Weekend Breaks

Paris, France

Notre-Dame Cathedral
Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral which stands at 420 ft tall (128 meters). It was built in 1345 with its gothic architecture, rose windows and gargoyle statues remaining a prominent part of the city. The outstanding construction is in the heart of Paris and is free to enter – great for those travelling on a budget.

Eiffel Tower
No visit to Paris would be complete without mentioning the Eiffel Tower. One of the most recognised and visited tourist attraction in the world the iron-lattice tower is nearly three times the height of Notre-Dame and over 1000 ft tall (324 meters). Founded in 1889, the tower is split into three sections where the public can gain access to the different floor via the lift or the stairs. However, depending on how good you are with heights, prices do vary for adults and children on the floor you want to visit. As with any popular tourist attraction arrive early to beat the queues.

Montapassne Tower
An alternative to the Eiffel Tower, Montapassne gives you a bird’s eye view of the city. The skyscraper, also known as Tour Montpassne, is 210 ft tall (64 meters) and is easily reachable by metro with the station of the same name. Although, it is 15 Euro per person the lesser-known attraction is for those who don’t like crowds or queues while also getting a stunning view of the surroundings.

Seine River
A must for who have a limited amount of time in the capital. A boat cruise along the Seine River is a cheap way to see all the main sites without having to move from your seat. Most cruises are free to go on if you have a Paris pass which may be worth investing in if you plan to visit a lot of museums and attractions while in the city. Along the river, you can expect to see the Eiffel Tower, Orsay museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Visit a wine bar
Whether you are a Chardonnay or Chateau Margaux type of wine drinker Paris has plenty to offer in terms of wineries, tours and bistros celebrating one of its famous exports.While there are plenty on offer in the French capital and many highly regarded on Trip Advisor unless you are bound by reviews stick to the back streets if you want a less costly drink. Some recommendations for a cheap wine bar include Le Mondain, Chez Jouff, Minato Bar and Divvino Charonne.

Explore the streets of Paris
Exploring by foot, train or bus it is easy and relatively cheap to get around the streets of Paris. A basic Metro ticket cost 1.90 Euro while ten tickets will cost you 14.90 Euro depending on how long you are in the city and how many attractions you want to tick off from your list. The transport system is pretty simple to understand but if you want to be efficient plan your trip beforehand to ensure you don’t get lost.

Rome, Italy

Spanish Steps
Another attraction which I came across through exploring was the Spanish steps. It has an irregular butterfly-shape design and was built in the 18th century. The steps link between the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinita dei Monti with many crowds gathering at the location to take a photo. It was requested to be built by a French diplomat its name, however, came from the Spanish Embassy.

Walk along the river Tiber
Tiber is the third longest river in Italy and flows 406km through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. The river was originally called Albulula due to it being so white but was renamed Iberis after the king of Alba Longa, who drowned in the river. The river runs through the centre of Rome with a castle and greenery surrounding the Tiber. The Colosseum and the hop on hop off bus are nearby and are a central part of Rome’s history.

Go on a hop on hop off bus
Although these sorts of tour operators run in almost every city it is a quick and efficient way of getting around if you have a limited amount of time. Hop on hop off buses run on a frequent scheduled service and can be purchased online through various ticket sites such as Trip Advisor, TicketBar or Viator as well as in person at the place of travel. The costs of the operators all depend on which city you are visiting but in particular, for Rome, it can start from £10.52 with being different views of Rome and its attractions available.

Have an Aperol Spritz
The classic cocktail drink is served commonly in the North East of Italy. It is traditionally served in a wine glass and is garnished with a slice of orange. Although many recipes differ according to its location it is originally served with parts prosecco, soda water and Aperol. But drinkers don’t forget your ice especially in the hot Italian summer weather where it is much preferred.

Visit the Colosseum
Probably mentioned on almost every list for travel guides to Rome. The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is a must visit for anyone who is interested in ancient Roman history. It is situated in the centre of Rome with most of the attraction open to the public to view. There are guided tours available at the three-tiered theatre which was once used to hold gladiator games. Book in advance to skip the queues and help plan your trip.

Explore the streets of Rome
I was in Rome for only a weekend but I managed to get most of what I wanted to do done in a day. You can explore the streets of the Italian capital on foot while there is also buses, trains and bikes available to use if you are not keen on walking all day. Many attractions are close to one another while taking the back streets and wandering around the city can help you find many hidden treasures that the hot spot has where I accidentally came across the Trevi Fountain without the use of Google Maps.

Dublin: Cordial 

Go and explore Dublin
Dublin is pretty easy to get around by foot and is definitely doable in one weekend. Even travelling from the airport to Dublin city central is just a short bus ride costing around 7 euros per person each way.

Go to Hard Rock Cafe Dublin
Located along the main Temple Bar strip the iconic brand features edge designs with an upside car as well as memoribilla from famous artists and bands. A hidden gem in a vibrant city a must visit if you’re rock fan.

Walk along the river Liffey

This river flows through the centre of Dublin and is a great basis if you ever get lost in the capital.

Go inside Trinity College

One of the top ranked universities in Ireland and 108th in the world Trinity College has seen not only students but also tourists flock to Dublin to come and visit the beautiful campus.

Amsterdam

In September 2014 I travelled to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam- a city known for sex, drugs and stag do’s. Beyond the stereotypes, there is history, politics with it being a rich tourism destination in Europe.

Take a tram ride

In Amsterdam the trams are operated by GVB and are quite expensive priced at €6.50. There are a total of a whopping 200 trams on 15 tram lines with 500 stops over a total track length of 200km so you can definitely get around the city quick without having to wait too long.

Visit the Anne Frank house

The biographical museum is dedicated to the Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. Located alongside the canals expect long queues with plenty of visitors wanting to know more about the writer’s time during World War II.

Explore the streets of Amsterdam

You can easily walk through the streets of Amsterdam either by foot or bicycle. Known as being one of the most bike friendly cities in the world just behind Copenhagen, Amsterdam is perfect for getting around the canals and cobbled streets.

Go the Heineken brewery

If you’re a beer lover then this is definitely one for you. Inside the tour you get to see how the beer is brewed, given tokens to sample the beer yourself as well as a live band played towards the end of the tour. What’s more, just before you leave you are given your very own mini Heineken glass to keep and take home.

Take a boat trip

One of the first things you associate with Amsterdam is canals. So what better way to see the capital on is your very own boat trip. They can be booked in person or online if you like to keep to a schedule and avoid missing out. Usually they last around an hour with a guided speaker giving you all the facts and stats that Amsterdam has to offer.

Photo Story-Columbia Market

For my 10 piece photo story I wanted to capture the public event of the Columbia Market, which is a weekly event every Sunday located at Bethnal Green in East London. I wanted to showcase Columbia Market’s practicality and uniqueness to the public by promoting it as a great weekly event.

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