A Travellerspoint blog

Paris

Interrupted by COVID-19 Pandemic

Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Paris, France. We had wanted to go to France for some time and were looking forward to this trip. We took the EuroStar over to the continent and it could not have been an easier experience. We picked up public transportation passes upon arrival which were quite expensive, but they covered all zones for several days in the city. Paris, overall, was pretty expensive we found during our brief trip there. We had planned to stay for four days but ended up leaving after only a day and a half. All of the travel restrictions and social distancing policies due to COVID-19 were being announced across the world and we thought it was best to get back to the island. We had planned to go to the Palace of Versailles, the Lourve, the Museum d’Orsay, and take a river cruise as well as see the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, but unfortunately we only made it to the Palace of Versailles. The palace is located on the outskirts of the city.

The Palace of Versailles, also known as Château de Versailles, was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is famous for its opulence.

Palace of Versailles: http://en.chateauversailles.fr

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There was a small Ladurée shop inside of the palace...and naturally I couldn't help myself. Who can resist a pretty macaron? Ladurée is a French luxury bakery and sweets maker house created in 1862. It is one of the world's best-known premier sellers of the double-decker macaron, 15,000 of which are sold every day.
Ladurée: https://www.laduree.co.uk
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We were really upset our Paris trip had to be curtailed. We hadn’t travelled in a while and were really looking forward to the Parisian getaway, but we know we made the right decision. Health and safety come before anything else. We have decided we will go back when the travel restrictions and quarantines are lifted and things return to normal.

Pausing for the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 22:42 Archived in France Tagged paris france palace of ladurée versailles macaroons covid19 Comments (3)

Mondello, Sicily

A small fishing village on the western part of the island

While in Palermo, we opted to take the bus for a day trip over to Mondello. Mondello is a small borough of the city of Palermo and its beach lies between two cliffs called Mount Gallo and Mount Pellegrino. It was originally a small fishing village situated on marshland, but has become more of a tourist destination over time.

We started off in the city by taking a hike through the trails at the Capo Gallo Reserve. There was a random guy in a car at the entrance to the reserve who requested one euro per person to enter and seemed to liberally enforced this.

Views of Mondello from the Piazza Mondello:
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Views from the reserve:
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After our leisurely hike, we ate lunch at a cute little restaurant in the piazza, called Trattorria da Pietro. The staff were wonderful and the food was AMAZING!
Trattoria da Pietro: https://trattoriadapiero.eu/en
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The best olive oil I have ever tasted was at the Tratorria da Pietro. One of the waiters suggested adding a bit of salt to the olive oil (I had never thought of this, seems so simple) and it was absolutely delicious for dipping bread!
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We really enjoyed our trip to Sicily. The Sicilians are very welcoming and hospitable and the food is some of the best I have had. It was so nice to see the sun for three consecutive days!

Just a note for reference, our trip to Sicily was right before Italy had its horrible outbreak of COVID-19.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 23:06 Archived in Italy Tagged fishing sicily palermo mondello Comments (0)

Palermo, Sicily

Southern Italy

Our next adventure took us to Palermo, Sicily! We wanted to go someplace warm and sunny, but not necessarily a beach. Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. Palermo was founded by Phoenician traders in the 8th century BC. It has also been under the control of the Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans, French, Spanish, and finally joined the the kingdom of Italy in 1860. Palermo functions as Sicily’s chief port and centre of government.

We had an evening flight into the city and were able to take a bus to our hotel, Hotel Elite. Public transportation around the city, if we weren't walking, was very cheap and easy to figure out.

The staff we very helpful and attentive during our stay. A great Sicilian breakfast was included.
Hotel Elite: http://www.hotelelitepalermo.it/en/
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The first day and our last day we explored the city of Palermo on our own. On our second day, we opted to take the bus to Modello, just west of Palermo, for the day (more on that in a later post).

City of Palermo
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Port of Palermo:
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Teatro Massimo
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Quattro Canti
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Chiesa Del Gesù
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Palermo Cattedrale
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Some of the AMAZING food we had in Palermo:
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We ate at two excellent restaurants in Palermo, Fud and Osteria Villena, which had just opened ten days prior to our trip. Both places had fantastic food and Osteria Villena had the BEST pasta I have ever had!

One of the odd things we noted was trying to find a currency exchange in Palermo. Basically there was none and we had to go to the post office located at the central train station. It was quite the adventure and I would have never known that was where we needed to go.

Onto Mondello...

Posted by LCP 00:23 Archived in Italy Tagged port sicily palermo osteria fud villena Comments (2)

Budapest: Part Two

St. Stephen's Basilica, State Opera House, Matthias Church

Greetings! To round out our visit to Budapest we visited, St. Stephen's Basilica (and opted to do the panoramic view of the city), the State Opera House, and Matthias Church. There is so much to do in Budapest. We had a hard time figuring out how to narrow down all of the sites we wanted to visit in the few days we were there.

St. Stephen's Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named for Stephen, the first King of Hungary (975–1038), whose right hand is housed in the reliquary. On Thursday evenings, there is a concert in the Basilica, which we opted to buy tickets for and it was FANTASTIC! I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in classical music. There was an organist, flutist, and vocalist. St. Stephen's is one of the most beautiful Basilicas I've been in so far.
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Panorama view of the cit of Budapest.
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The Hungarian State Opera House located in central Budapest, was originally known as the Hungarian Royal Opera House. Construction began in 1875 and opened to the public in September 1884. We were treated to a mini performance at the end of our tour.
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We crossed the river and went to the Buda side of the city to visit Matthias Church. The church is Roman Catholic and located in the Holy Trinity Square, in front of the Fisherman's Bastion in the heart of Buda's Castle District. Matthias Church was beautiful in its own right and I really enjoyed the painting all over the church.
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Budapest is an absolutely amazing city. We really enjoyed our time there and cannot wait to go back. There is so much to do and see and it is a really beautiful city. I would definitely rank it in my top five most favorite cities I've visited so far.

On to the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 00:32 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest church basilica house opera hungary st state matthias stephens Comments (1)

Budapest: Part One

Danube River Cruise, Parliament and of course, Christmas Markets

Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Budapest, Hungary! We had heard many wonderful things about Budapest and decided it was a must see. Budapest is the capital city and most populous city in Hungary. Budapest combined three former cities to make one city: Buda, Óbuda, and Pest in 1873. It is famous for its thermal baths, has the third largest Parliament building in the world, and has the oldest subway-line on continental Europe. One thing I would recommend in Budapest is getting the Budapest Card, it gives you free access to the public transportation system (which was fantastic) and free entry into some sites and discounted entrances to others. You can purchase these cards ahead of time or at the airport.

After arriving, we dropped our bags off at our AirBnb, which was in an excellent location near Fashion Street and close to the metro, and decided on an evening river cruise on the Danube. I would highly recommend a river cruise at night. The city looks absolutely amazing.
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We also wanted to see the Hungarian Parliament Building. The building is situated in Kossuth Square, in the Pest side of the city and was conveniently located across the street from an underground stop. There are 691 rooms in the building. I would recommend buying tickets in advance as they sell out quickly and at Parliament, only "day of" tickets are sold.
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We really enjoyed the Christmas Market. There were local artisans and some excellent food choices. Scenes from the Budapest Christmas Market:
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We had some excellent food while we were in Budapest. Here are a couple of restaurants we enjoyed and some of the wonderful dishes.
Zeller Bistro: Zeller Bistro: http://www.zellerbistro.hu/
A la Maison: https://www.alamaisongrand.com/
Mokka Cukka: https://mokka-cukka.business.site/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=referral
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On to Budapest Part Two....

Posted by LCP 22:43 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest danube river cruise parliament hungarian Comments (1)

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