5 Must do things in Monaco

Wow, the little place that packs a punch……

Recently I had the pleasure of going to the south of France to celebrate a friends birthday. The south of France cote dAzur is fast becoming my favourite go-to destination for close to home travel, with a flight time of just 2 hours from the London.

Monaco Map at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

On my whirlwind trip, I visited Monaco. Monaco is next door to Nice, France and is a short train ride from Nice Ville or 7 minutes via helicopter from Nice airport.

Monaco, a tiny independent city-state on France’s Mediterranean coastline and is known for is its supercars, upscale casinos, yacht-lined harbour and the F1 Grand Prix race. With 38,000 residents, it is the second smallest country in the world (after the Vatican) and the most densely populated. It is a tax haven and Forbes.com states that just over 30% of residents are millionaires. Monaco is one of the safest countries in the world with a police officer for every 60 people. There are lots of things to do in Monaco for it visitors and getting around the city is easy on foot, but it is hilly, so wear flat comfortable footwear.

Prince Albert II is the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi. He is the son of Prince Rainier III and the American actress Grace Kelly.

Here is my list of 5 must do things when you come and visit.

Monaco Map of the city at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

1) Visit Le Palais des Princes de Monaco.

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Built in 1191. Based in Monaco City (French: Monaco –Ville) is a ward of Monaco and Nicknamed the rock.

A must do, is to watch changing of the guards at 11.55am each day, arrive at 11.45am to get the best viewpoint.

 

You can also visit the State Apartments at the Palace (from April – Mid October each year). You can also visit the Private Collection of Antique cars.

ADMISSION COST

Prince’s palace: State Apartments*
Adults: 8 euros, Children (6-16 years old): 4 euros.
Double ticket: State Apartments + Private Collection of Antique cars
Adults: 11.50 euros, children (6-16 years old) 5 euros.

*The State Apartments are not accessible to those in wheelchairs. Access only by stairs.

Also located nearby,  in walking distance Saint Nicholas Cathedral, The Oceanographic Museum, The courthouse and other government buildings.

 

2) Take the mini train around the city

Monaco Tours Train at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk
Mini Train

Also based in Monaco –Ville and starting opposite the Oceanographic Museum, the mini train is great, with tickets costing just €10 each for adults and €5 for children. The tour is available in 12 languages and leaves numerous times throughout the day.

The 40-minute tour takes you around the principality.  It is great to do before or after the changing of the guard.  It allows to you see most of the city and you can then work out where else you would like to go and see.

Monaco Tours at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk
In the carriage
Monaco Tours map at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk
Map of the tour

 

3) The frame

The Frame, Monaco at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

You will pass the frame if you take the mini train.

The frame is great for photo opportunities and is located also located in Monaco-Ville. If you walk back down into the city follow the road down the hill from the train stop and the Oceanographic Museum for a few minutes and stop to take photos in the frame with part of the famous Port de Monaco in the background.

 

4) Monte Carlo Casino

The Monte Carlo Casino is world famous, it is also one of the greatest places to spot supercars. Inside the casino and view the beautiful marble and chandeliers. The Casino was built in 1893 by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House. Its marble paved “atrium”, surrounded by 28 Ionic columns made of onyx. If you’re feeling lucky why not have a little gamble too.

Restricted access – over 18’s only and proof of identity may be required.

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5) The F1 Grand Prix Circuit 

The Grand Prix track if like me you love F1 you will love the city of Monte Carlo as you are practically walking around the track. I was lucky enough to visit Monaco at the beginning of April and the city is also already preparing for this year’s Grand Prix with hoardings and seating going up in preparation. It takes weeks to prepare for the Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix is the last weekend in May.

 

Other things to do in Monaco;

  • Saint Nicholas Cathedral (Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco are buried there)
  • The Oceanographic Museum
  • Sainte- Dévote Church
  • Watch a football match at the Monaco stadium.
  • Charter yacht
  • Take a boat trip, in summer months you can also take a trip to Monaco via boat Nice.
  • Cafe de Paris
  • Go shopping

 

*All photos are by myself or friends unless stated.

Caribbean and other Islands

Caribbean

I have only been to 2 Caribbean Islands, but want to visit many more.

  1. Jamaica – I spent two weeks in Jamaica in Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios back in the summer of 2008.
  2. Barbados – I spent 6 days on this wonderful Island back in January 2014. Barbados in pictures.

Bermuda

I love Bermuda, while it is expensive it is unquestionable beautiful.  I have been twice and my mum used to live there. Check out some of my posts about Bermuda. Bermuda in pictures, 5 must do things in Bermuda, My favourite beach in the world.

Spanish Islands

Gran Canaria

I have visited Gran Canaria 3 times about at the end of the 90’s and early 00’s. The canary islands are located of the coast of Africa and only 4 hours flight from the UK.  The great warm weather is why is it is a popular destination.  I visited when I was a young mum and wanted some R&R.

 

Ibiza

Ibiza is on of the Balearic islands on the mediterranean sea.  Known as the party island, Ibiza is a fun place, that has great party vibes, but a lot of pickpocketing and crime, keep you wits about you and have a great time. 5 things to do in Ibiza.

Tenerife

Is one of four main Canary Islands off of the coast of Africa. I have been to Tenerife just once, in the late 90’s.  Great weather and cheap drinks is all I really remember, I was young and 18.

Mauritius

I visited Mauritius last spring for a wedding and spent 2 weeks on the island off the coast of Africa. It is a beautiful large Island with lots to see and do….. pictures and blog posts to follow.

Also check out my post about Carribean Islands you never knew exisited.

 

*Photo Credit: Your Child Learns 

 

 

Travelling with someone with a phobia of flying

If your like me and love to travel then planning a trip with a significant other who suffers with aviophobia (fear of flying) can be difficult.

Aviophobia affects around 7% of people although up to 25% can feel anxious when flying say the US National Institute of Mental Health.

There are quite a lot of things you can do to help overcome the fear or you can work with it. The options are really down to the person and what they’re open to.

  1. You can go to your doctor and get some anti anxiety medication to help you calm down before and during your flight. This is an option that most people choose.
  2. You can try hypnotherapy and see if it helps you overcome your fears, you may need to go for a few sessions to have the best results.
  3. You can get on a plane and hold on for dear life to the arm rail and maybe have a few drinks while on board.  This is an option I wouldn’t recommend, but I would suggest maybe taking short flights maybe 2-3 hours long then build up your confidence and good flying experiences before travelling to the other side of the world.
  4. You can avoid flying and plan a staycation and travel by train or car to somewhere in your country.
  5. You can stop flying and use alternative methods to get to your destination.

The last two options are the ones that has worked for us.  I don’t have a fear of flying, it’s actually one of the bits I love most about travelling. However it means that I often travel without my boyfriend.

We are very lucky that we live in the UK as we have a few travel options available to us with Europe nearby. Last summer we travelled by train via Eurostar to the south of France  Click Here to find out what to do in Marseille.

This summer we are planning a few staycations and visiting parts of the UK that we’ve never been to.  I don’t know about you but there are loads of places I have never been to in the UK.  I hope to travel to the coast and go to northern England.

I’m also hoping that we will go on a cruise but with so many destinations to choose from I’m sure where we will end up.

I decided to ask my significant other a bit more about his flying fear to understands more about it.

Flying at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Q: Have you always had a fear?

A: Yes, as long as I can remember.

Q: Have you had any bad experiences flying? 

A: Yes, I was returning on my own from Trinidad, when just after takeoff, we were told to say in our seats as there was a technical problem and that the plane was turning back to land.  The plane made a forced landing in Barbados as the airport was closer.  It turned out that there was a problem with the de-icing mechanism on the wing so it was definitely the right thing to do.

Q: What happened next?

A: We landed safely and then we were told that we would be getting a different plane home, we stayed in Barbados for two days and one night, but when is was time to return I realised that we were travelling back on the same plane.

Q: How did you know it was the same plane?

A: We had the same seat numbers and I noticed the seat in front of me had the same mark as the previous plane.

Q: How was your journey home?

A: It was fine, but your flying over the ocean, so you just hope the plane is going to be ok.

Q: Have you taken a flight since?

A: No, it made flying worse.

Q: Do you think you will take a flight again?

A: Yes, I want to overcome my fear as the chance of anything like that happening again is unlikely.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, but didn’t need to fly to get there, where would you like to go?

A: Honolulu, Hawaii.

While I understand that some people have a fear that something might go wrong, it is unlikely to happen and if it does happen like in my boyfriends instance it’s not likely to happen twice.

“statistically the chances of being in a plane crash is 1 in 11 million, your more likely to be attacked by a shark” say Elite Daily.

His experience has changed from an irrational fear to a more rational fear. Its something that I think you need to respect, while I don’t necessarily understand the exact fear because I actually love flying, I do have my own fears that are irrational so that’s where I can be empathetic.

Do you or a family member have a fear of flying and how do you overcome it when travelling? Let me know and leave a comment below.

5 Achievable New Years Resolutions 2018

This year I have tweaked my new years resolutions, but they are all achievable, here are my 5 for 2018!

1) My first resolution this year is to be happy, I have put it at the top of the list.  If it doesn’t make you happy then why do it?

2) My second resolution is to Continue reading “5 Achievable New Years Resolutions 2018”

Where to eat in a strange city ????

As a food lover who is not only fussy but also has allergies to diary and eggs getting food right is important and can be quite stressful especially when there is a language barrier.

Here are some tips that you should use when in a new city looking for great food to eat.

  1. Fish in DubaiAsk your friends – If they have been to the destination before. When you have had a great meal when out-of-town or on holiday you tend to remember it.

 

 

 

Seafood in London2.Ask social media – Use your social networks. They have a wealth of knowledge so it’s always a great option.

 

 

 

Desert Heaven

 

 

3.Trip advisor – This can be great and not only are restaurants ranked they also have recent reviews which can be really helpful.

 

 

 

Prawns in Marseille

 

4.Ask the concierge or your airbnb host – They will have great local knowledge and can always have some great suggestions.

 

 

 

 

5.Read blog posts – Many bloggers will add in recommendations of wear to eat in their posts so do some research before your trip.

Lobster in Bermuda

6. This next great tip is from travel blogger @world_with_ maria who suggests eating like a local.  Google up the regional dishes, she always saves the “dishes to try” as it saves you time and effort in deciding what to eat once you are in that city.

Food Travel tips at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

 

Tip: I also use google translate to make sure the restaurants understand the allergies I have.

Click here to read about 5 great places to eat when in Marseille.

5 Must Do Things in Marseille

I recently spent a wonderful week in Marseille, France.  Marseille is France’s second city and is located on the coast in the south of France.  I stayed in central Marseille at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Port de Vieux.

There are lots of things to do in Marseille, I wanted this trip to be a mix of relaxing by the pool mixed with some sightseeing.  Here is my list of 5 must do things to do when out and about.

1) Go to Notre-Dame de la Garde

Notre-Dame de la Garde translates ‘Our Lady of the Guard’ is a catholic basilica and is the best know symbol in the city.  Built on the foundations on an ancient fort at the highest point on Marseille in 1864. The basilica replaced the church of the same name that was built-in 1214. The basilica has a bell tower that supports a statue of the Madonna and Child that is covered in gold leaf. There are great views of the city and well worth a visit.

Cost: Entry is free, but take circuit 1 of the mini train from the old Port of Marseille for a fun trip the mini train costs €8 for adults & €4 for children return. Trains leave every 10 minutes throughout the day.

2) Take the world’s shortest ferry

Walking from one side of the port to the other can take some time about 20 minutes, so if you’re feeling tired or in a hurry you can take a short cut. The little ferry-boat runs from Marseilles town hall to the other side running daily every 10 minutes.  The Little Ferry boat is eco-friendly with an electric solar propeller.  The ride across the port takes a couple of minutes making is the world shortest ferry trip.

Cost: 50 cents one way.

3) Boat trips

There are numerous boat trips that you can take from the port in Marseille you can take a trip to the National park de Calanques (Calanques translates to creeks). There are several different trips to the national park de Calanques. The National Park has many Calanaques which are really beautiful calm tranquil places with beautiful rock formations and there are a number of different options of daily boat trips.

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Cost: There is a small circuit which is two hours and 15 minutes and costs approximately €23 four adults and €18 for children or you can get family tickets for €74. The large circuit is three hours and 15 minutes and is €29 for adults and €22 for children and €92 for the family ticket.

There is also a trip on the larger circuit three hours and 45 minutes which includes 30 minutes swimming time only take this option if you’re strong swimmer as life jackets are not provided.

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There are also trips throughout the day to the Frioul archipelago is a group of 4 islands located off the Mediterranean coast of France, approximately at 4 kilometres from Marseille.

4) Watch the sunset

The sunsets in Marseille are beautiful. You can watch from a high view-point or while at dinner in the ports.  Don’t forget to take a photo or two.

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Cost: Free of charge or the cost of an alfresco dinner

5) Alfresco Dining

Have dinner at one of the many restaurants at the Marseille Vieux Port.  Spend time people watching or watching sports or live music.

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There are hundreds of restaurants in Marseille, check out our next post (coming soon) about the best places to try.

Have you been to Marseille? I so, what were your favourite places? Leave a comment below.

How to spend 72 hours in London- Day 1

There is so much to do in London.  But if your only here for a long weekend or an extended layover, here are the best things to do in 72 hours.

 

 

Day 1 – From the Air

London from the sky - 72 Hours in London at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Day 1 – From the Map

72 Hours in London Day 1 at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

1)  The London Eye

Starting the day off at one of my favourite attractions is The London Eye.  The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames (South side of the river in Waterloo between Waterloo and Westminster Bridges). The London Eye is not for those who don’t like heights at 443 feet tall it gives great views of London. The Ferris wheel takes about 30 minutes to complete the rotation.

Tip: Book before your trip to save money.

There are lost of different packages available and great saving to be had if booking tickets for other attractions. Prices Start at £22.00 per adult. Click here for more information.

 

2) Westminster Abbey

A short 5-10 minute walk across Westminster Bridge and will take you to the 2nd and 3rd stops of the day. Westminster Abbey’s  website states “ Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years and an essential part of any trip to London.”

Westiminster Abbey - 72 Hours in London at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

But most people want to see it as it is where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Greece were married, as were Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales and most recent the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Katherine Middleton.

Queen Elizabeth II also had her coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Fact: Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been held in Westminster Abbey.

Click here for prices

 

3) Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament

A short walk across the road will bring you to Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is known the iconic clock tower attached to The Palace of Westminster aka The Houses of Parliament.  The Clock Tower was renamed The Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the Queens Silver Jubilee. Big Ben is the name of the bell in the Elizabeth Tower.

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

4) Downing Street

A short walk up Whitehall may take you past some demonstrations and also Downing Street. Downing street is the official residences of The Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and The Chancellor of the Exchequer at Number 11.

Tip: It’s a great photo opportunity to take a photo with some armed police, but don’t expect to see the Prime minister.

 

 

5) Horse Guards Parade 

A short walk up further up Whitehall and you will reach Horse Guards Parade.  Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London.  It is well-known for the Changing the Life Guard and the Four ‘O’ Clock Parade.

Changing the Life Guard, takes place daily at 11:00 weekdays and 10:00 on Sundays.  Check here for more details and to confirm times and dates as they do vary.

The Four ‘O’ Clock Parade, also known as the Dismounting Ceremony takes place at 16:00 hours in the courtyard within the Horse Guards building.

The Queen’s Life Guard is normally provided by men of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment which consists of a Squadron of The Life Guards, who wear red tunics and white plumed helmets, and a Squadron of The Blues and Royals with blue tunics and red plumed helmets.

 

Tip: Great opportunity to take a picture with a royal guard on a horse.

72 Hours in London Day 1 part 2 at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

 

6) Trafalgar Square

Take a short walk up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.  Here you will find Nelson Column, the fountains, the Lions, 4 Plinths and the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.  Here you can spend a few minutes taking pictures or a few hours in the Galleries. It’s totally up to you.

By now you must be starving, so have a break for lunch.  In London you have so much choice of food I would suggest eating somewhere close by in the strand or Covent Garden.

 

7) Covent Garden

From Trafalgar Square take walk up the strand or through the side streets to Covent Garden.

Covent Garden - 72 Hours in London at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Covent Garden is famous for its piazza and cobbled square, the area is great for shopping and food. So spend a few hours taking it all in.

Then have a pre-theatre dinner in one of the many restaurants.

 

8) Theatre Land

In the areas local to Covent Garden are Shaftesbury Avenue, Dury Lane and the Strand, also known as theatre land. London has many award-winning shows, with loads to choose from, you would be mad not to.

Tip: Pre book tickets for great savings.

I love London, which means I’m very lucky as it is my home town (well city). I hope you liked Day 1 in London and check back here next week for Day 2.

 

Mercedes-Benz World

Are you are classic car or supercar enthusiast?

Well Mercedes-Benz World is the place for you.  Based at the Brooklands motor racing circuit in Weybridge, Surrey and about an hour out of London.

 

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There is a lot for the family to do;

  • Film screenings
  • Virtual reality
  • Driving games
  • An amazing collection is of classic cars
  • Concept Cars
  • F1 cars
  • Various driving experiences
  • Mercedes Merchandise at the shop

In October 2015 I was lucky to visit the brooklands hotel and Mercedes-Benz World with a spa and driving experience package.

Checkout some of my pictures

This is a 1996 Mercedes F200 Imagination concept car.

 

 

Click here for more information on Driving Experiences 

 

London 2012 Olympics

In 2012 I was able to make a dream come true and finally I was able to go an Olympics.

My family are massive sports fans, as a teenager I was on holiday in Canada visiting family for a month and I remember waking up in the middle of the night to watch the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.  It was then that I said I would make it to the Olympics one day.

So when it was announced on July 6th 2005 that London had won the bid to host the Olympics in 2012, I was elated.  As the time came nearer I realised that I would not be able to volunteer as I helper as I needed to run my business and could not take nearly a month off.

So I knew that I had to get tickets, I was in the ballot and so was my mum and a friend, between us we applied for over £3,000 worth of tickets in the first round.  We tried for athletics, basketball, swimming, and tennis.  We thought between one of us would get tickets but no, it wasn’t to be.  In the Second round of tickets allocations I didn’t get any tickets and started to despair.

In the third round I decided to take any tickets available.  I ended up with tickets to the Men’s Football Semi Final at Wembley (not knowing who it would be) and tickets to Men’s Hockey morning session at the Olympic Park.

london-olympic-football-tickets-from-www-mywonderfulworld-co-uk

 

While it wasn’t the tickets we had originally hoped for, it was still amazing.

August 7th 2012 – Men’s Football

london-olympic-football-match-from-www-mywonderfulworld-co-ukWhile our tickets didn’t end up being a match with Brazil or England it was still a fun day out. Our semi final tickets were Mexico Vs Japan.   We decided to support Japan as we have a friend from England who lives there. On route along Olympic way the road that leads from the underground station to Wembley Football Ground we found a Mariachi Band.

Our support for Japan didn’t help much as Mexico won the match 3-1 and went on to beat Brazil in the final.

 

Saturday 11th August 2012 – Men’s Hockey

hockey-at-the-olympic-parkThe experience of the Olympic Park was great, my son and I had morning session tickets to the Men’s Hockey which also allowed us to stay in the Park all day. The weather was lovely and hot in the morning, which if you know London is not always a guaranteed. The games we got to see were good and I was learning the rules too.

 

 

After the matches we then stood in the very very very very very long queue for lunch AKA expensive fast food.  While in the queue I got chatting to the mother of an Olympian who was in the men’s South African Hockey Team, it was lovely just chatting to her for 30 minutes about her boy and how proud she was.  We then went around the park and ended up at one of large Olympic shops were we found these guys.  Wentlock & Co the Olympic Mascots, only £32 so they were left on the shelf!!!

olympic-mascots

 

We did buy a few Olympics Pins (have no idea where they are now).

There was an area where you could sit down and watch highlights of what was happening on a big screen, along with thousands of others.  There was a stage and presenters would appear with athletes throughout the day and interview them following their successes which was great. We stayed in that area most of the day, in the evening thousands of us watched Mo Farah (now Sir Mo Farah) win his 2nd gold medal.  Its was an amazing feeling, I only wish we could of watched I live in the stadium, we could hear the crowd cheering him on in the stadium just a few hundred meters aways and by the time it was the last lap everyone around us was on their feet screaming him on!

olympic-park-fom-www-mywonderfulworld-co-uk

 

On the way home, we met the gold medallist of the 1,500m women at she took a picture with my son and her medal, at the time it was great to meet a winner, but this was later soured when she was found out to be a drug cheat (so the picture is now deleted). 😦

While I had finally made to it the Olympics and had a great experience I was left wanting more and booked tickets to the Women’s Wheel Chair Basketball, but that’s another story.

Have you been to the Olympics? If so, which one, what did you get to see?

Check out the rest of my bucket list here

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil meaning “Circus of the Sun” is a Canadian entertainment company. It is also the largest theatrical producer in the world and based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

cirque-du-soleil

With 20 show currently around the world, each Cirque show is a synthesis of circus styles from around the world, with its own central theme and storyline.  Cirque Du Soleil presents a new show in London at the Royal Albert Hall each spring.

This year the show is called Amaluna based on a coming-of-age story and I went to see it last week.

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Amaluna is an Island that is ruled by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Queen Prospera directs her daughter’s coming of age ceremony, honouring femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance, and the she causes a storm.  A group of young men wash up on the isle, triggering an epic love story between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor.

I won’t spoil the rest of the show for you because you can get still get tickets for the show and I would say its worth. The show is on until the end of February.

I’ve been very lucky to have seen many Cirque du Soleil show and one thing that is always consistent amazing acrobatics skills and new live music. While Amalina is not my favorite show, it is definitely one of the best.

Other Cirque Du Soleil shows I have been to have been include Alegria, Dralion, Quidam, Saltimbanco and Totem.

If you can get see one of these I would totally recommend it, to be honest I’d recommend and Cirque du Soleil show. Click here to see what other Cirque du Soleil shows are on around the world.

If you want to go to a show where you will be mesmerise at the ability of the human body, and leave the show wanting to tell everyone how good it is then Cirque du Soleil shows will not disappoint.