Tag Archives: #lonelyplanet

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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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.

*Post contains affiliate links

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

*Post contains affiliate links

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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King’s Day and the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South

After our time spent in Norway we are on a plane heading for a whirl wind tour of Amsterdam. We are only here for a few days to celebrate King’s Day and to meet up with two other travel bloggers. For our accommodation stay we are at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. From the airport, we catch a train to Amsterdam Zuid, then take the Metro to Kronenburg. It’s then a short walk to the hotel which you can see from the Kronenburg Metro Station.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The reception desk of the IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

The Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South hotel is rated as a 2.5-star hotel, but is a new, modern and at a reasonable price. The newness of the hotel is evident as soon as you walk into the foyer. On entry, you have an internet station and storage lockers to the right and a refreshment area to the left. We are warmly greeted at the reception desk and promptly checked in.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The Cool Service refreshment area. Items are available for purchase from the front desk

We are given a family room for four and take the elevator to our room. The room is approximately 15 square metres and contains three single beds and a single cupboard bed. Our two large windows present a pleasant view of the surrounding area, which is mainly residential. A television with a range of local and international channels is also located on the wall.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
Our family room, contains three single beds and the cupboard contains the fourth.
IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
View from our room in the IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

Each room has a small clean bathroom, with sufficient space to store your toiletries. The hotel supplies linen and towels for their guests use and rooms are serviced daily. Additionally, a hairdryer is available from the reception desk for a €20 deposit.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The small clean and serviced bathroom

The hotel is a 100% non-smoking hotel and has available parking facilities for its guests. It also boasts a games room with table tennis tables and various electronic games. It’s a great safe place for the children to hang out when you have finished exploring for the day.

IBIS Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
The games room contains table tennis tables and various electronic games

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole hotel and they offer their guests an all you get eat breakfast buffet for €7.50 per person. This fee is payable at the front desk, when required. Unfortunately, the breakfast range is a little limited for choice, but we were able to find something suitable.

Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel
A section of the breakfast area. There’s plenty of tables available.

Overall the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel is a cool modern hotel. It’s clean and has enough activities available to entertain the average family. Rooms accommodate 1-4 persons so if you have a larger family two rooms may be needed. We found it handy for public transport and was easily able to purchase tickets from the automated machines at the stations. The hotel does have some tickets available at the front desk so be sure to ask them if they can help. They have an arrangement with a local Pizza shop for room deliveries for those days you just want to stay in. Just make sure you notify them if you are going to be paying by credit card when ordering. Pizzas can be ordered using the hotel receptions phone if required.

We enjoyed our time at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel. So, book your stay today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel

Prof J H Bavincklaan 1, 1183 AT Amstelveen, Netherlands
Ph:  (+31) 207154333
Website: www.accorhotels.com

To get there catch the Metro or Tram to the Kronenburg station.

Book your stay at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South Hotel now with Booking.com

Prices of accommodation:

Ranging from €67 – €149 per night

Breakfast is served from 7:30 – 10:30 am

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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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Away at the Anker Hotel – Oslo, Norway

Once again, the love of books has prompted us to tack on a stay in Oslo to meet up with our international book club. Every year a city around the world hosts the annual Bookcrossing convention and this year happens to be our friends in Norway. I know it may sound unusual to some of you, to fly halfway around the world to talk and exchange books. However, it’s become more than that. The lifelong friendships you make, the catch up conversations, and the shared meals together are at the heart of these overseas journeys. Yet we do it in the name of books.

This year’s convention was being held at the Markus Menighetshus building in the St Hanshaugen district. Therefore, our accommodation needed to be in walking distance of the venue. After some close examination of the area we opted to stay at the Anker Hotel in nearby Storgata street. The Anker Hotel is a part of the Foundation Anker that supports students in Norway and all profits go back to those students.

Anker Hotel
A bridge over the Akerselva River, near the Anker Hotel

Located right alongside the Akerselva River the 3-star Anker Hotel has no fancy facade to make it stand out. It’s just a plain-looking building with a quick automatic turnstile entry. It’s funny how people try to time their entry into these turnstiles. Too fast and you hit the revolving door, yet go too slow and it hits you.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The front foyer lounge area in the Anker Hotel. A coffee machine and hotel computers are located in this area.

Upon entry, the reception desk which is manned 24 hours is to the right. Check-in time is from 3 pm and all passports are required to be shown so the hotel can register the names of the guests staying in the room. The reception also has safety deposit boxes available for your valuables and some tour guide information about Oslo. Check out the Visit Oslo website because they run, tourist in your own city (Turist I EGEN BY) on selected Sunday’s. These passes give the holder free access to the major tourist attractions in Oslo.

the Anker Hotel Oslo
The reception desk at the Anker Hotel

We are greeted by the friendly hotel staff and quickly checked in for the night. We are given a family room overlooking the Akerselva river on the 7th floor and head on up. The floor corridors aren’t richly decorated so there are pretty plain-looking which reflects the same styling within the room.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
Plain corridors along every floor

The room is quite large and has four comfortable single beds lined up along the wall in that dorm room style. There are a couple of chairs and a side table next to the window and a desk and chair closer to the door. A small flat screen television is mounted above the desk which plays local Norwegian channels. However, we could find some English-speaking shows when we had it on. Each bed has its own bedside lamp if you’d like to read at night. The entry foyer has an inbuilt cupboard to hang jackets on, and the door to the right is a bathroom.

The Anker Hotel Olso
The Anker Hotel’s family room can accommodate a family of five.
The Anker Hotel Oslo
Small desk and chair with the rooms television mounted on wall.

Now, the bathroom is quite small, and contains a toilet, wash basin with a small amount of space for your toiletry bags, and a shower cubicle. It is fully tiled from floor to ceiling and is your basic white colour. Although small I must say the shower is fantastic. Instant hot water, wonderful water pressure and the temperature control is excellent. There’s nothing worse than having to adjust a shower because it switches from going hot to cold. Furthermore, as an added bonus the tiled floor is perfectly heated. So, no freezing tiles and cold feet. Another pleasing aspect is that they have a hairdryer mounted to the wall and a good supply of toilet paper if you’re staying for a while.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The family room’s small bathroom, but that heated floor and water pressure were marvellous

Unfortunately, the room does not have coffee and tea making facilities in them. But they are available to be borrowed from the front desk if required. Wi-Fi is available in every room on a public network, so no password is required. Internet is a bit static and drops in and out often.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
One of the two eating areas for guests at breakfast

The Anker Hotel stay comes with a complimentary breakfast in their large dining area. The buffet style service has a broad range of quality food available and as it is all you can eat, you shouldn’t leave hungry.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
Buffet style breakfast. The perfect start before a long day of discovery.

Other facilities available at the Anker Hotel are a fully licensed bar, luggage storage, laundry service and four different meeting rooms. Wake up calls are also available as your room does not have a clock in it.

The Anker Hotel Oslo
The licensed bar within the Anker Hotel. Stay up for a nightcap and mingle with other guests

In conclusion, the Anker Hotel is a clean, no frills hotel. The rooms are warm and comfortable and in my opinion the shower was perfect. At a reasonable price with breakfast included, the Anker Hotel is a good option for active families on a budget who would use the hotel as a base for their daily activities. So, book now and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!

Additional Information for Anker Hotel

Storgata 55, 0182 Oslo, Norway
Ph: (+47) 2299 7510
Website: www.anker-hotel.no

To get there from the OSLO Central station catch the 11 or 17 tram to Hausmanns Gate stop, then walk 200m towards Akerselva river.

Book your stay at the Anker Hotel now with Booking.com

Types of accommodation:

Single room: 1 persons AUD $170 -$232

Twin room: 1 -2 persons AUD $216 -$278

Double room: 1 – 2 persons AUD $216 – $278

Triple room: 1 -3 persons AUD $262 – $309

Family room: 1 – 5 persons AUD $309 – $386

Breakfast is served from 6 – 10 am Mon-Fri & 7 – 11 am Sat – Sun

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