Tuesday, 30 June 2015

London in the Precious UK Summer

FROM 2015.06 TO 2015.08

1. Queen Mary's Gardens, The Regent's Park

Even the "real summer" lasts more than 3 months, the roses here flourish the most in June, but neither July nor August, when the roses start to wither. A lot smell incredibly good, some have a mild scent. Have a picnic amid the beautiful roses on a sunny day, before it's too late!

2. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Online ticket price per adult is £14, which is well worth it, for a garden huge like this. The visit can take up to 7 hours for a complete experience. Unlike Queen Mary's Gardens where the sea of roses is the single super star, there are a lot more going on at Kew. Aprt from a wide variety of plants presented in different ways, there are Princess of Wales Conservatory, the Pagoda, Treetop Walkway, Art Galleries, the Queen Charlotte's Cottage, the Kew Palace, etc.

3. Leeds Castle

A day out of London is a great idea. It takes a bit more than an hour by train to go from London Victoria to Hollingbourne, and then a 35-minute walk to the castle. This is the most expensive castle I've ever visited, but it's among the best in the UK. The castle ground is huge. It is a perfect place for picnic. There is also a maze, for some fun.

4. Sensational Butterflies, Natural History Museum

This is actually an indoor thing but available only in summer. There are so many different kinds of butterflies flying freely around in such a small exhibition area where people with little interest could stroll through in minutes while those with passions and/or with their cameras ready could wander up to an hour. Admission is £6.5 per adult (donations included).

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Romantic Venice

This Trip: FROM 2015.05.23 TO 2015.05.25

I've visited quite a number of world-famous European cities, including London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Prague, Budapest, etc., which are all best known as icons of historic beauties, so now I can tell Venice is the most beautiful city among all, in my eyes at least. The 360c panorama seen from top of St Mark's Campanile is unbeatable.

Venice is a very compact city where travelling solely on foot is highly sufficient. Personally, a cruise along the Grand Canal is not that interesting, while a gondola ride through the narrow canals between pretty traditional Venetian buildings is necessary to make a trip to Venice a complete one.

Except for those huge fans of museums and galleries, a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the city can be well done in only two days. However, extend the stay for a half-day trip to Burano, an island in the Venetian Lagoon 40-minute ferry journey away from Venice, because the small, brightly painted houses that follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development make it one of those places to see before you die. Finally, not only were our taste buds satisfied by the reputable Italian ice cream "gelato" and Italian pastries, what we really enjoyed were also the Venetian foods such as delectable seafood dishes, and a wide selection of cicchetti, the Venice's version of tapas.