Kelpies, Falkirk, Scotland

The Kelpies are a must see rest stop on any road trip through the region. Tourists and locals alike enjoy the activities offered here- there’s a visitor’s centre, a boat ride down the canal, a kids learning space. Families come here to have picnics and let their children off the leash as there’s beautiful greenspace to run, pathways for cycling and ice cream vendors aplenty.

The Kelpies themselves are a sight to behold. Structurally, they are very impressive: Two horses heads emerging from the water. They pay homage to the Scottish legends of horselike beasts that protect the lochs and waterways of Scotland. They’re beautiful through the day and would be stunning all lit up in the evening as well.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, England

Shakespeare’s Globe is a cultural icon on the banks of the Thames. Through summer, the theatre holds matinee and evening performances of all Shakespearean texts, from the famously renowned to the lesser known ones. You should absolutely book tickets in advance as the Globe often sells out performances. Groundings are £5 and they seem to let groundlings in at any time through the 2.5hr performances.

Visitors, understandably, can’t wander through the Globe when there’s a performance on, however the venue is still worth visiting.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland

For first timers to the Scottish Highlands, Loch Ness is ENORMOUS. The loch can be visited from any vantage point:

  • Urquhart Castle is a ruined castle dating back to medieval times on the banks of Loch Ness. On a clear day, they loch sparkles a brilliant blue.
  • Dores Beach is a lesser known access point to Loch Ness. It’s home to a local legend, a man who gave up his city life to stand vigil and observe the waters for the Loch Ness Monster. There’s also a pub with a beer garden overlooking the loch. Locals come here to take a quick dip or go fishing or kayaking.
  • The town of Loch Ness is the most touristy section of the loch as it is home to many stores and cafes dedicated to the Loch Ness Monster and associated souvenirs.

No matter where you go, this loch is absolutely stunning, especially when the sunshine sparkles.

I can’t guarantee you’ll see Nessie, but you’ll be in awe at the sublime scenery nonetheless.

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Went to Loch Ness. No Nessie sighting 😦

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Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Pulau Ubin Day Trip, SINGAPORE

We took a taxi out from Singapore city centre to Changi Village. A taxi seemed like fastest way to get there and was reasonably priced for three people. Changi Village is the last stop with an ATM (and Pulau Ubin is cash only), and has a plethora of eateries if you want to try the local cuisine.

Catch a bumboat from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Bumboats leave when they have 12 passengers (no more, no less) and cost $3 per passenger in exact change. Watch the skill and mastery of the skipper, who’s laid-back attitude, weathered hands and precise boating are a sight to behold.

Pulau Ubin has an interesting visitor’s centre that details the ecosystem and local environmental concerns. There’s also a camping ground, opportunities to ride a bike and hike the island. It’s a slower pace of life here. Coming around lunch time is a good idea, as there are restaurants promising the freshest of seafood.

There’s not a lot to do on Pulau Ubin, so don’t expect to be entertained as you would around Marina Bay. It’s nice to come here to see the seabirds sunning themselves, or the fishermen wading out into the shallows, arms full of net.

Spend an hour or two in the thick vines and humidity, then spend $3 catch a bumboat back.

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A fisherman waded into the shallows with a net.

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Simple pleasures.

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Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

 

Fes Medina, MOROCCO

The Fes Medina is an absolute labyrinth- there’s no other word to describe it. A fantastic and deep maze with no logic or signage that winds and entraps. The smells are overpowering; some are fragrant, made with rose oils or argan oils, others are savoury like the pyramids of cooking spices. Then there’s the butcher’s and the street cats. The whole maze is alive with activity, a hive of movement as donkeys sway through the streets with their wide loads and kids dart between passageways running after a soccer ball.

Fes Medina is an ecosystem. Housing the world’s oldest university, Fes brings history to life. There’s a mosque on every corner, a food stall, and handicrafts. Silversmithing, knife sharpening, tailors, copper pot makers, the tannery.

If you’d like to return back to your accommodation, make sure you get shown around with a tour guide, someone who knows the city like the back of their hand. Otherwise, I guarantee you’ll get lost. It’s hard navigating the medina as a tourist who doesn’t speak or read French, Moroccan or Arabic. It’s also intimidating to wander alone as a young, foreign woman.

Don’t forget to haggle, try to find the hidden restaurants with rooftop views, and catch a glimpse inside the residences if you can. There are private oases hidden behind the tall dark walls and you’re lucky if you get to see into one.

 

 

 

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The Medina in Fes is a labyrinth.

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Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Pena Palace, Sintra, PORTUGAL

Pena Palace truly is the fairy tale castle it’s depicted to be. Set high up on a mountain, the castle was once the summer palace for the royal family, as it looks all the way to Lisbon on one side, and out to the west coast on the other side.

Tourism through the palace is a well-oiled operation. The queue is lengthy, but winds through every room in the palace, through the domestic quarters, to the diplomat’s dining rooms. Everything is preserved well by the caretakers and in great condition.

My advice would be to explore the grounds. The perimeter of the castle showcases stunning architectural influences and views of Portugal . There’s also a little nature walk through to a small summit that gives you nice views of the castle as well. Apparently public transport is few and far between, so unless you want to walk up a mountain I’d recommend jumping on a tour or hiring a car. Visiting this palace is definitely worth the effort though, it captures a slice of Portuguese history in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

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Straight out of a fairytale.

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Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.