Indulge in Romantic Places Around the World

There are some cities that just scream romance, hearts and flowers. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take it all in and revel in love.

Love should be a year round event but everyday life can have us yearning for more time together, special moments, and fond memories. If there’s one day where we can all take the time to show that special someone just how much we love them it’s Valentines Day.

From the usual dreamy spots to the truly magnificent, we present places to visit and indulge on romance.

New York City, New York

Central Park represents the majestic in a city of hustle and bustle. Smack dab in the middle of urban life is a place where one can go on a romantic paddle around the lake, have a picnic in Sheep Meadow, or Ice skate at Wollman Rink.

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The Conservatory Garden, a six-acre garden offers a deluge of flowers where you can stroll along and appreciate.

Make sure to also visit the famous LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana on the corner of 6th Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan.

Where to stay in New York City.

Verona, Italy

Can there be any place as romantic as that of Verona, Italy home to Juliet’s Balcony at Casa di Giulietta (Home of Juliet)? The tragic and devastating Shakespearean love story is one that strikes the heart of anyone who hears it.

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Witness a beautiful sunset on the skyline of Verona from Castel San Pietro.

During the Valentine weekend, 11-14 February the city of Verona dresses in red. The whole city goes all out to celebrate the day of hearts and love with a series of initiatives hosted by restaurants, bars, theaters and museums.

Romantic getaways in Verona.

Bali, Indonesia         

There are many places to choose in Asia to experience romance but Bali is among the top few and is often a wedding destination because of its gorgeous collection of beaches.

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The Balinese massage is one to be had and pampering that a couple can take joy together.

Have a cultural experience by visiting centuries-old temples such as the Tanah Lot, Goa Gajah, Uluwatu Temple, Besakih Temple and more.

Ocean view rooms in Bali.

Experience the Beauty and Flavors of Greece

Greece, officially known as Hellenic Republic, is a country made up of a peninsula and a group of islands in southeastern Europe. Greece is often called the Cradle of Western Civilization because of its significant contributions to the world. The Greeks developed democracy, made significant science discoveries, created extensive works on philosophy and art, and wrote stories and plays that are still performed today. Greece is also known for its lovely beaches and hearty dishes.

Greek Food

Speaking of food, the Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine similar to the traditional cuisines of Italy and the Balkans. The common ingredients in contemporary Greek dishes are meat, fish, vegetables, grains, olive oil and wine. If you happen to visit Greece, make sure you sample some of the country’s toothsome dishes.

Spanakopita is Greek spinach pie with feta cheese, onions and herbs in a crispy and flaky filo dough.

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Photo credit: Lokesh Dhakar (Flickr)

where to stay in greece

Dolmades refers to rolled young grape leaves stuffed with rice, vegetables and herbs.

Kolokythokeftedes is a Greek appetizer made of zucchini, feta, ouzo, egg, garlic, onion and herbs. The mixture of ingredients is formed into balls or patties and fried.

Souvlaki is a Greek specialty made of tender pieces of meat grilled on a skewer. It is served in different ways: with grilled bread, in a slightly grilled pita with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate often paired with fried potatoes.

Photo credit: pointnshoot (Flickr)
Photo credit: pointnshoot (Flickr)

Moussaka is a popular Greek baked dish made of potato, eggplant, minced meat, tomato, onion, garlic, spices, cheese and béchamel sauce.

Photo credit: Kullez (Flickr)
Photo credit: Kullez (Flickr)

Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish with ground beef and béchamel sauce. This is similar to the Italian lasagna.

Photo credit: Katrin Gilger (Flickr)
Photo credit: Katrin Gilger (Flickr)

These are just some of the delicious dishes that you should try when you happen to be in Greece.

Spanish Traditions and Festivals

Spain has many traditions to behold and witness. They are a culture full of Flamenco music and dance, Spanish guitars, bullfighting and bakalao. They are known for siestas and have a more relaxed approach when it comes to work and studies.

If you’re planning a trip to Spain make sure you go during one of these festivals to enjoy the local culture and festivities.

Las Fallas, Valencia

March- In the Mediterranean city of Valencia there is  a week long fiesta paying tribute to Saint Joseph, Valencia’s patron saint. The days are filled with papier-mâché effigies, fireworks, city plaza happenings and plenty of noise.

Photo credit: AnimaNaturalis- Flickr
Photo credit: AnimaNaturalis- Flickr

Semana Santa, Seville

Easter- Semanata Santa is a major celebration during Holy Week where parades and floats of Roman Catholic figures are lined up and toured throughout the city. It’s a somber event but one of great importance to the Spanish culture.

Photo credit: Sandra Vallaure- Flickr
Photo credit: Sandra Vallaure- Flickr

La Fiesta de San Fermin, Pamplona

July- One of the most famous worldwide events, the La Fiesta de San Fermin or more known for its Running of the Bulls gathers thousands to Pamplona to witness and be part of the huge spectale. There have been incidents of harm and even death as locals and tourists try to sprint alongside the bulls.

Photo credit: Tammy Friesen-Flickr
Photo credit: Tammy Friesen-Flickr

La Tomatina, Buñol

August- A one of a kind celebration that stars a tomato! The La Tomatina or “tomato war” is held in the town of Buñol outside Valencia. It’s a week long festival to honor Buñol’s patron saint. There are street parties, parades and a final tomato war food fight that lasts hours.

Photo credit: Graham McLellan-Flickr
Photo credit: Graham McLellan-Flickr

Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid

May- The Fiesta de San Isidro is in honour of Madrid’s patron. Plenty of concerts and performances can be expected during this fiesta.

Photo credit: Cristina Cifuentes- Flickr
Photo credit: Cristina Cifuentes- Flickr

Seville Tapas Fair, Seville

February- Spain is known for its delicious tapas so it’s no surprise they would have festival showcasing this delicacy. Being the Tapas capital of the world, Seville hosts a celebration centered on the favorite local dish.

Photo credit: Edmund Gall- Flickr
Photo credit: Edmund Gall- Flickr

San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Basque

July- The Jazz scene is quite big in the city of Basque even celebrating it with a jazz festival. The best performances can be seen and new talents are always discovered.

Photo credit: Urko Dorronsoro- Flickr
Photo credit: Urko Dorronsoro- Flickr

Festes de la Merce, Barcelona

September- It’s considered the biggest fiesta in Barcelona complete with parades, giants and fireworks. Include a trip to the museum to see Picasso’s works or a stroll on one of their lovely beaches.

Photo credit: Somewhere in the world today- Flickr
Photo credit: Somewhere in the world today- Flickr

8 Best French Cafes in France

Have an authentic Franch experience in one of the lost standing cafes that France has to offer. From the decor to the food you’ll get a genuine experience in any these 8 best french cafes.

Café de la Paix

A Parisian institute since 1862, Café de la Paix has an al fresco ambiance combining history, tradition and modern touches.

5, Place de l’Opéra – 75009 Paris

Le Select

Le Select is decorated in the style of the 1920s, with stucco walls and wooden tables and benches.

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99 Boulevard du Montparnasse 75006 Paris

Les Deux Magots

Located in the charming district of Saint-German, the popular Les Deux Magots is held in high esteem. It has a distinctive atmosphere and lends to the freedom of the renowned cafe.

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6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés 75006 Paris

Cafe de la Rotonde

Tucked away in the Montparnasse district, this cage serves traditional French cuisine such as beef ribs, steak, steak tartare oysters, sole Menières and more.

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105 Boul. Montparnasse – 75006 Paris

Le Procope

A cafe that has truly stood the test of time since 1686, Le Procope is the world’s first literary café having had talents such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Beaumarchais, Balzac, Hugo, Verlaine and La Fontaine.

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13 Rue de L’Ancienne Comedie – 75006 Paris

Le Café Tournon

In the tradition of Parisian bistros, Cafe Tournon was once a  gathering place of African-American writers and artists such as James Baldwin , Chester Himes , Richard Wright, William Gardner Smith , painter Beauford Delaney and sculptor Howard Cousins.

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18, Rue Tournon 75006 Paris

Musée Jacquemart-André Café

Housed in the mansion’s former dining room, the Café Jacquemart-André is the most beautiful tea room in Paris. Just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées and the shops.

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158, boulevard Haussmann Paris

Angelina

Since it opened its doors in the early 1900’s, the cafe famously designed by the architect of the Belle Epoque Edouard-Jean Niermans has been an experience of indulgence and pleasure. The world fanous tea house has a timeless elegance and steady clientele keeping its allure ever present.

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Musée du Louvre, Aile Richelieu, Café Richelieu 75001 Paris

Find me a vacation rental in France!

The Good Life: Best Wine Districts and Regions in Europe

If you happen to go to Europe, one of the most sought after tours would be in the vineyards and wineries across the region. So better dress your Sunday best and visit the top 5 wine regions across Europe.

Photo credit: Graeme Churchard- Flickr
Photo credit: Graeme Churchard- Flickr
  • Porto and Duoro Valley, Portugal

The vineyards that cascade along the Duoro valley, wines from this region is considered as one of the finest. There’s no other place to taste the original but here in the valleys of Porto and Duoro. You won’t regret the trip because of the complexities and richness of the wines produced here.

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  • Piedmont, Italy

Lying below the Alps, this Italian wine region presents us not only with a spectacular view but also complex wine grapes that brings out subtle tastes in the reds that they produce.

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  • Tuscany, Italy

Nothing describes relaxation better than a glass of Tuscan wine along the valley or the beach. Tuscany brings not only a various range of wine making regions (and with them different wine flavours) but also a spectacular scenery that can only be described as breathtaking.

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  • Bordeaux, France

Considered as one of the largest wine regions in Europe Bordeaux. The town of Saint- Emillion is a good start for touring this wine region. Bordeaux wine can be characterized as a complex yet elegant blend of flavours that is not too overpowering to the pallet.

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Photo Credit: Christophe PINARD – Flickr
  • Champagne, France

This region is very accessible by train from the busiest of tourist attractions, Paris. Enjoy tours around the region as well as cultural heritage sites while making sure to sample what Champagne has to offer.

A Day in the Museum: Visiting the Louvre Part 4: The Second Floor

The Second floor contains only 2 collections the Prints and Drawings, as well as the Paintings. The various wings of the second floor are home to various French and European paintings as well as magnificent halls and entrances that would cap off a 4 day journey to enjoy the Louvre experiences.

  • Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour by Maurice-Quentin Delatour

1748-1755 (Prints and Drawings room 44)

Photo credit: Flickr- ergsart
Photo credit: Flickr- ergsart
  • The Rape of Sabine Women by Nicolas Poussin

1637 – 1638 (Paintings room 14)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinth Rigaud

1701 (Paintings room 34)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer

1669-1670 (Paintings room 38)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Portrait of the Artist Holding a Thistle by Albrecht Durer

1493 (Paintings room 8)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

A Day in the Museum: Visiting the Louvre Part 3: The 1st Floor

The 1st floor contains some of the most iconic pieces of art within the museum walls. This floor houses the Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Decorative Arts, Prints and Drawings, as well as Paintings Collections.

TIP! Make sure to plan the routes ahead of time. Given that there are iconic pieces of art within each floor this shouldn’t be a reason to miss other pieces that are located in the vicinity.

  • The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

1503-1506 (Paintings room 8)

Photo credit: Flickr Dennis Jarvis
Photo credit: Flickr Dennis Jarvis
  • Winged Victory of Samothrace

190 BC (Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities – Daru Staircase)

Photo credit: Flickr Martie Swart
Photo credit: Flickr Martie Swart
  • The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques Loius David

1806-1807 (Paintings room 75)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix

1831 (Paintings room 77)

Photo credit: Flickr- Dennis Jarvis
Photo credit: Flickr- Dennis Jarvis
  • Woman with a Mirror by Titian

1512 – 1515 (Paintings room 7)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons