Masked and costumed kids are running a muck. Superheroes and fantasy anime characters alike, as far as the eye can see. I met a girl Harry Potter, a latino Captain America and a plump Yoko Littner, among countless other peculiar sights. It was quite a thrilling experience really - other worldly. But it became evident once turning the corner onto Bremner Boulevard that I wasn’t part of a freakish parallel world, it was only the Toronto Fan Expo.
Desperate to escape the familiar staleness of Dublin’s urban suburbia, I fled in my rental car and drove south. A kilometer outside of Dublin immediately revealed the beautiful heart of Ireland’s countryside that I yearned to savor. It wasn’t long before I drove haphazardly through the hilly narrow roads of Co. Wicklow. From lack of attention, to the fault of the transfixing lush that surrounded me. The intriguing, endless views of greens and yellows were captivating and quite seductive.
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1. Barcelona’s Park Güell is a remarkable garden complex designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It was built between the years of 1900 to 1914 and is now one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It’s difficult to sum up one's wonderment and feelings from the quirky beauty of Park Güell. This is definitely a place to have your own magical, personal experience, with its mosaic sculptures, unique terraces, columns, stone walls and elements of religious mysticism.
2. The Segovia Castle or Alcázar of Segovia is a stone fortification located in the heart of the old city, that rises out of the rocky crags above the Eresma and Clamores rivers. The castle was originally built as a fortress, but has served as a royal palace, military academy and a state prison since. Most notably known to outsiders, the Segovia Castle is known as one of the inspirations of Walt Disney‘s famous Cinderella Castle.
Imagine you’re traveling in a country where your passport is worth more than gold then you lose it, or perhaps it was stolen. What if the country you are visiting isn’t too fond of Americans (or your home country) and you have absolutely no way of proving who you are, because you are without identification? This is never a good situation, no matter where you are traveling, and I’ve had it happen twice!
To avoid any headaches or possible dangerous situations, you can prevent the worst from happening by letting others know your travel plans. Leave copies of your itinerary, along with photocopies of your travel documents and identifications with trusted friends or family. Let them know where you are by leaving a record of each place you visit (ex. a simple update to a social media site or keep a basic public blog), especially if you wander off your originally-planned routing - who knows, what if you lose all connection to the outside world and basically disappear? If you are pre-booking any hotel reservations, any train or bus tickets, it’s a smart idea to leave this information and your contact information back home.
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