Go to Guadalajara

No need to travel far for an exotic gateway. Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico is the perfect town to enjoy the Mexican culture and Tequila, of course.

Day 1: Guadalajara Old Town

Check out the Guadalajara Old Town with its beautiful architecture and its amazing food markets. Here is your free walking tour:

GDL walking guide

Have Breakfast/Lunch at the Libertad Market (San Juan de Dios Market). On the 1st floor, you have small vendors, which are perfect for souvenir shopping. On the 2nd floor, you have a huge food court with authentic Mexican food. The beef tacos are to die for.

 

Then, head out of the market, towards La Plaza de Los Mariachis. From there, take the pedestrian boulevard called Calle Pedro Moreno – The Street of Weddings, well you can see right away why it is called that way. The end of the street will take you to Plaza de Armas, Guadalajara Cathedral, and Plaza de La liberation. At the square, there is a giant sign of the name of the city; the perfect picture stop. On one side of the plaza, enter the Palace of the Governor and check out The Mural Painting “Lucha Social” by Jose Clemente Orozco depicting Miguel Hidalgo issuing the Cry for Independence. It is an impressive mural.

 

Take a break at the Teatro Degollado cafe and enjoy the architecture of the old town.

Continue your walk toward the back of the building. Another great architecture design. Walk down this other walking street, Paseo Hospocio. You will pass by the Children’s Fountain on Devils Corner and the huge flame sculpture inspired fountain at Plaza Tapatia, to get to the Chairs “La Sala de Los Magos” designed by Alejandro Colunga by Hospicio Cabanas Museum. If you have time enter the Institute Cultural Cabanas and check out the man on fire Mural on the roof and other art installations.

 

 

Day 2: Sunday Funday

Spend a day at the artsy neighborhood of Tlaquepaque. The pedestrian street has art boutiques perfect for some souvenir shopping. The restaurants are very lively and they all have Mariachis.

Tiaquepaque

If you get to be in town on a Sunday, make sure to go to the Charro show, a competitive event similar to the rodeo, at the Lienzo charro Charros de Jalisco. Charreada has become the official sport of Mexico. The charreada consists of nine events for men plus one for women, all of which involve horses, cattle or both. It is a fun Sunday event where families go to encourage their man. Boys can start as early as 5 years old.

 

Day 3: Jose Cuervo Tequila Day Tour

Refer to my worthy tours article

 

 

Eat authentic Mexican food and Dance:

For happy hour:

  • Trasfonda – Restaurant in a garden for the best guacamole

Trasfonda

For dinner :

  • I Latina is a great restaurant with a unique bar and decoration. Don’t hesitate to seat at the bar if needed. The food and the ambiance are worth it.
  • La Tequila has great food and ambiance. The Tequila Bar wall by the entrance is very welcoming.

 

Drink and Dance at:

  • La Lupita Cantina in the old town with its unique wall decoration and amazing reggaeton music is a must go place on the weekend.
  • Pare de Sufrir is the Iconic Mezcal bar. Get a shot of Mezcal to sip with a cold beer. On the weekends they have live bands. It’s an amazing local bar.

 

 

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Athens and Greek Mythology

Athens, the city of Gods, is where many myths and Greek mythological legends were born. Here are some of them as we are walking through the remains of that ancient world. Here is a guide on how to wander in Athens and relive the Greek Mythology stories in 2 days.

The name Athens is coming from Athena, the goddess of wisdom, intelligent activity, arts, and literature. Athena was the daughter of Zeus, she came out of Zeus‘ forehead. She became the city’s patron goddess after winning a contest against Poseidon. The victory came to the one who will offer the best gifts to the Athenians and Athena with her offering of the olive tree, a symbol of prosperity and peace, won and became the patron goddess.

Electra palace sunset

Day 1: Objective Acropolis

Practical advice: get a 2-day pass at one of the sites that will allow you to go to all the must-see archeological sites without having to wait in line and pay for each separately. And of course, it does come out cheaper as well.

Start your day at Syntagma Square where, every hour, you can witness the change of Evzones, a special unit of the Hellenic Army, in front of the parliament. Their old fashion guard outfit is what makes those guards unique. Other info, they are doing this for free. It is a service to the nation.

Behind the square, you have Athens beautiful and peaceful National Garden. It is a Greek heaven in a middle of a busy city. Take a morning walk through the park and when you get out from the opposite side you will found yourself in front of The Panathenaic Stadium.

The Panathenaic Stadium, which means “beautiful marble”, was built by Herodes. The stadium steps and seats are indeed made out of marble. It held the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896 and the latest one in Greece in 2004. Today, you can visit it and take a seat where the emperors used to seat. I will talk later on about Herodes, as he has other monuments dedicated to him.

Next stop, The Temple of Zeus. Tall columns and ambitious layout, the temple of Olympian Zeus reflected the height of the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. The ruins are still impressive. You can take a close look at the Doric Column, a vertical fluted column shaft, thinner at its top, with no base and a simple capital below a square abacus. It is one of the marks of Greek Architecture. The Temple was built over several centuries starting in 174 BCE and only finally completed by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 131 CE.

Hadrian was a Roman emperor from 117 to 138. As an admirer of Greece, he wanted to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire.  Between 124 and 132 CE a monumental arch, 59ft high, Hadrian’s Arch, was built by the entrance of the temple of Zeus, in honor of his many benefactions to the city.

Hadrian Arch

From there, head to the Acropolis Museum. How amazing it is to visit a museum and have under your feet the ruins of an ancient world. The museum is filled with the ancient history statues.

Acropolis museum

Acropolis museum

Take a Break: The small streets around the museum will lead you to Plaka, where you can have lunch or do some souvenirs shopping.

Plaka stairs

You can finish the day by going to the Acropolis. Start from the bottom and make your way to The Parthenon. You will pass by:

Athens

Dionysus is the god of the grape harvest, wine, and theater in ancient Greek religion and myth. The Theater of Dionysus in Acropolis was built at the time when ‘drama’ or ‘theater’ was first being created in the late 6th Century BCE. The plays were performed during the Dionysiac festivals, as part of the cult celebrations of Dionysus.

Theatre of Dionysus

Herodes Atticus, the “patron of the arts and letters” built the amphitheater below the Parthenon in 161 AD in memory of his wife. It is one of the rare ancient constructions that is still used today; one of the best places to experience a live classical theater performance.

Herodes Atticus Odeon

Asclepius, the God of Medicine as told in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, was a physician to soldiers wounded on the battlefield at Troy. By Hippocrates’ day, he had become elevated to the status of a god. His temple, on Acropolis, was a healing temple, a place where patients would visit to receive either treatment or some sort of healing, whether it was spiritual or physical.

The Parthenon, like all temples in Greece, was designed to be seen only from the outside; no need to step inside to see the statue of Athena it once housed. As you can notice, the Greeks loved marble. When you walk around the Parthenon you will realize the floor was in marble. The best marble came from the islands of Naxos or Paros.

The Temple of Athena built in Acropolis was to honor Athena Nike, the goddess of victory and Athens’ patron goddess.

Athena

 

Day 2: Agoras

The discovery of different Greek Gods and Goddesses continue with a visit from the Ancient Agora and The Roman Forum – Agora which means market-.

Take a Break: On your way there, you will pass by Monastiraki Square. It is a colorful square with a beautiful old church. You can head to the small streets from some flea market shopping or go towards the water for relaxing at one of the cafes.

Monastiraki

Hadrian, he again ordered the construction of Hadrian’s Library that was created in AD 132 by the Ancient Agora.

 

Hephaestus was the Greek god of blacksmiths, sculptors, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes, has his temple on top of the Roman Agora. There were numerous potters’ workshops and metal-working shops in the vicinity of the temple, as befits the temple’s honoree.

A stoa, another mark of Greek Architecture, is a long, narrow row of columns backed by a plain wall and roofed. It is often placed at right-angles to create an enclosed open space. The Stoa of Eumenes in the Roman Forum is the perfect example of it.

Stop Ancient Agora

 

Last Mythology Story:

If you go towards the port of Athens, you can take the boats to go on the Aegean Sea. The city was also the starting point for the story of Aegeus and Theseus. Aegeus was the king of Athens; When the son of King Minos of Crete was killed,  Minos waged war against Athens, emerging victorious. As punishment, Athens was forced to send young men and young women to Crete annually, in order to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, who dwelt in the labyrinth under the palace of Minos. At some point, though, Theseus, son of Aegeus, decided to go as part of the sacrifice, planning to kill the Minotaur. He was successful in his quest, but upon returning to Athens, he forgot to change his ship’s sails to white; when Aegeus saw the black sails, meaning that Theseus had died in the labyrinth, he fell into the sea, and drowned, giving his name to what now is called the Aegean Sea.

 

Lucca Walking Guide

Here is a map and the guide to see that beautiful historic city.

Lucca-Italy-Tourist-Map.mediumthumbedit (3).jpg

Lucca is a walled medieval city a few hours away from Florence. It is the perfect carpe diem day getaway destination if you decide to spend some time in Tuscany.

Take the train; the best way to visit Italy. The train station is right outside of the walls. Enter the fortress city and the first thing you will see is the Lucca Cathedral. On Sundays, there is a flea market from the front of the Cathedral to Napoleon Square. On Napoleon Square, there is the Sunday food market. it is the perfect place to get a local food for lunch and then go sit on the rampart to enjoy it. The ramparts are the place to take a lunch break or bike around the city. Passagiate delle Muro or the tree line pathway on that 16th, 17th-century ramparts is very peaceful and magical.

From the Cathedral, walk towards El Torre Guinigi. Make the effort to go on top of the tower to have a great view of the brick roof city. There is also a garden on top of the tower; a garden in the sky.

Walk towards the main square, Piazza Amfiteatro for all the cafes and little stores. The Frediano Church is in front of the piazza.

Piazza Amfiteatro
Piazza Amfiteatro
Frediano Church
Frediano Church

Take the small streets of the old town to St Michele Square full of cafes like the Buccellato Taddeucci café bakery.

St Michele in Foro
St Michele in Foro

For a sweet break, go to Gelaterium, where you can have a gelato and swing! Going back to childhood feels great. It is by Napoleon Square.

Gelaterium
Gelaterium

Top 10 things to do in Lucca

  1. Bike on the ramparts around the walled city
  2. Have a gelato and swing at the Gelaterium
  3. Get lost in the old town
  4. Have coffee and a cake at Buccellato Taddeucci café bakery on St Michele Square
  5. Have a bread a Forne a Vapore Bakery
  6. Have Pizza at Pizza da Felice
  7. Have more bread at Forno Casali Bakery
  8. Visit Lucca Cathedral
  9. Visit the Frediano Church famous for its mosaic
  10. Go up the Torre Guinigi. for a breathtaking view of the walled city.

Rome History and Beauty

There’s a French proverb that says “Rome wasn’t built in one day” which means it takes time to do things. Indeed, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Per the Roman Mythology, the twins, Romulus and Remus wanted to found a new city to reign. Romulus wanted to build the city on the Palatine Hill and Remus on the Aventine Hill. After a battle between the two brothers, Remus is killed. Rome is then built on Palatine Hill. We can now visit the Roman Forum Ruins on the Palatine Hill by the Colosseum. Not too far from there, Romulus was entertaining the city with a Festival of horse racing at Circus Maximus. The temples on Capitoline Hill became later on the political center of the city. 

One of the new 7 wonders is the Colosseum. 2000 years after the ancient 7 wonders have been defined, the new 7 wonders of the word committee decided to create global memory again with the new 7 wonders. After the voting in 2007, the Colosseum became one of the new 7 wonders. The majestic amphitheater is well conserved and still breathtaking even after the earthquake that damaged it.

Other attractions :

Trevi Fountain: Per the legend, you need to drink the water for good luck. Nowadays people just toss a coin over their left shoulder for good luck and to come back to Rome.

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

Piazza Navona: Construction from Renaissance and Baroque periods like Piazza Novano and Piazza del Popolo are now part of the must-sees in Rome. They can both be accessed from the shopping alter Via del Corso. Piazza Navona has few fountains and the main one is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, majestic in the middle of the Piazza. The Piazza has a delicious gelato place called Tre Scalini. Go through the small street to have a drink at Bar el Fico and shop at the latest Roma store Zaporazzi. 

Pisa Walking Guide

Pisa is all about the Leaning Tower. Half a Day is sufficient to see the city.

From The train station, take the main artery Corso Italia which is the pedestrian passage to get to Piazza Dei Miracoli. By there you have the Piazza del Duomo, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The Piazza is the place where all the Pisa must see are including the famous leaning tower of Pisa that “had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.” You can go inside the tower and while going up you can feel the tower is leaning. You will always be attracted to the walls which make the walking up the stairs a little bit difficult. From the top of the tower, you will have an amazing view of the Piazza and its monuments, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Cemetery as well as the whole city.

Exit the Piazza to go see the Cathedral of Saint Caterina d’Allessandria and you can stroll in the park in front of it.

Then head the other main square, the Knights’ Square. On that Cavalieri square, that used to be the political center of the city, you have the Church of Santo Stefano dei  Cavalieri, Palazzo de Corovana, and the Clock Tower. Stand in the middle to have a 360-degree view of that beautiful Piazza.

Finally walk back towards the Arno River. Take a leisure walk along all the colorful houses by the river. By the rover, you will see a very small Gothic church. It is the Church of Santa Maria della Spina. It is very unusual to see that small church in the middle of the city between the River the houses. Unfortunately, we can’t go inside of it.

Pisa is a small walled city and if you are on a busy tourist schedule, it is the perfect city to slow down and just enjoy Italy.

Venice like locals

Forget about the pricey gondolas and get ready to use the public vaporetto and walk around the island. The best way to see Venice is to get lost on those streets and you will discover beauty in every corner.

My travel App: Ulmon. It has all the sightseeing places saved and most of the restaurants and bars as well. It can be used offline which is very practical.

My booking site: Tripmasters.com . This is my 3rd time going through them to arrange my travel plans and I love the site. They have a great itinerary suggestion, hotels and all for a great price.

My Hotel : Hotel Canaletto beautiful traditional hotel situated between St Mark Square and Rialto Bridge.  I love to stay in traditional hotels where I feel like I’m in an authentic Venitian Palace. The rooms can also have a view on the Canal, perfect spot to just relax and enjoy a glass of wine. Great location, great service, great room and great price.

Day 1:

Start the day with a half a day tour of some Venetian Lagoon islands Murano, Burano, and Torcello. If you have time to spend a day in those islands, then take the vaporatto and go by yourself and fully enjoy Burano and Murano. If you have a cramped schedule the half a day tour is the way to go. The tour starts by St Mark Square. The boat takes the San Marco Canal and passes along the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and Arsenale to get to Murano. Murano is famous for its glass manufacturing industry. Hence, we got to see a Glassmaking master at work in a factory. It was impressive to see how one can in just a few minutes make an animal out of a liquid glass. After the demonstration, I went to explore the island but I have to say, there was not enough time to fully explore. We then went to Burano, famous for its lace and colorful fisherman houses. We had 30 minutes on the island.  It was magical to be able to walk along all those colorful houses. You start your walk at the main square Piazza Galuppi , where you can visit the church of S. Martino, and then walk along the canal to discover the picturesque bright island. The tour ended with the 3rd island Torcello, the first center of civilization in the estuary. It takes about 10 minutes to get to the cathedral and the Church of S. Fosca. I booked my tour with Local Venice Tours and the tour as well as the guide were both great. I just wish I had more time to spend in Murano and Burano.

Full Tour description https://leilaspassport.com/2016/10/12/murano-burano-and-torcello-tour/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Torcello Santa Fosca Church
Torcello Santa Fosca Church
Burano S. Martino Church
Burano S. Martino Church
Murano Glassmaker Master at work
Murano Glassmaker Master at work

You will get back to St Mark Square by 2pm. Stay in the area to go to :

  • See the Bridge of Sighs

    Bridge of Sighs
    Bridge of Sighs
  • You will pass by the uncompleted church of the Pietà by Canaletto but unfortunately, it is in restoration and you can’t go inside for now.
  • The Famous St Mark Basilica – if you want to skip the line get your ticket online. If not make the line. The entrance is free. You can pay 5 euros and go on top of the basilica but it’s not worth it
    St Mark Basilica
    St Mark Basilica
    St Mark Basilica
    Inside St Mark Basilica

    St Mark Basilica
    St Mark Basilica
  • Admire the St Mark’s Clock Tower right next to it. You can go visit the tower and learn about the clock machinery by reserving in advance

    St Mark Basilica Clock Tower
    St Mark Basilica Clock Tower
  • Go on top of St Mark Campanile Bell Tower. That elevator ride is worth it. You will have a beautiful view of St Mark Square and Venice in general.
    St Mark Basilica from the Campanile Tower
    St Mark Basilica from the above
    Venice from the Campanile Tower
    Venice from the above
    Venice from the Campanile Tower
    Venice from the above
    Venice from the Campanile Tower
    Venice from the above

    St Mark Campanile Bell Tower
    St Mark Campanile Bell Tower
  • Visit the Dodge Palace or Palazzo Ducale.Again if you want to skip the line you can buy your tickets online. While visiting the palace you will pass inside the Bridge of Sighs and you will be able to see Venice from the inside.
    Dodge Palace Gold Stairs
    Dodge Palace Gold Stairs
    Dodge Palace
    Dodge Palace
    Dodge Palace
    Dodge Palace Architectural details – Gothic Architecture

    Inside Bridge of Sighs from Dodge Palace
    Inside Bridge of Sighs from Dodge Palace

Have a gelato at one of the best gelato places in Venice: La Mela Verde.

La Male Verde Vanilla Gelato
La Male Verde Vanilla Gelato

 

You can relax at one of the famous cafes on St Mark Square: Caffe Florian the oldest one where Goethe used to go to grab cappuccinos, Grancaffe Quadri where Proust used to go and have a cappuccino at Café Lavena. You can go to any of those places at night to have a good drink and enjoy their live music.

Caffe Florian
Caffe Florian

 

At night, you can also stop by Harry’s Bar, a very posh small bar between St Mark Square and Grand Canal

Day 2:

Get a 24h Vaporetto Ticket and ride along the Grand Canal. You will get to see all the Venetian style buildings and the beautiful city architecture.

Hop on Vaporetto No 2 and go to island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Situated  in front of St Mark Square. The Church of the same name built in the 16th Century, has a bell tower that gives you a great  view of Venice.

St Mark from San Giorgio Maggiore
St Mark from San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore Island
San Giorgio Maggiore Island
San Giorgio Maggiore Island
San Giorgio Maggiore Island
Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore
Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore
Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore
Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore

Along the ride you will pass by the Cannaregio Neighborhood also known as the Jewish neighborhood.

Venice Cannaregio Neighborhood
Cannaregio Neighborhood
Venice Cannaregio Neighborhood
Cannaregio Neighborhood
Venice Cannaregio Neighborhood
Cannaregio Neighborhood

You will see the front of Palazzo Balbi and Ca Rezzonico ( artist Canaletto)

You will be able to admire Ca D’oro, the 15th Century Gothic Palace and the Venice Casino, the world’s oldest casino built in 1638.

Casino Di Venezia
Casino Di Venezia
Ca D'Oro
Ca D’Oro

 

Day 3:

Don’t lock yourself in the museums and explore the Dorsoduro neighborhood by foot instead

Start your walk at Rialto Bridge. The Bridge is being restored but you can still enjoy one side of it. Have a Gelato at Gelateria Da Suso. Great way to start your walk around Venice.

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge
Gelateria Da Suso
Gelateria Da Suso

Walk along the canal to get to San Toma Vaporatto Stop. From there you can walk towards Frari Church inside of which you can see art from Venetian artist Titian. Along the walk you can see the Ca Fasconi University and Scuola Grande di San Rocco Museum where all the arts in the building are from artist Tintoretto. The best Gelato in the area can be found at Gelateria Il Doge.

frari-church
Frari Church
scuola-grande-di-san-rocco-museum
Scuola Grande di San Rocco Museum
Gelateria Il Doge
Gelateria Il Doge

Around the same neighborhood, by Squero San Trovaso you can pass by a little construction site; it’s where they make the gondolas. Go to Gelateria Nico to get a Gelato and come back to watch them building the gondolas.

Gondola Construction Site by Squero San Trovaso
Gondola Construction Site by Squero San Trovaso
Gelati Nico
Gelati Nico

Walk towards the end of the island, Punta della Dogana, to go to Galleria dell Academia Museum and Peggy Guggenheim Museum. If you are not a museum person you should still go and see the Guggenheim garden. Gorgeous. Visit the Santa Maria della Salute Church and just relax by sitting on those stairs and admire the Grand Canal.

Cross the Accademia Bridge and go to La Fenice Theater. If you have time, go see a representation at night. If not, you can take a tour of the inside during the day. If they are having rehearsals some parts of the theater will be closed.

La Fenice Theatre
La Fenice Theatre

P.S: The Accademia Bridge is the perfect stop to catch the sunset.

Venice
Venice

Must go places for Happy Hour and Dinner:

They are a lot of amazing places by Rialto Bridge in San Polo neighborhood that is full of locals and younger crowd contrary to the expensive cafes on St Mark Square. Try the local drink Spritz and eat Chiccheti Tapas at :

  • Naranzaria with Canal View

    naranzaria
    Naranzaria
  • Al Merca – Must go for happy hour as all the locals and students come to the piazza for a drink.

    al-merca
    Al Merca
  • Cantina Do Mori

    cantina-do-mori
    Cantina Do Mori
  • Bancogiro with Canal View
  • Cantina do Spade
  • Da Fiore

The good thing is that all those bars are next to each other … a bar crawl in Venice anybody?

Prague Walking Guide

Walking Guide 1: Prague Old Town

Start at Old Town Square. You will see there, the Astronomical Clock. You will be in front of the clock at the hour for the “show” that was by the way nominated one of the most deceiving attractions in the world. You can also see the Church of Our Lady before Týn, Nicholas’ Church, Kinský Palace and Statue of Jan Hus.

Head towards Wenceslas Square and pass by the upside-down statue of King Wenceslas on his horse by David Cerny. The Statue is definitely one of the weirdest things you will see in Prague.

Then go to the Old Jewish Quarter to see the Old New Synagogue and the Jewish Cemetery.

Walk back towards the Vltava River,  passing by the Rudolfinum, where performs the Czech Philharmonic. Take a pic inside The National Library; It has an infinite book tower at the entrance.

Finish the walk of the old town by going to up the Powder Tower by Charles Bridge to have a breathtaking view of the old town and the Prague castle

P.S: Have dinner at one of the restaurants in old town square. Try one of the typical Czech foods like Goulash. The beef goulash was my favorite. Have coffee and dessert at Kafka Café right behind St Nicholas Church.

Prague old town walking guide
Prague Old Town Walking Guide

Walking Guide 2:  Prague Castle and Lesser Town

Walk thought Kampa Island. You will discover interesting sculptures by David Cerny in the park. The Cruise of the Vltava starts there, take the relaxing hour tour and enjoy the ride. When back, right before getting to  Charles’ Bridge, check out the John Lennon Wall. Have your sharpie ready, to be able to write down something and leave a mark on that wall.

You can then go under the bridge to get to Kafka Museum. You will again see one of David Cerny’s sculptures.

P.S: Right next to it, don’t miss the narrowest street in the world. It has a crossing light!

From there, you can walk to the castle. There are some stairs that will take you right to the entrance of the castle. It’s a 10 min walk/climbing stairs. Visit the Prague Castle area at your leisure and finish with a walk through the Castle Garden.

P.S: At the entrance, the ceremonial rotation of soldiers starts every day at noon and rotation at the observation posts occurs every hour, on the hour. 

The  Castle Garden offers a panoramic view of Prague all along the way. It ends on a small street. Walk down the stairs; the road leading to the Lesser Town has small shops and galleries tucked into every narrow nook. 

P.S: Finish your day or start your night at one of the restaurants by the river. The view is just gorgeous. I went to Hergetova Cihelna, the view is priceless.

Prague lesser town walking guide
Prague Lesser Town Walking Guide

For the full articles about Prague and more pic check out   https://leilaspassport.com/2015/10/15/prague-2/

Seville Walking Guide

Start your day in the heart of old town Seville. Visit the Cathedral of Seville with its Giralda Tower. After visitant the Dark yet the majestic interior of the Cathedral go towards La Giralda, an old Minaret, right next to the Cathedral. Take the step challenge and you will be rewarded with a breathtaking 360 view of Seville.

Across the square, you can visit Alcazar, the oldest European royal residence still in use (the king and queen stay here when they’re in Seville). The different Palacios are beautiful as well as the gardens. Just wander around and admire the artisan work.

Then, head to Plaza de España, about 15 min walk from old town. It is a crescent-shaped Renaissance-style Plaza designed and supervised by Architect Aníbal González. Get close to the murals; it’s all about the details. You can rent rowboats for excursions on the canal, be ready for some arm workout.

Right across, walk through Maria Luisa Park to go to  Torre del Oro and Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla. It is worth taking a tour of the magnificent Bullring with its impressive Baroque façade and the main entrance Puerta del Príncipe with beautiful 16th-century iron gates. Unfortunately, it is not possible to step into the ring.

In the late afternoon, cross the bridge and found yourself at  Barrio de Triana. It is the working class neighborhood, where you can do some not touristy shopping. This is the best area to head for early evening tapas.

Seville Walking Guide
Seville Walking Guide

 

For more details and pics check out the complete Guide to Seville  https://leilaspassport.com/2016/06/24/colors-of-seville/

Budapest Walking Guide

Here is how to see the city by foot, sink in History and Beauty.

Budapest by Foot Day 1:

Start by the Danube Promenade by the little princess statue. “I modeled it after my own daughter – says László Marton in his studio (2007) – she was maybe six years old and playing in the garden. She dressed as a princess: laid a bathrobe on her shoulders and put a crown on her head. I managed to capture this moment and immediately felt that this was a successful work of art. Years later, the capital requested a statue from me. I immediately thought of the “Little Princess” and luckily we managed to find the place where the statue feels good.”. You will have a beautiful view of the Buda Castle and the Danube.

Then walk towards the Vorosmarty Square and the Lion Fountain. That Square is at the end of the Parisian Arcade. Built in the early 20th Century, the Parisian Arcade was once an ornate and lavish shopping center and it hasn’t changed; you can found all the stores there. It’s a great meeting point for shopping or to grab a coffee.

P.S: Indeed, in that square, you will found the famous Gerbeau Café. That café is a must go to grab a coffee or to have dinner. What a beautiful and romantic setting that place is. Next to it, there is a pastry place called Cafe Dorortya; try one of their Hungarian pastries Malnas Turotorta or Dobos Torta.

Next stop, St Stephen’s Basilica. It is named in honor of Stephen, the first King of Hungary. No need to climb stairs, you can just get elevator tickets and go up by the bells to have a 360 view of the city. From the top, you can see the small streets of Pest that will take you to the Chain Bridge.

Before getting to the bridge, go towards the Hungarian Parliament Building, one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings. If you want to go inside, you need to book a tour one day ahead. The outside of it is breathtaking. You will have a chance to see it again from the Chain Bridge and the Castle.

Take the Bridge now. Szechenyi Chain Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and the first permanent bridge to connect Buda and Pest.

Welcome to Buda. Take the Funicular and found yourself in the Castle District Area. Visit the Royal Palace which is the historical castle of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, the Matthias Church and the Fisherman Bastion. You need tickets for the Church and the Fisherman Bastion. You have to go inside of the Church, all the walls are covered by decorations. The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages and its terrace offers the most spectacular panoramic view of the Danube and the city.

P.S: In the alleys from the Palace to the Church, you will see the sign for the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth of Buda Castle is situated in a complex of caves and cellars underneath the Buda Castle district. The Labyrinth has four circled mini-labyrinths and even a cafe and a restaurant.

Once done, you can walk down to the city. There is nothing to do on the Buda side which is the old part of the town. Come back to the Pest side for dinner and drinks.

Budapest walking guide
Budapest by Foot Day 1

Budapest by Foot Day 2:

Start your day at the Gellért Hill. The Walk to the top, start with the visit to the Gellért Hill cave with its Church inside of the Mountain. Then you can continue for 20 minutes and you will get to the Liberty Statue a symbol of the city. The Citadel that was once behind there is not anymore.

P.S.: Budapest is famous for is thermal paths and one of the best one is  Gellért Fürdő (Gellért Spa & Bath). I also suggest  Rudas that was just renovated. It has a covered pool but you can go on the roof and have a great view of Gellert Hill. You can rent everything there from the towel, to shower cap. They offer massage services. Just know they don’t accept euros but only Florin and credit cards.

For Lunch head to the Great Market. You can buy all of your souvenirs on the 1st floor and have traditional food for lunch. Have a Langos, which is fried bread with cream cheese and anything else you want on it.

Continue your walk towards the National Museum and the Great Synagogue. Then you can walk or take a metro to the Hungarian State Opera House and tour the inside that ends with a special mini-opera show. Not too far from there, you will pass by the House of Terror. The building is a museum functioning as a memorial to the victims of both Fascism and Communism. Take the metro to Heroes Square, located at the end of Budapest’s main shopping street, Andrássy Avenue. Heroes Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site memorable for its statues that represents the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders. Finally, go to the Vajdahunyad Castle and garden.

P.S: During the summer and fall, you can boat leisurely on the lake, while in winter it becomes an ice skating ring. The Castle is open from 10 am to 5pm and it’s free.

Budapest walking guide 2
Budapest by Foot Day 2

 

For more info and pics check out my full article on Budapest  https://leilaspassport.com/2015/09/21/budapest/