How to make the most of Venice

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Since Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, its beauty has its price. However, you can enjoy everything it has to offer if you plan ahead and budget accordingly.

If you are staying more than a day in Venice, buy a vaporetto travelcard

Travelling across Venice can be a little bit of a rip-off – one vaporetto journey costs €7 – and it would be a shame to miss out on the scenery it has to offer (if you have trouble walking a lot).

If you are under 29 years old, you can buy a vaporetto travelcard valid for 72h,that costs  €28 . With the same travelcard you can also visit Murano, Burano and take a ride to Lido (where you can walk to the beach and see the Adriatic Sea).

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If you want to purchase the tickets in advance, you can do so here , where you can also download Waterbourne Routes map and book different activities.

Take a short trip to the other islands in the Venetian lagoon: Murano and Burano

Plan a self-guided day trip to Murano, the island famous for its glass making and Glass museum. Did you know that they don’t have any glass making teaching schools? The art of glass making has been passed down every generation from father to son! 

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The other lovely island in the Venetian lagoon to visit is Burano. The island is about 40 minutes from Venice by boat and it has a much more different atmosphere from Venice’s busy centre.

The Buranese have painted their houses in bright colours – they say the fishermen painted their houses in different colours to make it easier to recognise them when they would come back home. 

Your eyes will be pleasantly surprised with a wide spectrum of colours and coziness. Although the locals don’t speak very much English, they are welcoming and cheerful.

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Once you’ve returned to Venice, walk around  and take in everything the city has to offer. The architecture boasts a history filled with many secrets and stories ( The youngest building in Venice is 200 years old! Youngest, eh?) 

San Marco’s Square is overly priced. Consider dining somewhere else.

Because it is the main attraction point in Venice, the place is filled with tourists and the restaurants are making the most out of this. You can visit St. Mark’s Basilica and the Campanile Tower and then just wander around. On the small streets you can find plenty of restaurants with lower prices (or you can go for take-away snack on the canals).

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You don’t have to pay for everything in Venice!

There is so much you can see in Venice for free, you just have to arm yourself with comfortable shoes, a bottle of water and a lot of patience (to survive the crowds, of course).  You can walk down the Grand Canal, explore what Giudecca has to offer, visit Scala Contarini del Bovolo ( the so called Snail Staircase) or just admire the churches and their stories.

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Treat yourself to a gondola ride.

The gondola rides cost 80 euros during the day and 100 euros after 7 pm. They last for approximatively half an hour and the gondolier usually offers a splendid tale about Venice’s historical buildings and Casanova’s romances.  The gondola ride is intimate and romantic, but it can also be shared with up to six people, hence reducing the costs for you.

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There’s so much Venice has to offer and you can enjoy it  – either by day or by night. Have a spritz with the locals instead of an expensive Bellini and prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey.

Have you visited Venice?

Have you got any tips or tricks about visiting Venice?

Let me know in the comment section below!

Love,

Csilla x

 

 

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My Thames Waltz – A River Cruise of Cultural Discovery

Imagine a river cruise on the waterways of London, gliding through picturesque landscapes dotted with skyscrapers and old buildings: an escape where the destination will be as pleasant as the journey.

On the 28th of March I had the chance to join the world of river cruising on the Thames, alongside my fellow ambassadors and, let me tell you this, it was breathtaking.

Will you join me on a trip through memories?

via ASALONDON

                                                                  via ASALONDON

Our day started of with a short, but colourful, visit at the National Portrait Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, where history meets with contemporaneity and talent is boasting everywhere. At first, finding the Gallery seemed a little complicated but after about 50 stairs and a short walk, we managed to get to our desired place.

Trafalgar Square view from The National Gallery  entrance

Trafalgar Square view from The National Gallery entrance

As you enter the National Portrait Gallery, your visual perspective is being flooded with portraits of all sorts, old, new, colourful, black & white and your breath is just simply taken away by their beauty. I am a much more simpler person, and I have to be honest, my understanding of art is not that wide. However, one thing’s drawn me in for sure: The Tudors Gallery

Words cannot even measure the satisfaction I had while being in the room with the portraits of all the Tudors, and I’ll let the pictures speak for me:

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Mary Queen of Scots

             Mary Queen of Scots

 

The Tudors

                     The Tudors

After strolling in the National Portrait Gallery, it was time for us to take off and do some City River Cruising.

Just so you know, City Cruises offers a spectacular trip on the Thames, and it’s only £9.10 for a student and your cultural experience will not only be enriched by the views but will take your breath away!

For those of you that don’t know, City Cruises:

Is a company that operates scheduled public sightseeing cruises on the River Thames in London, serving Westminster, London Eye, Tower and Greenwich piers every day (except 25 December) throughout the year. It operates the services mainly using purpose-built wheelchair-accessible ‘RiverLiner’ vessels, which have a large open top deck and enclosed lower saloon with panoramic windows and bars, backed up by some ex-Paris single-deck conservatory-style sightseeing boats.

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If you are a Harry Potter fan, with City Cruises you can actually see the school where Daniel Radcliffe ( City of London School)went, and, also enjoy an abundance of historical facts without getting bored.

Take my word for this, you’ll feel like the cruise is taking you back to time and you’ll enjoy every moment of it!

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                                        The Old City of London School. River View via Panoramio

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Our lovely Ambassador Leader, Kim Duller

Our lovely Ambassador Leader, Kim Duller

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London Eye, under heavy clouds of rain

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Enjoying the view with my friend and guest, Rita

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What would be the City Cruise without this famous view?

Just to finish off my tale about the City Cruises, I’ll let you enjoy a video that our friend, Divi Malshe (http://whatiluvv.blogspot.co.uk), created to enchant your views:

If you are interested in finding out more about the exciting things that City Cruises are offering, make sure you check their website and buy yourself a ticket!

Until next time my darlings,

Csilla xx

Enjoy London for free.

Taking the decision of coming or moving to London is not easy and it requires a rigorous process of thinking, planning, calculating and budgeting.

Although many  may say that London is a city where you can’t live on a budget because prices are too high, I must contradict you.

But first, let me show you some facts. London is indeed expensive, according to Expatistan and it reaches the top among the most expensive cities to live in the entire world!

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Photo: Buzzfeed

I never said it is easy to live in London, but with some help and planning, everything can fall in place. For example, one of the best things about this expensive metropolis is that all the museums are free to enter! ( except for some of exhibitions they’re showcasing, but those are affordable as well!) Of course I had to take advantage of that, so I took a little trip to the Natural History Museum and London Science Museum.

The Natural History Museum is located on Cromwell Road in South Kensington, at a walking distance from the tube station. There’s no chance you miss it! Once you passed Royal Albert Museum, there it is, an imposing and majestic building that takes your breath away: the entrance has Romanesque architecture ( for those seeking architectural diversity, this is the place you can find examples of different designs) and the entire building dates back to 1860.

As soon as you enter the museum, your eyes are mesmerised: an immense dinosaur skeleton is displayed in the main hall, almost inviting you to come in. The plan of the museum is expanded on several floors, each of them having different themes and different exhibitions:

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You can choose what to visit to entertain your brain, but I assure you, you have to come back a couple of time to grasp in everything it has to offer.

Here are some of the photos I took whilst there:

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My journey didn’t stop here. After delighting my eyes with beauties from the nature and enhancing my knowledge about fauna from around the world it was time to move on and learn more about inventions and technology.

I made my way towards the Science Museum which is located on Exhibition Road, South Kensington as well, short walking distance from the Natural History Museum, and I was excited to dive in history and diverse scientific inventions.

I was immediately caught: the main hall, again, displays an immense machine, if I remember correctly, a machine that was creating power which dates back to the early 1800.

The diversity of inventions is admirable and you can even see a tiny piece of rock brought from the Moon! I was happy to see some of the first bicycles invented and old models of 1900’s technology.


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So here it is! London for free!

This is not where free stuff end in London, I will be back with other blog posts about what you can do for free in London.

Until next time, remember this:

London is like no other city I know in its ability to become beautiful. You can suddenly turn a corner and there are odd moments – of light, of weather.
Graham Swift

Lots of love,

Csilla

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

This month’s specific is very special, as everyone knows it, and London is a magnificent place to be in December. Not only because of the varieties it offers, but because it contours a beautiful side of the holidays. But let us not dwell too much on that and move on to the actual topic. Today’s post is all about Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and how a small trip to it can change your perspective about winter in London.

Going back in time, 2007 was the year when Winter Wonderland was inaugurated in Hyde Park and ever since, it provides its visitors a glamouring and traditional winter experience!  It has become by far Londoners’ ( and of course, mine) favourite choice to do during the cold season.

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It includes a large variety of options, such as: an ice rink, fairground rides, Santa’s grotto, Christmas market (yaay!) with wooden chalets and Bavarian-style bars and cafes, the helter skelter ride and so much more!

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Photo taken from Winter Wonderland's Facebook Page

However, I wouldn’t recommend going with an empty wallet, because it’s not cheap ( unfortunately) and it’s fun!

As an international student in London, this is by definition not the cheapest place to go and visit, but, even on a budget, you can still have fun.  From my experience, £20 is more than enough to have some fun :drink mulled wine, enjoy a ride and buy a souvenir , with the transport to the park included! It’s a free-entry market, so you can still go there and delight your vision and senses !

Make sure you go at least once before it closes, forgot to mention, it runs from the 21st November 2014 to 4th January 2015 ( closed on 25th of December); opening times: everyday 10 AM until 10 PM.

For live-updates check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/winterwonderlanduk

Get some warm clothes and boots on, cover your head and hands in wool layers and hit the road!

Have fun!

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Making the most of London Life

Being an international student in London isn’t always easy, but it can be pretty amazing if you allow yourself to take advantage of all the opportunities you’ll be given. Living on campus is probably the more expensive accommodation choice, so, if you are willing to commute to university, I assure you that rewards will come: more money in your bank account, possibility to travel within London and understand the public transport (which can be quite complicated) and foremost, perceiving new habits and new people.

Standard Tube map

One of the things that you’ll find easy to do will be socialising and partying. People in Britain have less concern at a party if your shoes and bag are matching or if you’re wearing the right necklace. Of course, depending on the social activity, it matters what you wear, but that doesn’t define the level of fun you can have. Also, make sure you attend at least one tea party while you’re here: there’re super awesome!

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Depending on what your preferences are, some of the places you can go and have fun in London are: Piccadilly Circus (a lot of nice restaurants and clubs), Soho (from vintage to alternative rock, you can find any atmosphere here) and, let’s not forget, Camden Town. Camden Town and Soho are somehow alike, but soon as you get to both places, you can see the huge differences. While you’re in Camden, make sure you go to the Camden Food Market: it’s amazing!

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While London is a city from which you can learn and experience many things, be careful not to overspend. In order to keep track of your financial expenses, make sure you keep a weekly list of how much you have spent and always organise your shopping priorities with the food on the top. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to spend your money on non-essential items and then be annoyed on how you could’ve bought food for two days. But let’s not worry! London offers choices for every budget and if you research your accommodation choices to get the best for your budget, trust me, you’ll have the time of your life.

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The multitude of things you can do in London for free is extraordinary: museums, parks, exhibitions, and so on. You can enhance your cultural experience by only walking from St. Paul’s Cathedral down to Southbank and you’ll be amazed of how many things you can see!

If being new in a metropolis like London makes you feel a bit scared, don’t worry at all. Everyone in London, even locals, have got lost at least once!

So, sit back, relax and plan your adventure!

London Parade welcomes the Chinese New Year of the Horse!

The Chinese New Year is the longest and the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. This year, the Chinese calendar celebrates 4712 years of existence and the animal that is attributed to it, is the horse.

This year, I chose to attend the New Year’s Parade downtown, on Sunday February 2, mostly because I’ve never been to something similar and also because I like the Chinese culture.

Thousands of people gathered in Central London to welcome warmly the event, and nonetheless, they were gifted with surprising acts. At 10 A.M a parade through the West End headed for Trafalgar Square, where the traditional opening ceremony took place on the main stage at noon. It was followed by an afternoon full of Chinese event including a gravity-defying lion dance performed atop high poles.

The parade in Leicester Square started off with a traditional dragon dance, followed then by floats and beating drums, in an explosion of colours, which brought to life the entire celebration.

Little girls and boys were dancing dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes, and even a Flying Lion Dance Performance was set up for the delight of the audience.

Chinatown became lively and active.

New Year-themed decorations, special menus and events at its 100-odd restaurants, bars, cafes and shops and all sort of food and craft stalls were empowering the streets.

Even little children were dressed up in traditional costumes and playing with funny crackers, and the performances last throughout the entire day, in order to welcome properly the New Year.

London definitely knows how to bring Asian culture to life and how to celebrate it in a lovely way!

农历新年



 

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