Turkey is included in my bucketlist to see. I found a very cheap trip  there last 2011, the reason why we were able to visit it.  I did not  wait too long and immediately booked that 10-day trip to Turkey. We also visited a lot of places in this country. One of  it is Istanbul. I can’t believed   that this city has a lot  to see in terms of historical sights.

One of the sights we visited was the  Dolmabahçe Palace.  It is located in the Besiktas district of Istanbul on the European coastline of the Bosphorus Strait. It served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, apart from a 22-year interval (1887–1909) in which Yıldız Palace was used. It was built  between the years 1843 and 1856   under the order of Abdülmecid I, the Empire’s 31st Sultan.

We had a tour inside the palace. I was  saddened after knowing  that taking photos  inside the premises is not allowed.   I was amazed by the interior of this palace. I  just   wished that I was allowed to take pictures inside. But sorry it is forbidden. So just be patient seeing these snapshots I took during our visit last September 2011.

The entrance to the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey during our 10 days vacation in this country.

The entrance to the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey during our 10 days vacation in this country. © www.europetravelpad.com

A  fountain  at  Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey during our 10 days vacation in this country last 2011.
© www.europetravelpad.com

The entrance gate  to the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey during our 10 days vacation in this country.© www.europetravelpad.com

The entrance gate to the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey during our 10 days vacation in this country.
© www.europetravelpad.com

Hello 2013!  Happy New Year to everyone! I am gladly welcoming   another year  in my life.  I believed this year will be  another year full of adventures and challenges. .. A year to travel and to experience  more  places in this world. ..A year where I am hoping and praying to be a year of another success. Coupled with hard work and determination, I believed it will be!

There are a lot of destinations to visit  in this beautiful world. One life is not enough to  see everything. I am glad that I  experienced some especially in Europe. I still have a  lot of places that I included in my wishlist. I would love to share about it in my  next post.

I am also thankful for all the  opportunities to  travel in 2012.  It was a year full of challenges. I did able to visit a lot of cities and countries especially in Europe. I can’t thank God enough for  everything he Had  given me during the past year.

Here is an inventory of the places I visited in Europe last 2012.

  1. Germany- Weissenburg, Nuremberg, Regensburg,  Munich, Weimar, Erfurt, Jena, Wuerzburg, Hamburg, Kiel, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bodensee, Insel Mainau and many more..Still trying to remember the others.
  2. Spain-  Madrid,  Barcelona, Segovia, Avila, Alcazar de Henares,  Guadalajara, El Escorial, Callela, Montserrat
  3. France- Strasbourg,  Riquewihr
  4. Switzerland- Zurich  and Basel
  5. Hungary- Budapest
  6. Austria- Salzburg
  7. Italy- Vicenza
  8. Lithuania- Vilnius, Klaipeda,  Kaunas,  Siaulai
  9. Latvia- Riga
  10. Czech Republic- Karlovy Vary

I also visited United States of America and was in California, Oregon, Arizona and Nevada. My dream of coming  to Canada  was finally granted. I was in Vancouver.

I want to share some of the travel snapshots I took during  those trips. Here they are;

SAM_1893Bodensee or Lake Constance in Germany last August 2012.

View of San Francisco, California. © www.europetravelpad.com

View of San Francisco, California-USA vacation last Aug.-Sept. 2012.
© www.europetravelpad.com

Riquewihr, France-during our Christmas market trip last November 2012. © www.europetravelpad.com

Riquewihr, France-during our Christmas market trip last November 2012. © www.europetravelpad.com

El Escorial, Spain - visit last  March 2012.© www.europetravelpad.com

El Escorial, Spain – visit last March 2012.
© www.europetravelpad.com


Las Vegas, Nevada© www.europetravelpad.com

Las Vegas, Nevada- USA vacation last Aug-Sept. 2012
© www.europetravelpad.com

This infographic represents the main holiday expenses: food, alcohol, trips, gifts, duty free, travel & transport, holiday decorations, clothes, sports, and accessories. Christmas is a great opportunity to relax and save up some strength for work; however, the holiday season is particularly expensive. The most popular states to spend Christmas vacation in are: Nevada, New York, Colorado, and Florida. 37% of Americans even don’t think about their spending, especially when they are on vacation. Astoundingly, 63% of Americans take out payday loans to get quick cash, along with high fees. During the holiday season, it is necessary not only to control your expenses, but also to use payday loans right way, for emergencies.

Top 10 Reasons holiday makers overspend Infographic

Source: FastLoanTree.com

It is Christmas Market season in Germany. Many  countries in Europe are celebrating the same. In Germany, Nuremberg is probably hosting  one of the most famous Christmas Market in Germany. It is visited by tourists and visitors  from all corners of the world every year.  It is held in Nuremberg Main Market Square, located in front of  the Frauenkirche or Church of  Our Lady.

It is time to witness and enjoy this  enchanting event in Nuremberg.  You will probably want to try Glühwein or mulled wine, which will make you feel warmer during the chilly weather. Famous Nuernberger delicacies like Bratwurst (a kind of sausage), Lebkuchen or Ginger  bread and roasted almonds  are always present in the market.  There are around 180 wooden booths  you  can find at the Christmas Market. Christmas decors, toys, various arts and crafts  and other traditional  Christmas goods are available for sale.

I always love visiting the Christmas market in Nuremberg.  But be careful, this is the time of the year when many pick-pocketers are loitering around  looking for victims.  Be careful with your bags and personal belongings.  One of my friends was already a victim last  December 2010.

Here are some images I took during one of my visits.

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Nuremberg Christmas Market. © www.europetravelpad.com


Christmas Decors for sale in Nuremberg's Christmas Market

Christmas Decors for sale in Nuremberg’s Christmas Market. © www.europetravelpad.com

Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany. You can  see the Frauenkirche    (Church of Our Lady on the background. © www.europetravelpad.com

Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany. You can see the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady on the background. © www.europetravelpad.com

Hello world!

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I was browsing  my photo albums during  my trip to England four years ago.  It was so far an awesome trip for me despite the limited time during my visit. My friend Rose from Harrogate, where I also stayed for some days, toured me to some  places nearby  including Leeds. We took a bus from Harrogate to  Leeds and there begun the sightseeing tour. My friend tried  her best to show me around and she really did a great job.

One of the interesting  sights  I visited  there was Leeds   Kirkgate  Market.  I was amazed when we went inside considering the many  goods and products sold in this market.  There are hundreds of shops there  for your sure the traders will  surely help you with anything you need.

This traditional British market is largest in Europe. It is housed in an opulent late Victorian palace to commerce, it has both indoor and outdoor stalls. Marks and Spencer had their first establishment here, originally called, ‘Marks Penny Bazaar’.

Leeds Kirkgate Market-  © www.europetravelpad.com

Leeds Kirkgate Market taken last November 2008. I was there!
© www.europetravelpad.com

How lucky I am to visit Madrid twice and I am thankful about it. I love Spain’s capital and I want to visit it again and again when time and finances are available. There are a lot to see in this city and maybe a month’s visit is not enough to see and to explore everything  including its nearby towns and cities.

Our photo for today is the famous and heraldic symbol of  Madrid, the Statue of the Bear and a madrone tree ((madroño).  Its official name is El Oso y El Madroño.  There was legend  saying about this symbol. It says that the original name of the city was “Usaria”, a Latin word which means “land of bears”.  Due to a large number of this animal that were found in the nearby forest   together with the madroño, this has been the symbol of the city in the Middle Ages. This statue is located in Puerta del Sol, translated as   “Gate of the Sun” in English.

I  always love going around  Puerta del Sol during my second visit in Madrid for three weeks last March 2012.

© http://www.europetravelpad.com

Statue of Bear and Madrono in Puerta del Sol Square, Madrid, Spain: © http://www.europetravelpad.com
I took this image during my second visit in Spain’s capital last March 2012.

London is a bustling city, full of frenetic noise and activity, which can make it tricky to find time for yourself. Having some ‘me time’ is important for your general well-being, so here are some top tips for the best places to relax in the capital.


Changing of Royal Guards in Buckingham Palace, London © http://www.europetravelpad.com

London boasts many beautiful green spaces, and taking a book, a blanket and a picnic along to one of the city’s parks is a great way to spend an afternoon free from stress. Visit the sprawling 183-acre Greenwich Park for fantastic views of the city in a historical setting, or head to Hackney to London Fields to mingle with the capital’s trendiest residents.

Just keep an eye on the weather: when the sun comes out, Londoners habitually make a beeline for the nearest green spot, so you might need to get there early to stake your claim on a gorgeous patch of grass to stretch out on.

There are many museums and galleries in the capital, and you can’t do better than spending a few hours wandering around one getting lost in the exhibits. A little contemplation and quiet is a nice way to unwind, and there’s something to interest everyone, with the borough of Kensington being a particular cultural hotspot. Head to Kensington for the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum – fascinating places for a family day out.

There are plenty of markets to explore as well, if you find that browsing for a bargain helps you to relax. Enjoy a spot of retail therapy in Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane, which have excellent antique and vintage clothes selections. Alternatively, try Covent Garden for a more eclectic mix of novelties and gifts: you can sample some excellent street food while you’re shopping from the open air food stalls.

For more tips on how to relax in London, check out In the Know, a partnership between the Telegraph and American Express designed to share insider knowledge about London’s hidden gems. For all those impromptu purchases that put the spring back in your step, apply for an American Express credit card online, and earn exclusive membership reward points while you shop.

Accommodation in UK

It seems that somebody is planning to visit United Kingdom again. I have been to England and I am still planning to visit  it  again. There are still a lot of sights that I wanted to visit especially  in Scotland and Ireland. My friend who is from the United States was asking me to find cheap flights and hotels to the UK since she is planning to go with me when I go back there.

Since two week ago, I was already searching for cheap flights and accommodation. There are some vacation packages that I found but the places to be visited are not the ones that are in my priority list to see. Another reason, I already visited some of those places. I believed the best way to visit Scotland or Ireland is to make my own itinerary. Of course, I will include my friend from the US when I will be booking this trip.

There are always cheap flights in going to UK. As long as you plan your travel ahead, you can surely find one.  Regarding accommodation, you can find also affordable hotels, apartment, bed and breakfast  or cottages that will fit your budget. There are always special offers, last minute trips or  discount flights and accommodation we can find online.

When I was searching  yesterday in the internet  about accommodation in UK, I landed at Handpicked Hotels. It is a privately owned and managed hotel group. If you feel like traveling back in time, the hotels they offer are quite a perfect  choice. Their superb settings in Britain’s countryside and their elegant accommodation will surely make your holiday a memorable one. The combination of classical and modern setting plus their hospitality will surely make you comfortable and feel at home.  I simply love the  setting of their hotels!

Whether you are looking for a Spa and Health holiday, a venue for event like wedding or birthdays, business gatherings or meetings, you can always count on them.

If you are planning to visit Scotland, Wales, London, Yorkshire, Midlands, Channel Islands or any part of UK, feel free to browse their site. I will surely do, if I already decide  to visit UK for the second time. I love this part of Europe!

Halloween celebration is over..so as my one month vacation in the United States of America. It seems like yesterday when I visited this  big country. One of the cities I visited was the “Gaming and  Entertainment Capital of the World” . Las Vegas is always a very interesting city for me. I always love it there. It was actually my second visit in the US and I believed I will keep on coming there again.

One of the hotels we explored was the Stratosphere tower and hotel. We also climbed on top of the tower. From there, you can have  a fantastic view of the city of Las Vegas and its surroundings. There are interesting rides you can experience on top of it. The Big Shot, Insanity, X-scream and  Sky Jump Las Vegas. If you are courageous enough, you can try all the  rides there. Sorry but these rides are not for me.

The  highlight of our visit there was  when we witnessed the setting of the sun. It was spectacular!


View of Las Vegas on top of the Stratosphere tower.
© www.europetravelpad.com


The Author

Traveling has always been her passion. Ruby wants to share her travels, adventures and personal experiences in Europe and maybe from around the world. The reason why Europe Travel Pad was created. Discover Europe virtually through this blog and travel with her as the journey goes on.