Category Archives: Tours & Attractions

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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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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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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Rembrandt, the Renaissance and the Rijksmuseum

King’s Day in Amsterdam is a huge celebration. Residents set up little stores in front of their houses selling whatever they can. The city of Amsterdam closes its streets and road to cars, and people flock to the canals to party. Music blares from every corner and every pub. The canal boats are full of people drinking and dancing with plenty of patriotic Dutch chanting. It is truly an amazing experience to be around the celebrations because you can’t help but get caught up in it.

Rijksmusuem
King’s Day celebrations in Amsterdam. Orange people everywhere.

After the celebrations, we needed a day to relax and be a tourist at a leisurely pace. Therefore, the next day we decided to head to the Rijksmuseum. Catching the number 5 tram from Kronenburg we are at the Rijksmuseum in approximately 30 minutes. Once you alight from the tram it’s a nice walk towards the museum and the I Amsterdam sign. This sign is very popular for tourist’s taking photos and we are no different. Stopping and posing for that perfect shot.

Rijksmusuem
The I Amsterdam sign near the Rijksmuseum. It’s very popular with tourists

On this day entry into the museum was quite quick. We did have a short line up outside the turnstile door and then another short wait to purchase tickets. Bags that are backpack size and larger must be checked in, into the cloak room. Then it’s another small line up as security view our tickets as we pass by.

The Rijksmuseum houses some of history’s greatest masterpieces, from artists such as Rembrandt, van Gogh and Vermeer. As you walk through each room and examine the artworks from the different centuries displayed, you will be amazed by the intricate and sometimes massive canvasses. Each depicting scenes from historical events or portraits of important and everyday people.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Jan van Scorel’s Maria Magdalena

I must admit it was a thrill to walk into a large room and turn to see Rembrandt’s The Night’s Watch covering an entire wall. This wonderful painting is truly beautiful and intricate in detail. From the subjects having their own personalities and expressions, to the frills and embroidery on their uniforms.  Rembrandt has depicted this scene with the class and elegance of a master. And the crowding of spectators around this painting proves it still has its appeal.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Rembrandt’s The Night’s Watch is such an amazing painting, the crowds surely appreciated it.

Continue through the room and you will come across some of the works by Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer’s most famous work “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” is situated in The Hague, but you can still see works like The Love Letter showing his unique subject style.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
Johannes Vermeer’s The Love Letter

Even if you don’t know much about art, there are a few artists throughout history that you may have heard of such as Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Pollock or even Warhol. Van Gogh is one of those artists that had an intriguing story. Unsuccessfully as an artist during his life, he lived a tortured life stuck in his own mind. That torment lead to him cutting off his ear and eventually shooting himself. His ‘self-portrait in a felt hat’ is a reminder to us that genius is sometimes hidden behind different faces. A small piece of art in size, a lot like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, it still holds its fascination. The distant stare in that drawn face radiates his self-anguish.

Rijksmuseum
Van Gogh’s Self Portrait in a felt hat.

The Rijksmuseum has been a special place to see some of the classics. The museum of course has a café, a restaurant and a souvenir store in case you want to take a memento home. The museum has a lot of things to see so it will take a good day to complete. For a more comprehensive experience take the Rijksmusuem’s audio tour for a few extra Euro (€). An excellent museum, add it to your list of things to do in Amsterdam and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Rijksmuseum

Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ph. +31 (0) 6747 20 000
Website: www.rijksmuseum.nl

Price
  • Adults: € 17.50
  • Youth t / m 18 years Museumkaart, Friends of the National Museum , ICOM, Rembrandt Association, KOG, VVAK, BankGiro Lottery VIP CARD: free
  • CJP, Stadspas, EYCA: 50% of the regular ticket price
Opening hours

Every day of the year from 9 am to 5 pm. The museum is also open during the Christmas and New Year’s.

Rijksmuseum Garden, Empire Shop and Café without entrance ticket to visit from 9 am to 6 pm

Book accommodation in Amsterdam via Booking.com

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Knowing how the Vikings lived – The Viking Ship and Norwegian Folk Museums, Oslo

Norway offers the budding traveller a chance to experience some wonderful culture and history. From the days of Vikings, the battles and worshipping of the Norse gods, Norway has a bit for everyone. We found our time in the capital of Oslo a wee bit cold but a completely awesome experience. This was due to the people we shared our time with during the International Bookcrossing convention and the must see Viking Ship and Norwegian Folk Museums.

The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingshiphuset) which exhibits some old funeral Viking ships found throughout history. These full-sized vessels are buried once the leader of a clan dies or is killed in battle.

Museums of Norway
The preserved Gokstad on display in the Viking Ship Museum

This unique museum displays three of these funeral vessels found in Norway. The Gokstad, Oseberg and the Tune are preserved vessels carefully excavated and reconstructed within the museum. At different stages of decay, each vessel has different artefacts on show.

Museums of Norway
Sleigh artefact found in on the the Viking Ships

From pottery, textiles, weaponry and farming equipment, the Norwegian’s believed that the same things you needed to live everyday life back then was the same things you’d need in your afterlife.

Museums of Norway
Cooking pot found on one of the Viking Ships

The museum, although small offers us a good insight into ancient Norwegian life. The Viking Ship Museum has educational and fun activities for children as well as a video projection played over the vessel, the Tune which is quite good. The whole museum experience takes about an hour to complete.

Museums of Norway
Video projection over the Tune

Once you’ve finished at the Viking Ship Museum head to the larger Norwegian Folk Museum (Norsk Folkemuseum). This impressive museum highlights Norwegian life across the eras. Incredibly they have a full-sized town building from different periods. These buildings have been painstakingly moved from their original locations to the museum grounds. Some of the buildings are open to the public, so go inside and discover what it would have been like to live during those times.

Museums of Norway
Old township inside the Norwegian Folk Museum

After you’ve investigated these abodes continue around to the working barn and visit the various animals. After that head inside for a coffee or walk through the other exhibits on offer.

Museums of Norway
Goose inside the working barn

The Norwegian Folk Museum is very large so, many people do the Viking Ship museum early then spend the rest of the day in the Norwegian Folk Museum.

Museums of Norway
The Norwegian Folk Museum

We really enjoyed roaming around the village buildings and embracing The Norwegian way. So why don’t you do the same and visit the Viking Ship and Norwegian Folk Museums and them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Viking Ship Museum

Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Ph. (+47) 22 13 52 80
Website: www.khm.uio.no

The Viking Ship Museum

Open daily
1 May – 30 September: 09:00-18:00
1 October – 30 April: 10:00-16:00

Prices

Adults

NOK 100

Children under 18

Free

Students/seniors

NOK 80

Season ticket, adults

NOK 400

Staff and students at the University of Oslo, refugees and asylum seekers

Free

Groups,10+ pax

Groups do not need to make a reservation in advance. Please download our contract form as pdf

NOK 50 per person

 

Additional Information for the Norwegian Folk Museum

Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Ph. (+47) 22 12 37 00
Website: www.norskfolkemuseum.no

Open daily
May 15 – September 14:  Every day 10:00 – 18:00
September 15 – May 14:  Weekdays 11:00 – 15:00,  Sat and Sun 11:00 – 16:00

Fees 2017

Adults  NOK 130
Children  NOK 40
Children under 6  FREE
Family  NOK 260 (Parents/grandparents with children)
Reduced  NOK 100 (Groups over 15, retired, students)
OsloPass FREE (Run on selected Sundays, check VisitOslo website for more details)

Accommodation is available in Oslo through Booking.com

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Taking a train from Oslo to Bergen. That’s Norway in a Nutshell!

Our time in Oslo has gone by so quickly, but now it’s time to discover more of beautiful Norway. On this journey, we have experienced some things that most Australian’s would not. We became so excited when it started to snow, I’m sure the Norwegian’s thought us mad. But in our defence, it doesn’t snow in Adelaide, South Australia. After some consideration, we decided that the best way to get a good look around the Norwegian countryside was to hop on the Norway in a Nutshell tour from Oslo to Bergen.

Norway in a nutshell
Snow covered field and mountains along the Oslo to Bergen rail trip

Basically, the Norway in a Nutshell tour is an extensive train ride from Oslo to the historic township of Bergen. This is not just some ordinary train ride, it is a journey that lasts approximately 12 hours. So, you take a roundabout trip, which takes in some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery.

Norway in a nutshell
The Oslo to Myrdal train from OSLO S. The first leg of the tour

The journey starts at the Oslo Central Station (OSLO S) at around 8 am and the first leg runs between Oslo and Myrdal. This leg is the longest of the journey, lasting about 5 hours.

Norway in a nutshell
Comfortable seating on board the Oslo to Bergen train.

The seats are comfortable and the train has luggage areas, so you don’t have to worry about your luggage being in the way. The facilities are clean and the train has a children’s activity wagon to entertain the kids and a refreshment wagon to entertain the adults.

Norway in a nutshell
The fully licensed refreshment cart. There’s a decent range of drinks and hot food available.

On arrival into Myrdal we disembark off the Oslo train and board the Flåm railway. This historic railway takes an automatic guided tour through the snow-capped hills to the picturesque township of Flåm.

Norway in a nutshell
The carriage interior of the historic Myrdal to Flåm railway

The journey lasts for about an hour and has a brief stop to look at a waterfall. The area was covered in snow and the girls had a bit of a play. You will be in awe as the train comes down from the snow-capped hills and enters the luscious green valley that is Flåm. The view is incredible, and if you didn’t want to move to Norway, then this might tip you over the edge.

Norway in a nutshell
All of a sudden the snow disappears and you enter a new world

After a short stay in Flåm, a visit to buy gloves for the girls in the Mall of Norway. And a walk around the area for a good photo opportunity, we are herded on board a ferry for a 2 hour Fjord cruise. The cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen is a visual delight. The slow cruise along the Fjord allows you to easily take photos of the breathtaking scenery. I couldn’t help but stand there against the vessels bow railing and just live in the tranquil moment breathing in that cold Norwegian air. And I do mean cold air….Brrrr!

Norway in a nutshell
The tranquil peace of cruising along the Fjord. In my opinion, highlight of the trip.

Unfortunately, the Fjord cruise had to end at the quiet ferry port of Gudvangen. Here we wait for a bus to take us to the town of Voss. We load up into the bus and make the 30 minute bus ride to Voss and the final train to Bergen. The bus trip passes through some lovely countryside and the final train ride to Bergen takes about 1.5 hours.

By the time, you arrive at Bergen you’ve had a great appreciation of this beautiful country and Bergen just enhances that with its historic buildings and moored sailing vessels.

Norway in a nutshell
The historic building along the foreshore of Bergen

In conclusion, the Norway in a Nutshell tour is a terrific way to quickly discover the Norwegian landscapes and differences in weather patterns. It was amazing entering the snow-covered hills at one end and to come out into green valleys at the other. The highlight of the trip was the Fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen. What an amazing journey! I must admit that the last two legs of the journey melded into each other as 12 hours is a long time to keep focused on. Overall the Norway in a Nutshell tour is a perfect introduction to Norway, so book your tour now and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Norway in a Nutshell tour

We booked our tickets through Fjord Tours

Fjord Tours
Website: www.norwaynutshell.com

Cost:

One way trip: 1890NOK per adult and 980NOK per child

Round Trip: 2790NOK per adult and 1420NOK per child

Book your stay in Bergen now with Booking.com

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Money, Money, Money and Royal Australian Mint, Canberra

Have you ever wondered where Australia makes its unique coin currency? During our recent trip to Canberra, we decided that one of our “things for free” stops would be the Royal Australian Mint.

Before my visit to the Royal Australian Mint, I honestly thought “how interesting can this be?” We are basically going to the place where our coins are produced. Fortunately, I was misplaced in my original thoughts because I learnt the Royal Australian Mint produces more than just our everyday coinage.

Canberra Mint
Australia’s Coat of Arms on the Royal Australian Mint Building

The Royal Australian Mint is a relatively small building compared to other attractions in Canberra. Entry is via the ground floor with a reception desk, cafeteria and gift shop all located at this level. So, after your visit, sit and have a coffee or a quick bite to eat. Browse the merchandise from the gift shop and be amazed by what things they have available for purchase.

Canberra Mint
Customers browsing the Royal Mint shop, deciding what they should buy.

The main viewing area is located on the second level, so climb the stairs filled with money and make your way to the first displays. Their displays show how our coins were designed and the impressive artwork of how the designers envisioned the final product to look. Take a look at the now defunct one and two cent coins or the rare two-hundred-dollar coin.

Canberra Mint
Staircase of 5 cent pieces.

Continue to make your way around the exhibit and enter the medal area. The Royal Australian Mint is tasked with creating numerous awards and medals. From military service medals to the medals you may have seen at the Sydney Olympic Games or the upcoming Commonwealth Games. They also create special edition coins and the Australia Day awards given to our most deserving.

Canberra Mint
The gold and bronze medals from the Sydney Olympic games. The silver medal was resting on this day.

Once through this area you can look at how the coins are made from the viewing platforms into the various workshops. From Royal Australian Mint employees checking each coin for flaws to the sorting and packaging machines. I must admit I was a little mesmerised by the automatic machine doing its little dance as it tipped a barrel of coins into the sorting hopper.

Canberra Mint
Titan bowing down next to the hopper full of golden coins.

The Royal Australian Mint is an interesting place to visit and it is amazing what their coins commemorate. All coins are available for purchase from their shop or online, like this $1695 silver coin celebrating the Year of the Rooster for Chinese New Year.

Canberra Mint
Year of the Rooster commemorative coin. It could be yours for $1695.

As I mentioned earlier it’s not a huge place so young children shouldn’t get bored to quickly. We spent about an hour there and that included sitting down for coffee at the cafeteria. So, head to the Royal Australian Mint buy a souvenir coin and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview Sent you!

Additional Information for the Royal Australian Mint

Denison Street, Deakin ACT 2600
Ph. (02) 6202 6999
Website: www.ramint.gov.au

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 8.30 am to 5 pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 10 am to 4 pm

The Mint is closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Entry is FREE

Public Tours
Free public tours are run seven days a week.

Mon-Fri: 10 am and 2 pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 11 am, 1 pm and 2 pm

Accommodation is available in Canberra

www.booking.com

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Inspired by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Australia’s capital, Canberra has so much to offer tourists. This well designed city stretches out over the lush landscape providing visitors and residents with a picturesque city. From the top of Mt. Ainslie one can see the major sites of Canberra from the Australian War Memorial down ANZAC Parade to Australia’s Parliament House. Canberra is the home to some great artistic and historical attractions. Personally, I don’t think you should visit Canberra without seeing the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the old and new Parliament Houses or the Australian War Memorial. Getting to these sites is relatively easy and the best thing of all is many of them are free.

Mt Ainslie from the war memorial to parliament house
Looking down from Mt Ainslie

On this trip Ourworldinreview came to Canberra to experience as many of these free attractions as possible starting with the National Gallery of Australia. The gallery is located in Parkes and houses some of the finest pieces of domestic and international art of our time.

Canberra art gallery
Fabulous art pieces spread out along corridors and rooms inside the National Art Gallery

Upon entry, this large building opens up exposing the main visitor area. To the right is the art galleries souvenir store and to the left is the entrance to their visiting exhibition. In this case their current exhibit is the Versailles collection: Treasures from the Palace running until the 17th April 2017.

The National Art Gallery contains masterpieces from some of history’s most well known artists. From international greats like Cezanne, Monet, Warhol and Pollock, to Australia’s own Sidney Nolan and Arthur Streeton.

Art Gallery Canberra
Sidney Nolan’s Burning at Glenrowan
Canberra Art Gallery
Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles
Canberra art gallery
Claude Monet’s Waterlilies

Take your time walking down the corridors and through the rooms to see these magnificent works of yesteryear. Additionally, make sure to check out the ideas of today’s upcoming artists, because some of their pieces are fascinating.

Depending on how much you like art, you can easily spend a few hours investigating the corridors. Don’t worry if you’re hungry, as the National Gallery of Australia to gallery has two cafes so you can  rest those weary legs. Their Street cafe is located outside the main entrance and the NGA cafe can be found on the lower ground floor.

Additional Information for the National Gallery of Australia

Parkes Place, Parkes ACT 2600
Ph. (02) 6240 6411
Website: www.nga.gov.au

Trading Hours

Daily 10:00am – 05:00pm (except Christmas Day)

Entry Fee

Free to main gallery

Visiting Exhibit – Versailles: Treasures from the Palace

Accommodation is available in Canberra

www.booking.com

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