2016

Insect Repellents To Bring To Your Camping

The weather is inviting because it is not yet hot and the temperature is starting to let up. Nature's blooms are in their fullest. The trees are still verdant. The air is fresh. And all these are invitation for a nice camping outdoors.

When you are camping, you are becoming vulnerable to the elements and the bugs and critters around nature that will surround you during your camping activity. have fun but do not compromise your risk to insect bites.

These are the type of insect repellants you can bring to your camp while enjoying the great outdoors. Take note of the candle ones. Always make sure you do not light it inside the tent or anywhere it can catch fire to.

Insect repellents containing DEET (N, N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide)

These are effective and long-lasting; however, you are only protected on the areas where you apply it. Read labels properly on how to apply repellants with DEET. DEET can damage some synthetic fabrics such as rayon  or plastics.

Citronella Oil

If you have allergic reaction to DEET, you can also try using citronella oil. It is applied topically to your skin to prevent mosquito bites.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Photo credit: photo not mine

The oil is used topically to ward off mosquitoes and tick bites. It comes from the gum of the eucalyptus plant

Neem oil

Neem oil is from the pressed fruits and seeds of the Neem tree. It is a type of an evergreen growing in the Indian subcontinent.

Always be careful when applying oil to your skin. Test a small patch of area to check for reactions. Also, some of these oils must not be applied on pregnant women and infants.

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17 April 2016

4 Fantastic Reasons To Make Crete Your Next Holiday Destination

It’s that time of year when many of us start planning the summer and thinking about exotic escapes. If you’re weighing up your options, you may wish to consider Crete. This beautiful Greek island has something to offer visitors of all ages. Steeped in history, but bursting with modern amenities, it’s the ideal spot for a family holiday, a couple’s retreat or a solo adventure. Here are four fantastic reasons to make Crete your next holiday destination.

1. The weather
If it’s drab and grey outside and you can’t help but dream of sun and clear blue skies, Crete is the place to be. In the summer months, temperatures regularly reach over 30 degrees. Even in the winter, you’ll find that the mercury rarely drops below double figures. Visit in the spring and autumn for pleasant temperatures and long, hazy days by the pool. Sea temperatures are also appealing. You can head into the bright blue waters for a refreshing dip without any sudden shocks to the system. If you’re keen to bask in the privacy of your own terrace, why not research Crete villas?

2. The food
The Greeks are world leaders when it comes to cuisine. Even if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, it’s advisable to get out and about and sample some traditional dishes. Channel the natives and indulge in long meze lunches. Order a selection of light meals and snacks, such as olives, stuffed vine leaves and fresh salads, and share among the group. Chat, soak up the sun and take in the views. Popular main meals include stifado, souvlaki and kleftiko. Crete has a wealth of options when it comes to dining. Visit a traditional taverna in the charming hilltop villages, or book a table with a view. Elounda Bay is a stunning spot for a romantic dinner.

3. The beaches
You’ll be spoiled for choice when looking for a beach to visit in Crete. There is an intriguing blend of sandy and volcanic beaches on offer. The sandy stretches in Hersonissos and Heraklion tend to be busy in the summer months, especially with families. The beaches in the south are virtually deserted out of season. Plaka is a pebbled paradise in the east of the island. After a day visiting Spinalonga, a former leper colony just off the mainland, enjoy a sunset swim. When you’ve dried off, grab a cool beer in the rustic beachfront taverna.

4. The nightlife
There are plenty of places you can go in Crete to get away from it all, but this island is also known for its nightlife. Head to Malia for lively bars and a youthful crowd, or visit the waterfront in Hersonissos for a more cosmopolitan vibe. Here you’ll find beachfront establishments offering live music and tropical cocktails. Hit the strip to enjoy al fresco dancing into the early hours.

If you’re thinking about your next holiday, why not consider Crete? You’re guaranteed sunshine and you can eat beautiful food to your heart’s content. You’ll also experience some stunning sights and scenery.

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14 April 2016

Six Reasons to Visit Australia


Australia is one the world’s most beautiful continents. Think white sandy beaches, sunny climate, and spectacular wildlife. Vacations range from beach holidays to city breaks, to treks in the Outback. There’s something to suit everyone. Here are my top six reasons to visit.

1. The Beaches

Australia is renowned for its beaches. In fact, it boasts some of the longest beaches on Earth. Australians take a lot of pride in their beaches and on the whole they are clean and well-maintained. Some of the most notable beaches are:

  • Bondi Beach, Sydney
  • Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands
  • Lizard Island, Queensland
  • Turquoise Bay, Exmouth
  • Byron Bay Beach, New South Wales

The list is endless, and I could go on. Most people who visit have their own personal favorite.

High season in Australia is between December and February. It tends to be a little cooler between March and May and between September and November. Low season is between June and August, when the weather is generally cooler, with rain in the south.


2. The Cities

When you think of Australia, you tend to think of beaches, sun or perhaps the Sydney Opera House. But Australia boasts some of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in the world. Think Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, etc. The tricky part is narrowing it down. Wherever you go, I recommend taking a tour, like a Day Tour of Melbourne. A tour will introduce you to some of the most interesting places, people, and activities. Make sure you travel light so that you’re not carrying heavy luggage around.


3. The Aussie BBQ

The BBQ is one of the many things that Australians do well. It is a tradition. When you visit, you’ll find that most parks and public places have barbecue pits. Make sure you experience this. There’s nothing better than a warm evening, a few beers and a couple of steaks on the barbie. And as it’s Australia, they’re likely to be ostrich, crocodile, or kangaroo steaks.


4. Aussies

Generally, Australians are some of the friendliest and most laid-back people you could ever hope to meet. Expect a warm and friendly welcome.

5. Activities

If you visit Australia, you won’t be bored. There is no end to the activities, and there’s something to suit everyone. Swim or surf at the beautiful beaches. The pools are stunning too. Go for walks through the Outback or tropical forests. You can even go skiing! Head up to Mount Butler, which is about three hours outside of Melbourne, and hit the slopes.

6. The Wine

Australia is one of the world’s largest wine exporters. Make sure you sample some of the regional wines during your visit. Or better still, visit some of their vineyards and wineries. Hunter Valley is one of the oldest wine producers and boasts over a hundred and fifty wineries.

If Australia isn’t on your bucket list, I would consider adding it. It is one of the most beautiful and vibrant places you can visit. It has just about everything going for it. Expect sun, stunning scenery, friendly people, culture and interesting wildlife.

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09 April 2016

Travel-Themed Birthday Sale of Little Passports

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Little Passports is turning 7! To celebrate, they are having a big birthday sale!

Until Friday, April 15th, Little Passports is offering the following savings on their Monthly, 6 Month and 12 Month subscriptions:
$7 off any Monthly subscription. Use promotion code: BDAY7
$14 off any 6 Month subscription. Use promotion code: BDAY14
$21 off any 12 Month subscription. Use promotion code: BDAY21

You can take advantage of Little Passports' Birthday Sale by using the above promotion codes at check out. Go on and celebrate!

**This promotion is valid online only at www.littlepassports.com. To redeem enter code BDAY7, BDAY14, or BDAY21 at checkout. Offer valid on new subscriptions only and cannot be combined with any other offers and/or applied retroactively to previously placed orders. Offer applies to first month of Monthly Plans only. Offer not valid on Personalized Products and Shop items. Offer excludes shipping and taxes. Offer valid from April 5th, 2016 at 8:00AM EST to April 15, 2016 at 11:59PM EST.

Throw a travel themed adventure party for kids!
With celebrations in mind, follow the below links for amazing ideas on how to throw a travel-themed adventure party for kids!
Little Passports partnered with Brandy from gluesticksblog.com to bring you clever ideas for hosting a Travel-Themed Adventure Party for kids!

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08 April 2016

Prepare Your Travel Essentials For Spring

Spring is here! Most schools are already in their spring break mode. A lot may have already planned in advance for the spring vacation. However, if you are amongst those who are still in the planning stage when spring has sprung (no pun intended), then here are some tips to help you prepare your travel essentials.

Travel documents

This is the most important aspect of everybody's trip - the travel documents. This applies particularly to those who are travelling overseas. Ensure you have your visas (if needed), plane tickets, passports, traveller's cheque (if you prefer to carry this), credit and debit cards, vaccination cards (if necessary to your destination), travel insurance, hotel voucher, and land tours. It is really wise to have all these ready few weeks in advance.

If you are travelling by road, it is best to still carry a travel insurance just to make sure you can make claims if the needs arise, but I sure hope you won't have to use that. This vacation is all about fun!


Photo credit: glamorganicgoddess.com

Bring only what is necessary for your trip. Most hotels and resorts have provisions for free bathroom amenities including toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner and even body soap. You can bring few portions on travel sizes. If you are travelling by air, please always check the allowed size for bringing toiletries in your hand carry.

Flu shots and other inoculation required

Spring break doesn't necessarily have to be heading out to the beach. For us expatriates here in the Middle East, our usual go-to places are the US/Canada areas, Europe and Far East Asia. Why? It's because the spring weather is very inviting before we embrace the arduous heat of the long summer months. Even the locals prepare to go to colder climate to unwind and take in the beauty of nature.

So, it is necessary to also consider checking the vaccinations required for the country you are visiting. I remember taking a flu shot the first time we flew to the US during spring time. We were prepared for the allergies and whatever spring has in store for us.

Warm clothing

Why warm clothing? Well, spring in other continents can be cold unlike spring on the other side of the planet. With that said, make sure you also check the weather forecast just so you have an idea of what to bring. A light cardigan or sweater will be perfect.

I have had spring vacations in the US and in Europe. If I have to compare the two, both continents still have a rather "wintry spring" temperature. So, I always carry my puffy jacket as well. Just make sure you bring some warm clothing you can layer and remove when necessary as the weather temperature rises or dips towards the day.

Insect repellent

This is one of the necessity that I bring during my spring break travels. With the spread of Zika virus and other bug-related diseases out there, I always carry a small insect repellent ant also wear wear protective clothing like long sleeve shirt during my vacation.

Make sure you read the label before applying the insect repellent. Test a small area on your skin to ensure you are not allergic. Also, take caution when applying this to smaller kids.

Sun block, shades and hat

Just because spring time is a great weather to be out and about does not mean you have to ditch the sunscreen. You are still exposed to the sunlight when you are outdoors. Apply sunscreen when needed and wear those nice shades or hat to ward of the sunlight against your face.

Enjoy your vacation and make the most of spring!

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01 April 2016

Little Passports' Spring Reading List For Kids

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Spring is a wonderful time for garden adventures, both in the backyard and in books. Little Passports asked blogger and child education expert, Deb Chitwood, to create a reading list of great garden books for ages 3-5 and another for ages 6-10. Venture outside with your little explorers and enjoy some or all of this Spring Reading List: Garden Adventures around the World!

And if you missed Little Passports' last blog post on creating life long readers, you can view it here: 4 Tips for raising a life long reader.

Its a perfect time for your little explorer to get lost in a book!

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