Tag Archives: abroad

Schloss Drachenburg

Built in the 1880s, Schloss Drachenburg is a fairy tale castle. The architecture is full on romantic Gothic, with spires, the style of a medieval cathedral and a beautiful clock tower. It stands on a hill above the Rhine River, with beautiful breathtaking view of the said river.

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A story from the German folklore says, that Siefried has slayed a dragon up on this very mountain, which the castle gets the name from. Drachenburg, translates to Dragon’s castle in English. The actual story of this castle is however less glamorous as it was commissioned by a rich stock broker. Funnily enough it was built in two years, yet recently a 15-year restoration was completed for 31.5 million euro.

Completed in 1884, the castle started off as a private villa, then was converted into a museum, which later on was used as an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys. To this day, you can still see holes from the US artillery fires, as they smashed the stained glass windows and facade in the last months of the war. It was at this time that the Nazi schoolboys decided to stop resisting against the americans.

The inside of the castle is full of German art and craftsmanship.

See below, some photos I took of a day well-spent in the Dragon’s castle.

Such a dreamy castle!

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Doctor Who Experience will close Summer 2017

…In the Dalek’s own words…. “Exterminate!”

As many of you know, I adore Wales and I frequently visit this country, for various reasons. If there was a yearly membership club (or even lifetime), I would totally get it. But today, I have read a piece of news, that has disappointed the geek in me.

dw4If you, like me are a big DoctorWho fan, you know that in the south of Wales, in Cardiff Bay, there is the Doctor Who Experience. Taking into consideration, all things Doctor Who TV Series related that have happened in Cardiff, this is by far the most appropriate location for this fan space.

This year marks the 4th year of the opening of this museum, which I have visited and enjoyed last year in Summer. Due to the agreement BBC Worldwide has made with the Council of the City of Cardiff, the sub-lease will expire in Summer 2017.

Furthermore, closing such attraction would also mean less tourists to the South of Wales, as the Doctor Who franchise and fandom can be considered as an international thing. Doctor Who Experience is currently rated as the number 6 thing to do in Cardiff on Trip Advisor with over 3,000 reviews.

I guess, this is me urging you to visit before it is too late. It is as of yet not known whether such an official place would open elsewhere, so this might be the only opportunity you have to visit such an amazing place full of props used within the TV Series, including previously used Tardis(es) on the set.

Source: Wales Online

What’s Up

My blog is a priority to me, however there are times and things that surpass my blogs. Such things are travelling and starting a new job; which in this case are very, very true.

In the last month and a half, I have taken time travel and in total I have visited 5 countries in almost 3 weeks. This has not only led me to learn new things about different cultures and do plenty of sightseeing, but also helped into finding myself again. To me, traveling is the very best thing. It is new and exciting… an adventure!

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For more photos of my travels and my endeavors please follow me on Instagram: SteffiWorld.

After making it back to Malta, I have spent a few days catching up with friends, doing the laundry and relaxing. This is because two weeks ago, it was time for me to change my job. This time, my role is Reporting Specialist, which is highly focused on reporting – gathering data and specs, creating the reports and reconciling. It is a very exciting role as there are a lot of changes going on, and my role is a part of it, and in two years time, I am hoping to see myself in a managerial position. I have been aiming for this for some time, and it has gone unnoticed in my past job, so I am very happy to be in this position now.

I have noticed in the past weeks, that my followers on WordPress have been increasing exponentially which is great to say the least. While I would like to welcome you all to my humble blog of anything that comes to mind, I would also like to excuse myself for the lack of writing, and hope that going forward I will have more energy to entertain you!

Travelling Abroad With Kids

 

Family holidays are what memories are made of; fun in the pool, ice creams and sand castles on the beach. But taking young children on holiday requires a fair amount of planning and consideration. To keep your holiday fun-filled while keeping safe and everything running as smoothly as possible, here are a few things to bear in mind.

planeTravelling with kids (pic 1)

 

Get Vaccinations Up To Date

You won’t always need specific vaccinations when you’re travelling abroad depending on where you’re going. However children should be vaccinated with their regular childhood immunisations. Ideally they will be vaccinated at the routine times for their age, although if you are due to travel abroad it’s likely that these will need to be done more quickly. It’s important be be aware that not all travel related vaccines are effective in infants, and in some cases they may not be recommended at all due to the risk of doing more harm than good. Making sure your child’s regular immunisations are all up to date before travelling is important, for the full list of jabs they need check out this.

 

Hire a Car

It’s no secret that young children get restless quickly. Instead of lugging them (and all of their stuff) onto public transport you might find it’s easier to hire a car. You can load everything into the boot before you leave each day, and you have much more control of getting from A to B. Most car hire companies will offer hire of children’s car seats and booster seats too, giving you one less thing to pack.

car.JPGTravelling with kids (pic 2)

 

Get The Right Visas

A huge number of countries require Visas before you’re able to enter. For example if you’re from outside the US, you’ll require an American Visa application in order to visit. Both accompanied and unaccompanied children no matter what their age require their own independant Visa. It’s quick and easy to do, most are granted online within seconds although it’s recommended that you do this seventy two hours before you’re due to fly. The same applies if you’re an American looking to leave the US, you and the children will require Visas for a large proportion of places- so make sure that’s all sorted in advance. Something to bear in mind when you’re travelling abroad with kids, as they won’t just be covered under your paperwork.

 

Plan Activities

Having a rough idea of what you want to do while you’re away (with the willingness to be flexible) can help to add some structure to the chaotic fun. Don’t try and cram in too much, instead choose a few key activities and assign them to certain days. Leave plenty of time before and after each trip or excursion to relax and rest.

 

Choose The Right Travel Insurance

In most cases you will be able to get cover through a family policy but it’s important to read through carefully, or you could end up out of pocket if you need to make a claim. You will need something with a high level of medical cover, and which includes all of the activities your children will be doing on holiday. This is why it’s worth spending time on the point above and planning some activities beforehand, so you have an idea of what you’ll be doing. Swimming, biking, outdoor games- make sure they are all included. Don’t skimp to get a cheaper premium cost, you’re much better off making sure they’re completely covered.

 

Which language do you think with?

This is a weird one, I know.

I have been, for years on end now, thinking and “talking to myself” in a foreign language. By foreign language, I mean English. Malta is a bilingual country, and in fact we start learning English at the young age of six. I always loved the language and the literature that came with it. I always carried a book with me and preferred British TV and movies over Italian (I’m mentioning Italian because all of my friends watched Italian TV when I was growing up).

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Although I love the English language, I knew that there is one barrier that I won’t be able to surpass. This is, because even though I know that my spoken and written English is better than the average Joe’s, I will never have enough practice verbally to become super fluent and master it as it was my first language.

It was in 2011, when things changed for me. Leaving Malta meant that I had to leave my mother tongue behind (to an extend). When I landed in Manchester airport, I knew that at this point,  I have to deal with people in English. I think, that this is when my head decided that I should start thinking in English. I think, this was rather beneficial (yes, I googled it):

  • Apparently, if you think in a foreign language, you are not only practicing the language itself but also learning new vocabulary. It’s almost like when you are reading a book for the very first time.
  • Another reason according to a study is that since a foreign language provides psychological distance because you need to make a bit of an effort to use it, it will affect your reasoning and decision making in the sense that they become less biased, more analytic, and more systematic.

In reality, in my daily life, unless I am speaking with my friends and colleagues, everything else is done using the English language, which means that I was very surprised that it took my brain this long to switch languages:

  • Reading news, blogs, articles
  • Google searches are conducted in English
  • Reading Books
  • Listening to music
  • Making use of laptops (or computers) and phones using an English interface
  • Watching TV, Movies and Series

Am I the only one who took this leap? Do you think in your native language or did you choose another familiar language to do so? I want to know! 🙂

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//Obviously this is targeted to users who can speak multiple languages rather than just the one.

The Art of Travel

I would say, that I am at my best, when I travel.

At those moments when I am traveling, I do not care of what the weather holds, rain or shine, I’m ready to have an early start of the day and get exploring. Of course, I would most likely explore, what I had been planning for days or weeks on end, before the holiday kicked in.

Which brings me to the most fun traveling factor: Being a planner, I usually take the lead on all things which could be planned, such as events to go to, places to visits and how to get there. Before every vacation, I make sure I have a booklet featuring all the above, including maps, expenses involved and opening hours.

Living and traveling overseas, has matured me so much, in the sense that, every time I travel, I go to a place which I have never been before, which would mean, that I need to be mentally ready to “get lost” and also to “ask around for help”. Those who know me well know, that I am most of the time too stubborn to ask for help or advise, as I would rather be on top of things myself. If I figure it out myself, I’m better off. However given the experiences I had in the past, traveling alone or with a friend, sometimes you just have to take the easy way out and ask… especially when you are running out of time or late to a do!

Traveling has not only matured me, but opened my mind to different cultures and people behaviour. I have learned and experienced a lot of history. I have curiously watched people going around towns and cities and in my mind, I would think of what it would be like being in their shoes. It is a little game I like to play, especially when I’m on a train or waiting to catch a bus. Sometimes, I’d be lucky enough to get into a discussion with local people around me, which helps me understand more the surroundings and why people behave in a certain way.

If traveling is a hobby, then I dare say that it is the greatest hobby of all. No other pastime can be compared in my opinion, as what you do while on vacation will be instilled in your mind, body and soul for the rest of your life. It is something you’d think about, and smile about.

I can’t wait to get planning on my next proper vacation… I see Poland and Germany on the horizon… It is a matter, of making a dream come true… Maybe in 2016? 🙂

Chester Christmas Market 2015

During my latest travel to the UK, between the 19th and 24th of November, we came across the Christmas Market by chance. It was a lovely surprise as Christmas Markets have always been a pleasant memory of mine, of the time when I lived in Stoke-on-Trent and went to Birmingham year on year for this particular event.

When we made it to the Christmas Market, the place was already buzzing with people looking and buying items. The decorations and a sense of happiness from the people, really put me into the Christmas vibe. More so because the day was rather cold (it even snowed in the evening!). Cheese with cranberry bits and the cheeky mulled wine helped in all this too.

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This year, the Chester Christmas Market will last a week extra – In fact it will be open 7 days a week, from 10am to 6pm for just over a month. So make sure you make your way there any day between the 19th of November and 20th of December for some fantastic gifts, ranging from home-made stuff, to food and high-end items.

More information can be obtained by reading here and here.

Thoughts and Dreams

Last night I was going through my stuff and I came across the leaving card my ex colleagues in England gave me. I reread all the messages and it made think on what could have my life been like if I never left.

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I am still in love with all things British and sometimes I fear I have made a bad decision. I love being close to my family and friends but I miss the green, the nature, the events, the sense of peace and calm in my
stoke life that only that country seems to give me.

With all things going in my life.. especially the house and the cats it should totally feel like I’ve settled down. But truth be told, I wish I could be in two places at once. Or perhaps I can live some of my life here and some there.

But for that to happen I need to be rich or be in a situation were I can work from anywhere in the world and actually afford such comfort.

Now that I have put this on paper I hope that I can put this thought to rest; At least until two months time when I will be travelling to South Wales, London and possibly Kent. God I miss you!

Of Restaurant & Planning Advise

When we need information, and we cannot get the answers from the people we know, we usually ask Google for a solution. But when it comes to holiday planning  or something as simple as choosing a place to eat out, these days I am preferring TripAdvisor over any other website or site-engine.
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