Three months have passed since we left Toronto, Canada to travel the world. I was looking back on all the places we have visited so far and decided to start my own series of blogs. I have put together some travel facts and tips of the following countries: Iceland, Ireland, England, France, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. Enjoy!
1. There are more sheep than people in Iceland.
2. Gas in Iceland ain't cheap. It will cost approx. $2.20/L.
3. Iceland has thermal pools (i.e. Blue lagoon) that will leave you smelling like eggs for days.
4. A cup of coffee in Iceland will run you approximately $5.
5. Trying to pronounce any Icelandic street names will have you sounding like a first grader.
6. In the city of Belfast you will find many men sporting full track suits, and they ain't Russian.
7. Belfast has many gypsy dominated housing neighbourhoods.
8. Guinness beer on tap in Dublin is absolutely delicious; it is literally made the previous day.
9. Irish girls #1 choice of booze, BEER...duh!!!
10. If you live in Dublin and haven't been to Johnnie Fox's Traditional Irish Pub, you're not Irish!
11. It's always raining in London, even when it's sunny (which is never).
12. London is absolutely huge. You need at least a week to see all the attractions, markets and local hangouts.
13. London has a cool vibe and many markets full of international food stands. It's similar to Kensington market in Toronto; only much larger and more hip.
14. Entrance fee per couple for the Tower of London is approx. $100 CAD.
15. If your on a tight schedule and it's pissing rain, try using the extensive tube and rail transit system; it's a fast and convenient way to see the city.
16. The subway trains of Paris run on AA batteries. Literally, it's as if you travelled 50 years back in time.
17. Paris is little Arabia, even the Arabs will tell you themselves.
18. Paris is overrated.
19. The French spoken in France actually sounds nice. It's far different than the not so pleasing language we hear in Canada.
20. Chateau Du Versailles is worth seeing. Don't bother with that tower looking thing in Paris.
Former Yugoslavia (i.e. Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia)
21. Croatia is beautiful; especially the coastline and numerous islands.
22. The beaches of Croatia and Bosnia (Neum) are not your typical sandy areas. Expect lots of rocks and/or pebbles.
23. If your swimming barefoot you run the risk of touching the rocky ground underwater. Beware of the "jez" or sea urchins. Those needles will get you good!
24. Cevapi or minced meat is best served in Sarajevo with some Kajmak (creamy yogurt) and Lepinje (flat bread).
25. The pedestrian Knez Mihailova Street in Belgrade is top for people watching, eating, shopping; it has it all.
26. If your looking to save money eating in Istanbul, avoid the numerous tourist traps and try dining at a lokanta; a cafeteria style restaurant.
27. The ratio of men to women in the visible public in Istanbul is 25:1. All the best to you solo walking ladies.
28. Cappadocia, Turkey is truly a magical city. It is mainly visited for the unique cave hotels and the world's top hot air ballooning.
29. You risk your life everyday crossing the street in Turkey. Pedestrians come second to vehicles.
30. Make sure you have a Turkish breakfast when in Turkey which is considered the most important meal of the day for Turks. The serving portions are far too generous, so make some room for your taste buds and/or share with a friend.
United Arab Emirates
31. You need a liquor licence in Dubai to buy booze in liquor stores.
32. Restaurants, bars and clubs are not allowed by law to play music or serve alcohol for 24 hours on certain religious holidays in UAE.
33. During Ramadan (the Muslim holy month) which includes fasting, ALL people including visitors in the UAE are not allowed to eat/drink/smoke in public areas. However, you are allowed to eat/drink/smoke in private.
34. Dubai is full of prostitutes. You can observe men in white traditional robes trying to sway one, two or three hookers at a time.
35. Dating and porn sites are illegal in UAE. However, locals and visitors have found a way around it, and use a VPN to freely search the web as they please.
36. If you want to start a business in UAE you will have to be partnered with an Emirati (a citizen of the United Arab Emirates). He/she will always own 51% or more of the business and have the final say in everything.
37. UAE is friggin' hot. Add a ridiculous 90% humidity factor, and you will be sprinting to your air conditioned vehicles or homes.
38. Refrain from holding hands, kissing or any signs of affection in public areas. It's the law and disobeying these orders and you may end up with a fine and/or jail time and/or being deported back home.
39. Long pants are a must while visiting UAE. All mosques, even some hotels and restaurants will require visiting men to wear pants covering past the knees.
40. UAE serves the freshest and a vast selection of delicious dates.