The time is fast approaching. I leave for my solo trip to Amsterdam next Wednesday. This will be my first completely solo trip and I’m still unsure about how I feel about it but they say “life begins once you step outside your comfort zone” so that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I have booked my hotels/hostels for the time that I’m away. I did that back in March and even had a hard enough booking places then, despite the fact it was a few months in advance. May begins tourist season in Amsterdam & many other places in Europe, so if I have one suggestion for anyone that doesn’t just want to wing it - book your hotels or hostels early, especially if you want a private room. Like most of my trips, I booked my hotels through Booking.com. I will be staying in Hotel Pax for the first part of my trip and then Hotel Prinsenhof for my second part. Both located in good distance to the city centre. I have a private room with shared bathroom in both hotels - mainly because I wasn’t feeling the whole “dorm” thing while I was traveling alone, I wanted it to somewhat feel like a vacation.
The other thing I have booked in advanced is my Viator tours that I wanted to do while I was there. I’ve always booked through this website & have never had a problem with it. You can book any types of tours you want from day trips, multi-day trips or even museum passes for about any country/city you can imagine. I choose to book a few day trips:
All tours were relatively good priced, I mean I would never be able to travel to Brussels for a day on my own for $75.00. The best part of this site is you don’t have to book WAY in advance, unless the tour fills up (which is unlikely because most are offered on multiple days) then you can book a day before you leave for your trip and all the meeting points are centrally located.
Last but not least, I plan on booking my Anne Frank House ticket in advance. I have read in several places that the line to get into this attraction is ridiculous but if you buy a ticket in advance you can skip the line that has everyone waiting in it to purchase their last-minute tickets. Obviously this seems like a must-see for Amsterdam so I don’t want to miss out or waste a day waiting in line.
I will try to update my blog on my adventures while I’m away as much as possible and of course post pictures when I return. Stay tuned :)
This past weekend (Friday-Sunday) I went to New York City for a quick mini trip with my Mom & sister as our Christmas present for this year.
We had planned our flight on Friday, not knowing it was actually the busiest travel day of the year! Our early morning flight got cancelled then our next flight kept getting delayed! We finally got into NYC by 1:00pm thankfully but had missed most of Friday’s day to tour around as much as we wanted. Once we got to the airport we had booked a private car through the company CARMEL who brought us to our hotel. It was relatively cheap.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 45th & 5th which was a very nice & clean hotel which included free breakfast. It was small but it was close to everything and did the job considering we barely spent any time there.
Once we arrived we headed out to the Grayline ticket booth in Time Square where we picked up our tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus. We had originally planned to be on this all day long, so we’d have time to get off and explore anywhere we wanted but since we were crunched for time we stayed on the bus the entire time so we could see everything. The bus took us to lots of places but the downfall was that if you sat in the bottom you couldn’t see anything - they had the advertisement stickers on the windows so your view was obstructed, so we sat on the top of the bus. It was FREEZING! And if you plan on doing this I’d recommend dressing super warm & bringing a big blanket. In the end it was definitely worth it though.
Once we were finished on the bus we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. We had dinner a Socarrat Pallela Bar, a Spanish restaurant on 19th Street. After almost missing our reservation because no cab would stop for us & we had to walk there.. we had a delicious meal! I would definitely recommend anyone to eat here if they’re looking for some traditional Spanish food. After dinner we headed to Radio City Music Hall! We went to go see The Rockettes. We got there about an hour early because they had suggested that to us but once we got there we just ended up being stuck outside. The show was absolutely amazing though. I’ve seen it before when they toured to Toronto but it didn’t quite compare to the NYC version! This is a must see during the holiday season for people of all ages.
Saturday we got up early and headed to FAO Schwarz Toy Store! The famous toy store you see in the movies. We got there at about 9am and it was nice and quiet & easy to explore. This is a must see, even if you don’t have children BUT especially around this time of year, go in the morning or there will be a line all the way down the street!
After that we headed to Central Park which is right across the road. We took a horse carriage ride through part of the park which was overpriced but we felt like we needed to do it! After that we walked through the park to the John Lennon memorial. Which was a lot harder to find then we thought but worth seeing. We then met up with our tour bus to go on a Sex & The City tour of the city. This tour was a lot of fun but a bit lengthy. The people on it were hardcore Sex & The City fans and even though I’ve seen all the episodes, I still don’t know everything about it like some people did on the tour. After the tour, we explored a bit & went out for lunch then back to our hotel.
In the evening we went on a Pub Crawl tour we booked off Viator. We did the West Village but you have an option to do other areas instead. We went to 3 different bars, my favourite being a piano bar that was super small & in a basement. They had a person playing the piano & everyone in the bar was singing along to the showtunes she was playing. This was definitely my type of bar but for most people on the tour they felt a little out of place.
After the pub crawl, it was home to bed to get up for our flight the next morning. A great & short trip! I would recommend coming this time of year because despite the fact that it is SO busy & cold, you get to see the amazing Christmas light displays you only get to see around Christmas time :).
PS stay tuned for pictures :)
Alright, so I didn’t get to update my blog again while I was still in Vegas.. mainly because my family was constantly doing something & when we weren’t we were exhausted! The last time I updated this we were about to go to Dick’s for dinner.. a restaurant that pretty much treats you like crap but it’s hilarious! Then my sisters & I went to Thunder Down Under, which was actually hilarious. At the end of the show they even let you get a picture with all the guys (of course for an extra cost) it was a lot of fun!
On Wednesday (Halloween) my siblings and I took a plane tour to the Grand Canyon, although the plane was sketchy and I wouldn’t recommend it for people that are scared of flying, it was amazing to see! After the tour we went and relaxed by the pool at our resort until after dinner when we headed down to Fremont Street for a street party for Halloween. My family dressed as a 6 pack of Molson Canadian beer.. it was hilarious & lots of fun. Fremont Street was packed with people & it was a great event for people of every age. My step sister isn’t 21 so it was something that we could include her in & it was cheaper then going to a club or something. They also had hourly Halloween concert type shows they put on & their were a surprising amount of kids around.
Thursday, we were all pretty hungover from Halloween so we just chilled & relaxed all day. At night we went to a steakhouse called Galagher’s in New York, New York for dinner. It was very expensive but the portions that you got were ridiculous! Everyone’s steaks were huge & I’d recommend sharing them between a few people & just ordering a variety of sides for everyone to share. After dinner, we went to see the Cirque Du Soleil show called “O” at the Bellagio. Another flawless Cirque show - it was all done in water & was amazing!
Friday was our last full day in Vegas. We finished up touring different hotels & casinos on the strip and went to Margaritaville for lunch. After that we headed to the airport for our red-eye flight home. Overall it was an amazing & fun trip. I didn’t really know what to expect as many people usually don’t go to Vegas for an entire week & usually don’t go with their families but there was so much to do and keep everyone entertained. I’m sad to be home!
On Saturday October 27, my family of 6 flew to Las Vegas for a week long family vacay! So far since we’ve been here we’ve accomplished quite a bit. On Saturday we got in pretty late but we got picked up at the airport in a limo and drove around the strip to get our first look at it (well at least for those of us that have never been). After that we headed to our hotel, The Grandview Resort. It’s a bit aways from the strip but good for our family since we have a 2 room condo style place. Our first full day in Vegas we went down to Fairmont Street to check out “Old” Vegas! We spent the majority of the day there - checking out all the cool, old places. We also zip lined down the old strip for $15/each & then headed to the Pawn Shop from the TV show Pawn Stars. The line actually wasn’t too long to get in & although it was much smaller than you would think it would be from what you see on TV, it was still cool too see. At night we headed to the Hard Rock Hotel because Pauly D from Jersey Shore was there for a guest appearance.. although he was super late we got a picture with him & it was worth it!
Our second day in Vegas we woke up super early & headed to go skydiving!! My siblings and I all did it and it was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done! The place we went to was called Las Vegas Extreme Skydiving and everyone there was really nice & super fun! The experience was for sure worth what we paid for it! After skydiving we headed out for lunch at a restaurant at the Southpoint Casino which is walking distance from our hotel and then went down to the strip. We visited the Venetian, MGM, New York New York & The Mirage while we were down there - which took up the majority of the rest of our day. In the evening we went to an Italian restaurant in the Southpoint Casino called Don Vito’s which was really good!
Day 3 (aka Today) in Vegas my Dad & step Brother headed to the SEMA car show for the day and us girls went shopping at the south outlets in Vegas. The outlets were pretty good - some places not having the best deals but still managed to buy quite a bit between all of us. A lady told us that apparently the outlets on the north end have the more high-end stores like Gucci and all those other stores I could never afford so I don’t think we’re going to go there! The afternoon today was spent by the pool at our hotel. Tonight we are going out for dinner at Dicks.. a restaurant on the strip that pretty much treats you like shit but supposedly it’s supposed to be quite the unique experience. After dinner my sisters & I are going to Thunder Down Under.. which should also be pretty interesting!
I’ll update this again sometime in the near future :)
I currently am working full-time for the college that I attended for 4 years as a student. Although there are 3 campuses across the GTA - the office that I’m based out of is in Brampton, Ontario. If any of you don’t know anything about Brampton, it is a very culturally rich city. It is not unusual to be the only one standing waiting in line for a coffee speaking English or the only Caucasian girl in the bar.
At the beginning of September we through a pub night for the students of the college in Brampton. It was a “Desi Jam”. We had some special guests, one being a DJ who played Punjabi music all night long. I don’t think I fully got to experience the magic of Brampton until this night. The music, the girls all dressed up in colourful sarees and the amazing bhangra dancing that I so desperately want to learn. It was quite possibly one of the coolest culturally enriched event I’ve ever attended right here in the GTA. It was something I’d never witnessed before or ever imagined myself attending but I’m so glad I did.
To be at a bar full of guys and girls just enjoying and celebrating their culture. It is very out of the ordinary to attend a pub night anywhere and guys not wanting to just grind up against you.. these guys just wanted to Bhangra dance & show us the cool moves that seemed to be a cardio workout for me! It was fascinating to me that they all knew how to dance like that, how excited they got when their favourite Indian song was played & how amazing it was to see the Bhangra dance troupe that came right from the college perform in colourful costumes.
I feel like we often don’t appreciate Canada to its fullest. We see past the multiculturalism, we walk by it & pass it every day but never really stop and appreciate it. What I experienced just that night is something a lot of people would never get to experience in their country. Canada is so blessed to have such a variety of different cultures and we are so lucky to get to experience these things without having to travel to India!
It’s like a taste of India right in my own backyard.
How cool is that?