Petřín Tower, Prague

While my friend was visiting from London we went to Prague for a couple of nights. On the last evening we were there, we decided to check out the views of the city from Petřín Tower.

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Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská rozhledna) was built in 1891 for the Prague Exhibition Jubilee. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, but it is only 63.5m high to the Eiffel’s 301m. However, because it is sitting atop the Petřín Hill’s 318m, the tower is actually higher than the Eiffel Tower.

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We arrived to get the funicular to the top around 5pm. Unfortunately, this was too late to go into the tower. We decided to go to the top anyway to see the tower by night and catch any views of the city that we could along the way.

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There was indeed a lovely view of Prague on the way up and being a fan of city lights at night, I was glad we went. I wished the ride was longer. When we got to the top, we strolled around the frozen garden. Kids from the area ran around in the dark getting in their last few minutes of outdoor fun for the day. We made our way over to the tower.

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I was struck by its prettiness as we approached. The lights call you from a distance and exude an air of romance. I think it would be a perfect place for a date! I’ve never been to Paris, but I imagined the feeling of awe and romance to be ten fold standing at the feet of Eiffel Tower.

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We went inside for a gander, but shortly after entry staff walked around ushering people out so that they could close up. I’ll definitely be going back so that I can climb the 299 stairs to the top and admire the beautiful city that is Prague, from above. Stay tuned for an update 🙂

~~~The Wandering Pier

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Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf was cool, but also absolutely terrifying. One word, seagulls. I can’t stand them and there they were aplenty! I arrived in the area via the old style cable car on the Powell-Mason line. From where it drops you off it was just a five minute walk over to Fishermans Wharf and there are lots of shops along the way to distract you. It’s a great spot to pick up souvenirs and some of the vendors will barter if you try 🙂

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When I arrived at the wharf I walked through the tight little passageway where all the seafood stalls have their grub on display for your salivating pleasure. There were so many stands with so many things! However, they all basically serve their seafood in similar ways. The sourdough bread bowls full of clam chowder looked to die for! I wasn’t really hungry so I just bought myself a little bowl of mixed seafood for the sake of it and decided to find a spot near the water to relax and eat it.

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Not so. The entire time I had any food I was on guard, certain a seagull was going to swoop down and fly away with my shrimp. They were EVERYWHERE. Then there were ticket touts trying to get me to buy tickets for all sorts of things. I finally found a spot on a bench and sat down. I even had a view of the bay and Alcatraz. I proceeded to eat, without much enjoyment because of my feeling of impending doom. Then for some unknown reason, a tour group decided to gather around me for their meeting. I sat encircled by the crowd of them thinking, is this for real? It’s not like they couldn’t see me.

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At that point, I gave up. I fought my way to freedom and walked over to the water for a better view of the prison island. Then, a nearby man threw a bunch of food in front of him, for the seagulls. Several swooped down and that was my final cue to leave the area. The walk was nice, especially since I didn’t have any food and was no longer a moving target. There is the famed Pier 39, museums, a shopping centre and aquarium. You can spot sea lions playing in the water, there are lots of photo opps and you can even rent a bike and ride along so you can see more of that stretch called the Embarcadero. I walked all the way down along it to the the Ferry Building. It was a very lengthy, but good walk.

If you’re going to Fishermans Wharf, these are my recommendations: eat inside. As tempting as the lovely views and beautiful weather are, it isn’t worth it. Get a bike, you’ll cover more ground and it’s just a fun, nice way to explore the area and San Francisco in general. Runaway from all men holding food. Unless that’s you… In which case, hurry up and eat your food x_x Add all the events during your visit, good and not so good to your memory bank so you can laugh about it later. Ha, ha. Ha.

~~~The Wandering Pier

Walking the High Line

A couple of my friends happened to be in NYC at the same time I was visiting. They told me they were heading to the High Line and we arranged to meet up. I have been to New York several times, but my last visit was so long ago that I had never even heard of the High Line. I guess this falls perfectly in line with one of the top things I love about this place, something new is always around the corner!
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When I arrived I was really wowed. It’s like a little oasis in the city. The pathways are lined with a variety of trees and flowers. Different shapes, sizes of plants and shades of green, surround you. It takes you to a different place while you’re there. It really slows you down as you take time to appreciate it all.
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As you walk along you can see the city all around you. The contrast of the hustle and bustle of the city whizzing by, gives you the opportunity to see how intense things are when you’re down there in the thick of it. I think it is a brilliant, dramatic way to remind ourselves of how hectic things are day to day and how important it is so slow down the pace sometimes.
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I recently saw some pictures online depicting just how crowded and busy it can get in this green park in the sky. It was hectic! I suppose when it’s like that, there really isn’t an opportunity to relax and take it all in. Luckily, when I visited it was not like that. In fact, I wouldn’t have bothered if that was the case. Massive crowds squashed together, churning their way through a restricted space doesn’t bring with it peace and relaxation. So, be conscious of the time of year and peak times of day, when you decide to (re)visit the High Line.

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Riding the Cable Car in San Francisco

For $6 you can jump on the traditional old style cable car in San Francisco and take a ride up to Fisherman’s Wharf or hop off at the windiest road in the world (Lombard Street). This one is definitely for the tourists. An out of towner special. You can get on or off at any stop, but in order to get the full $6 worth, you might as well ride from one end to another or stop off at a good point of interest. Also, if you’re not boarding at a starting point, there may not be room for more passengers, because they get pretty packed out.
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There was a long line, but it moved along moderately and after a 20-30 minute wait I was able to board. However, this was in May. At peak times of year, you should expect to wait longer. There is more than one route as well, so make sure the cable car you’re boarding is the correct route to get you to your destination.
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I opted to sit outside to get what I considered the fuller experience. Inside was pretty crowded and of course the views were more obstructed. On the outside it was pretty exciting, sitting on the edge and whizzing by people and traffic. You can also stand and sort of hang off the side of it, as I’m sure you’ve seen in many a movie!
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I found the whole thing pretty exciting, as flashbacks of the opening of Full House played in my head. Ah, nostalgia. It really felt like a scene in a movie, after seeing it so many times on screen. Our driver was also pretty hilarious. As we peaked the highest point of the ride and went over the hill, a lovely view of the ocean greeted us, lined with the buzzing streets down below. Gliding down the hill was like an extremely mild roller coaster, though we did have some speed behind us *wheeeeee*!
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At the last stop, everyone alighted, including the driver. He then assisted the other staff members with manually turning the cable car around, using the rotating plate it sat on, on the road. I thanked the driver and went off to explore some new territory.

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The Golden Gate Bridge

The first time I set eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge, I was with some friends driving to San Francisco from Sacramento. It was a truly beautiful Sunday afternoon and we’d had an enjoyable ride down. As we approached the bridge, I was in awe of it. We drove across it, heading to my next stop in California and I really couldn’t believe it as it was happening.
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For years I had seen this iconic bridge on TV shows and in movies and now I was just causally driving across it. It was unreal. I looked back over my shoulder, peering at it in wonder, as we drove on into San Francisco.

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A few days later my friend and his housemate drove me to the bridge so I could really see it. This is redundant, but I’ll say it anyway- it is MASSIVE! This modern wonder actually lived up to and surpassed my expectations. Luckily for me, it was a clear, gorgeous day at the bay, so I was able to see some fantastic views and get some great shots.
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After taking in the view from where we had parked, we took at stroll onto the bridge. I didn’t really feel like I was that high up until we stopped to peek over the railing. My goodness, the drop was immense. When you look up to get the full height of it, your head has to tilt right back to see it all. For me it was definitely a wonder.
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When the picture taking reached it saturation and the evening chill descended upon us, we made our way back to the car. I was most pleased with our little outing. If you ever get a chance to visit the fabulous city of San Francisco, make sure to dedicate some time to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. Go for a walk across it or you can rent bikes and ride across. From my experience I think you definitely won’t regret it!

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Visiting the Golden Gate Park

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I had the afternoon free, so I decided to head over to Golden Gate Park. The hardest part about that was picking what to see. That place is massive! I checked the map and decided I would realistically be able to see about 2 areas of the park at a leisurely pace. I settled on the botanical garden and the Japanese tea garden.

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The botanical garden was free that day~ yay. So I got myself a map and set off on my stroll. The park was largely divided by regions/countries of the world, along with some other categories.

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I wandered through it all. I was particularly interested in the garden of fragrance, because I love the smell of fresh flowers and fragrant plants. I also wanted to check out the South Africa area, since I missed out on going to the botanical garden in Cape Town earlier this year and it’s suppose to be pretty impressive.

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After taking in the sights and smells there, I headed over to the Japanese garden. However, given that you had to pay to enter and they had less than an hour before closing, I decided to give it a miss. From the outside it looked pretty though ^_^
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I would love to go back to San Francisco in general and when I do, I’ll be making the Golden Gate Park a priority. With bike riding, a conservatory of flowers, lakes and a Segway tour, why wouldn’t I? Check it out if you get a chance. Go back if you have already been. You know you want to.

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The Temple in the Sea

20140322-100245.jpgAfter our plans for the day had failed, my friends and I started brainstorming some alternative ways to spend our day. I suggested going to “the temple in the sea”. I had only seen pictures of the Sewdass Sadhu temple and I’ve always wanted to go. A few of us had never seen it, so we decided to set off for central Trinidad.

The Sewdass Sadhu Hindu Temple was built by an Indian indentured labourer of the same name. His original temple was built in 1947. It was later broken down, he was charged with trespassing paid a fine and served jail time. He then decided to painstakingly build one on the sea, which he did by himself. Since then it has been reconstructed by the government and is still used as a place of worship and is an attraction for visitors to the island.
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Getting there was faster than I thought and pretty straightforward. When we arrived, we made our way along the waterfront on foot and then up the walkway towards the temple, observing the trees, birds and muddy creatures swimming on the surface of the nearby waters.
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The atmosphere there was very tranquil and inviting. The breeze blew gently, cooling us as we strolled along under the afternoon sun. The colourful flags that lined the walkway waved us in. Boats nearby and in the distance rocked softly on the water.

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We spent time exploring the grounds, looking at the paintings on the temple and taking in the view of the Gulf of Paria. The calm waters surrounding the temple adds a special dimension to one’s experience there. After some nervous contemplation about entering, for fear of doing something that may have been disrespectful, I took my shoes off and went in. There was an alter with incense burning and statues of various gods. There was a friendly couple there who seemed to hold some official capacity. The man invited me to ask any questions I wanted and I did. He was very knowledgeable and they were both extremely pleasant to speak with.
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I met one of my friends sitting on a bench outside by herself. She was soaking in the peaceful atmosphere and in truth I think we could both have easily sat there in silence for another hour or two. It made me think that it may be a good idea to visit temples and churches on a fairly regular basis, outside of worshipping hours, to be alone with your thoughts, centre yourself and refocus on the simple and lovely things in life.

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~The Wandering Pier