Tag Archives: #placestogo

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.
Pin Me!
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 

*Post contains affiliate links

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
Pin Me!
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

*Post contains affiliate links

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

*Post contains affiliate links

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.

*Post contains affiliate links

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

*Post contains affiliate links

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

*Post contains affiliate links

Making our way to the Marion Bay Tavern – South Australia

South Australia has a lot of things for visitors or tourists to do. The problem is most of it is a couple of hundred kilometres away. Sure the city of Adelaide has plenty to do around this time of year as the festival season is upon us and the city comes alive. Yet, South Australia offers much, much more. With a few days to spare we pack some gear into the trusty car and just decide to drive and see where the road takes us. We drive out of the city and make our way onto the Yorke Peninsula and head right down to the foot of the peninsula to Marion Bay. Once there we try out the Marion Bay Tavern.

Welcome to Marion Bay
Hello from Marion Bay

Marion Bay is a popular stopover for fisherman and surfers. This is due to some of the beaches providing great surfing conditions and long jetties stretching out into the Great Australian Bight.

The Marion Bay Jetty
The Marion Bay Jetty

As South Australian’s we have been to the Yorke Peninsula before, usually just rushing to the place we need to go. But this time we know, time isn’t an issue and take our time visiting some of the small towns along the way.

Ardrossan's coastline
The small town of Ardrossan’s coastline

We have a quick lunch at a local tuck shop in Ardrossan, and stop for coffee and hot donuts in Port Vincent before arriving at our final destination of Marion Bay.

Port Vincent foreshore
Having coffee and donuts at Port Vincent

As we haven’t booked anywhere to stay we locate the Marion Bay Caravan Park and pay for a non powered site for AUD$25. Now I must admit I’m not the best camper around, preferring 5-star camping in big fancy hotels. My wife is the camper in our family, so in the name of being a good sport we quickly erect our two man tent before heading into the town for a meal.

Marion Bay
I’m not a good camper, but I was able to erect the tent successfully.

The Marion Bay caravan park is a large spacious family park with playground equipment and an impressive kangaroo jumper (jumping pillow) for the children.

Marion Bay’s caravan park has a range of accommodation options with powered and non powered camping sites available. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a tent or caravan, because the park also has a variety of cabins available.

After my impressive display of erecting the tent (see above) and subsequent victory lap, we took a walk around the township to watch the sunset, take a stroll along the foreshore and find a place to have dinner.

Marion Bay Tavern
Welcome to the Marion Bay Tavern.

Making our way past the popular fishing jetty we find the Marion Bay Tavern and head in for a meal. Uniquely, it has a pizza shop at the front for takeaway pizzas with a more casual dining area and front bar if you prefer to dine in.

Marion Bay Tavern dining area
Casual dining area with friendly staff and locals

The tavern has a good sized menu with a variety of dishes available from their popular pizzas to your more traditional pub fare. The wine menu was also impressive with an excellent selection of South Australian and New Zealand wines.

We decided to have a serving of their crusty bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Marion Bay’s local dukkah. The warm crusty bread was fresh and the Marion Bay dukkah was spicy and full of flavour. Unfortunately we ran out of bread and olive oil both before the dukkah was finished.

Marion Bay Dukkah
Beautiful warm crusty bread with Marion Bay Dukkah

Since we were in a fishing town we once again opted for a Seafood Basket. I mean unless you are allergic to shellfish, how can you resist fresh local seafood. The seafood was nicely cooked, but the scallops were tiny.

Seafood Basket Picture
Marion Bay Tavern’s Seafood Basket, unfortunately the scallops were tiny.

Finally our last food selection was a roasted field mushroom stuffed with baby spinach, caramelised onion and sweet potato. This was served with a dressed rocket and citrus salad. The dish was a perfectly constructed success, full of flavour and wonderfully cooked.

Marion Bay Tavern food picture
Roasted Field Mushrooms stuffed with spinach, served with a rocket and citrus salad.

For a country pub, the Marion Bay Tavern is a great place to have a meal. The friendly staff and local atmosphere is inviting, I could see myself spending the evening there and watching a band and getting to know the locals better.

Marion Bay Beach
Marion Bay Beach

Once dinner was over we took a leisurely stroll along the foreshore to the bluff (Penguin Point) to catch the spectacular sunset.

Sunset photo
A spectacular sunset from the bluff lookout at Marion Bay (click the photo for the full effect).

After watching the sun fade away, we headed back to the caravan park to settle in for an early night, ready for our early morning trip into the Innes National Park. Visit Josie Wanders for our experience in Innes National Park.

Additional Information Marion Bay Caravan Park

17 Willyama Drive, Marion Bay SA 5575
Ph: (08) 8854 4094
Website: www.marionbaycp.com.au

For other accommodation options on the Yorke Peninsula click here.

Additional Information Marion Bay Tavern

5 Stenhouse Bay Road, Marion Bay SA 5575
Ph: (08) 8854 4141
Website: www.marionbaytavern.com.au

Main Meal Price Range AUD$18.00 – $36.00

Marion Bay Tavern rating: 1-10 (1=very poor, 10 = excellent)

Decor =8
Atmosphere =8
Service =8
Price =8
Food =8

Overall = 8

 *Post contains affiliated links

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save