All posts by OurWorldinReview

Dining at La Grande Mamma, Krakow

Urban Adventure Tours

The old town in Krakow is always alive with tourists buzzing around taking in the history and sights. Krakow offers visitors many ways to discover this city, from Segway tours to horse and cart rides. Street stalls and boutique stores are happily selling their merchandise to happy shoppers. With the many restaurants offering a wide range of local and international cuisines.

Food vendors are everywhere throughout the city. You can try some traditional Polish cuisine, or visit a food stall in the main square barbecuing massive amounts of meat. There’s fast food franchises, if that takes your fancy, or the many fine dining choices supplying foods from around the world. With so many choices we select the Italian inspired La Grande Mamma.

With so many food options in Krakow. Try La Grande Mamma in the old town's main square
La Grande Mamma’s Al fresco seating, taken from the main square

Located on one of the corners of the main square, La Grande Mamma is an Italian inspired fine dining restaurant that offers decent quality food.  Upon entry into this old building you immediately enter the heart of the restaurant where all the action occurs. Here, there is a central preparation bench with one of the kitchen staff preparing assorted menu items.

La Grande Mamma
The preparation table in the font room of La Grande Mamma

Once greeted by the waiting staff, we are directed into one of the quieter side rooms and seated at a lovely table overlooking the square.

La Grande Mamma
One of the nicely decorated quieter rooms.

The restaurant has a decent range of wines available by the glass or bottle and their food menu is full of modern and traditional Italian cuisine. On this occasion, we selected a basic Margherita pizza, a Calzone farcito and their Filetto di maiale for our main meals. And followed that up with Creme brulee and a Meringa con mascarpone for dessert.

La Grande Mamma
The current menu at La Grande Mamma

The Margherita pizza was just a plain tomato puree on a thin base with cheese. It was approximately 30 cm in circumference, so quite large for one person, but I feel it was missing that fresh basil that garnishes most Margherita pizzas.

La Grande Mamma
La Grande Mamma’s basic Margherita Pizza. Unfortunately it was missing fresh basil.

Our Calzone farcito contained tomato puree, mozzarella cheese, ham, salami and champignon mushrooms, encased in a folded and sealed pizza base. When cracked open the heat and fragrances were wonderful. A well cooked dish, but rather plain-looking with a sprinkling of dry herbs.

La Grande Mamma
La Grande Mamma’s Calzone farcito. Well cooked, but it’s presentation needs some work!

The next plate was the Filetto di maiale, which is pistachio covered pork loin. It is served on a bed of potato puree, zucchini and red wine sauce. Beautifully cooked, the Filetto di maiale would be my pick of the dishes. Superbly balanced flavours but once again the presentation of the dish could be improved.

La Grande Mamma
A Filetto di maiale from La Grande Mamma

After the main meals were completed the efficient and friendly waiting staff cleared our plates and prepared the table for our upcoming desserts. The first dish to arrive was the Creme Brulee. Now, Creme Brulee’s would possibly be MacKenzie’s and my most favourite dessert, as we do tend to compare them against each other. When La Grande Mamma’s Creme Brulee arrived, we were quite excited to see how it stacked up against the ones we’ve had elsewhere.

La Grande Mamma
Does anyone want some Creme Brulee?

Although small in size the presentation of the Creme Brulee was better to that of the main meals. That was due to the contrasting colours used in the dish. The hard caramel cover was well done, but the actual custard base was a little grainy in texture, not that smooth consistence that is required. The flavour was okay, but not a show stopper.

La Grande Mamma
Meringa con mascarpone, we have a winner!

Our next dessert was the Meringa con mascarpone and from when the waitress placed the plate on our table, we knew we had a winner. The meringue, covered with mascarpone cream and fresh fruit was an instantaneous success. Nicely presented and delicious, it was hard not going back for more!

There are many places to eat in Krakow’s old town and the catchy named La Grande Mamma is situated in a part of the square that isn’t overrun by other tourists and street sellers. The interior is decorated well and the Italian cuisine has good flavour, but lacks the presentation. I do believe that we get the best out of a meal when they satisfy all our senses. La Grande Mamma, ticks most of those boxes, but the main meal presentation could use a little flair.

Overall, La Grande Mamma was a comfortable restaurant to attend, with a good honest food. The price is a little inflated, but all the restaurants are the same in the main tourist area of Old Town Krakow. Make sure you tip the waiting staff. Service charges are not included in the prices and it is expected if they’ve provided good service. Ten percent of the final cheque is the going rate, so if you are on a budget make sure you account for this extra expense. If you are in Krakow, visit La Grande Mamma tonight and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Looking for a place to eat in old town Krakow? Then try La Grande Mamma in the main square for decent Italian food.
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Additional Information for La Grande Mamma

Rynek Główny 26, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
Ph: +48 12 430 64 58
Website: www.lagrandemamma.pl

Breakfast Prices Range 19.00 PLN – 68.00 PLN (AUD$6.60 – $23)

Trading Hours
  • Daily: 12 pm – 11 pm

Book accommodation in Krakow with Booking.com

Book a tour in Krakow through Urban Adventures

La Grande Mamma rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =8
Atmosphere =8
Service =9
Price = 7
Food =8

Overall = 8

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Sightseeing Krakow, Take a Segway Tour

Urban Adventure Tours

It was touch and go if we would make it to Krakow after leaving our accommodation in Berlin. Our original plan was to take a train from Berlin to Krakow, but due to some unexpected line repairs we had to quickly purchase some flights instead. Once at the check in counter at the airport we were told the flight had been overbooked and we were now on the standby list. Oh No! Read about what happened to us on Josie Wanders.

When we finally made it to Krakow, we checked into our AirBNB apartment, and got organised for our stay. The next bright and early morning we made our way into the old town to explore the sights. Over the years, we’ve always said to the girls that we should do a Segway tour and as we walked into the old town there were Segway’s everywhere! So, we decided, today was the day. At the local Segway Tour office, we had a look at the available tour options and ended up selecting the Krakow Old Tour Segway Tour.

Segway Tours Poland
The impressive Slowacki Theatre

The Old Town tour costs 160 PLN (approximately AUD$55) per person. The only issue was that the Segway tour office only accepts cash, so we had to detour to the nearest ATM. Luckily, there is an ATM machine across the road from the office, if you don’t happen to be carrying that much cash around with you.

Once the payment was made our English-speaking guide Alex, taught us how to ride the Segways. Now, let me be honest here! The first time you hop onto a Segway, it feels a little weird. Unnatural. It’s all about balance and your centre of gravity. By adjusting your centre of gravity forward and you move forward. Lean back on your segway and you will either slow down if moving forward our start to go backwards if stopped. To turn, you move the handlebar to the left or right, unlike a bicycle which you turn the handlebars. Once you get used to it and lose that awkwardness, it is probably one of the most fun things you can do.

Krakow Segway Tour
The girls listening to Alex talking about Krakow’s Old Town

After everyone was feeling comfortable and we were off on our 90 -minute tour of the old town. Our guide Alex, is a friendly likeable guide who ensured that we were looked after and fully in control of our Segways through Planty Park and the various traffic crossings.

Krakow Segway Tour
Sculpture of Krakow painter Jan Matejko in Planty Park

The tour took us through the Main Square, St Mary’s Church, Wawel Castle and much more. Taking his time to explain the history and importance of each site. Once all the touring was over he then took us to a large square, and let us have some individual fun on the Segways, weaving in and out of the concrete fixtures and making those Segways dance.

Krakow Segway Tour
The square where we had a free ride around on the segways.

Overall the Segway Tour, would have to be one of the best ways to explore Krakow. They are incredibly fun!  I would recommend on milder days that you take some gloves, as your hands do get cold. Our tour lasted a little over 90 minutes and the information and guidance provided by Alex was excellent. Krakow Segway Tour’s have five tours available or if you just want to take one for a ride they have 15 – 90 minute rental plans. So, when in Krakow take a Segway tour and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Looking for a fun tour to around Krakow? Then make sure you do a 90 minute Segway Tour
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Additional Information for Krakow Segway Tour

Cost:

  • Segway Tours start from 80PLN – 300PLN
  • Segway Rental start from 50PLN – 150PLN

Book your stay in Krakow now with Booking.com

Book your Urban Adventures tour in Krakow here

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Animals and Aquariums – The Berlin Zoo and Aquarium

If you have had the pleasure of travelling with children, you would know that sometimes it’s hard to keep them happy. In their minds, Museums and Art Galleries can be boring. That’s because most young children don’t appreciate looking at the ancient pottery from Pompeii or the subject and detail of Rembrandt’s The Nights Watch. Basically, unless there are dinosaurs or places with amazing interactive fun, children become disinterested quickly. They want to go to places like Disneyland,  Sea World or the other major amusement parks. But, at times we all become those little kids and desire that entertainment. Feeling in a fun and happy mood we head off for a day at the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium.

Urban Adventure Tours

After a lovely breakfast at Cafe Clave, we decide to walk the 1.1 km from our Scandic hotel to the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
The entrance to the Berlin Zoo

Now, if this is your first trip to Berlin, you may want to think about purchasing the Berlin Welcome Card. This transport tourist card lasts up to 6 days and covers all your public transport options. It also comes with a booklet containing discounts to many of the major attractions, including the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium. Additionally, it comes with that all important city map, so you can see the various tourist sites and construct your touring itinerary accordingly.

The Berlin Welcome Card covers transport and discounts to many major attractions, including the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium.
The Berlin Welcome Card Booklet

If you are short on time, you can do the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium separately. We opted to combine the two at a discounted price (See below).  Since the zoo is the larger of the two complexes we do the zoo first.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
Some gardens inside the Berlin Zoo

As mentioned the zoo is large, exhibiting a wide range of animals from around the world. Our recommendation is to examine the zoo’s map provided and work out a plan of attack. That way you won’t be backtracking and possibly missing some of the animals. Of course, the information is in German so have your translating app available if you can’t read German.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
One of the zoo keepers feeding the wolves

The zoo has set times for feeding and information on the animals (again in German), but it was still interesting seeing them being fed. From wolves, elephants, gorillas, rhinos, lions, zebras and giraffes it was amazing to see the children’s young faces light up in awe of these magnificent creatures.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
The majestic elephant walking around his enclosure
Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
A Rhinoceros in his muddy enclosure

Finding food is not an issue at the zoo as they have a large cafe, a restaurant and many food carts scattered around the park.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
A cafe in the zoo, they also have a restaurant and food carts.

Exciting times are ahead for the Berlin Zoo as they are finishing their new Panda enclosure as they are expecting them to arrive in June 2017.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
The street entrance to Aquarium Berlin. There’s another entrance from inside the zoo.

Once you’ve finished in the Berlin Zoo make your way to the Aquarium. Here you will find an arrangement of diverse types of fish, amphibians, reptiles and creepy crawly insects.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
An iguana at Aquarium Berlin

This three-story building holds a vast quantity of fish species of assorted sizes and incredible colours.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
No need to search any further, I found Dory!

There is a warm, humid, central forest area that has some crocodiles, which was inviting on a cooler Berlin day. Like the zoo the aquarium has a cafe, in case you want a snack or coffee.

Overall, both the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium are wonderful places to visit in Berlin. By using the Berlin Welcome Card, we had a 25% discount on the combined price, so great value for money. There is enough fun and intrigue for children to enjoy the day. The zoo also has a large playground area, so your children can burn off some extra energy if required. Visit the zoo and aquarium today and tell them, Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Want a place to take the family in Berlin! Head to the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium for a day of fun.
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Additional Information for the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium
Berlin Zoo

Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin
Ph. +49 30 254010
Website: www.zoo-berlin.de

Opening Times
ZOO CASH POINT
1. January – 26. February 9:00 am – 4:30 pm 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
27. February – 26. March 9:00 am – 6:00 pm 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
27. March – 24. September 9:00 am – 6:30 pm 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
25. September – 29. October 9:00 am – 6:00 pm 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
30. October – 31. December 9:00 am – 4:30 pm 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

*Note:

The Zoo closes at 2 p.m. on 24 December.

Please note that the ticket offices close approx. one hour before the zoo closes. The animal houses close 30 minutes before the zoo itself closes.

Aquarium Berlin

Budapester Straße 32, 10787 Berlin
Ph. +49 30 254010
Website: www.aquarium-berlin.de

Opening Times
AQUARIUM
1 January–31 December 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

TICKETS – Berlin Zoo and Aquarium

Aquarium & Zoo – Separate ZOO & AQUARIUM Combination
Adults 14,50 € 20,00 €
Children
4 up to 15 years
7,50 € 10,00 €
Small Families
(1 adult and his or her children up to 15 years)
25,00 € 33,00 €
Large Families
(2 adults and his or their children up to 15 years)
39,00 € 50,00 €
Concession*
students, apprentices, ALG I+II recipients, the severely disabled and their accompaniment, accompaniment if explicitly required on the disabled visitor’s ID
10,00 € 15,00 €

 

Welcome to Berlin Card

For more information on the Welcome to Berlin Card , click here

Book accommodation in Berlin via Booking.com 

Book UrbanAdventures guided tours in Berlin 

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Lovely Lucca and the Terrace of Perfumes

Urban Adventure Tours

Since the girls left we have been travelling around Italy with no real plan. I know it sounds a bit unusual, living and organising accommodation on the fly. We always knew we were going to wing it and see where the tide takes us. This way we are not tied down. If we meet someone on the road who says “You have to go to this…. place”, then we could book it the next day and we’re on our way. The beautiful town of Lucca was just one of these places. A good friend said since you’re in Italy, you must visit Lucca. So, we did. In doing so we had to organise a place to stay and luckily for us we stayed at the Terrace of Perfumes.

Terrace of Perfumes
Lucca was the home of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini

The Terrace of Perfumes is an agent run apartment available through Booking.com and AirBNB. Located just outside the old city the Terrace of Perfumes is close to supermarkets and local restaurants.  Being an apartment they do prefer stays 3 days or longer.

Terrace of Perfumes
The tree-lined walking path on top of the old town walls.

We were met at the apartment on check in by the apartments owners Mauricio and Valeria and their apartments agent Alessandro. The apartment is situated on the first floor and upon entry you notice how clean and beautiful the apartment is.

Terrace of Perfumes
The bedroom

This one bedroom apartment consists of a large bedroom which overlooks the street, a lounge area, a fully functional kitchen, bathroom and a balcony area which has that all important washing machine and clothes line. They have thought about everything to make your stay as carefree, relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Terrace of Perfumes
The fully functional kitchen, is stocked with everything you need for your stay.
Terrace of Perfumes
The long thin bathroom with shower cubicle in the middle of the room. Surprisingly water is well contained between the shower curtains.
Terrace of Perfumes
The private balcony with washing machine and clothes line. It’s a good place to have breakfast.

Mauricio and Valeria are exceptional hosts and ensure we are settled and welcomed with a basket filled with some produce and a bottle of delicious Chianti. They have a compendium about the apartment and helpful information about Lucca and its must see places and things to do.

Terrace of Perfumes
Mauricio and Valeria’s welcome basket.

We really enjoyed our time in Lucca, walking the thin cobbled streets surrounded by hundreds of year old buildings. Visiting the home of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and indulging in some of that Italian cuisine. International tour hosts, Urban Adventures offers four incredible tours around Lucca for you to try. So, take a trip to Lucca, experience a tour and book the Terrace of Perfumes. Don’t forget to tell them Simon from Ourworldineview sent you!

Looking for accommodation in Lucca? The Terrace of Perfumes is the ideal place to stay.
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Additional Information for the Terrace of Perfumes

Via Borgo Giannotti 389, 55100 Lucca, Italy
Website: Nil Available

Check in: 15:00 hrs
Check out: 10:00 hrs

Book your stay at the Terrace of Perfumes now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from AUD$90 – AUD$110 per night

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Breaking our fast at Cafe Clave – Berlin

Urban Adventure Tours

Berlin has been full of surprises, from the landmarks, the people, the history and the cost. It has surpassed all of our expectations. Staying at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm hotel has been a pleasure and with a good restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner, it would be easy to stay in and eat there every day. But being a little more adventurous we opted to do some investigating around the neighbourhood to see what other places are close by to have breakfast.  You know, sometimes you just want to go somewhere else to eat! After a leisurely stroll along Augsburger strasse we came across this lovely little place called Cafe Clave.

Clave Cafe
A chalkboard with a selection of menu items available at the Cafe Clave.

Look before you pop in. Cafe Clave accepts cash only as they don’t have EFTPOS facilities available. But don’t let that sway your choice to dine there or not, the prices are fair and the food is scrumptious.

Cafe Clave is a relatively small cafe with a few tables inside the shop with some outdoor seating also available. We took up residence at a table close to the windows. The tables are your normal everyday cafe tables with leather seats inside and wicker seats outside. They also have a window bench seat complete with cushions. A fact that decided where we were going to sit.

Cafe Clave
The window seat became our residence for the morning.

The menu on offer is small with enough choices available to elicit a considered decision. We choose the Bacon and Eggs, a croissant with jam and a Pain au Chocolat. We also ordered a fruit smoothie, cafe latte and a flat white coffee to wash it all down.

Cafe Clave
Our drinks order, a Cafe Latte, a fruit smoothie and a flat white

The food arrived quickly and was consumed just as quick. The Bacon and Eggs were a little small for my liking, a larger amount of bacon would have been perfect. It was cooked well, with a little crunch and the eggs were fluffy with a smooth consistent texture.

Cafe Clave
Bacon and Eggs, a little more bacon would have made it perfect.

The freshly supplied croissant was served with a choice of condiments from honey and various jams. The pastry was flaky and warm, easy to separate.

Cafe Clave
French Breakfast, a croissant with a choice of condiments

Finally, the supplied Pain au Chocolate was filled with delicious chocolate and good to the last bite.

Cafe Clave
A Pain au Chocolat

Cafe Clave is open for all three meals and has a broad selection of wines on their shelves. They also have a selection of cakes available, so have a look in their display to see what they have for you today.

Cafe Clave
Wine anybody……
Cafe Clave
..then how about some cakes?

Overall, Cafe Clave was a pleasant change from a breakfast in a hotel. The waitress servicing us was lovely and looked after all her many customers with equal aplomb. With food available all day at a reasonable price, I could easily see myself going back when next in Berlin. The only things I would change would be to add a little more bacon with the eggs and to install EFTPOS as not everyone carries cash with them these days. You don’t want to miss out on additional customers because they don’t have any cash on them.

So, if you are near Kurfürstendamm or Augsburger strasse, head to Cafe Clave. Have a meal,  or just some coffee and cake and tell them, Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Breakfast in Berlin, try Cafe Clave on Augsburger Strasse
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Additional Information for Cafe Clave

Augsburger strasse 25, Berlin, Germany 10789
Ph: +49 176 32569887
Facebook: Cafe Clave

Breakfast Prices Range €1.30 – €6.90

Trading Hours
  • Mon-Sat: 8 am – 10 pm
  • Sun : 9 am – 5 pm

Looking for a place to stay in Berlin. Book here

Cafe Clave rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =7
Atmosphere =8
Service =8
Price = 9
Food =9

Overall = 8

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Plenty of Food at Peter Pane – Berlin

Urban Adventure Tours

On our first day in Berlin, we had already organised the Urban Adventure tour – Storyline of Berlin. And after 5 hours of listening to Sara explain everything we needed to know about the history of Berlin we were feeling hungry. Sara pointed us in the direction to get cheaper food, so we headed off to discover a bit more of Berlin. During our travels, the girls spied a hamburger place called Peter Pane Burgergrill Bar that looked popular. And always being a bit partial to a hamburger we decided to give it a go.

On entry into the large establishment we could see that it was extremely busy, with most of the tables already buzzing with people chatting over their lunches. We were greeted by one of the wait staff and escorted to a comfortable table for four.

Peter Pane
Inside Peter Pane Hamburger restaurant

The interior of the restaurant is quite modern. The walls are a sky blue colour, with timber plant boxes with small plants extending to the woven wooden ceiling. There are birdcage light fixtures and the whole combination gives the restaurant a Neverland feel. Tables at various levels throughout the restaurant add to the setting. Each table has comfortable stool or bench seating.

Peter Pane
A table alongside the planter boxes. Gives it that Neverland forest feel.

As Peter Pane is a hamburger place the menu has a good selection of available burgers. We couldn’t go past the €9.50 lunch special.  The special consisted of a burger served with fries or salad. But that’s not all the deal also came with a cold drink to have with the meal and a hot drink to have after. What awesome value!

We ordered the Klasik, a Kase Speck, a Rotbackhen and the Feenflugel burgers. The Klasik is your normal everyday burger containing a succulent beef patty, lettuce and tomato. My Kase Speck is the Klasik burger with Bernstein Cheese and Bacon. Our Rotbackhen is a vegetarian burger with a grilled tomato and olive cutlet, topped with mozzarella, rocket and sun-dried tomato. Finally, the last burger called the Feenfugel has a piece of grilled chicken, topped with avocado, young spinach and mango-chilli chutney. All four burgers were beautifully prepared and well presented. We consumed them eagerly and washed it down with a local German cola brand called Fritz-Kola, which was quite nice.

Peter Pane
The Kase Speck
Peter Pane
The Klasik
Peter Pane
The Feenflugel
Peter Pane
The Rotbacken
Peter Pane
Fritz-Kola is a local German cola, which tastes pretty good.

Overall, Peter Pane Burgergrill Bar is a good place to stop in relax and have a meal. Their burgers are beautifully made and terrific value incorporated with their €9.50 meal deal. Peter Pane has approximately 17 stores across Germany, so visit their website below for additional locations. The menu prices don’t include a service fee. Therefore, make sure you leave a 10% tip if your dining experience is worthwhile. Try Peter Pane Burgergrill Bar the next time you want a delicious burger and tell them, Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Peter Pane Burgergrill Bar

Friedrichstraße 101, 10117 Berlin
Ph: +49 30 20679063
Website: www.peterpane.de

Burger Prices Range €6.40 – €11.90

Trading Hours
  •    Mon-Sun from 11 am until late

Looking for a place to stay in Berlin. Book here

Peter Pane Burgergrill Bar rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =10
Atmosphere =9
Service =9
Price =10
Food =9

Overall = 9.5

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Do you want to go to Disneyland Paris?

As a family, we have had some wonderful adventures. We have been lucky enough to take our girls to many overseas destinations. So, why not let them choose some of the things we do! In 2015, we did a trip to Hong Kong and the girls selected to go to Disneyland. We spent two full days there and they were hooked. Therefore, when they first heard we’d be visiting France on this journey they were definite that they wanted to visit Disneyland Paris and do it all again.

Disneyland Paris
The front entrance into Disneyland Paris

After looking at our schedule we decided that this time we would only spend a day at Disneyland. With the theme park only opening at 10 am we could take our time getting there. From our accommodation at the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette we jump onto the Metro to Chaussee d’Antin La Fayette. From there we take the 5-minute walk to the Auber RER station and purchase our train tickets for Disneyland Paris. Disneyland is about 45 minutes out of the city in Gare de Marne la Vallee Chessy. The cost of the train ticket from Auber to Disneyland is €15.20 one way per person.

Once arriving at Disneyland Paris, if you haven’t purchased your tickets, then head over to the ticket office. Just so you are prepared the Parks offer various entry options.  Now, you would have just heard me mention “parks”, because Disneyland Paris contains two parks; Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios. You have the option of visiting one or both parks. We of course decided to visit both.

Disneyland Paris
A bronze statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse after entering Walt Disney Studios

Excitedly we entered Walt Disney Studios and had a look around. Our first stop in the park was to visit the animation theatre. Here we discovered how the Walt Disney studio created their animation and creature effects.  Only lasting about 10 minutes is gives us some valuable information about animated production and set design.

Disneyland Paris
Watch how Disney Studio’s creates their animations in the Art of Disney Animation theatre.

Much of the Walt Disney Studio’s areas are based on a certain theme. Be it Ratatouille, Toy Story, Lilo and Stitch or Armageddon, the sections have rides and theatre shows based around these popular Disney Studio titles.

Disneyland Paris
People moving into the Toy Story themed area. Look there’s Buzz Lightyear.

We found that it was quite easy to fly through Walt Disney Studios and quickly moved to the Disneyland Park.

Disneyland Paris
The girls out the front of the impressive Disneyland Park entrance.

Like the Studio, the Park is separated into defined areas. There’s Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. These lands are separated by a central plaza and main street containing the various Disney retail and food outlets. Also scattered throughout the park are food stalls and restaurants.

Disneyland Paris
One of the many Disneyland souvenir shops.

A family could easily spend a day or two exploring these two sites. We spent most of our stay in Disneyland Park and whilst there probably tried out every ride and feature available. Unfortunately, some of the park is still under construction, with a Pirates of the Caribbean area still being developed. Saying this though doesn’t take away from the intrigue of the park.

Disneyland Paris
The Pirates of the Caribbean ship. It wasn’t accessible the day we were there.

Now for the important detail, which will determine if you elect to stay or go to Disneyland Paris. The cost… It can be expensive, we were there for a twelve-hour day and spent close to €600 for a family of four. So, I would consider that an expensive day out.

Disneyland Paris also has accommodation available in their hotel, with room packages including access to the Disneyland Parks. So, it may be a better option to book your accommodation at the hotel and access the parks that way. This way you don’t have to worry about transport to the parks and accommodation in Paris. Likewise, you could find some cheap accommodation in Marne-la-Vallée and just worry about tickets into the park.

Although expensive, we had an awesome time at Disneyland Paris. Disneyland holds some fascination and wonder to people of all ages. It is an extremely fun day, although sometimes you may need to line up to access the more popular rides. They offer a “Fast Track” ride option which costs a little extra, where you are given a time to go on a particular ride. This way you can have fun elsewhere in the park and when your time gets closer you just go to the fast track lane and hop onto the ride.

Disneyland Paris
As the night sets in, it’s finally time to call it a day.

Overall, Disneyland Paris is an amazing place. My recommendation is that if you are planning on going, make sure you have saved your pennies. But sometimes, spending quality time and enjoying a fun-filled day is more valuable than the cost. Because I know, these memories will last forever. Therefore, when you are in France, pencil in Disneyland Paris for a day or two, enjoy an incredible experience and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Disneyland Paris
Tiggr and Eeyore having a photo with the girls
Additional Information for Disneyland Paris

77777 Marne-la-Vallée, France
Ph. +33 1 60 30 60 53
Website: www.disneylandparis.com

Price
  • Prices range from € 42.00 – € 223.00 for Passport ticket entry
  • Full ticketing information available here
Opening hours
Disneyland® Park

10:00 to 23:00

Extra Magic Hours

8:00 to 10:00

Walt Disney Studios® Park

10:00 to 18:00

Book accommodation near Disneyland Park, Marne-la-Vallée.

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Staying at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Urban Adventure Tours

After a busy schedule in France the girls were so excited to be heading to Berlin. A city that has had to rebuild most of their buildings due to the devastation of World War II. So, although a city rich in history, good and bad, it is still a new. It is intriguing how Berlin has rebuilt many buildings to match the elegance of their past. For our time, here we are staying at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm hotel.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Hotel
Someone was very happy to be in Berlin.

The Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm is a lovely 4-star hotel near the shopping district of Kurfürstendamm, and quite close to many popular attractions.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The reception desk at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Upon arrival to the hotel we enter through the automatic turnstile and are met by a friendly reception desk. To the right of us is a lounge with a business area. And to the left is the stairway down to the Scandic restaurant and an alcove with a Foosball table. Additionally, past the reception desk is a small self-serve shop, stocked with essentials and hotel souvenirs.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Foosball table to the left of the entrance.

The desk clerk allocates us two rooms and we ride the elevator up to our floor. Bright clean white corridors decorated with well placed commissioned street art, this hotel exudes a modern elegance.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm has commissioned artist to produce street art at certain locations within the hotel.

The rooms are a nicely decorated spacious area with a king sized bed, a comfortable lounge seat, a desk, fridge, cupboard, safe and television. Each room also has a separate bathroom.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Our double room at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The desk, fridge and television in the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Our bathroom is also a well maintained clean. It is a large room with a large shower cubicle for that well deserved relaxing hot shower.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The bathroom at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Now, if you talk to my family, I have no patience when travelling, I like to keep moving. So, a relaxing evening lounging around a hotel doesn’t really suit me. Luckily, the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm has a gym on the sixth floor. Therefore, I didn’t pace around twiddling my thumbs, because I could always go to the gym for a couple of hours and burn off some excess energy.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Some of the cardio equipment in the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm gym.

With treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and rowing machines, I could burn up that extra energy. Additionally, the gym also has some free weights and a multi-faceted nautilus machine. After the workout, you can take a shower and use the sauna to sweat out those toxins.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The weight area in the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm gym

The hotel is mainly focused on the conference market and has meeting rooms available on the seventh floor. Please ask the reception for more information. Breakfast is also available in the restaurant for €12 per person, per day.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Breakfast buffet area the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

The restaurant is open for dinner and has a descent sized Scandinavian inspired menu. It has a satisfactory range of quality wines from around Europe. So why not be bold and try something you’ve never experienced before. We had the pleasure of dining in the main dining area for a night. They also have a winter garden and courtyard area for those nice days.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The comfortable dining area at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

We ordered their Weiner Schnitzel, a vegetarian Caesar Salad with roasted pumpkin and their aptly named Scandic burger. All the meals were well cooked and quite large servings.

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The classic aptly named Scandic burger with a side of fries.
Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Weiner Schnitzel with some fries. Not the most eye catching of meals.
Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The vegetarian Caesar Salad with roasted pumpkin.

Overall the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Hotel is an excellent choice for your stay in Berlin. Perfectly located with easy access to Berlin’s sensational public transport system, and major shopping outlets. The hotel can look after all your needs, with luggage storage available before your check-in and after check-out. If you decide not to eat breakfast at the hotel we found the Clave Cafe on Augsburger Straße towards Kurfürstendamm an excellent option. So, book your next stay below, and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm

Augsburger Straße 5 Berlin, Germany
Ph: +49 30 212 42 0
Website: www.scandichotel.de

To get there catch the Metro to Augsburger Straße

Book your stay at the Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €98 – €164 per night

Breakfast is served daily for €12.00 per person

Scandic Berlin Kurfürstendamm Restaurant opening times

Breakfast: Mon-Sun 06: 30-12: 00
Dinner: Mon-Sun 17: 00-01: 00

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French Royalty and the Palace of Versailles

No matter what your first thoughts of France are, it is undoubtedly full of history. The opulence of France is on full show and there is probably no better place to see this wealth than the Palace of Versailles.

Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles taken from the golden gates

Like many tourists to France we decided to make our way to the Palace to spend a day visiting the royal residences and relaxing in the gardens.

After leaving the B&B Hotel Paris Porte de la Villette a little later than we had hoped for, we hop on the 9 am train to Versailles. Train tickets can be purchased from the train stations. Just tell the ticket office we’re you are going and they will give you the right ticket. Likewise, you can use the automated ticket machines to select your required tickets. Please note; conductors do check your tickets so if you select the wrong one you may find yourself being fined or paying for another ticket. This depends on how the conductors are feeling on the day.

When arriving at Versailles station it is a short walk around to the Palace. Just follow the signs and masses of other tourists. Online purchasing is a good idea as you won’t need to line up for tickets at the ticket office. Unfortunately, you will see need to wait in the entry line unless you’ve purchased a “skip the line” ticket, through a third-party operator, for an extra cost.

Palace of Versailles
The ticket office for the Palace of Versailles

We were lucky on the day we were there as everyone wanted to buy tickets from the ticket office. Therefore, no one was using the hidden ticket machines in a different room. We quickly purchased our tickets for the palaces and gardens and headed to the huge line up.

Palace of Versailles
The crazy long line up at the Palace of Versailles. It took 2.5-hours to get through.

Now, we were prepared for the wait, we had some water, some snacks and our entertainment devices to keep us occupied. If fact Josie and I used to time to write a few posts whilst we waited. The girls listened to some music and sang, harmonising the day away.

It was a 2.5 hour wait but the lines constantly moved, so there was a sense that you were going somewhere. Group tours through travel agencies are always available. These tours get you into the grounds quicker, but you have a limited time for your visit to the Palace and gardens. And the Palace of Versailles is a take your time attraction.

When you make it to the front of the line, you will need to pass through a security checkpoint. So, make sure you are sensible and leave any sharp implements in your room. We have seen people try to enter with their favourite Swiss Army knife, only for it to be confiscated.

Once you’re past the security check the Palace of Versailles shows you its wealth around every corner. This Palace has seen Kings and Queens grace these beautiful halls and their need for luxury is incredible.

Palace of Versailles
The stunning architecture of the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Hall of Mirrors

Once through the Palace buildings you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the enormity of the Palace grounds. Water fountains, sculptures, manicured lawns and flower exhibits are everywhere. Make sure you grab a map so you don’t get lost.

Palace of Versailles
A small garden courtyard inside the Palace of Versailles

As mentioned earlier, you should make a day of it. The gardens contain a cafe and restaurant if you are feeling hungry. We ate a nice lunch in the La Girandole Versailles garden cafe at a slightly elevated price. However, it was great to relax for a little while before exploring the gardens more.

Palace of Versailles
Unfortunately, we were unable to get a good photo of the cafe.

Our Passport Ticket also gave us access to the Petit and Grand Trianons, which once housed the Queen’s, Princess’ and Princes of France.

Palace of Versailles
The entrance courtyard of the Petit Trianon

These Trianons are located outside of the main palace grounds with separate security checks being performed at each site.

Palace of Versailles
The Grand Trianon and its gardens

A fantastic day, the Palace of Versailles is an ideal day getaway from Paris. So, spend a day or book some accommodation in Versailles and tell them Simon of Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Palace of Versailles

Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
Ph. + 33 1 30 83 78 00
Website: www.chauteauversailles.fr

Price
  • Prices range from € 20.00 – € 30.00 for Passport ticket entry
  • Full ticketing information available here
Opening hours

Palace
from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm
closed on Mondays

Estate of Trianon
from 12:00 pm to 6:30 pm
closed on Mondays

Gardens
from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm

Coach Gallery
from 12:30 pm to 6:30 pm
closed on Mondays

Book accommodation in Versailles here.

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German History, a Storyline of Berlin

Urban Adventure Tours

Before this big adventure started, we knew we’d have to plan some activities before we arrived in Europe. After doing some research we booked some tours with Urban Adventures. One of those tours was a Storyline of Berlin.

Urban Adventure’s Storyline of Berlin is a 4-5 hour walking tour, around the streets of Berlin. Germany has had an infamous history and Berlin has been at the heart of those historic tragedies. This tour gives, visitors an honest historical insight into the heartbreaking treatment of the people of Europe by Hitler’s Germany. It then details the subsequent division of a city after World War II ended. The tour does need a little fitness to complete the 5 hour walk. But your tour guide will control the pace of the walk depending on speed and health of their guests.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
The Reichstag is the meeting point for the start of the tour.

Our meeting point for the tour is at the large flag pole in front of the Reichstag building. Here we are greeted by our guide for the day, Sara. Sara is an Italian archaeologist with an extensive knowledge and love for Berlin. Her passion for this city is evident in how she delivers her knowledge to her guests.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
The impressive looking Brandenburg Gate

From the Reichstag, you walk the streets and visit some of Berlin’s main attractions. The Holocaust Memorial is a large eerie art display, that makes you feel trapped the deeper you walk in, with imposing walls on either side. The stunning Brandenburg gate with its horse and chariot to the Topography of Terror, which has a timeline of the horrific treatment of the innocent.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
A hauntingly eerie Holocaust Memorial
Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
A timeline of Germany’s infamous history at the Topography of Terror

Not only does the tour take in all this history, Sara also ensures that you have a couple of rest stops. A stop at a local café for some refreshments and a toilet break. Then another pause later when you visit Rausch’s, an incredible chocolate store with samples and magnificent chocolate displays.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
Here is the Brandenburg Gate made from chocolate at Rausch’s Chocolate House.

A Storyline of Berlin tour completes at Lustgarten, next to the Berlin Cathedral. Here Sara will give you advice on where to eat and what else to do with your time in Berlin.

Urban Adventure's Storyline of Berlin
Looking at the Berlin Cathedral Church through the Lustgarten.

Our small group of four found the tour very interesting and well worth the cost. Sara was an excellent guide, easy to understand with a well measured delivery of her knowledge. We have no issue in recommending this excellent tour through Urban Adventures. So, book your next tour today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Urban Adventure’s Storyline of Berlin

To see available tours in Berlin, click here
To book a Storyline of Berlin here: www.urbanadventures.com

Price
  • Adults: € 61.00
  • Child: € 31.00

Departure time: 10:00 am

 

Book accommodation in Berlin via Booking.com

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