When I planned a trip to visit my cousin in Toronto, Canada, visiting a large theme park wasn’t part of the original plan. To be honest, it didn’t occur to me at ALL that Toronto had an amusement park. Needless to say, when the idea was suggested, I was puzzled, shocked then thrilled at the opportunity!
Canada’s Wonderland is the largest fun park located in the entire country, and it was only a quick trip on a public bus from the city area. What I loved the most, was the extensive number of thrill rides, nicely balanced with some leisurely activities such as the ferris wheel to allow my adrenaline rush to subside.
Many of you may be used to these activities, but my island is too small for such parks. I’ve never been on a large roller coaster before turning twenty-two! I’m told you will either love it or hate it for life, and seeing as though I apparently have a steel cage for a stomach, I’m patiently awaiting my next thrill.
During the summer, the lines can be ridiculous. I had to catch a flight out that very evening, so I was forced to bite the bullet and purchase the ‘fast pass’ which allowed me to enter a shorter line for all of the rides. At $50 extra, this was quite an unexpected splurge, but that’s what happens in travel. We can’t always predict what will happen next.
All in all, I loved Canada’s Wonderland! It was immaculately clean, no rides were out of service and their fast pass service flowed seamlessly. I can definitely see myself returning
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my Round The World trip in November 2011, and I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity to see so much of this fantastic place we call earth. With ticket prices soaring higher each day, these memories and photographs increase in value.
One of the more interesting attractions in Koper, Slovenia is the Old Bell Tower in Tito Square. The square itself is rather enchanting, with various buildings including the Praetorian Palace. Pigeons are literally everywhere, and ever so often a horse may trot through the square, pulling a beautiful carriage. Oh, just the regular happenings in this spectacular small coastal town.
Jenn and I decided that it would be a good experience to climb the tower, so we entered the small doorway that we noticed at the bottom of the building. There was an elderly man inside who apparently was the manager/cashier on duty, and he quoted us a price of 3 euros. After handing over the cash, we were given a ticket which we would keep as a souvenir of the activity.
We started up the stairs, which comprised of narrow wooden steps and a metal railing to hold onto. The descent wasn’t bad at first, however it became steeper and if possible, even more narrow as we approached the top. When you’re outside looking up, it doesn’t seem so high, but when you’re in the middle of climbing the bell tower, every step you take reminds you of exactly how far up you have to drag yourself.
Thankfully, Jenn and I are in pretty good shape, so we didn’t huff and puff too much, but the trip still wasn’t a walk in the park. When we were almost at the top, we saw the bell and it was massive! However, it started to chime and even though the sound was melodious, our ears started to hurt. This trip definitely shouldn’t be taken by persons with sensitive ears.
During the ascent, we sometimes had to squeeze to the side, in order for the people who were coming down the stairs to have room to pass. There was only one set of stairs in the tower, but everyone tried their best to accommodate each other, and I didn’t see any problems occur as a result. Persons who are claustrophobic or afraid of heights may not appreciate this, but I didn’t have an issue with it.
Finally, we arrived at the top of the tower. The views were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and that statement holds a lot of weight. We were high above the red roof tops of the buildings within Koper, and the Adriatic Sea sparkled in the distance. The horizon was dotted with the sails of many small ships, and our cruise ship dominated the seascape as it floated majestically in the harbour.
The viewing platform at the top was a narrow walkway where visitors could walk around to get a 360 degree view. The other side of the tower showed green hillsides, dotted with tall trees and various types of vegetation. This side of the tower showed a completely different scene from the Adriatic Sea, and I was animatedly snapping away at my camera.
Immediately beneath of the bell tower was Tito Square. The square appeared to be tiny from this height, and the people who strolled around below, looked like small toys. We were high above all the other buildings, and the view inspired me to think about how beautiful the world really is.
Eventually, it was time to start the journey back down the seemingly hundreds of stairs. Once again, we seemed to have timed the bell perfectly, because it chimed as if to thank us for visiting. The Old Bell Tower in Koper was a great attraction, and I’m very happy that I made the effort to climb all the way to the top.
Juan Griego is a small harbour side city on the Northern side of Margarita Island. During my short stay there, it was very easy to fall in love with the old world charm which encompasses the entire neighbourhood. It’s one of those places on this planet where you’d swear simply morphed out of a history book into our present day and age.
The most noticeable feature of Juan Griego is the harbour itself. The small cove is home to countless small wooden fishing boats, docked while awaiting their return to the Caribbean Sea. The water in the harbour is very clear and of a light blue colour, due to being sheltered by a mountain range to the West and cliffs to the East.
The subsequent absence of waves make this a prime feeding ground for hundreds of brown pelicans who make this harbour their home. They dive into the water from great heights at rapid rates and it’s a real sight to see. When the pelicans aren’t fishing for a meal, they simply hang out on the roofs and hulls of the fishing boats, which seem to suffice as their nesting spots.
Further inland, is the quiet but formidable town where most of the locals shop, eat, work or simply pass the time away. The numbers of old school vehicles which drive on the streets are staggering, from small VW beetles to rusted trucks. Apparently, mechanics on the island must make a pretty good living!
The culinary side of the town focuses on seafood, seeing as the fishing industry is quite large. The prices are very affordable, and meals are prepared with local seasonings and herbs which provide a dinstinct yet pleasant flavour. For breakfast, my friends and I ordered as much arepas as we could possibly eat. This spanish staple consists of a flat corn flour bun with different types of meat in the center and grated cheese. I tried the fish, chicken and beef arepas and each was extremely tasty! The cost was approximately $1 USD, and two would provide a filling meal. Other sweet desserts included a ‘flan’ like pastry with bananas and pineapples! Yummm!!
Another specialty of Margarita Island which became very obvious to us during our first day there, was the abundance of freshly made fruit juices. The bartenders and shopkeepers actually throw the fruits into the blender right in front of the customers, and within seconds, you’re being poured a tall class of watermelon, canteloupe, orange or peach drink. This is what the locals mainly drink, and it took a considerable amount of effort to find a can of soda in Juan Griego!
Further down the street has several stores, shops and vendors selling trinkets such as magnets, keyrings and wooden jewelry. I bought a few, but found the prices weren’t as good a bargain as I was hoping for. I guess we had finally arrived in the tourist district! Anything from clothes, electronics and tools can be bought downtown, and bargaining is allowed.
A few churches and old buildings are scattered throughout the community, and they are kept in great condition. The European influence is apparent in the number of small town squares which have stone statues, trees and several benches for relaxation. I had a glass of coconut crush with milk and sugar while staring out at the harbour from one of the benches. The entire area is really laid back, and before I knew it, the morning was over.
Juan Griego really grew on me, and I absolutely enjoyed my stay there. I spoke enough Spanish to engage in a few conversations, and every local I spoke to was not only helpful, but very friendly and welcoming. Venezuela may have a bad reputation in the travel industry, but Juan Griego is another world all on its own!