It took me years to make it to Paris. For some reason, on all my trips to Europe, I circled France, but never quite seemed to make it across the border. Finally, in 2016, I arrived in Paris and one of our first stops was to see the iconic Note Dame Cathedral.
We arrived in the morning and the sun was shining from behind the massive spire. What an incredible sight! Gargoyles looking down over their beloved city and ornate statues carved throughout the building. As we walked inside, the light shining through the stained glass windows was mesmerizing.
I’m so glad I finally made it to Paris and had a chance to see this incredible building before last night’s devastating fire. I’ve loved seeing all the photos people have shared from their own trips to see Notre Dame and hoping in time this beautiful building can be restored so future travellers can also be moved by it.
The lost city of Atlantis may be the stuff of legends, but in Nassau, Bahamas, you can spend a day (or more) exploring their incredible Atlantis!
While staying there definitely looks like a fun option, if, like us, you find yourself staying at one of the neighbouring resorts, there are still lots of ways to enjoy Atlantis.
You can book day passes for various adventures in Atlantis, including the waterpark Aquaventure and Dolphin Cay. But there are other options to explore.
You can wander through the shops and the marina at any time and eat at the restaurants found there. The Casino is also open to all if gambling is more your style. Through the Casino, you’ll find The Dig.
This beautiful aquarium features hundreds of sea creatures from tiny seahorses to huge grouper, lobsters to clownfish and gorgeous rays swimming around the mysterious ‘Lost City’ ruins. Day passes are required for non-guests, but if you go in the evening, you can wander around for free and enjoy all these amazing sea creatures.
I loved it so much, we went back a second evening and wandered around above ground, gazing down into the open air tanks and watching the fish and rays swimming below.
We also found the Hibiscus Lagoon filled with green sea turtles and Predator Lagoon, home to Hammerhead sharks, Caribbean Reef sharks, Barracuda and Smalltooth Sawfish swimming around the tunnel as you walk through.
Whether you want to go all out and participate in all Atlantis has to offer or simply wander around, it’s definitely a must-see spot in Nassau, Bahamas!
If, like me, you find watch fish swimming to be very relaxing, then enjoy a few clips I took while exploring Atlantis!
To me, birthdays are best spent on the beach, and this year was no exception. It’s been a month now since I celebrated my 35th birthday in Nassau, Bahamas. Even though it’s so close, it’s an island I had never been to, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a few days relaxing in the warm sunshine (a big difference from freezing cold Ontario), heading into downtown Nassau, and exploring parts of Atlantis – which just happened to be located next door to our resort! (More on that in a later post).
From Paradise Island, you have a few options for heading across to Nassau. You can take a taxi, a ferry boat or walk across the huge bridge. Since we’d been enjoying the buffets, we opted for the walk into town, enjoying the sights along the way. As Nassau is a busy cruise ship port, there are tons of shops and restaurants located in the downtown core. As avid craft beer drinkers, we found Pirate Republic Brewing Company down near the docks and stopped in to enjoy a birthday flight!
After wandering around all afternoon, we took the ferry boat back, with a very entertaining skipper pointing out sights and giving us some history along the way.
With so much to do on the various islands of the Bahamas (over 700 islands!) we only scratched the surface, but it was sure a great place to turn another year older! CHEERS!
*Paradise Island Ferry leaves approx every 30 mins. $4 one way or $8 return. On the Paradise Island side it leaves from the docks near the bridge. On the Nassau side it leaves right from the downtown docks.
Turning a year older used to really stress me out. I always felt that with each passing year I was running out of time to accomplish everything I wanted to. While I still feel this way at times and have no idea how so many years have already passed by, I’m realizing that each passing year is a gift and a chance for more adventures.
And besides, how can you be bummed with you are celebrating your birthday on the beach!
So…35 here we go!
While in Lima, we took a free walking tour to explore the Historic Centre of the city. In 1988, this beautiful old part of Lima was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its originality and high concentration of historic monuments constructed during the time the Spanish were present here.
Despite damage caused by several earthquakes over the past century, it’s a great place to see some of Peru’s gorgeous colonial architecture.
Plaza de Armas, Lima’s colourful main square, was considered the foundation for the “City of Kings” in 1535 when it was founded by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. This public square is also where Peru was declared a Republic in 1821.
The Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) is located at one end of the square. Every day at noon, you can go and watch the Changing of the Guards, an hour of music and marching (and high kicks!) displayed behind the palace gates. This is where the Peruvian president resides.
It certainly is a beautiful spot to wander around. Below are a few of my favourite sights!
Cathedral of Lima
Entrance to the Cathedral
Fountain in the centre of Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
San Francisco Church
Beautiful stained glass ceiling at the Mario Vargas Llosa library
Inside the Church of Santo Domingo
Beautiful alter in Santo Domingo
San Martin de Porres, Santa Rosa de Lima & San Juan Macias tombs
Basilica and Convent of Nuestra Señora de la Merced
Jumping into freezing, smelly water isn’t something I generally enjoy doing, but that’s exactly what this excursion was…and I LOVED it!!
While travelling in Peru, we opted for a unique excursion in Lima – swimming with sea lions!
We headed to the marina in Callao to meet up with our tour before setting out into the Pacific Ocean. Our guide pointed out the smaller islands we passed en route, as well as different wildlife including pelicans and Humboldt penguins! It was a rough ride out, but as we rounded the bend to Palomino Island, you could already hear the sea lions. There were hundreds of them. They began jumping off the rocks to follow the boat, splashing and barking away. They were ready to play!
We got our wetsuits on and one by one jumped into the chilly water and swam out to them. The curious sea lions would come very close, sometimes even touching your toes, before swimming away again. We spent 20 minutes in the water swimming with them all around us. What an incredible experience!!