London in One Day: What to See

London in one day really is a wonderful challenge; the city is huge, and there are so many things to see! So I suggest focusing on the truly unmissable attractions, wearing comfortable shoes, and getting yourself ready for a great walk!

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MORNING: London in One Day

For starters, in order to pay our respects to the Queen, we should start our tour from the square in front of Buckingham Palace (nearest metro stations: Victoria Station or Green Park Station).
In actuality, Elizabeth II rarely lives here, as most of the year she lives in Windsor, her favorite residence.
To find out if Her Majesty is present at the palace, we just need to observe the flags hoisted at the top of the building: if there are two (the Union Jack and the Royal Banner) it means that the Queen is at Buckingham Palace.
From here, you can take the path that goes through St. James Park, and with a pleasant walk of only a few minutes, you will arrive at Trafalgar Square.
This is one of the most famous squares in London with its fountain, the famous lions and the Column of Nelson. The square is dominated by the monumental facade of the National Gallery.

National Gallery

For art lovers this museum is a paradise, so for this visit I suggest you focus on only a few rooms, as it is impossible to see it all at once. The room of the Italian Renaissance impressionists is unmissable.
The Museum is free, but you can contribute to its maintenance through a donation or having coffee in one of its cafes, or shopping in the gift shop.

Afternoon: London in one day

If all this art leaves you hungry, you can pop into the crypt of St Martin in the Fields.
Yes, that’s right, I’m suggesting you go and have lunch in a crypt of a church! I haven’t gone crazy, a large self-service restaurant has been set up here offering simple and delicious dishes of English cuisine (at prices which are more than honest for central London).

The atmosphere is very lively and usually quite crowded. From Trafalgar Square, take a walk down Whitehall / Parliament Street along which it will be possible to see to your right the famous no.10 Downing Street (home of the English Prime Minister). You will recognize it by the armed guards who are always stationed in front of them. But don’t expect too much, as for security reasons you will have to stay away from the building, so the view of the house is rather limited.

Around the city center

Within a few minutes, we will reach Parliament Square, where you can admire in all its majesty Westminster Abbey (where many royal weddings take place), the English Parliament and Big Ben.

The latter is currently being restored and will be for the next two years or so, so expect a souvenir photo with scaffolding! Crossing the Westminster Bridge you reach Southbank, an area of London that in recent years has become extremely lively. This is where is the London Eye (the Ferris wheel) is found, from which you can enjoy a splendid view of London.

If you wish to take a trip on it (a complete tour lasts about half an hour and the cost is about 25 pounds) I recommend booking the tickets in advance to avoid, at least in part, the inevitable and often endless queue.

Tate Gallery

Continuing the walk along the south bank of the Thames, you will find the Tate Gallery to your right, one of the most famous museums in the world of Contemporary Art. If you have some time go on in, just to see the structure.
This former industrial building (it was a Power Station) deserves a visit, being the result of an intelligent and interesting renovation. Climb to the top floor to admire a beautiful view of London.

Leaving the Museum, right in front of the Tate, take the pedestrian bridge called Millennium Bridge, which will take you to another London icon: St Paul’s Cathedral.

Last stop on the tour

Take a break to take a few photos before heading off on the final leg of the tour. From St. Paul’s, I suggest you take a bus which will take you along a few stops through the city district until you reach the fabulous Tower of London. London Bridge, which are probably the most famous symbols of London.
At sunset, the view from here is amazing and you can finally rest while enjoying a beer at one of the many pubs along the Thames, possibly thinking about when to organize the next trip to London!

Read our article on Rome and the tour we created to discover it in one day.

6 Places to Visit in Sicily

What is there to see in Sicily? Absolutely everything!

Sicily is a wonderful island where history, culture, flavors, smells and colors give life to a magical land.

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I used to go to Sicily every year, but for some reason we haven’t been since Flavio was born. This year, however, we have decided to go back to the splendid island of contradictions and now, years later, I ask myself: “what is there to see in Sicily”? Our goal was a tour that reaches multiple locations.

Here are the most beautiful places we have seen over 10 days:

 

Ortigia

Ortigia is the oldest part of the city of Syracuse and one of my favorite destinations when I am in Sicily.

It is characterized by a thousand alleys, rooms with outdoor tables and the sea; an amazing crystalline sea.

Most of the Baroque monuments you can visit in Syracuse are concentrated on this small part of the island.

The only bad thing about the island is that is not family friendly. Unless your child likes museums or basilicas, in Ortigia there is nothing that can entertain children, apart from the sea of course. If you visit Ortigia in the evening I suggest you go and eat near the fish market. You will find many small restaurants with tables in the streets,where you can enjoy excellent fish and excellent Sicilian wine. If you are looking for a hotel, we stayed at the Ortigia Royal Suite.

 

Marzamemi

This village should definitely not be missed from the list of places to visit in Sicily. It is a characteristic colorful fishing village full of bars and shops, and is only a 40 minute drive from Syracuse. It is a real hidden gem, in every sense, due because unlike other reasonably priced parts of the island, this place is far more expensive. This can happen in all particularly beautiful places, as restaurant owners and shops take advantage of the high tourism.

The good thing is that children can freely play in the street as it is a pedestrian zone and you can enjoy an entrée at sunset. I advise you to go a little before sunset time, otherwise it will be difficult to find a seat. There are plenty of shops, but there are also lots of people who want to enjoy the beauty of this enchanted place.

 

Lungomare dei ciclopi

If you are in Catania and you want to know what to visit in Sicily, you must go to Aci Castello and Aci Trezza.

This area is called the Ciclopi lungomare and, if you love rocks, it’s a real paradise. You will find facilities equipped with umbrellas and sunbeds on stilts that face directly onto the sea. You can rent a motorboat, take a scenic boat trip or rent a pedal boat.

There are only three tricks to remember: don’t forget your rock-climbing shoes, don’t go any later than 11 o’clock otherwise you won’t find parking and above all, bring cash with you, because very often the ATM is out of order and if you want to rent a boat, you’ll struggle to find an ATM (we had to give up eventually).

Taormina

How can we not mention the pearl of Sicily? Less than 30 minutes from Catania, Taormina is one of the bestknown areas of this wonderful island.

Here you will find the most beautiful hotels like the NH Collection Taormina. You can visit the beautiful Ancient Theater of Taormina or the famous Isola Bella, now a nature reserve.

Sferracavallo

Around 40 minutes by car from Palermo, this village is a must to visit. Its name comes from the fact that the roughness of the road forced the horses to pull the boats used in the tuna traps.

Today this town hosts many typical restaurants where you can enjoy delicious and very fresh fish. We ate atAngelo and Serafino and had fantastic tonnarelli mussels and clams, mussel soup and salmon tartare.

I recommend you make a reservation or go a little earlier, as you will probably find an endless queue, meanwhile other restaurant nearby will have tables available.

The view of the sunset here is a dream, the sky is colored with shades of pink and you can take breathtaking photos. If you are looking for a hotel in Palermo we stayed at NH Palermo, a paradise oasis in the heart of the city.

Catania center

I love Catania! Here is my declaration of love. This city is a continuous surprise and can be an excellent base for visiting wonderful places like the Ciclopi Waterfront or Mount Etna.

It is a lively city, full of local restaurants and shops.

You will find some gastronomic jewels in the most unexpected of places, but if you want to experience it to the full, you have to take a walk in via Crispi at sunset.

The street is filled with lights, tables and chairs. Wherever you look, you see people sitting eating or having a delicious entrée.

All around you will find bars full of enticing food, even more inviting than the restaurants as they look like delicatessens. Every corner is an invitation to sit down, the only disadvantage is the heat, but we mustn’t forget that we are in Sicily. Sicily is a wonderful island, and of course there are many more than 6 places to visit. Every city, every country and every village will remain in our hearts.

These are the places close to my heart, but I am curious to know yours! If you wish, please let me know in the comments.

 

Have a good trip!

 

Miriam

 

 

The Crane Resort, Barbados

The Crane Resort Barbados takes its name from the beach it faces, and is located only a few kilometers from the airport. It is an absolutely ideal position to reach all areas in no time.
The Crane accepts children under the age of 14, unlike many other 5-star hotels on the island, but also offers a pool and an area reserved for adults. Not accepting minors is a popular choice among Barbados’ luxury hotels, which is also shared by many restaurants.

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ROOMS

Well, what can we say about the wonderful suites of The Crane Resort Barbados?
The hotel offers very large rooms, with the option to choose either a second bedroom or a sofa bed. Either way, the suites boast two bathrooms; one with a shower and the master with a sensual shower and jacuzzi.
Each room has a kitchenette equipped with every appliance imaginable, and the toilet area separate from the bathroom. The terrace faces the park with a view of the pools and the sea, and if you don’t feel like swimming with other guests, you have a private pool overlooking the sea.
The only thing about these rooms is that the beds are too high, and a bed ladder to climb on the mattress would be very useful. I wonder why…?

BEACH

With a panoramic lift, you can reach the famous Crane Beach. You can benefit from umbrellas and sunbeds to enjoy the sun with the sound of the waves crashing against the cliff. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to see the calm sea on this side of the island.
Behind the beach there is a wonderful palm tree area where you can spend few minutes in the shade or drink fresh coconut milk. There is no need to bring towels, the hotel will provide them. You will receive a card and you can collect them at the pool.


 

POOLS

There are four pools, plus a small bathtub/fountain inside the temple next to the restaurant.
The pools are all panoramic with fountains and waterfalls. One is located right in front of the restaurant, so it’s common to wait for lunch by the pool while sipping a cool drink.
The fourth pool is reserved for adults, and is located next to the terrace of the famous Azul restaurant. In this wing of the structure, you can breathe in luxury at every corner. Next to the pool you have the spa (don’t you need a massage after such a stressful day?).

MINI CLUB

There is an area dedicated to children, but Flavio never wanted to go as the hotel offers plenty of fun for children to have fun in the pool, between the waterfalls and the fountains.
During our stay, they were preparing some fantastic decorations for a party.

SHOPPING

There are many shops around the area, including souvenirs and precious gems, like those in Colombia; just be sure to take your credit card.

Why did we choose The Crane?
When we are on holidays, we want to be free to choose our activities, without the stress of organisation and with the comfort of being catered for.
For example, if one day you don’t feel like driving, or in the case of bad weather, the Crane Resort has all you could ever need.
Check out all our Barbados articles here.

New York with a child: 3 places to take him

New York with a child: yes or no? Deciding to visit the Big Apple with a small child may not be a great idea if you don’t know how to enjoy the city without being affected by the daily stress of one of the most chaotic cities in the world.

 

Read in Italian 

 

 

After having shown you the best restaurants in New York to go with a child, and all the useful numbers of New York in case of emergency, today we will help you to find 3 oases of peace to take your child.

Walking is the best way to navigate New York (or by bike like we did), because walking among thousands of skyscrapers is one of the most beautiful experiences you could imagine. You can see with your own eyes the manholes from where smoke comes out, taxis and crazy cyclists whizzing through the streets, and people who cross the city at lightning speed at any time of day or night.

Smells, colors, hundreds of different languages in the background but (of course there is a but) if your child is less than 10 years old, he could get tired or get bored very early, turning your day into a nightmare.

That’s why during our 17 visits to this wonderful metropolis, we have compiled a list of kid-friendly areas to ensure that your trip to New York with a child will be fun for the whole family.

Central Park

Where else but the heart of Manhattan to start our list if you visit New York with a child? Central Park is not just a 340-hectare park that stretches from 59th Street to 110th Ave, but a real institution for New Yorkers. Everybody goes here, from the Hollywood actors to families celebrating their children’s birthdays, to sportsmen, to couples.

There is no issue of race, social class, age or religion.

You can listen to a concert in Great Lawn, discover the 270 species of migratory birds that inhabit Ramble, and a wood with streams and a thousand different paths.

Otherwise, if you want to watch a boat model race you can go to the Conservatory Water (there are 5 lakes in total).

By the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales are read in the summer, workshops on nature are held and the ever-present puppets are created.

All season, the park is freckled with squirrels jumping from one branch to another.


High Line

I understand if you remain skeptical of this choice, but this site is a must. The High Line is the disused elevated railway line on the West Side.

The area has obviously been retained and today is also the most “fashionable” walk in New York. You can visit all kinds of market stalls, and you will be amazed by the works of art of many artists.

As for your son, once he discovers it was a railway, he will start running and looking for old trains.


 

New Youk with a child? Bronx Zoo

If you are in New York with a child, how could you not visit the zoo?

In this centenary park, the biggest in the USA, you can observe the Congo Gorilla Forest, admire animals and streams through a glass tunnel; if your child is a fan of Dracula, he will love the World of Darkness pavilion where hundreds of bats live.

A must is definitely to visit the “Wild Asia” aboard a monorail but what your child will love the most will be the Children’s Zoo, an educational play area where there are domestic pets that can be approached by children and wild animals.

 

Have a nice trip!

Miriam

 

 

 

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