The Best Cities To Visit In France (Other Than Paris)

I have absolutely nothing against Paris. It’s the city of l’amour, the birthplace of revolution, the home of the Mona Lisa, and was once the site of the world’s tallest building. (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which one…) But though Paris should be on every new adventurer’s bucket list because, well, it is Paris after all, there are many more vibrant and gorgeous cities that this beautiful and cultured country has to offer beyond its uber-famous capital. And, with the French ETIAS visa waiver in effect, NOW is the time to visit!

  1. Strasbourg

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Strasbourg is right on the German border and – perhaps suitably – is also currently home to the European parliament. Walking through it is like stepping back in time in some ways, with its incredible gothic architecture, winding streets and old canals. It’s no wonder it’s thought of as being one of the greatest historical cities not only in France but in all of Europe.

  1. Nice

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Pronounced ‘Neess’ (for the unfamiliar), this Southern city resort sits right between the Mediterranean and the French Riviera, so temperatures can reach a toasty 74 Fahrenheit in the summer months. As you’d expect from a coastal city, its beaches are big tourist draw, particularly the sweeping Baie des Anges, which is right next to the renowned Promenade de Anglais. Farther into the city itself, there are lots of art galleries, museums, the historic ‘old town’ district, and – of course – the famous flower market.    

  1. Bordeaux

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Bordeaux is the place for wine enthusiasts! But as well as its vineyards, it’s also mainly known for its being home to one of the finest theatres of the 18th century, as well as a great collection of 17th – 19th statues and monuments in its ‘old’ center. Situated on the banks of the Gironde, Bordeaux was once a bustling port city in its heydey, and to a certain extent, it still is, as it’s become a popular spot for cruise liners to dock.

  1. Lyon

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If Paris is the city of love, then Lyon is the city of food – packed full of some of the best restaurants in the country. There’s also a fine selection of museums and shops, making it an attractive weekend getaway destination. Nestled between the Saone and Rhone rivers sits its historic center (listed as a UNESCO world heritage site) home to the busy urban piazza: Place Bellecour. The pleasantly contrasting “old quarter” – Fourviere – sits to the west of the Rhone.

  1. Toulouse

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You might also know Toulouse as La Vie En Rose (‘The Pink City’) thanks to the terracotta bricks used in most of it buildings. Toulouse is home to both another UNESCO world heritage site: the oldest canal in Europe (Canal du Midi), and also a hugely popular aerospace museum – truly making it a place to suit all holiday-maker’s tastes. The other must-see attractions include the Place du Capitole at the center of the city, the breathtaking St Sernin basilica, and the impressive Jacobins church and cloisters, and because of its Southern location near the Spanish border, it also has a distinctly Mediterranean feel – similar to Nice.   

 

The Foolproof Volunteer Abroad Fundraising Guide

If you’re keen to see the world, but don’t have the cash to get away, volunteering abroad could be the answer you’ve been looking for. This kind of opportunity does involve costs, but it’s possible to raise the funds for your trip with a little time, effort and creativity. Here are our top ways to get the money together so that you can head off to a faraway land and do something really important at the same time…

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  1.     Ask people to help you

If you really care about the people and places you want to help, show that to friends, family and members of the public. Explain why you are so determined to volunteer in Ghana, work in a school in Thailand, or help to look after the sick in Costa Rica. If you really believe in what you are trying to achieve, people will see that and want to help you.

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  1.     Get online

At the very least, you should set up a page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat explaining your plans and appealing for help. It’s also a great idea to set up your own website. If you’re lucky enough to have a computer expert friend or family member, ask them to help. If not, search online for hosting services: many are designed to be easy to use without expert knowledge, and these companies will help you to tailor your site according to your requirements.

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  1.     Offer to give something back

If you’re asking people to give towards your cause, it’s a great idea to promise that you will give something in return. You could give your online supporters a blog account of your time away, describing what you are doing to help and how it is all going. Alternatively, you could opt for a postcard or photo on a regular basis, so that the people who have helped to fund your trip can follow your journey and feel that they are a part of it.

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  1.     Allow plenty of time

It will take time to organise your fundraising efforts, so don’t leave the planning until the last minute. Ask friends and family for ideas on events that you could hold to raise funds for the trip, and make sure that your cause is known about within your local area. Put posters up in the windows of local shops, and spread the word by chatting to people wherever you go.

Raising money to fund volunteering abroad requires a lots of planning and hard work, along with a determined and positive attitude. This kind of approach will be extremely useful when you head off on your travels. Find out tips on travelling on this page.

Going abroad to work at helping others is a much more rewarding experience than simply buying a package holiday and lying on a beach. This is the kind of experience that can change your whole life, and give you an entirely new perspective on things – and that will actually mean something to those you help, so the fundraising process is well worth getting right.

 

Christmas in Peacock Lane

After living in Portland, OR, for many years, I finally got to visit this place that becomes magical during the holiday season. It’s in a neighborhood in the SE Portland which becomes pedestrian only area for the last two weeks of every December.

This is an old Portland tradition since 1920. Every house here are fully decorated with extravagant Christmas lightnings and ornaments. My girls had a blast walking in front of every house and checking out all the different themes and dazzling scenes.

The event is absolutely free, but we had to park couple blocks away from Peacock Lane. It does get crowded pretty quickly as soon as it gets dark.

Check out the pictures of Peacock Lane in Portland, Oregon…hope you like them.

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Update Your Bucket List To Include These Breathtaking Locations

If you have had a bucket list of travel destinations for some time now, you will probably be making some very good progress on it. You may even be running out of ideas! But don’t worry, though; this is where this blog post comes in. Below is my list of some of the best destinations to visit this year. They are all very worthy of a spot on your bucket list!

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Czech Republic

If you are a very keen traveler, you will have probably already been to Prague and seen all of its historic sites and attractions. But the city isn’t all there is to the Czech Republic, though! There are in fact a lot more locations dotted throughout the country that should be on your bucket list. For instance, how about heading to one of its many wine regions? Czech wine may not be too popular right now, but that is all set to change as its wine industry is improving year upon year. Take a trip to Moravia to sample some of the country’s best wines.

Iceland

Iceland is incredibly popular with tourists who want to glimpse the famous Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Not sure about what time of year can you see the Northern lights? Most travelers head there in the autumn and winter, when the longer nights give you a better chance of spotting them. These aren’t the only reason to head to Iceland, though. You can also chill out in a geothermal spa, or soak up the culture in the capital city, Reykjavik.

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Hadrian’s Wall, England

Fancy a camping trip? Then why not head up to Hadrian’s Wall in England. It has been mentioned as one of the Lonely Planet’s travel picks for 2017, so you better get your trip booked quickly before everyone is trying to go! This ancient Roman wall was built to keep the Scots out of England by Emperor Hadrian. It is surrounded by some absolutely stunning countryside so there will be plenty of chance to go out hiking. There are also a number of Roman museums and dig sites dotted along the wall so you will be able to learn about the history of the area.

South Australia

When you think of holiday destinations in Australia, you probably instantly think of Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. But there is so much more waiting to be discovered as well! Most notably, the state of South Australia. This state features a large wine country so there will be many chances of sampling some local tipples! Not only that, though, but there are also miles of beaches, and none of them are as busy and crowded as the famous ones on the west and east coasts. If you do fancy experiencing life in an Australian city, you can always make Adelaide, the state’s capital, your base for your trip.

Hopefully, this post has helped to stoke your inspiration for some exciting travel plans this year! Who knows where you will end up?!

Camping 101: How To Become A Pro Before Your Next Trip

Camping is an excellent way to travel the world and experience new things. But, it can be difficult for first-timers to get to grips with it. As such, here are some tips to help you become a pro at camping.

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(Image by Unsplash: http://bit.ly/2iLUYsh)

Learn How To Erect A Tent

Erecting a tent is extremely tough if you don’t know what you’re doing. The last thing you want is to spend hours trying to get yours up when you’re on a camping holiday. Consequently, you should spend some time practicing how to erect your tent before you leave. Do it in your back garden or living room and practice over and over again while timing yourself. Get yourself down to a reasonable time, and you’ll be ready to put your tent up when you arrive at the campsite.

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Bring Spare Tent Pegs

Tent pegs are a mysterious camping item that’s essential when putting up your tent. They fix into the ground and help keep your tent tied down and secure. They’re mysterious because no matter how hard you try, they’ll always go missing. As a result, if you’ve only bought the amount required to peg down your tent, you’re going to be in trouble. Always bring spares, as I guarantee you’ll lose some and this prevents you from being in a bad situation where you have a tent and no pegs to keep in securely in place.

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Create A Comfortable Sleeping Space

A huge mistake many first-time campers make is that they underestimate how hard it is to sleep in a tent. Obviously, when you’re on holiday, you want to feel refreshed and ready to go on little adventures, rather than tired and desperate for more sleep. So, creating a comfortable sleeping space is essential. My first piece of advice is to assess how much room you have. If you’ve got a large tent, then a portable hammock is recommended as it keeps you off the ground. I must note it’s important that you choose the right hammock if you are going down this route. They vary in size and quality, and some are more suitable for others. If you don’t have a large tent, then focus on making the floor as comfy as possible. Lay down some camping mats to keep yourself dry when you’re in your sleeping bag. I’d also recommend a blow-up mattress is possible, just for the extra support. Also, make sure you get a thermal sleeping bag and blanket if you’re traveling in winter as it will be extremely cold at night!

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Practice Packing

Getting everything setup can take a while and requires lots of effort and practice. However, packing everything away can be just as difficult, if not worse! At least when you’re setting up you know where everything is as it’s neatly packed in your bag. Now, you have to try and get everything back as it was. Plus, you may be running against the clock as you have a train or flight to catch too. So, do exactly what you did when you practiced setting up your tent, practice at home. Become a pro at packing, and you’ll be a better camper.

If a camping holiday is on the cards this year, then you must read over these tips. You’ll soon be a pro and can master the art of camping.

 

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